Thursday, 7 February 2008

Joanna Trollope and Me!

Well, got an email yesterday from Dominic King, the radio presenter who’s been kind enough to put me in The Writers' Room on his show – if you don’t know about this, read this blog, or this one.

ANYway. The email said ‘Joanna Trollope was my guest on todays programme, we played her the writers room stuff and she reacted…’ And the subject heading was ‘I think you might like this Alis’. Oh yes, I liked it!

Anyway, with the wonders of modern technology, I’m going to try and put an MP3 link in here so that you can see what Joanna Trollope had to say about the beginning of the short story I wrote for The Writers’ Room. Here it is.

OK, actually, here it isn't. Failed on the link front. If anybody out there has any tutorials in how to put MP3 files into blogs, do let me know!

So, anyway, basically what she said was 'Congratulations to Alis' (I liked that bit) and then talked about how the story-starter presented a scene which could have been happening at any time and how the lads could be representative of any group. That might not sound like much but it was exactly what I was trying to do so it was nice to have her pick up on it. I suppose the proof of the pudding's in the eating and, since I've had suggestions which range from settings in the eleventh century to ones in the future, people don't seem to have felt too constrained by any particular time period!

I am hugely chuffed by Joanna Trollope's kind words as I’ve always been an big fan of hers. Somebody I know once said of a mutual acquaintance that ‘she’s the sort of person who’d rather read Joanna Trollope than Anthony Trollope’ intending for us both to have a cackle at this other person’s expense. But I spoiled her fun by saying ‘Actually, so would I.’ I own every book Jshe has written since The Choir and have loved them all - some more than others, obviously but you know what I mean.

I don’t know why people are so sniffy about her books – you know, the whole ‘aga saga’ thing. Is it just the usual British tendency to try to throw stones at success? Dunno, but I find a huge amount to admire in Joanna Trollope’s books. Apart from the pages virtually turning themselves, I mean. For instance, I think she writes men very well and very believably. OK, I know I’m not a man, but they just ring true, I know men like the characters in her books. And, of course, her women just walk off the page.

She also does meticulous research. This was most evident to me in Next Of Kin, a quite dark novel for her, about a dairy farming community. Since I come from just such a community, it was spooky to see how very much she had managed to see under the phlegmatic, just-get-on-with-it mentality of farmers to the anguish and desperation which often lies beneath.

Similarly, a friend of mine who’s married to a vicar said she could barely read The Rector’s Wife because it was so reminiscent of her own youthful experience – the having no money, parishioners watching critically and commenting on every single thing the poor wife did. Claustrophobic doesn’t begin to cover it.

Anyway, I feel even more chuffed than before that I have been invited to do this stuff on the Dominic King show as he has such illustrious guests. JT today and, the last time I was on I followed Conn Iggulden of The Dangerous Book for Boys fame.

BBC Radio Kent. It’s the place to be!



How lovely - I'd be very chuffed too!

I'm a big fan of Joanna Trollope, and honestly can't understand why people are a bit sniffy. Her books are very well borrowed at the library where I work, but they seem to be a guilty secret - like taking out a Danielle Steel! Customers look shifty and say 'just a bit of light reading for the weekend.' If a book's well written and tells a great story, I don't care what genre it comes in!

Rant over :o)

Alis said...

Rant away, I couldn't agree more!