Thursday, 28 January 2010

On me

A few people have commented that I’m not awfully, hmm, personal on this blog. This isn’t because I’m particularly shy, I just don't think I'm that interesting... Anyway, someone suggested I do a '10 things you didn’t know about me' piece. I got to 15.
1. I can tie a cherry stalk in a knot in my mouth with my tongue. I really can, it’s not a porn thing.
2. I sometimes think about clothes to help me fall asleep at night. Like counting sheep. I used to worry that this made me shallow. Now I don’t care.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

On editing

I’m chest-deep in the quagmire that is the first edit of Book Deux.

And whilst it’s fine (it’s not particularly difficult or stressful, and anything to do with writing is kind of fun) it’s also like carrying on 11 conversations at once. Or, a better analogy: it's like keeping 50 pins in your mouth for 50 tiny tweaks in a dress that you're altering. (For this to work, we need to imagine for a moment that you and I are the kind of people who alter dresses.)

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Vanity Fair Q&A

Sorry for the blogette, chaps, but the beautiful Lauren Sozio has posted a lovely Q&A on the Vanity Fair blog about The Dating Detox.

Read it in its glorious entirity here.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

On breaking up

I've had a few emails from people about love-woes. I guess because The Dating Detox is a compendium of love-woes.

So, to help you pass the time while your heart heals, here something I wrote earlier: The Rules Of Breaking Up.

1. First, you cry

Day one: wallow. It’s over. Forget who dumped who, what he did, what you said, what you were wearing and how you have to now burn those clothes in a pagan closure ceremony, etc. Nothing you do now will change the past. So have a good weep. Cry in the bath, in bed, on the bus, at work in the toilets. Just remember that from now on, every minute – every second – will hurt a bit less than this one. I promise. And don’t call him.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

On music

According to my iPod, I have listened to the Divinyls ‘Ring Me Up’ 26 times in the last 24 hours.

You can listen to it here.

OD-ing on a song is very typical of me. I am currently recovering from recent overdoses of Don Henley’s ‘Dirty Laundry’; Roxy Music's 'Oh Yeah'; the Pixies 'Here Comes Your Man'; Placebo's 'Nancy Boy'; Flesh For Lulu 'I Go Crazy' and the Ga-Gas 'Our Lips Are Sealed'. These songs are the soundtrack to my second book (the first draft is done! I am tinkering with it right now and am sending it to my agent on Monday. So, in other words, it's blogcrastination as usual in Casa Burgess).

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

On publication

I’ve noticed that there are a lot of would-be authors out there waiting to get signed. And I thought I’d tell you exactly what I did – timeline, cover letters, absolutely everything, as you might find it useful.

If you're just here to kill time, please scroll down. There was a post on drinking a few weeks ago that is probably a bit more entertaining.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Try before you buy

Want to see what The Dating Detox is like before you order it?

Email me and I'll email you the first three chapters in PDF format, immediatement. (That's French, baby.)

Saturday, 2 January 2010

On fiction

My Dad rang yesterday to ask, in a very serious and concerned voice, if any of 'The Dating Detox' was true, “because if so...” – if so what, I never got to find out. I assume a team of vigilantes would be flying in from Hong Kong to wreak havoc on a handful of unsuspecting bastards in South-West London.

I assured him that it's fiction. And I thought it was worth saying again here.

It's fiction.

It’s totally made up. The characters are made up, the events, all of it. Fiction, innit.

My own single life was, of course, marked by various dreadful relationshits, all a bit less dramatic than the ones in the book but no less painful nonetheless, and a couple of very nice ones that simply Weren’t Quite Right. I went on a Dating Sabbatical once, after a series of seriously bad dates, and stayed on it mostly because I thought it was a funny thing to say and I didn’t meet anyone particularly tempting. It lasted about six weeks before I gave in and went out with a guy who turned out to be a complete ass-hat.

It's worth adding that in those six weeks, life got better in a hundred tiny ways, just because I was looking at it differently. So after the ass-hat dumped me, I took stock of everything, remembered my change in perspective, and started again. (Lessons in real life are never as linear as they are in books.) And that changed the way I approached work and love and everything else, for years. And then I met a ricockulously funny and lovely guy who I'm getting married to in April and wrote a book and well, became the happy little bunny that you see before you today.

All my friends wanted to know 'who is who'. Who is Rick, and if Kate is so-and-so, and if Jake is (my young man) Foxy, etc. One friend is so convinced that one character in my second book is Foxy's brother that she rang me, during the reading of an early draft, shocked that one particular thing actually happened. But I made it all up, guys. I really did. I promise. I know those characters a thousand times better than I know my friends, in a weird way, because I invented them. They do as I say and come to my whistle. If it sounds real, then high five me, as that's what I'm aiming for... but it's fiction.

I should caveat that my sister read The Dating Detox and said 'it's like talking to you but I can't talk back'. But then she read the second book recently, which has a totally different main character, and said 'this just sounds like you too, in a different way, but still you'. I hope it's just the way I write. I try to be chatty and confiding and real.

Having said all that, I need to be honest and say there are similar details: I'm a copywriter in advertising, I always have a yellow clutch, I lived in Pimlico for years and spent my 20s trying not to get dumped, drunk, broke or lost - and frequently failed, but still had fun. And I'm the same combination of show-off-and-shy, confident-and-worried - but then, I think a lot of us are like that. Right?