The kids

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They are about fourteen, a baker’s dozen of them or so, and ever so slightly miffed, because they had to give up an hour of sports to have me talk to them. The fact is, they are taking extra-curricular drama classes this year, and they’ll be staging a shortened version of my own Nellie Bly play at the end – so the teachers thought it a good idea to have the author discuss the play with the class. Continue reading

All those words!

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Among the many wonders of the Internet, there is the huge abundance of dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses, lexicons, and such-like beautiful things.

I’ve always loved dictionaries of all sorts, old and new, and own shelves of them, and since a young age I’ve been known to ask Saint Lucia for the occasional dictionary as a gift… Apart from the obvious use, I just love to get lost among those columns of words, to make discoveries, to go on treasure hunts, to chase the elusive nuance of a meaning… Continue reading

One of those weeks…

You can see me here in the green room, wearing my Suez costume. The copper water-vessel weighs a ton.

Well yes – the last week or so has been… busy. About A Treasonous Path you know already, but there was also a lot of stage work.

Over the weekend, I’ve covered up for a member of the Crowds in our version of Around the World in 80 Days – my own translation and adaptation, and a jolly, colourful, bustling show, with 24 people onstage, which, in our Tiny Theatre, is no mean feat in itself… Continue reading

Tom Walsingham’s Book 3 is out!

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So here it is: A Treasonous Path, Tom’s second adventure in espionage and sleuthing, is out both as a Kindle ebook and a paperback! As usual, the lovely people at Sapere Books have done a great work: I love it all!

And what does Tom deal with, this time?

  • A mysterious informant from the French Embassy (mysterious as in “won’t tell us his  real name”…);
  • An awfully hot summer;
  • Murder, of course – and not just one;
  • A few temperamental Scots;
  • A traffic of forbidden books;
  • Fencing masters and eccentric philosophers – all of them from Italy, all of them of unknown trustworthiness;
  • A plot against the Queen;
  • An enigmatic woman;
  • His own family;
  • Fanatics from all over Europe;
  • Midnight visitors;
  • Grumbling underlings;

Are you curious yet? You can find A Treasonous Path – ebook or paperbachk – here.

 

A Treasonous Path… almost!

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Tom gave a last, narrow-eyed frown at the letter’s signature — a false name, since no “Henry Fagot” resided with the French Ambassador, Monsieur de Castelnau at Salisbury Court. But then, the whole matter was a rigmarole: a mysterious informant writing his letters in bad French, and hiding them in an Italian fencing-master’s hat. Almost too fanciful to be true — and yet…

This was the third time, since returning from France late in May, that Tom had been summoned to the wood-panelled study, and set to read this fellow Fagot’s papers, and then made to unpick their meaning under his great cousin’s Sphinx-like scrutiny.

“So, Thomas?”

Tom took a good deep breath and straightened away from the windowsill. “So the French Ambassador’s servants are smuggling in Catholic books, but that is more an embarrassment than anything else,” he said — slow and considering. “Either this Henry Fagot is not very good at telling what is important, or he has a grudge against the Ambassador’s butler and cook…”

Publication day for Book Two of Tom Walsingham’s adventures in espionage and sleuthing is little more than a week away… Continue reading

One Johnson, a player…

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This one comes from the Douai Diaries – the rather miscellaneous manuscript books chronicling, mostly in Latin, the day-to-day life, struggles and correspondence of William Allen’s band of English Catholics exiled in France. Allen built an English college in Douai, first – and when he was thrown out of what was, back then, Hapsburg land, moved the whole establishment to Reims, where it remained from 1578 to 1593. There he continued to instruct and ordain Catholic priests to send back in England as missionaries. A good deal of martyrs, plotters and fanatics passed through the colleges of both Douai and Reims… Continue reading

Add water and stir…

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In the beginning it was just “when the elder G. asks him about his plans to leave, Tom demurs.”

That’s all it was. A half line in Draft 0. Thirteen words in all. I thought it would be a very tiny scene, little more than a transition, a little coda to establish that Tom wasn’t leaving after all.

Then on Saturday morning… Continue reading

Dumas on counting words

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This one is for T.

I’m always a little amused at being reminded that, in my corner of the world, measuring a written text in words, is still a somewhat alien notion. No, really. I still run into people who go round eyed and ask how on earth are they going to keep count – and are genuinely amazed to discover that any word processor will do it for them… Continue reading