So this happened two weeks ago: I finished – finally – the second draft of The Gospel of Isabelle Dequenne. It’s a bit bloaty at the moment, coming in at a mere 862 pages. Or, if you prefer: 215,403 words.
(Yes, eight hundred and sixty-two. Two hundred and fifteen thousand four hundred and three. My first-ever novel and I write something Dostoevskyish in length. Because genius, right?)
Research and preparation are everything, and by the time Lisa Manterfield rolls up onto the terrace in Laguna Beach, there is an iced gin and tonic already waiting for her. When I ask Lisa if she had any trouble finding the terrace bar, she tells me it was pretty straightforward: just follow the smell of the sea and the magnetic pull of cocktails. It’s hard to argue with logic like that.
Confusion about the difference between plot and story is an issue I see quite often as a book coach.
“Wait, they’re not the same thing?” cry my beloved writers, and then come the sniffles…followed by the tears…and then the torches and the pitchforks.
First the boring bit: I was given the opportunity to review Lisa Manterfield’s new novel, The Smallest Thing, prior to its release. I received a complimentary early review copy from the publisher for review purposes. No other compensation has been received or implied for this review, nor was I given guidance about review content. All the opinions expressed here are my own.
Now the fun bit: Lisa Manterfield’s second novel is a winner. The Smallest Thing is the engaging and wonderfully written story of Emmott Syddall, a seventeen-year-old English girl whose bucolic Derbyshire village is afflicted with a mysterious, deadly pandemic.
If it's naive to want peace instead of war, let 'em make sure they say I'm naive. Because I want peace instead of war. If they tell me they want war instead of peace, I don't say they're naive, I say they're stupid. Stupid to an incredible degree to send young people out to kill other young people they don't even know, who never did anybody any harm, never harmed them. That is the current system. I am naive? That's insane.Ben Ferencz, prosecutor at the Nuremberg Nazi war crimes trials
I was given the opportunity to review Lisa Manterfield’s new novel, A Strange Companion, prior to its release. Before I get to the review, I want to say that I received a complimentary early review copy from the publisher for review purposes. No other compensation has been received or implied for this review, nor was I given guidance about review content. All the opinions expressed here are my own.
Having said all that, A Strange Companion comes out April 4th. Friends, you want this one.
In 1991 I met Ronald de Kaper in Pamplona, and I’ve been blessed with his friendship ever since.
Ronald invited me to go back to Holland with him to do this thing he called the “beach walk.” I went, and, sure
enough, it was indeed a beach walk. Six days of walking on the sand and through the seaside towns of the Netherlands from Hoek van Holland to Den Helder, camping along the way. Ronald walked with a group of friends, all Dutch – everyone on the walk was Dutch as far as I knew, except me – and over the course of the six days Ronald’s friends became my friends, too: Stefan, Rico, Egon, Janneke, Joris, Johan…