Phew. New term starts tomorrow, so I’m back teaching. Just managed to get chapter 7 finished before work starts again. Running total: 70K words. Just two chapters left to go! This one’ll win the Man-Booker. Put a fiver on it.
Easter flashed past. Did a week camping in Wales. I vanquished dragons, plundered their gold, sang songs with dwarven miners and hunted druids, to pull their beards for good luck. Damn well love Wales. Best place ever.
And this Saturday (26 April), I’m doing a book launch for Tithe of the Saviours for Waterstones Manchester Arndale. Well, it’s the least I can do, eh?
‘Fantasy’s just made-up stuff, though, isn’t it.’
Ah, if only it were that simple, it would be far easier to write. Let’s think about it for a second. Did Tolkein simply make it all up? Or did he, as a Professor of Anglo-Saxon, manage to distill a lifetime of research and knowledge into an epic narrative that succeeded in speaking first to the English, then Europe, and then the entire world?
For me, it’s the latter. That is the monumental achievement that even today has readers’ jaws smacking the floor in wonder and awe. He captured a “lost past” for us and brought it back to life… through mere words. For the main legacy of the Anglo-Saxons was linguistic – most archaeological evidence of their wood-based culture has rotted away of course.
Tolkein could have chosen to write a dry treatise on the Anglo-Saxon vocabulary that still survives in English today – and he would have had precious few readers had he done so. Fortunately for us, however, he decided to recreate something of the life, dreams, agonies and culture of the Anglo-Saxons instead. He resurrected the Anglo-Saxons for us, breathed fresh life into them and introduced us to them. And helped us see that we wouldn’t be who we are now without them…[and the rest of the article is hosted here: http://www.gollancz.co.uk/2014/04/the-greater-fantasy-a-guest-post-from-a-j-dalton/]
What’s that then? It’s a three-day book festival in Nottinghamshire, init, 20-22 June 2014. Day 1 is dedicated to Crime, day 2 to Children’s fiction and day 3… to fantasy and scifi. And I’ll be the guest of honour (sort of) for the third day. I’ll be giving a 1.5hr workshop on creative writing and getting a publishing deal, plus a signing and a panel debate. That should be enough.
The event is being jointly run by Gedling Borough Council and New Writers UK. http://jo0373.wix.com/newwritersuk/#!events/c1qu7
Well into chapter 7 of Lifer now, in which it all kicks off and the doomsday protocol is triggered! Over 60K words done… two-thirds of the way there. Shortest book I’ve done – but that’s literary scifi for you, I guess.
And next week is the last week of term. It’s been a 13-weeker, whereas next term is just a 9-weeker. It’s been the eternal term, this one, the eternal term.
And another event kindly agreed by Waterstones. I’ll be doing a signing for Waterstones Arndale from 11am on Saturday 26 April 2014. Hurrah!
Well it had to happen. Dalton’s finally getting off his behind to do a launch event for the new book – Tithe of the Saviours.
More than that, I’ll be giving a talk on creative writing and publishing first. Oh shut up. Anyway, it’s at Waterstones Warrington, on Saturday 19 April 2014, from 11am. So there.
Onto chapter seven of Lifer. Running total: 58K words. Only 3 chapters to go!
In other news, it’s week 11 of term at Manchester Uni. Two more weeks to go. Who’s counting, eh?
What’ll I do for the Easter hols. No idea. Gotta finish cutting down a tree. Sheesh.