Friday, 10 June 2011

Making Merry with Marion Lloyd

Marion Lloyd (centre) and her Ladies
To the October Gallery in Holborn: strange nets hanging off the walls,  and a celebration of Marion Lloyd's list. All the authors published this year gave insightful speeches: they are an eclectic bunch, with some fascinating life stories: Jane Johnson, who grew up 'wild' in Cornwall and is now married to a Berber; the half-Sudanese Sam Osman, self-confessed 'provincial' mother of three Ally Kennen (whose interests include Viking funerals and rubbish tips); the hilarious Kate Saunders who works and reworks her manuscripts and then throws them away if they're not good enough; and Moira Young, who appears to have been pretty much everything, as well as a nurse. Sadly absent was Eva Ibbotson, who did not live to see publication of her lovely book One Dog and His Boy; but she was ably represented by her son, who gave a vivid, touching and amusing account of his mother's writing ways. 'Imagine me a bit shorter, with white hair and beady eyes, and imagine that I'm about to say something completely inappropriate - and you've got my mother.'

As an author it's always interesting to hear about other people's methods, particularly as the whole business is so strange it's hard to believe that oneself is actually doing it, let alone anyone else; Moira Young said that effectively she 'listened' to the voice of her characters, whilst Sam Osman commented on the fact that Marion Lloyd treats her characters as friends - which is what they are when they come whole into your mind. I've left three of my new characters sitting under an underpass - and I really ought to be attending to them.... The party was attended by many Scholastic people, as well as novelist Amanda Craig; an enormous thank you to Marion Lloyd and to Scholastic for a marvellous evening.

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