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Awarded December 2013 for MAKE DO AND MEND by Adam Fitzroy

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Here we go again!

I started the new book at the beginning of the month, but hadn't got very far with it when I had to take time off again due to a combination of family illness and real (i.e. paid) work.  However I have managed to pick up the threads this morning and now have a much clearer idea of where I'm going with it; the characters, Alistair and Rex, are really beginning to make their presence felt.  So are the other people who form their background - family members, the teachers at their school, Rex's landlord, and some of their neighbours.   As usual there will be a tight focus on a small community, this time based in the sooty environs of the East End of London as it slowly recovers from the depradations of both the Luftwaffe and various misguided post-War planning decisions.

Whilst doing some preparatory research earlier on today I found myself investigating - among other things - Bengali surnames, the history of heart surgery, and the Morris Oxford J2 minibus.  This is one of the more delightful aspects of writing, as far as I'm concerned, and I particularly enjoy the fact that most of what one needs to know can usually be discovered without even having to get up from the keyboard and reach for a book - although that doesn't mean that I'm not habitually surrounded by books, maps and even music for all occasions.

I have no idea how long this is likely to take, anyway, or how long a book it will be, but I'd prefer it not to be another epic-length saga like MAKE DO AND MEND or STAGE WHISPERS; if I can keep it down to under 60,000 words I'll be happy enough, but watch this space!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Amazon Kindle and other news

A step into the big(ger) time this week, with the Kindle release of DEAR MISTER PRESIDENT.  Manifold Press are uploading their titles in batches of three but on an irregular basis, which means that STAGE WHISPERS will follow shortly, and GHOST STATION soon after that.  Then there will be a break, with MAKE DO AND MEND and BETWEEN NOW AND THEN being uploaded towards the end of the sequence.  The idea is to mix and match so that they don't upload all of a single author's books at one time, which seems perfectly fair to me!

Meanwhile, I've made a tentative start on the new book, which doesn't yet have a title.  It's set in 1966, and the main characters are Alistair - a widowed teacher who lives with his daughter and his former mother-in-law in a less-than-salubrious part of London, and whose daily life of trying to get geography into the heads of teenaged boys who would rather be smoking or playing football offers him very little challenge - and Rex, younger, relatively new to teaching and to London, whose darker skin sometimes gets him the wrong kind of attention in a city still struggling to accept multiculturality.  Hopefully this will be a book about prejudice of many different kinds, and about learning how to deal with it; choosing one's battles, and making progress slowly.