Blog Entries: Black Heart Blue
I'm so delighted that Black Heart Blue and my splendid editor, Amanda Punter, made the Branford Boase long-list. From the website: "The Branford Boase Award was set up to reward the most promising new writers and their editors, as well as to reward excellence in writing and in publishing. The Award is made annually to the most promising book for seven year-olds and upwards by a first time novelist." The short list will be published later in the spring.
Here's a link to the full list:
If I were making a mixtape for Black Heart Blue, here are some of the tunes that'd be on it. Extremely wonderful, sometimes melancholic, songs that I love.
First up, The Black Heart Procession, "When you Finish Me". Gives me chills. Imagining Rebecca at Hephzi's funeral. Cold. White. Alone.
Read on for more...
I just wrote a blog post and lost it. It was all about reviews and how you can't get uptight when someone thinks your book's rubbish. But now it's gone and it was too boring to rewrite. So here, instead, is a competition.
I read in a blog tips thing, when I was having a bout of Catholic guilt about my useless blogging ways, that one's blog should feature pictures, so here's a photo. It took all my computer know-how to get this thing uploaded so don't say I don't try.
Read on for humiliating photo/chance to win fabulous prize.
I'm absolutely delighted that Black Heart Blue has been included on the longlist for this year's Carnegie award. Thank you to my nominator!
The longlist is huge and is testament to the number of great children's books being published today; if you're looking for some fabulous reading then have a browse through. I haven't read all the nominated novels (actually, only a few!) so can't make many recommendations. Top of my list at the moment, though, is David Almond's True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean, but this may yet change as I read through more of the longlist.
Read on to see the entire list...
The first stanza of Plath's Daddy seemed such fitting lines of poetry to open Black Heart Blue, setting the tone and the atmosphere for this terrible tale of girls in danger of, or already destroyed by, their cruel and abusive parents. There were some other great lines I considered; I would also have liked to use Emily Dickinson's:
It would have starved a gnat-
To live so small as I-
And yet I was a living Child -
With - Food's necessity.....
I love giving my characters names which mean something. According to Shakespeare's Juliet, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I don't know if that's really true. If the play were called Donald and Juliet for example, would it be quite such a brilliant title? Of course, Donald is a lovely name and I have nothing against it but it doesn't have quite the same tragic ring, it doesn't ooze Italian romance. Your name should define and identify you. Without a name we are dehumanised, deindividualised. I remember being shocked reading Toni Morrison's Beloved, thinking about the reasons why a character would be called Sixo. And then we have other examples like Curley's wife and Margaret Atwood's Offred. The way they have been named tells us an awful lot about the society in which they live. Names can be political - a means of control or of imposing a definition on individuals. Dickens is great with names, as everyone knows. Uriah Heep is one of my favourites - it sounds as obsequious as the character himself.
Thanks so much if you came to the launch party for Black Heart Blue. It was a lovely celebration.
When writing is going well, it's like a force of nature, unstoppable and instinctive, akin to riding a wave or being drowned in a whirlpool, the former probably being the preferable scenario! So when people ask me how I felt when writing the harrowing and horrifying scenes in Black Heart Blue, it's hard to recall any exact feelings other than the sense of being carried away by the ideas and needing to express them as quickly and as powerfully as I could.
I've taken delivery of a beautiful boxful of books. They really are a treat and I'm still grinning at the sight of twenty luscious copies of "Black Heart Blue " (MJ edition), all for me. BUT, because I'm so kind, I'm going to share. So, if you'd like to win a signed copy of "Black Heart Blue", then comment on this post - you can just say "Yes please!" and I'll enter you in my giveaway. Don't forget to leave a way for me to contact you, should you be the lucky winner. This giveaway will run until Friday 20th April.