Friday, 30 October 2009
I lost out to fellow Brit Lord Jeffrey Archer (above), author of the multimillion-selling Kane & Abel (among other works), on the night, but met some lovely and interesting people. Anne-France, my editor at Editions France, was utterly charming, as were her colleagues Isabelle and Chantal. Lord Archer (or "Jeff", as I like to call him) was very entertaining and encouraging. Journalist Bertrand Rosenthal told us fascinating anecdotes of his time as a correspondent in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Iraq and Cuba. And French author Sire Cedric made me jealous as he told me he spent six months writing then six months partying! I currently spend five days working, half a day writing, half a day playing Xbox and the rest of the time asleep. At least I got to experience a brief weekend of glamour!
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Hopefully I'll be able to update you next week with entertaining photos of me, tipsy, embarrassing fellow nominee Lisa Unger by gushing about how much I enjoyed "Blackout" (which I was coincidentally reading when I found out about the award nomination)... :-)
Thursday, 17 September 2009
#2: Your audience is smarter than you imagine. Don't be afraid to experiment with story forms and time shifts. My personal theory is that younger readers distain most books - not because those readers are dumber than past readers, but because today's reader is smarter. Movies have made us very sophisticated about storytelling.
#3: Before you sit down to write a scene, mull it over in your mind and know the purpose of that scene. What earlier set-ups will this scene pay off? What will it set up for later scenes?
So do I follow Palahniuk's advice and trust that the reader is intelligent enough to both pick up on those hints and remember them at the end, when sense can be finally be made of them? My instinct is 'yes'. Maybe the solution isn't to cut the twist altogether, but to weave in more hints, so in the final pages the reader's reaction is "aha! now it all makes sense". I just need to find that fine line between the kind of gossamer foreshadowing that the reader brushes off like a cobweb strung between two lampposts, and sledgehammer foreshadowing that whacks the reader over the head until said twist becomes so obvious that they have a skull fracture.
Wish me luck.
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Here's the back cover blurb for - wait for it - "The Company of Shadows":
Flicking through her friends’ holiday snaps, Kate Benson receives a sudden shock. For there in the background is her husband, Charlie. Dark hair, blue eyes, familiar smile: there’s no mistaking him. But that’s impossible. Because Charlie died a year ago.
Determined to track down the man in the photograph, Kate follows the trail from Miami to Sicily, where her husband drowned in mysterious circumstances. But when she discovers serious discrepancies in the original investigation, Kate starts to question whether she ever really knew the man she loved so much.
Was Charlie murdered? Was their marriage as perfect as Kate likes to remember? Why is she being followed? Who can she trust? And is Kate herself to be trusted? Because there are secrets in her past too . . .
Thursday, 18 June 2009
If you want to listen to it yourselves, it's about 15 mins and 50 secs in: www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00kwp0z/Front_Row_17_06_2009/
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
I'm happy to say that Twisted Wing is now out in Italy, under the title "Il College Delle Brave Ragazze" ("College of the Brave Girls" or so Google Translate tells me!). Visit the Garzanti Libri website to find out more!In other news, my lovely German teacher (from way back when - trust me, it's been many years since I was in a classroom!) tells me she's persuaded her book group to read Twisted Wing - thanks Mrs O!
Friday, 29 May 2009
Thursday, 30 April 2009
Hopefully they won't mind me reprinting the review in full:
A crime story of a more serious kind is Twisted Wing, by Ruth Newman, which is set in Cambridge. The novel begins at the fictitious Ariel College, where a third female student in two years has been gruesomely murdered. Sitting next to the butchered corpse, bruised and insensible with shock, is Olivia Corscadden, another student. Matthew Denisoan, the psychologist attached to the case, is convinced that Olivia saw what happened, but for weeks she is in a state of terror-induced catatonia to the point where she has to be tube-fed. When her condition improves, Denison interviews her and a shocking picture begins slowly to emerge, as Denison and his colleagues in the police try to capture a serial killer.
In structure, this is classic crime fiction, with a ring of suspects, false leads and deftly laid twists — the very stuff of Morse and Marple. In content, however, it is less homely. By comparison with Twisted Wing, an episode of Taggart seems positively dainty: this novel explores deep psychosis and child abuse, among other horrors, and presents murders of extraordinary bloodthirstiness, so that one is alternately impressed by the technique and chilled by the effect.
There are just a few teething problems in this strong debut. It could have done with better proofing, to excise errors such as ‘she was sat’ and to rework the odd infelicity of style. The ending also, while gripping, left some small areas of the plotting looking questionable. But Newman is a good new writer, and Twisted Wing is a well-paced, rigorously researched and captivating crime novel which would lend itself to a screen adaptation.Think I might have to insist the next edition of the book has "Makes Taggart look dainty" plastered across the cover - love it!
See the review on the Spectator's website »
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Last month the launch party for Twisted Wing took place in Heffers Bookshop, Cambridge. Loads of lovely friends and family turned up, coming from London, Oxford, Shrewsbury, Reading and also just down the road! Had a very pleasant surprise when two old school friends, Adina and Mey Yee, turned up unexpectedly, and we followed the party by going to the local tapas bar and getting sozzled on cava sangria. Those of you that have read the book may recognise Adina's name; she's a barrister, and helped me out with some of the legal aspects of the book. Naming a character/street/shop after someone is a little shoutout of thanks! Tracey Webb, a character in the book who discovers the first body, is named after my friend Tracey who happens to run the website where I work. I've promised her she can play the role in the movie, as long as she's prepared to do a Mrs Overall impression (Tracey Webb is a cleaner), but she seems strangely unimpressed by this offer.
In other news Simon & Schuster, who will be publishing the mass market paperback edition of Twisted Wing next Spring, have just bought my second novel (which currently has a working title of All the Old Familiar Places), which should be out in the Summer of 2010. I met them for the first time recently and they're a lovely bunch, so I'm looking forward to working with them again. Next to deliver draft v2 by the end of May!
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
The Christmas FrightFest went as planned - "The Mist" was my Mum's favourite, but boy was it bleak. "Death Line" was a load of pants, don't bother. Also don't bother with "The Breed", a Michelle Rodriguez film about very intelligent but violent dogs - I nearly wet myself during one particularly
All The Old Familiar Places (working title for book no.2) is nearly done - took a red pen at it over the weekend and rewrote a couple of key scenes. Having said that, a very honest mate who's currently reading it told me a couple of days ago: "that doesn't work, that should be in the third person, that bit is too smug". So when he's finished and has given me all his feedback I'll need to a) do another draft, b) find some way of dismembering and disposing of his bloody corpse so no one will ever find it again...