29 April, 2006

LA Times Book Prize

Per Nilsson took out the Young Adult Prize for You and You and You - however, we are having such an interesting time in LA it hardly mattered. I met John Green and caught up very quickly with Markus Zusak at the dinner/ceremony. Steven, Harry and I have driven down to Santa Monica, around Westwood Village and up to Hollywood so far. Tomorrow is LA Times Festival of Books day - well, touristing in the morning, panelling (and buying books) in the afternoon.

26 April, 2006

Big silver bird in the sky

Off to LA in a few hours. I hope to blog while travelling, so stay tuned. (That would be 'tooned' in US-speak.)

24 April, 2006

Interview at Forbidden Planet International

Here is an interview Joe Gordon has done with me.

18 April, 2006

Things not to call children on your blog

If it's your own child:
  • the child
  • the girl child, the boy child
  • The Girl/The Boy
  • The Kid
  • the daughter/the son

If it's someone else's child:
  • The Niece/The Nephew
  • [more to be added now that I have this list to add them to]

You may call any child any name once in the extremes of frustration, irritation or puzzlement (e.g. The Screaming Heebeejeebee, Spiderboy, Emily the Strange), but cute or angry names used over and over, or the above-type coyness (I understand why you might not want to use her name, but what exactly is wrong with calling your daughter 'my daughter'?) - they insult whichever child you're mentioning (even if 'the child' never reads your blog) and they make you sound oh so co-o-o-old.

From Edge magazine (UK)

The result is a collection heady with emotion and atmosphere. Yet despite her undoubted craft [...], there's also an impression of slightness in the style. With every surreal sketch of a clown-killing sniper choosing victims like sweets from a variety box, or a bride late for her ceremony after two years of Bride School, it becomes harder to see how the atmosphere could be sustained for a full-length book.

So, like the chocolate bar of certain starry constellation, Black Juice is tasty, but it won't satisfy your appetite for something more substantial.
Really, you can only shake your head sometimes, can't you? And vow to write ten obvious novels-in-progress next time, in order to please everybody.

(Thanks, Angela, for sending me this review.)

17 April, 2006

Neal Stephenson on process

From an interview probably around 1999:
Q: How does the writing process work for you?

A good deal of the work that I do takes place in the background, which is a computer-ese way of putting it. It is a process that runs quietly at an unconscious level while I am doing other things and that goes on 24 hours a day.

The actual putting of words on paper might come out to 2-3 hours a day. I’ve found that from long experience that the best way to facilitate that process is to do that 2-3 hours of putting words on paper then stop and do something as completely different from writing as I possibly can. Specifically, to get it off my conscious mind. That can be just about anything. For me, what works is doing something of a practical nature. Playing around with technology is a convenient choice because I know how to do it and I can get the stuff I need pretty easily. Anything to get the hands busy and take the mind off the actual work in progress.


  • Finished M. T. Anderson's Feed. Go and read it if you haven't. It may not have weasels and wax faces, but it's chockablock with other intriguing stuff, has an utterly convincing voice, and the ending packs a real punch.

  • On to E. L. Doctorow's The March, which I am 2/3 of the way through. Big, juicy, fascinating, full of horrors and wonders.[Update: now finished. I can recommend this one right to the end.]

  • Gene Wolfe's Starwater Strains (when you mistype that, you get Starwater Straubs); I've read most of the first story without much registering on the enthusiometer.

Aww? Doesn't she realise...

...that everyone's supposed to love my book without reserve?
Although there are some fantastic pieces here[...]I think the collection peaks with "Singing My Sister Down", and all too often I got the impression that Lanagan was more interested in coming up with new customs with which to confront her characters than she was with telling a story.
Never mind, Abigail Nussbaum has been very supportive of 'Sister', and likes a few of the others.

12 April, 2006

Michael Cunningham's The Hours

Just (between 3.45 and 5.15am) finished reading this. I suspected from interviews I've read with the author that I would love it, and I did.
Yes, Clarissa thinks, it's time for the day to be over. We throw our parties; we abandon our families to live alone in Canada; we struggle to write books that do not change the world, despite our gifts and our unstinting efforts, our most extravagant hopes. We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep - it's as simple and ordinary as that. A few jump out of windows or drown themselves or take pills; more die by accident; and most of us, the vast majority, are slowly devoured by some disease or, if we're very fortunate, by time itself. There's just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we've ever imagined, though everyone but children (and perhaps even they) knows these hours will inevitably be followed by others, far darker and more difficult. Still, we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more.

Heaven only knows why we love it so.

04 April, 2006

LA events

On top of attending the LA Times Book Prize Seriously Fabulous Shindig on 28 April, I'll be doing the following:
  • Speaking at the LA Unified School District librarians' meeting on Thursday, 27 April

  • Going on the panel Opening Up the World: Young Adult Fantasy Writing Other Panelists: Denise Hamilton (moderator), Cornelia Funke, and Adam Gopnik Time/Day/Venue: Saturday, 29 April at 2.30pm in Fowler Museum Lenart Auditorium

  • Being interviewed at the Festival of Books (ETC Stage) on Sunday, 30 April, between 10.30 and 11.30am

Sunday: To Vegas!
Monday and Tuesday: The Grand Canyon!
Wednesday and Thursday: Who knows!

Friday, 5 May:
  • Talking at North Valley Regional Library in Anthem, AZ, at 12.20pm
  • Nebula signing, 5.30pm on
  • Nebula evening reception

Saturday, 6 May:
  • Reading, time TBA
  • Nebula banquet

Sunday: San Diego!
Monday: Back to LA. Fly home Monday evening.