Sunday, 16 October 2011

... published a novel: 1 - FAQs

There are many things nobody tells you about publishing your first novel, comb writers' guides and read author interviews as much as you like. Here's my top five, in case you're interested, and my answers, for what they're worth:
  1. How much money do you get?

    Author advances (so called because you get the money – mostly – in advance of publication) range from a pittance to a fortune. Frequently, and especially for first-time authors, they equate to less than a year's salary (and not a banker's salary either … more like a shop assistant's). 


Monday, 3 October 2011

... been a hair model

One of the many advantages of having long hair (apart from the fact that men love it – just ask a stripper) is that it’s actually surprisingly low-maintenance. Wash it every few days, run a brush through it, shake it out (or put it up) and Bob’s your follicular uncle. Not for us long-locked ladies the endless snipping and trimming of those with more money than barnet: which is why I almost never go to the hairdresser’s – there being scissors in the kitchen – and have not had a professional cut since I was about 12. Why spend my hard-earned cash on haircuts (goes my reasoning) if I’m not going to come out looking dramatically different? In a good way, that is ...

Thursday, 22 September 2011

... been to Spain, part 1: Tomatina or bust!

Spain! What comes to mind when you think of the place? Burnt-orange villains in villas on the Costa del Crime? The oeuvre of Almodovar? Teens off their tits in idyllic Ibiza? For some the name conjures the interwar Spain of Hemingway and Orwell, a place of parched soil and fertile passions, bullfights and hard-drinking expats: for others, package holidays and Benidorm, girlfights and, well, hard-drinking expats.

"Sand in the goddam ribbon again ..."
I say I've never been to Spain, but this is something of a lie. I have been to Spain before, once, as a small child in the 1980s: an inexplicable family holiday to the La Manga golf resort in Murcia (inexplicable because none of my family plays golf, or ever has). However, as my principal memories of that holiday are thinking a Kawasaki was a kind of camera and losing to a four-year-old in the Fancy Dress competition, I reckon I was justified in thinking that now I'm of a legal age to drink, fornicate and generally open myself to everything Spain has to offer, it was time to visit again: La Tomatina called ...



Monday, 12 September 2011

... seen "South Pacific"

Though a rabid lover of musicals in general, I’m not especially a Rodgers & Hammerstein fan – Oklahoma sends me to sleep, The King and I is way too long, and even The Sound of Music doesn’t thrill me much – but I had never seen South Pacific, and given the hit-strewn score and fascinating subject matter, not to mention the clutch of Tony Awards won by this production, I was hoping to have my mind changed by my night at the Barbican ...

Samantha Womack and Alex Ferns camp it up, island-style.

Monday, 29 August 2011

... played Dungeons and Dragons

Hard to believe, I know, what with me being female and in possession of a functioning social life (no offence meant, I assure you, to dedicated D&D players – I’m referring to the common clich├ęd idea of what they’re like …) but it’s true. Nonetheless, names have been changed to protect the – arguably – innocent in the following narrative.

As a small child I remember being fascinated by the eye-catching cover of the first ever Choose Your Own Adventure book, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain – so much so that I spent a princely £1.50 of my £5 birthday book token on it. (Yes, I know this dates me, and I also wish books were still so cheap). I read the introduction with pop-eyed, slack-mouthed fascination: it seemed to be claiming to change the nature of reading itself: (“This is not a book you read straight through, front to back, like a normal book ...”). Wow! My tiny mind was blown.

Monday, 22 August 2011

What's it all about, Katy?

Hello! This is a blog I've started to complement my main website, www.katydarby.com. I'm a London-based writer, editor and teacher, and my first novel The Whores' Asylum is coming out with Penguin in February 2012, so I thought I'd blog a bit about the pre-publication process - exciting stuff like working on the cover, writing the blurb, planning the launch party, etc. ...

However, as an exciting book-related thing doesn't happen every day, I will also be doing something I've never done before each week, and blogging about it. I'll try and make it a Monday, so that anyone who wants to subscribe or check in on-and-off can read something new on a regular basis.

For example: I have never ...
- Played Dungeons & Dragons (see post above)
- Written a book jacket blurb
- Done a reading at a festival
- Been to Spain (a la the Elvis number, which is amazing)
- Planned a book launch
- Seen Jaws (I know! WTF?)
- Created my own website (well, I have, but it was pretty recent so I'm going to write a piece about it)
- Shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die

Sometimes I'll blog more often. I promise that I will try not to blog less often. I also promise I'll try to make it interesting. Sound fair?

So, this is the first one: I have never started a blog like this before. (A bit of a cheat, I know - but just wait until I post about D&D later this week :)