Thanks to all business-people at the pop-up business café in York this week. Lots of good advice, and confirmation that my thinking is – more or less – along the right lines. Now the only need is for more than 24 hours in a day…
Check out podcasts at https://ury.org.uk/listen/ Some great author interviews, and more from me about crime fiction…
Poetry and Prose from Reykjavik and York on City Benches
Writers from Reykjavik and York, England, have joined hands with the Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature to make stories and poetry available to passers-by in Rowntree Park in York and Hljómskálagarður Park in Reykjavik.
The project is spearheaded by Karen Hill-Green in York, who got the idea after reading about Literary Retreats in Reykjavik, a project hosted by Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature. The Retreats are city benches, decorated with plaques with a QR code that gives access to readings by local writers. Karen started a similar project in York along with blogger Cath Mortimer, in cooperation with Rowntree Park. York writers have written stories and poems dedicated to the park and visitors can read them on smart phones or tablets by scanning a code on park benches. In spring 2014, literary texts by six Icelandic writers were added, making this a joint project of the two cities.
The Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature has now made this literature accessible to visitors to Hljómskálagarðurinn Park in Reykjavik, by the City Lake. Guests can scan a code on 16 benches in the park, sit down and read poetry and prose in English by Reykjavik and York writers. The writers are: Æsa Strand Viðarsdóttir, Ásdís Ingólfsdóttir, Inga M. Beck, Þóra Karítas Árnadóttir, Janus Christianse, Lóa H. Hjálmtýsdóttir, Steinunn Lilja Emilsdóttir, n, Christopher Brunt, Laura Munteanu, Ben Warden, Karen Green, Polly Gibson, Adrian Paul Fayter, Rachel McHale and Kate Lock.
Words from a Bench will be in Hljómskálagarður Park from August 1st though September 2014.
Another Larry Di Palma story has just been published by the superb ‘Words from a Bench’ project, and this time the British contributors are joined by a set of talented Icelandic writers – I hope they all read my contribution! Wouldn’t it be fantastic for an English crime writer to be big in Iceland?
Welcoming all readers and writers to the Writing Process Blog Tour. It’s kind of writers’ online chain letter all about how we like to work, and I commend it especially to those of you who use your keyboard for creative stuff, whatever your style or subject. Find out what makes your fellow writers tick. After all, we wordsmiths have got to stick together, right? Thank you to the ever-dynamic Ben Warden for inviting me to join the tour. Check out Ben’s site and you will find enthusiasm for the written word that will inspire you, even when that blank screen seems impossible to fill.
The blog tour gives us a four question structure, but like politicians and other talking heads, we can say what we want in the answers. Here goes…
What are you currently working on?
Well, obviously, I’ve been working on a blog entry about the way that I write, and I’ve been trying to create a self-deprecating but witty tone of voice for the piece. I’m already having doubts about how this will finally turn out… I’m also trying to get ahead of the game by working on a summer-themed short story for the utterly brilliant Words from a Bench project. My spring contribution is already with the editor, but a quick idea appeared for the follow-up, and so a few hundred words are now sitting on my desk waiting for more inspiration. I’m very pleased with the first sentence, though… And, of course, I really should also be working on chapter six of the next ‘Larry Di Palma’ crime mystery, and I should be writing a few more press releases and emails to bookshop managers.
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I think our general view of the crime genre is more informed by television than books, and that the bulk of TV detectives seem to fall into the same miserable, middle-aged mould. Larry Di Palma is as insecure as all the rest, but because he narrates the story, he has to tell us about how he thinks and feels; he isn’t some closed-off, would-be macho character who fails to understand his own faults. He can be an unreliable narrator, but he tells his story with a desire to be honest, and he can also be pretty funny.
Why do you write what you do?
I probably can’t do better than repeat an earlier online interview: I’ve been writing for a very long time, and, as many of us do, I’ve experimented with poetry and short stories, and written an early, semi-autobiographical novel. Crime fiction is, broadly speaking, the biggest selling genre in the UK, so it made sense to consider moving in that direction with a view to getting published. But crucially, the result is a book written very much in my own voice, and saying things that I want to say. Alternatively, we could shorten this question, and make it Why do you write? Certainly not for the money, but why does anyone write, paint, compose and so on? It’s a kind of compulsion. If you love reading enough, you will inevitably want to write.
How does your writing process work?
It’s variable. With ‘Death Benefit’ I had written quite a lot of chapters, not necessarily in chronological order, before finally getting the plot structure in place. I’m working now on ‘Live-in Killer’ and spending more time planning the plot in advance, although I don’t think I will ever be the sort of writer who plans everything before starting the text. In the end, every writer will have a different approach or many different approaches. When I write short stories or poetry, it is different again. But one definite advantage of following the advice to ‘write what you know’ is that you don’t get bogged down doing hours of research before you can write something. I definitely need to keep some sort of momentum, and the feeling that I am making progress.
This is possibly a bit of a cheat, since the original premise of the tour is that each writer should nominate three more blogs for you, dear readers, to visit. Anyone familiar with pyramid-selling, or even anyone quite good at maths, will guess that this quickly becomes unsustainable. Never mind. Just check out the websites of these talented writers and groups. No need for the blog questions, just enjoy what they have to say… Happy reading and writing!
Latest interview out now…