Monday, 16 March 2009

Oh Goody! Another Distraction



OK I told myself I would wait till this evening to do this, but I have a busy evening ahead of me, am waiting to hear from my editor on something, and...in no time there will be a million other reasons not to do it. So here goes: the splendid Lucy Coats (Hootcat Hill out in paperback this week, people!) has nominated this blog for the Sisterhood Award! Which I'd never heard of. And I'm wondering who started it, and whether it was Ann Brashares, author of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants...? (A title I dearly would have liked to come up with).

No matter.

So now my job is to nominate ten other 'sisters' whose blogs I like. My list overlaps considerably with Lucy's, a fact for which I make no apology at all. So here goes:

Bookwitch I could easily nomintate her twice over, because she is the very same witch who writes about Culture over on another blog. But I want to mention my other nine favourites as well, so will settle for putting her at the top of the list. Bookwitch is fast becoming legendary in the children's/young adult book world. Living in a gingerbread house in the woods somewhere in darkest Cheshire, she occasionally gets on her broom and whizzes off to book launches around the country. Here terrified authors vie with each other to befriend her, lest she take against them in some way and mutter spells in an obscure Swedish/Mancunian dialect, upon which their next book will be a flop. In between such visits, she sits beside her bubbling cauldron reading books and writing about them. She has also gathered a truly impressive range of author interviews. Check it out!

Candy Gourlay
Her Notes from the Slushpile website is an absolute must-read for writers, and not just yet-to-be-published ones. It has been rumoured that Candy doesn't in fact exist at all but is the invention of a consortium of six different people – an author, a website designer, a cartoonist, a mother of three, a film-maker, and a person-who-spends-inordinate-amounts-of-time-on-YouTube, so you don't have to. I can lay this particular rumour to rest, as I have actually met her and can tell you that she is in fact able to do all six of these things, although unfortunately her children are frequently to be found on the streets of Holloway, begging to be fed by passing strangers.

Lucy Coats I am nominating Lucy as well, of course, and not just because she nominated me, but because she and her dog really know how to blog. Yes, she has a Dog Who Blogs, which I believe is the canine equivalent of Ladies Who Lunch. I have known Lucy for some time, but only Virtually, so it came as some shock just this past weekend when I met the analogue version and I was amazed to find that she is an actual three-dimensional, living, breathing person. Here we are with a bunch of other brilliant writers and bloggers: from left to right: Mary Hoffman, Kath Langrish, Liz Kessler, Lucy Coats, moi and Joe Friedman. Which leads me neatly onto ABBA. No, not the 70's Swedish singing group (who would have got absolutely nowhere if it had not been for CultureWitch's rigging of the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest) but a loosely-knit gang of balaclava-clad outlaws and occasional writers who blog about writing under the title of An Awfully Big Blog Adventure. The fact that Lucy Coats is one of them in no way disqualifies them, because for the purpose of this nomination we shall IGNORE her. Likewise the fact that some of them are rumoured to be men (this is a SISTERHOOD award), since those people are outnumbered by women roughly 5-1. Everyone who contributes to this blog is far brainier than me (including Kath Langrish, also featured in the picture above) which is why I wouldn't dare appear there. And...yes, they blog about writing, which actually means they blog about Everything, so it's an endlessly fascinating read. They keep quiet about their criminal work, naturally.

Mary Hoffman
OK, it's about time I `fessed up: I want to be Mary Hoffman. I labour under the pathetic delusion that if I spend enough time around her, some of that sparkling brilliance will rub off on me. In no time I'll be exchanging quips in Italian with Florentine aristocrats, dashing off the odd 5,000 words of the sequel to my bestseller before reading and reviewing half a dozen novels over lunch, then nipping up to Stratford to catch the latest Hamlet, which I know practically verbatim. Alas, I fear it is never to be; likewise I suspect I shall never be as incredibly Organised as she is, and am destined always to get red reminders for the electricity bill. So the best I can hope for is to live her life vicariously, through her blog.

* STOP PRESS! * The above link takes you to Mary's diary, as distinct from her brand new book blog. Take a look! What a busy lady she is.

Liz Kessler Once again, I make no apologies for duplicating Lucy's list here, because this is lovely stuff. In fact, I read Liz's blog for the same reason I do Mary's: because I wish that I too was traveling around Europe in a campervan with my pal and my dalmation (I don't have a dalmation, but if I were to do this, I think one would be required, somehow). She doesn't add posts often enough for my liking, but that's because she's got better things to do, like going surfing at some glorious Andalucian beach, having barbecue parties or wandering around Barcelona. I'm GREEN with envy at her carefree lifestyle, so I waste no time in gloating at her on Facebook when it's raining there but sunny here.


Amanda Craig Amanda, the famous Titian-haired novelist, Times reviewer and journalist, has held out a remarkably long time before venturing into the blogosphere – perhaps because, like me, she was afraid of being swallowed up by the Blog Monster (see my very first post). I for one am delighted that she's finally caved in. I suspect, though, that she's still a bit afraid of the Blog Monster (I see she hasn't blogged for a week, so she's slacking already) so the best thing you can do is go there and post lots of comments about how brilliant she is, and she really mustn't worry about the fact that nobody's paying her to do it. In any case she also has a new novel coming out that's bound to be a huge success: it's called Hearts and Minds; apparently it's a Big London Novel, and I can't wait to read it.

Nina Killham I haven't known Nina for very long; we first met at a party to celebrate the election of Barack Obama last year (she's American; I'm married to an American). But I feel as if I've known her a lot longer – as indeed I should have done, since she's lived only about three streets away from me for the past several years. Despite the fact that she is an extremely glamorous ex Hollywood screenwriter (OK, secretary at Columbia Studios) she does not have her head up her own backside; on the contrary, she is very funny, doing a nice line in self-deprecating humour. I haven't read her books yet, because for some reason they're not published over here yet (wake up, UK publishers!) Here's hoping they will be before long.


Sarah McIntyre I love Sarah's work. She is an illustrator, creator of the Vern & Lettuce strip that first appeared in the DFC (the brilliant but endangered David Fickling Comic; somebody please come to the rescue there! We LOVE the DFC) and is now in the Saturday Guardian, and all-round fab, talented girl. Her blog is wonderfully random, full of doodles and digressions. Check out her superb website as well.

Wilf You'll have to take it on faith that Wilf is actually a woman. To be honest, I'm taking this on faith myself since, uniquely among my nominees, she's the one I've never actually met. In fact I don't even know what she looks like, because even though she's a Facebook friend of mine she was for a long time hiding behind a beard, and now she's a cartoon. I know her name, of course, but I'm not telling you what it is because it appears to be Secret. Anyway, her alter-ego Wilf is a very funny aspiring astronaut and general science geek with an irrational hatred of people called Alan. I'm a bit worried about Wilf now, though, because he's been gone a long time, being paid real money to catalogue his grandpa's teeth. I hope he comes back soon...who knows, maybe in book form?

NOW! IF YOU ARE ONE OF MY NOMINEES, PLEASE GO AHEAD AND....
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.

2. Nominate at least 10 favourite blogs of your own.

3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.

4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

5. Link to this post to the person from whom you received your award.

18 comments:

bookwitch said...

Was just putting together my own (first) list, when the need to make a second list arose. Thank you, Fiona! They'll have to overlap/be the same. It was about time an award struck me.

We all want to be Mary Hoffman, you know, but Mary thought of it first.

I don't speak Mancunian. I generally curse in Swedish in the hope nobody will realise I'm not commenting on the weather.

Sarah said...

Oh my, I just spotted this! Thanks for the nice words! I'll have a think and get back to you... xx

Sarah said...

Oh no, I'm having a think and realising I read an awful lot of man blogs. Argh! I must remedy this.

Mary Hoffman said...

I am covered in blushes after both you and the Witch have been so complimentary!

fionadunbar said...

So, Bookwitch: all the other stuff I said about you is true, then?! Sarah; don't feel you HAVE to do this! But it is rather fun. I read a lot of man blogs too...do you suppose that, like moobs, that contracts into MOGS? And Mary; just bask!

Candy Gourlay said...

what a wonderful post! and what a poor deluded person you are ...of course i am a consortium of six different people. the person you actually met is an impostor.

you have nominated all the people i would nominate and written them up far better than i would ... so, thank you! you've done myjob. now all i have to do is put a link on my website!

a great post - hilarious! you ought to post more often ...

Candy Gourlay said...

... now i know why, when i first met you, you introduced yourself as 'mary'. i've always wondered about that.

Lucy Coats said...

Fiona, since you have mentioned me about a trillion times in this post, I'm quite happy to be ignored on the ABBA front. But only this once, mind. I still think I look like some kind of mad gargoyle in that photo and NOT Kathleen Turner, though. As for wanting to be Mary. Well, I confess, I have intense hankerings after Marvellous Marydom myself. But I shan't go on or I shall make her blush again. Thanks, for all this, and also for being such a lovely, sparkly, fun 3-D person when I finally met you in the real world.

fionadunbar said...

OK then Lucy, let's say you look Interesting and Intellectual in that picture. As for the Mary thing: since I have bravely come out about this, everyone's popping their heads over the parapet going, 'me too!' So much so that we may have to form some sort of club. Over to Facebook...

Joe Turner said...

Many thanks, Fiona - it's true, we've never met but I know Candy and she never stops talking about you, so I think I know all your secrets now.

The beard thing is of course,seasonal.

Great post!

fionadunbar said...

Hello 'Joe Turner'...ALL my secrets?? Oh dear...

Perhaps we'll meet one of these days!

Candy Gourlay said...

but 'Joe Turner', I was talking about Mary Hoffman!

Joe Turner said...

I didn't mean to reply as Joe Turner - I think I have some kind of multiple personality horrible condition.

Liz Kessler said...

OK, Fiona, I have been suitably bullied/reminded/gently nudged into posting a comment on your blog and I realise that there's a whole world of blogdom that I'm missing out on.

For one thing, as you say, I don't update mine nearly often enough. Now I realise that I also don't read anyone else's often enough either! I don't even KNOW ten blogs, never mind ten which I could nominate for an award.

I clearly need to spend more time sitting at my computer blog-browsing and stop all this chilled out hanging out on beautiful coastlines. I'll do my best to put this right, especially now that both you and the bookwitch have mentioned me very nicely in the last week. (Thank you both!)

Lovely lovely lovely to see you at the weekend. Till soon...

liz xx

fionadunbar said...

Liz, clearly you also haven't yet read that copy of Online Communications Etiquette I sent you, or you wouldn't have needed reminding!;-)I expect the dog ate it.

Ignore us saddos who aren't currently near a beautiful coastline and who spend all those days and weeks between your blog posts thinking, 'I wonder what Liz is doing now?' and carry on as you are (sickeningly, you are also banging out a respectable wordcount each morning!) And you don't have to nominate 10 blogs of your own either...the rest of us need to Get A Life.

Fab to see you too. x

Katherine Langrish said...

Great post, great pictures, Fiona. It was lovely to see you there. I don't know from where you picked up your notions about my supposed braininess, though naturally we ABBA bloggers(ABBESSES?) are all deep thinkers whose airy asides on writing (and ingenious methods of putting off writing for as long as possible) are unmissable intellectual experiences...

Ms. Yingling said...

I want to be Caroline Lawrence most days, but looking at you with this group of writers that I love... today maybe I want to be you! If not, I want to at least be able to get copies of your books on this side of the pond!

fionadunbar said...

Oh, Ms Yingling, I do so wish that were possible too! Am still hoping SOMETHING might happen...