Saturday, 18 December 2010

A Winter Wonderland, watched from the window...

Well. Got back from Bath just in time - yesterday evening - because now it is absolutely tipping it down with snow. It's like something from Laura Ingalls Wilder out there. I'm already looking through my bookshelves, working out what can go on the fire when the gas gets cut off.

The audiobook went well, by the way - at least in the sense that they didn't sack me. I didn't sleep at all the night before - the hotel room was very noisy, and at about two or three I started worrying about not having got to sleep, which of course kept me awake the rest of the night - so really I just wanted to get through it without making a complete mess of it. And I did get through it, although the jury's still out on the complete mess bit. Oh well. They'll have to pay me, which is the main thing, and I can always just not listen to it... I got the next morning off, which was nice, and wandered around Bath wishing I had lots of money. (Bath always has that effect on me. It's the best place in the world for shops selling things you don't need but want anyway. Or the worst, depending on how you look at it.)

And I got the train home almost without incident, which - considering that South West Trains had already started to cancel trains for the next day - was quite impressive. Only one unexplained stop for twenty minutes just before my station, while everyone on the train assumed the worst and started asking each other questions about food supplies and toilet facilities and whether there was someone on board to administer the Last Rites when people started to die of old age. I was quite glad when the train started moving.

And I'm even gladder now, because I can't imagine that there are any trains running at all this morning, and I'm at home drinking coffee and watching the snow fall... Later I'll decorate the Christmas tree.

Then I think I might go for a walk.

I may be some time.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

And this month's crisis is...

The audiobook. More precisely, the audiobook of Tyme's End, which - despite Tyme's End not actually being published until the 4th of January - I'm recording this week in the bath. No, sorry, in Bath. Sorry. Easy mistake to make.

The crisis is a two-parter - or a double whammy, or whatever the appropriate phrase is, for crises. Double-dip? Anyway. Firstly, I'm ill again, which is really annoying, and means I'm swigging echinacea tea and inhaling steam and OD'ing on vitamin C in a desperate attempt to have a voice by Thursday. Normally (one of the perks of being a writer) it doesn't really matter too much when I'm ill, because my daily life involves nothing that can't be put off or soldiered through without too much trouble. But this is the disadvantage of doing something exciting... Hmph. I blame my editors, because I was at the Bloomsbury Christmas party on Thursday and I'm convinced that's where I caught it. Every time I go to London I seem to get ill - maybe there's a lesson there... Such as, "The capital is a steaming cesspit of pestilence"?

The second bit was more foreseeable, and can be summed up in one word: accents.

Yes, accents. Of course, I am a Trained Actor, darling, but accents were never my strong point, and you'd think I'd know better than to put myself forward for an audiobook where they have any significant part to play. Yes, well. Think again. One of the characters - one of the main characters - has an American accent. Or rather he has a bit of an American accent, as he's English, but has been living in the US for ten years. I suppose I was hoping it wouldn't matter too much if it sounded weird and hybrid, because - well, it would. Wouldn't it? At least, I really hope so... But writing a scene with an American accent, a Welsh accent and an Iranian accent was just silly. (Not to mention sounding like the set-up for a joke.)


And to make matters worse, there's a clause in the contract which says they can sack me on the first day if I'm not reading it to an acceptable standard. So - this is a real cliffhanger, then. Will I come back having earnt some money and made an audiobook? Or will it be only a sad little sojourn in Bath? Tune in again next week to find out...