Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Maeve Binchy

I was really saddened to learn that best-selling Irish author Maeve Binchy has died aged 72 after a short illness.

In 2007 I was lucky enough to meet her at the launch party in Dublin for Abby Green's very first Mills & Boon novel. She was a lovely, warm-hearted and welcoming woman  and I really enjoyed talking with her.  She invited me to visit her  with Abby when I was next in Ireland but sadly she was never well enough to fulfil that invitation.

Maeve  Binchy, born in Dalkey, Co Dublin, has sold more than 40 million books. Her works were often set in Ireland and have been translated into 37 languages. They include The Lilac Bus as well as Tara Road and Circle of Friends, which were both adapted for screen.

She  trained as a teacher before moving into journalism and writing, publishing her first novel. Light a Penny Candle was written  in her spare time from her day job as a journalist at The Irish Times - in 1982.

Maeve Binchy  was renowned for her generosity and support of others, writing in a guide for aspiring writers: "The most important thing to realise is that everyone is capable of telling a story. It doesn't matter where we were born or how we grew up".

In a 2001 interview with the BBC after she had won the WHSmith Book Award for fiction, she described the five rejections she received for her first novel as "a slap in the face".  But she said she was glad she persevered and sent the book to a sixth publisher.

Maeve Binch and Abby Green
at the launch of Abby's first book
"It's like if you don't go to a dance you can never be rejected but you'll never get to dance either," she said.

The author said that her secret was to write the way she spoke.

"I don't say I was proceeding down a thoroughfare, I say I walked down the road. I don't say I passed a hallowed institute of learning I say I passed a school. You don't wear all your jewellery at once - you're much more believable if you talk in your own voice," she said.

In 2000, Maeve  Binchy was ranked third in the World Book Day poll of favourite authors - ahead of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.

She received a lifetime achievement award from the Irish Book Awards in 2010, the same year her last novel, Minding Frankie, was published.

I remember a warm and vibrant personality who sadly is no longer with us.  My deepest sympathies go to her beloved husband and her family.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Missing . . .

Well  that was a hectic couple of weeks.  I  was travelling here there and everywhere and giving talks, running courses . ..  In the end something had to go  and this blog had to be it.   I just couldn't keep up.

But now I'm back - for a few days - heading for another talk in Bridlington library on Friday -  so I'll try to catch up. A bit.

But while I sort through a  ton of laundry, a zillion emails, innumerable answer machine messages, here's a bit to keep you reading.

As you know I was at the Romantic Novelists'  Association conference in Penrith   which is where I gave a talk on putting Emotion into your writing. There are a couple of reports of tbhis that you can find:

Here on the RNA blog where with other speakers I talk about  the 'behind the scenes' of my talk.

Here in the Conference reports on the same site - there are reports of other talks too if you are interested.

Now I have a date with a washing machine . . .again!

Oh  - but I can't finish without sending huge  congratulations to the brilliant Sarah Morgan who won  the Short Contemporary RITA award at the Romance Writers' of America conference this weekend with her  fabulous Modern Romance/Harlequin Presents title  Doukakis's Apprentice. 

Congratulations Sarah!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Pink Heart Friday

It's the first Friday of the month so that means that today I'm blogging over on the Pink Heart Society site with my regular Date With Kate.
Today with the announcement of  the So You Think You Can Write Contest in mind, I'm posting the first of a set of craft posts to help those of you who plan to entere and to start with I'm going right back to basics and looking at the 'rules'  there are in romance writing - or that everyone seems to thin there are!

See you there?

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Tote Bags 'N' Blogs

It's the first Sunday in July, so  of course I'm blogging over on Tote Bags 'N' Blogs - talking about the month coming up in What I'm Doing on My 'Holidays'.

And as I know everyone's looking for a 'beach read' - or an  armchair read - for the holidays - I'm giving away a copy of  The Devil and Miss Jones to one commenter - just as soon as I get Charlie the Maine Coon to come back in from the garden. It's actually not raining at the moment so he's having a lot of fun out there - climbing trees, hiding in the bushes - jumping on the bird table . . .

Or perhaps I'll wake Flora who's sleeping on my desk . . .

See you over at Tote Bags N Blogs!

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