Book of the week

12 Sep 2014 - 09:20

Once more unto the breach:
the art of writing sequels

Coming back to write a sequel – is it returning to the field of victory or to the scene of the crime? Will you build upon what you've done already, or spoil a good thing because you can't let go of your creation? Will you write The Empire Strikes Back, or The Matrix Reloaded?

For me, there was never any doubt about writing a sequel to The Last King of Lydia – I originally tried to write the whole thing as one book, until I realised (with some kindly persuasion from my agent) that it was simply too big a story to work as a single book. Whilst I was proud of the ending of the first one, from the very beginning of the project I knew what the real ending was, and had to be. And I knew that it would take a whole other book to get there.

I soon discovered that there are things best kept in mind when working on a sequel:

Remember Your Three Kinds of Readers


Featured Author
By webmistress
08 Sep 2014 - 10:02


Shouldn't information in journalism
and non-fiction be verifiable?

"Empty Mansions" is a mystery of wealth and loss — and a secretive heiress named Huguette Clark. Though she owned palatial homes in Santa Barbara and Connecticut and New York, why had she lived for twenty years in a simple hospital room, despite being in excellent health?

Co-author Bill Dedman describes here a key choice that the authors made: Sticking to non-fiction. By Bill Dedman

Writing a biography of a recluse is a challenge. We believed it was important to keep in mind the limits of what a biographer can know about a subject, and the importance of not making up fictional material to fill in the gaps.

"Empty Mansions" is a true tale revealing the burdens of inherited wealth, the fragility of reputation, and the tension between engaging with the world, with all its risks, and keeping a safe distance from danger. Its protagonist, the reclusive centenarian heiress to a copper fortune,...

Off the page
By webmistress
01 Sep 2014 - 12:52


In September 2014, Nick Cave's inimitable presence will be looming larger than ever. On September 4th Allen & Unwin will publish A Little History, Bleddyn Butcher's exquisite pictorial history of Nick Cave's life from 1981 to the present day. Nick himself describes Bleddyn's photos as 'the props around which my memories collect.'  

And, capping it all off, on September 19th 20,000 DAYS ON EARTH will be on general release in UK cinemas. Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard's documentary about Nick Cave has collected prizes at the Sundance and Berlin film festivals, and has been described by the Evening Standard as 'a film for anyone interested in the creative process…enthralling, provocative and surprisingly moving'.

First serial ran in yesterday's Observer, who very generously flagged it on the front page of their print edition. The article (adapted by Sean O'Hagan from his introduction) was in the top ten most read stories on the Guardian's website for much of the weekend, and it was great to see the book's Amazon ranking zoom from 5500 to 120 accordingly, where they've also put together a beaut photo gallery of Bleddyn's images.

Q magazine's October issue is also now on sale, which plugs their 5 page feature on the cover  and tomorrow the tie-in A Little History exhibition   will open at...

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