– ‘The Magic Of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘The Blue Bench’ blogtour, organised by Random Things Tour.
To promote this book I have a guest post written by its author, Paul Marriner, but b
About the Author :
Paul grew up in a west London suburb and now lives in Berkshire with his wife and two children. He is passionate about music, sport and, most of all, writing, on which he now concentrates full-time. Paul has written four novels and his primary literary ambition is that you enjoy reading them while he is hard at work on the next one (but still finding time to play drums with Redlands and Rags 2 Riches).
The Great War is over but Britain is still to find peace and its spirit is not yet mended.
Edward and William have returned from the front as changed men. Together they have survived grotesque horrors and remain haunted by memories of comrades who did not come home. The summer season in Margate is a chance for them to rebuild their lives and reconcile the past.
Evelyn and Catherine are young women ready to live life to the full. Their independence has been hard won and, with little knowledge of the cost of their freedom, they are ready to face new challenges side by side.
Can they define their own future and open their hearts to the prospect of finding love?
Will the summer of 1920 be a turning point for these new friends and the country?
Guest Post :
Because There Aren’t Enough Hours
Firstly, many thanks for hosting this leg of the blogtour for The Blue Bench and thanks to the readers for looking in.
I was going to write about a typical day for me, but thought it would be far more interesting to write of a composite which shows the most interesting bits from a selection of days – but that’s hardly an honest representation. In fact it’s downright dishonest and I wondered for whose benefit would I be doing that? Most probably my own in order to pretend that I’m closer to the world of art and literary glamour than I really am (by a very, very long margin) while still finding time to fight for worthy causes and get all the chores done (that decorating refuses to magically do itself) and save the odd cat from a tree. Then I thought that if I’m going that route I might as well go the whole way – base myself in the Italian Lakes (probably Stresa on Lake Maggiore so I can take a suite at Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees and refer to Hemingway’s legacy) spend the morning on my latest novel (eagerly awaited by the critics, naturally), the afternoon fund raising for an animal welfare charity and still make it (private jet) to Cannes for the Film Festival that evening for the premiere of the film version of The Blue Bench, directed by Stanley Kubrick (yes I know he’s dead but this is my ‘day’). My long suffering, beautiful, patient wife will be on my arm, smiling understandingly and making sure I don’t embarrass myself.
And I think that you can probably guess there is only sentence in that fantasy day which carries any truth.
So I think I should probably keep it simple and truthful and go back to basics – what is a typical day for me?
I should say I count myself as a very, very fortunate person – for various reasons that maybe I’ll go into more detail elsewhere. But for the purposes of today I can just say I feel I’m lucky to have quite a lot of variety in my typical day (is that an oxymoron?).
I’m usually up sometime between 7.30 and 8.00 (my wife will say more usually the latter time, I’m sure) which is a big luxury after many years of working ‘the corporate ladder’ and rising early to be in the office by 8.00. Once downstairs I’ll have a slow breakfast (cereals) – again a luxury after years of rushing or missing breakfast altogether – and read The Times online with BBC News on the TV (I don’t particularly hold BBC news to be any more impartial or accurate than other stations, it’s mainly just a habit). When I first began writing full-time I used to read the paper pretty much (virtual) cover to (virtual) cover, but found the sheer volume of depressing news was not a good way to start the day, so now I’m more choosey. I know I may be accused of turning away from some important stories but want to start the day with some optimism and it was getting harder and harder.
I take a mug of coffee into the room I call my office but which is really more of a man-cave and the rest of the family are very generous in allowing me the space and autocracy here! I keep both a diary and detailed to do list and my first job is to check them to see what the day’s priorities are. It could be said, and understandably so, that I’m verging on OCD when it comes to the diary and to do list. This is due in large part to my medium and short term memory not having fully recovered following a brain haemorrhage back in 2005. For those that might be interested I suffered a Sub Arachnoid Haemorrhage (SAH) which turns out to be far more common than might be supposed. I suffered a degree of memory and cognitive impairment but have recovered (I’d say) 95% – with the odd 5% being the memory issues and headaches (which are under control). Without digressing too far I should say that many people do not come through an SAH unscathed, or even survive at all, and it is one of the reasons I count myself one of the luckiest people I know.
But back to my day.
Assuming no appointments (you know the sort of thing, dentist, doctor, garage, window cleaner – I’m not good up a ladder) I’ll work through the admin/bureaucracy bits and pieces of everyday life – tax, insurance, bills, emails, banking etc – and then check social media for any personal social stuff and/or writing/publishing posts to which I can usefully contribute. Next up is to look at any marketing and promotion plans for The Blue Bench I’ve got running or looking into new ones and preparing marketing material. This might include preparing for any book club discussions or perhaps presentation materials for a creative writing group or book signing. Often, if preparing material, this admin ‘stuff’ will take until lunchtime when I take a half hour break.
After lunch I try to focus on some writing – either the next piece of fiction I’m working on or materials for my blog (irregular as it is). I always feel guilty that neither gets as much attention as it should and, more often than perhaps I should allow, I get distracted by band ‘stuff’ – I play drums in a couple of bands and it seems there’s always some social media to keep on top of or new songs to learn.
Additionally, sometimes I’ll be diverted by household chores or visiting my father or, increasingly rarely these days, a round of golf, but most often it’ll be a brisk walk. Exercise is strongly recommended following a minor heart attack I suffered last November and though it was very minor it necessitates a lot of different medication. I try to make time to walk on 3 or 4 occasions a week but I’d be lying if I said I always did. Please don’t tell Nurse Aileen.
And as if that hasn’t been enough – the phone will (too often) ring with someone offering to refund me a fortune in PPI payments or save me a fortune with new roof insulation or send me a fortune load of coupons in exchange for my opinions. I try not to be rude to these people as I appreciate they have a living to make and I’ve developed the knack of being polite but very firm in my rebuttals. At least I don’t think I’m being rude but others may think differently.
After an early dinner I try to put more time aside for writing, unless I’m out at band rehearsals or, if it’s a Friday there’s a good chance we’ll be at the cinema. I’m a big fan of the big screen and remain convinced that most films are better experienced that way, both picture and sound.
So, reading back that typical day it’s no surprise that my current novel is progressing far too slowly – frankly I need to get better at prioritising writing and it’s no wonder The Blue Bench took 2 years to finish!
Having said that, I will have been thinking about plots and characters, pace and language, viewpoints and narrative structure in pretty much every ‘spare’ moment, but I’m aware it’s not ‘quality’ time.
And what conclusion can I draw from this? Perhaps I do need to take that suite in the Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees overlooking Lake Maggiore and spend the summer there, doing nothing but writing ….. spare winning lottery ticket anyone?
Many thanks for reading, I hope there was something here of interest and please feel free to ask questions or comment – the more feedback the better!
The Magic Of Wor(l)ds