Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Chloe, Clapton and Those Little Green Unmentionables... by Rosalie Warren

How to make a coherent blog post out of my diverse writing-related experiences of the last few weeks - without resorting to a worn-out cliché of the kind favoured by politicians?

Well, I'll try.

I've just finished draft three (or is it four?) of my sci-fi novel for adults and it's 'resting' (and improving, I hope, in the process...). I found it challenging to write, involving as it did an exploration of the nature of consciousness, self, identity, cognition, coma, dreams... and the attempt to create a credible world of suitably advanced technologies for 2104. All that, plus a woman juggling children, separation, divorce and an academic career. Oh, and I should mention the ethics of artificial intelligence and robotics thrown in. Fun, but not particularly easy to write. Quite a relief to be able to lay it all aside for a few weeks and have a well-earned rest...

Except that things never turn out that way. From nowhere, it seems, a new book has popped up, or at least the beginnings of an idea. It's comparatively straightforward - light-hearted, even - and the characters are making me laugh already so I hope they'll do the same for my readers. I won't say any more about it here, as I'm scared of jinxing it.

Another positive development. I was at a low ebb, some of you may remember, in last month's post.  A trip down to London on a school visit was the last thing I felt like doing. But taking Chloe to Clapton proved to be a wonderful experience in all sorts of ways. Having got off the train from Liverpool Street and struggled for 15 minutes in teeming rain, carrying all my stuff, I discovered that the helpful staff at the station had sent me the wrong way and I now had to walk another 30 minutes in the opposite direction to reach my destination. (I should say that the school had kindly provided me with a map but it quickly became too sodden to be much use.)

Anyway, I got there - and when I met Class 7C at Clapton Girls' Academy I had no regrets at all. As part of the Pop-Up Booklinks Project, the class had each received a copy of my YA novel Coping with Chloe and had spent several lessons under the guidance of their wonderful teacher Miss Feltham, reading and discussing it, writing reviews, designing new covers, making models, creating plays, drawing posters and even, in two cases, writing alternative endings for the book. It was amazing to be confronted with all that thoughtful and detailed work - and the class had even bound their reviews into a book with a beautiful cover for me to take away. I read them the first chapter of the (possible) sequel to Chloe and asked for comments and reaction. They had lots of brilliant questions for me and I felt like a minor celebrity for an afternoon. Huge thanks to all involved, especially the girls of 7C. The Booklinks project is marvellous and I hope it goes from strength to strength.

I heard from my publisher a couple of days ago that Chloe is going on another trip. From September onwards, it will be distributed in the USA - and is also going to be available from my publishers, Phoenix Yard Books, as an electronic book.

So as well as a few little green things poking through the snow in my garden, there are one or two of the metaphorical variety popping up in my brain.

I remember now that readers are what matter - whether there are millions of them or thirty enthusiastic 12-year-olds in a class. Connecting with those readers is what it's all about, and that's what I will continue to try my best to do.

Happy Spring, everyone - when it eventually comes. Wishing you lots of those little green unmentionables...

Best wishes,
Ros

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5 comments:

julia jones said...

This took ages to arrive in my in box today but was well worth the wait. Don't know which part cheered me more - the discovery that your hard book is being rebalanced in your mind by something that makes you laugh or by the account of your trip to Clapham. The girls and their teacher full of ideas and a really energizing experience all round. Huzzah for the little green shoots.

julia jones said...

Sorry - ClapTON not HAM. Interested to know how the contact was made? Personal or via publisher?

Reb MacRath said...

Delightful! But I had to search hard to find out who wrote it. Now that I know, Ros, you have a new fan.

Rosalie Warren said...

Thanks, Julia. Contact with the Clapton School and the Booklinks project was made by my publisher, Phoenix Yard, so thanks to them for this.

Rosalie Warren said...

Thanks, Reb. So sorry my name did not appear - thanks for trying so hard to find me! I thought I had added it but the update does not seem to have worked. Will get this fixed now... :-)