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Rumer Godden, an Author to Treasure.

Spring in Christchurch
Books; I have read so many wonderful ones in the past few weeks. It is difficult to choose which to talk about. So I will opt for China Court: The Hours of a Country House, the novel I finished with a sigh this morning. The author, Rumer Godden, was born in England in 1907. She grew up in India and returned to England as an adult, dying in Scotland in 1998. It is a mystery to me why I didn’t discover her long ago.  Read More 
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Creative Writing and the Brain

Is there a creative writer who hasn’t at times wondered what it is that impels thousands of people to spend thousands of hours thinking about and writing made-up stories, that at best will be read by thousands of people who have got nothing better to do than read made-up stories! Is there some evolutionary imperative that has moulded our minds to seek stories? Even Steven Pinker, the cognitive scientist and author of How the Mind Works --such a wonderful title-- who controversially suggests that music confers no survival advantage and describes it as “auditory cheesecake” (p. 534), submits that fiction can, like gossip, be biologically adaptive. “Fictional narratives supply us with a mental catalogue of the fatal conundrums we might face someday and the outcome of strategies we could deploy in them.” (p. 543.)  Read More 
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King of Writing

I have never read a Stephen King novel. My daughter was a fan of his from her early teenage years and I once attempted to read one of his books but found it so gross I gave up after the first few pages. So it has taken me years to get around to buying his book On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft, a book that seems to have only positive reviews, whatever the “genre” of the writing of the reviewer. It was a page turner,  Read More 
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The Joy of Writing and Reading Festivals

I have just returned from the four day Auckland Writers’ and Readers’ Festival, and a wonderful festival it was. International authors seem to enjoy coming to New Zealand, and often appear first in the Auckland festival and then in the Sydney festival. The Auckland festival had 32,000 attendees this year, quite a remarkable accolade for good books and wonderful writers in our largest city of just 1.5 million.  Read More 
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"Trouble In Mind" and amnesia

I sent my completed manuscript for “Trouble In Mind” off to my OUP editor in New York this week, so now I can get back to my fiction writing, at least until my editor returns it with her editing suggestions. Hopefully there won’t be too much revising to do. The planned publication date is December this year, which is not that far away.  Read More 
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Writing - the best laid plans...

My writing plans for the holiday season did not quite happen; I think I have lost the skill of writing – or even editing -- with noise and children everywhere. I must have been able to do it once when I was the mother and not the grandmother, and couldn’t “give the children back!”  Read More 
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Summer writing plans

Before Christmas I am determined to complete a good draft of a chapter for my book Trouble In Mind titled “The Singer or the Song?” about a young woman with temporal lobe epilepsy who had to make a very difficult decision – whether to risk losing her ability to learn new songs or even her ability to sing, by undergoing a neurosurgical operation that could cure her debilitating epileptic seizures.  Read More 
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