It was the Oxford Literary Festival this month and I got to meet children’s writer and one-time laureate, Michael Morpurgo. His books Private Peaceful and The White Horse of Zennor are amongst my favourite. Whilst in Oxford, I met up with one of my other favourite writers, Julia Golding, and talked about fantasy, festivals and the horrors of getting the right title for your books. I also managed a quick chat with Joanna Kenrick between events.
At Waterstones with Lisa Jewell
Then there was a fabulous fiction panel at Notting Hill’s Waterstones which I attended with Helen Salter. It was great fun and lovely to chat with Carole Matthews, Isabel Wolff and Lisa Jewell who has given me a lovely quote for my novel Molly’s MillionApril also meant a trip to the London Book Fair where I met up with my lovely German agent for lunch. There was also time to meet up with Juliet Archer for a writerly gossip on the steps of Earl’s Court.
Then, a surprise trip to Pembrokeshire where I managed to finish the first draft of my new novel, Connie Gordon’s Clan, and completely killed my right shoulder doing so. Ouch! The coast and countryside glowed with yellow flowers: primroses, celandines, cowslips, dandelions, buttercups and the ever-present gorse.
Flowers on the Pembrokeshire coast
I was out and about a lot this month. First, there was a writers’ day in London when I met lovely author Sam Mills who is staring in a film adaptation of her amazing children’s book, The Boys Who Saved the World. Watch the fabulous trailer here. We then went to meet with best-selling author Carole Matthews who was part of a panel giving a talk about promotion. And then, to round off the day, it was off for a hot chocolate with author Juliet Archer who had just done a mammoth book signing at Borders on Oxford Street for her debut novel, The Importance of Being Emma, which I’m really looking forward to reading. We both share a love of Jane Austen, and Juliet is writing wonderful updated versions of Austen’s novels.
Another trip took us to the Suffolk coast. Here’s Molly and me in front of the Butt and Oyster at Pin Mill – the setting of one of my favourite Arthur Ransome novels, We Didn’t Mean to go to Sea.
It’s always a magical feeling visiting somewhere that you’ve read about in a novel and I got very excited when I discovered Alma Cottage, believing that I might just bump into the Walker children or dear Jim Brading.
Our big trip of the month was a week on the Pembrokeshire coast where hubby painted and I made good progress on my new novel, Connie Gordon’s Clan. But it wasn’t all work and, doing our best to dodge the gales, we had many gorgeous, gorse-filled walks along the coast, spying the sweet violets, primroses and celandine.
An event-filled month, this one. First, there was the wonderful Romantic Novelists’ Association’s awards lunch where I met the author, Cecelia Ahern.
Victoria Connelly and Cecelia Ahern
I also got to meet fellow Allison & Busby writer, Susanna Kearsley whose book, Sophia’s Secret, was on the shortlist, and chat to the wonderful Linda Gillard who was also nominated for the main prize for her magical novel, Star Gazing. It was a gorgeous event. There aren’t enough occasions to leave the keyboard and get dressed up but this is one of them!
Nine years ago, I helped to set up the London/SE Chapter of the RNA and I was delighted to give a talk there this month. I told them about the long arduous journey of my first published novel, Flights of Angels, and how it made its way through countless rejections to become a bestseller in Germany and to be adapted as a film.
And I’ve heard a wonderful rumour that some hardbacks of Molly’s Millions have found their way to a branch of WH Smith’s at Gatwick. I may have to book a holiday and go and find out for myself …
And then the snow came …
Here’s a pic of Molly enjoying her first proper thick snow in a wood in the Chilterns.
And I am now the proud owner of a pair of glasses. Yes, all those years of reading and writing have finally taken their toll and I need a little bit of help. I’m hoping that they make me look even more bookish than usual and slightly more intelligent to boot!
A fabulous start to 2009 with my first UK publication – Molly’s Millions. It came out in hardback this month and looks gorgeous! Find out more about my fast-paced love chase on the Molly page!
I was also delighted to see my first cover puff on Linda Gillard’s German translation of her lovely book, Star Gazing. It’s been nominated for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award and is a truly beautiful book.
I went to see the fascinating Babylon exhibition at the British Museum with my UK publisher and then had lunch with my editor where we talked about heroes past, present and future! And then, to round the month off, I had a party to celebrate another birthday passing me by as well as my UK publication. My lovely writer friends gathered round and we ate cake, drank champagne and watched highlights from the film adaptation of my novel, Unter deinem Stern.