Another week closer

I shall be keeping my fingers crossed over the weekend for the Government announcement on Monday regarding the cessation of lockdown restrictions. I hope, as everyone does, that we see an end to restrictions but unlike some of our more outspoken citizens, I only want it if it’s the right thing to do, supported by science. I don’t think rushing into it for the sake of it will do us any good in the long run and I don’t believe, as many of our tin-foil-hat-wearing chums do, that the government has a plan to keep us in lockdown forever. I’m more worried about Johnson going full tilt for lockdown too early because it plays well with the electorate.

Why I am keeping my fingers crossed that it’s soon, though, is because I am hoping that in July we’re going to be able to stage a little event, regarding the launch of my book. A date has been mentioned, but it is Covid-19 dependent. But if all goes well, we are looking at early July. Possibly within the next 3-4 weeks…

It was the 8th June 2020 when I finished the first draft of Playtime’s Over and, in a pleasing moment of synchronicity, it was the 8th June 2021 when my book was sent to print. Just a year from first draft to print is quite something, although in some senses it feels like the longest time. But I count my blessings, plenty of writers wait that long, or longer, to even get it on a publisher’s desk.

So that’s how close we are now. One government statement and one smooth printing process and we’re there. We had a meeting with my publisher today about what to expect over the next weeks and months, and to kick around some promotional ideas, which was a lot of fun. We talked quite a bit about how this is where the work starts. Selling a book these days, from a debut author especially, is a slog. Luckily, I’m enthused about the process, I want to take the opportunity to learn as much as I can. Partly because, to me, this isn’t about making money (I don’t expect to do much of that), but it’s about putting that book in as many hands as possible, both to get the ideas out there, but also because my one overriding hope is that this is my first, not my only, book. Expectations are modest, willingness to roll my sleeves up and get stuck in is high. No podcast too small, no book group too remote. And if you hear of any envelopes being opened, give me a shout…

In the interests of promoting myself like a tuppenny-ha’penny strumpet, I spent an hour or so with my chum Max this week taking some photos that I could use to make my Facebook page look a bit more professional. I wanted to keep my Facebook account personal and working on the assumption that people I don’t know might read my book and start taking an interest, I thought having a Page might be a good idea. Posting events, updates, that kind of thing. Feel free to like/follow etc

Max’s photos are, it must be said, sensational. Especially given what he had to work with. A fantastic photographer and a good friend, so big shout out to him. If you do check out the Facebook page, you might also notice the cover image…

This is Niki‘s magnificent cover art. Completely captures the protagonist’s mindset and character, it’s a thoroughly apropos starting point to his journey. I love it, and I hope to see it on your bookshelves soon…

In non-book news, I’ve a couple of films this week I’ve seen that I’d like to recommend for your viewing pleasure. It’s All About Love is a futuristic conspiracy thriller about an ice skating champion getting divorced, and is as wacky as that sounds. Couldn’t be more different from The Best Pair Of Legs In The Business which, despite looking like a ‘Cor, crumpet!’ 70s sub-Carry On holiday park romp, is actually a compelling, melancholy look at life as a comic who never made it. Starring Reg Varney from On The Buses, who is brilliant. And even I can’t believe I’m writing that.

First prize, however, goes to Sean Baker’s The Florida Project. Featuring an outstanding performance from seven year old Brooklynn Prince (hands down the most engaging child performance since Drew Barrymore in E.T.), a remarkable debut turn from Bria Vinaite and a surprisingly sympathetic, non-psycho role for Willem Dafoe, it’s the story of a young girl’s life living in grueling poverty in the shadow of Disneyland. The twist being that, through her eyes, there’s nothing grueling about it. We as the audience watch her mother’s life deteriorate to new, ever more desperate lows, but only through the eyes of her blissfully unaware daughter. It’s incredible, nothing prepared me for how good this was. Please, please seek it out. And prepare for your heart to be warmed, wrenched and broken in equal measure.

Image: Max Hilton

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