A Lot Can Happen in Seven Days…

In the last seven days I have:

  • Had my second book published
  • Been to Milan and back
  • Had an Italian motoring crisis
  • Seen my first dead body
  • Checked out some renaissance art in a Milanese castle
  • Visited a ski resort for the first time
  • Read The Book Thief
  • Received final copies of my novel The Blue Lady
  • Bought a new charm for my bracelet
  • Embarked on my first author tour
  • Written the first chapter of my new book
  • Accidentally found myself in the cafe where Harry Potter was born

I thought today would be a good day to write a blog. My first proper blog in fact. Sorry it’s taken so long.

                Last Thursday, as Yeti Rescue was released into the world, Luke (my husband) and I boarded a plane to Milan to go and visit my brother. Adam, my brother, has been living in Milan for a few months now, he’s an astrophysicist and works in an observatory just outside of the city. Luke and I arrived mid morning, picked up our hire car and within twenty minutes managed to smash the car into a pesky curb. A few minutes later there was the ominous thud, thud, thudding of a flat tyre as the car limped along the freeway. I, naturally, went into panic mode. I sent a text to Adam warning him we might never make it to his flat; I envisioned a million tragic scenarios that all ended with us starved, frozen and flattened on the side of an Italian motorway. I started penning my epitaph in my head, and mentally scripting the dramatic tale of our bravery in the face of Italian motoring hell should we survive. However, my ex-military husband dealt with the situation like a seasoned pro and disappointingly had us back on the road within minutes. He almost, almost deprived me of a good story to tell. Once we arrived at Adam’s gorgeous flat it was wonderful to see him. We caught up over much pasta and prosecco and toasted to Sammy Feral’s Yeti Rescue and mine and Luke’s eventful journey from the airport.

                On our first day in Milan we visited the usual tourist sites. The cathedral, the castle, the stupidly smart shops and the cups of hot chocolate that are so thick you can stand your spoon in them. It was in the cathedral that I saw my first dead body. A very dead body. A 500 year old dead body. The Milanese Catholics like to bury their cardinals in glass coffins. Thankfully, most of the aged corpse was covered by gilded cloths and an elaborate death mask. But his rotten hands were very clearly on display. His skin had turned a putrid shade of green and bubbled slightly, like the surface of a frog. I was only partially revolted, the other part of me was strangely transfixed. Other highlights of the day included a Michelangelo sculpture and a Leonardo da Vinci-painted ceiling in the castle. I think it’s the rotten hands that I remember most vividly though.

                On Saturday we visited a local ski resort. Somehow I’ve managed to live my life without ever visiting a ski resort before, and I now find this quite regretful. What’s not to love about the crisp mountain air and the brilliant whiteness of the snow? I didn’t ski, of course. Why ski when you can sit on the slopes, drink hot chocolate, read a book and watch everyone else?

                What book was I reading? The Book Thief, that’s what. Sometimes I can categorise my memories and experiences by whichever book I happened to be reading at the time: Oh, I remember that day, I was reading that book and feeling a bit like that. As such, those few days in Italy were very much tied up with The Book Thief. Have you read it? No? Why not? Go and buy it…now…go on…It really is brilliant. Haunting, tragic, graceful, honest, bone-chillingly horrible in places. I love books like that, books that force me to be more reflective, more grateful of my lot. And I’m not sure how I’ve avoided reading The Book Thief for so long. It’s been on my ‘To Read’ list for years and years.

                Sad to leave my wonderful brother behind as I boarded a plane back to the UK, I was ecstatic to find my Wish Frog charm and finished copies of The Blue Lady waiting for me at home. I buy a new charm for my bracelet whenever something noteworthy happens in my life – recent examples are my wedding and the publication of Yeti Rescue. I’m still unsure what charm I should get to mark the publication of The Blue Lady in June…any ideas?

                The Blue Lady really does look AMAZING. I had a little moment of choked-up pride as I held the book in my hands. I can’t wait for it to be published, roll on June 6th!

The Blue Lady has arrived!

The Blue Lady has arrived!

                And finally, today I left London and boarded a train (first class, thank you, Quercus Children’s Books) to Edinburgh for my first author tour. I shall try my utmost best to write a few more posts over the coming days to update you on where I am and what I’m doing. So far the trip has seen me accidentally stumble into and spend a couple of hours writing in The Elephant House, the very cafe where Harry Potter was first written. Honestly, only I could walk into a cafe thinking it would be a cool place to sit and not notice the tour groups standing outside and taking pictures. Doh! I’ve also managed to write the first 2.5k words of a new ghost story (that was written on the train, not the cafe, sorry), got myself lost and nearly locked in an Edinburgh graveyard at twilight and am now sitting in a cosy whisky bar, listening to Dusty Springfield and writing this.

                Seven days. A few brief tales. Life is good.

                Peace, love and stories,

                Eleanor xxx

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Luke Willis
    Mar 05, 2013 @ 21:59:41

    Good luck on your first book tour…the first of many!


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