Rainbow Award Banners

Rainbow Award Banners
Awarded December 2013 for MAKE DO AND MEND by Adam Fitzroy

Saturday, 30 March 2013

What goes around comes around ...

It's coming up to two years now since STAGE WHISPERS was published, and I truly thought that it had failed to find its audience.  It is, as Elisa Rolle pointed out in her lovely review at the time, a very 'English' book, packed with parochial concerns, and is set in the less-than-glamorous world of provincial theatre - where, if magic happens, it is often more by accident than by design.

Elisa was in a bit of a minority, though.  Other reviewers didn't like it; one suggested for example that the text had been artificially inflated with the addition of borrowings from the classics, presumably to increase the word count/price - a bit of a disastrous tactic if it had been true, since cheaper books seem to sell in larger numbers.  Another commenter completely failed to recognise that a period of eleven years had passed for the characters in the book, so that by the end their relationship was much more acceptable generally and Jon's daughter was now a young adult and less likely to be taken away from him if his relationship with Callum became known.

Anyway, as I say, I'd resigned myself to not having made much of an impact with this particular book and had already published three more by the time when - quite out of the blue and within the past few days - the first couple of really enthusiastic reviews appeared.

A reader called Jess Candela on Goodreads seems to have completely understood why the characters spout a lot of Shakespearean lines:

The characters were nuanced and realistic, with no one all good or all bad. Many of them, being actors, had a tendency to pepper their conversations with quotations from and references to the classics. Having spent some time with a theater crowd, I found that very realistic too, and it enhanced my enjoyment of the story.

When I read that, I wanted to leap up and down and shout "Yes, yes, that's what I meant!"; there are some people for whom Shakespeare just seems to leak out of their ears ... they can't even hold an ordinary conversation without quoting something or other.  If you've never met anyone like that, then their dialogue would look very strange written down; if you have, however, it suddenly all makes sense.

And then there's bill m, commenting on Amazon, who says:

Adam Fitzroy is probably a pen name for an actor or someone with some acting experience.

Well, I understudied (and went on for) the lead in Rumpelstiltskin at my primary school, but I haven't so much as tried out for the chorus in anything since!  However I am completely besotted by theatre and have spent more time and money than I care to admit sitting in various darkened auditoria watching groups of players strut and fret their hour upon the stage, and I also studied Shakespeare at university.  In truth, I think I probably would have liked to be a classical actor - but unfortunately such things as looks, talent and opportunities were not forthcoming, and therefore I have had to enjoy the experience vicariously.

Mind you, I do like bill m's suggestion that STAGE WHISPERS:

could be the basis of a script for a fascinating play itself.

Sometimes, in my most extravagant daydreams, I imagine it being made into a movie - and, believe me, I know exactly the right person to direct it!  (I could even make quite a respectable stab at casting it, if pushed.)  But these are far-off fantasies; we all have them, and perhaps they're better not shared.  However if my poor orphan book is at last coming to the notice of people who are prepared to invest a bit of time and effort into reading it, and who actually enjoy it when they do, then it begins to seem as if almost anything may be possible.

Meanwhile, I want to take this opportunity of thanking the two readers who wrote such wonderful reviews; they've helped to restore my faith not only in STAGE WHISPERS as a story but also in myself as an author - which, as I am at a very tricky point with my new book, was more necessary than I feel I can ever adequately convey!  You really make me believe that I may be able to cope with this writing business after all ...

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Interviewed by Elin Gregory

Recently I did an interview with Elin Gregory which has now appeared on Speak Its Name. It was quite an unusual experience - the whole publicity/marketing thing is completely alien to me, and I've never quite been able to shake the notion that there is something fundamentally wrong with talking about oneself. However Elin made it all nice and simple and kindly allowed me to talk about things that are important to me - and it was very good to be able to get in a plug for my all-time favourite book, The Cruel Sea, too. (Not that it needs any plugging from me, I hasten to add.)

I was also extremely impressed that Elin had managed to find a picture looking back from the top of the fictional 'Sermon Pass'; down into the valley which features so strongly in Make Do And Mend - a picture in which the sun is shining, no less! The last time I was up there it was January and blowing half a gale, and the photographs I took largely comprise of very cold-looking sheep and a very cold-looking companion all trying not to get blown off the hillside. We then drove on into the darkness and had the world's largest portion of fish and chips in Welshpool - but that, as they say, is a story for another time.

Anyway, a couple of people left very kind responses to the interview, for which I thank them; writing can be a bit of a lonely and introspective process and it's always nice to be able to remind oneself that there are actually people 'out there' (in the significant proportion of the world that is not my study, that is!) who are interested in the results. It certainly helps to be able to remember that, at times!