Thursday, July 13, 2017

Out, damned book!


By Catriona

I'm supposed to be talking about cost-effective promotional efforts today. But, you know what?  My 20th book comes out today (in the UK) - Dandy's Shakespearean adventure; set around a production of Macbeth in a Scottish castle in 1934 - and I'm going rogue.


Apart from anything else, totting up the cost of the airfare to Edinburgh every year for the launch party (plus the hire-car (with its ruinous insurance)) would make me weep.

But of course, I'm never just in Scotland for promotion. I see my family, my in-laws and a slew of old pals. I meet editors for London lunches and go to stay with my beloved agent. And most of all I do research.

The research for this book - as well as watching films of "the Scottish play" and reading memoirs of notable 1930s luvvies (that John Gielgud was a bit of a one in his younger years) - consisted of slogging round castles, palaces and other stately piles, looking at stuff. Poor me.

The palaces - full of marble, tapestries, priceless oil paintings and bits of Chippendale - inspired the fictional Mespring House which appears in several scenes and where fantastically grand marquises and marchionesses live in splendour.

But the story is  mostly set at the much more humble (fictional) Castle Bewer, based on the ruined Caerlaverock Castle in Dumfriesshire. The day I went there was so wet and cold I was dressed like Vera Stanhope, in my dad's waterproofs -



- because, after seven years in California, I'd forgotten it might rain in August and went over without a coat, (Or socks).  It wasn't ideal. The thing about a ruined castle is there's no roof. And the thing about my research method is it's really low-tech. After twenty minutes all my notes were beginning to run and the notepad was disintegrating. So I sought out the only place at Caerlaverock that's out of the rain - a bread oven.

There weren't many other tourists there that day, but it only takes one to go to the ticket kiosk and report that there's a madwoman crouched in a bread oven, writing furiously and muttering a bit.


The guide was very kind and I think she believed I was a writer. She didn't chuck me out anyway. I managed to imagine Caerlaverock back into the family home (with a roof) it once was and even got the inspiration for a clue I'd never have dreamed up on my own.

If you'd like to read what Dandy, Alec, Grant, a company of players, four cultured American ladies and a handful of impoverished toffs get up to trying to put on Macbeth . . . there are a couple of options. UK pals, the book is out today! And the launch party is (a bit late) on the 2nd of August.
US pals, I'm giving away a signed copy to someone who comments below.




16 comments:

Paul D. Marks said...

Congratulations on #20, Catriona! Now you can buy yourself a pair of socks ;-)

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Now that's dedicated research — no coat, no socks, and furiously making notes crouched inside a bread oven in a leaky castle. Congratulations on the new book, Catriona.

Ann Mason said...

Congratulations my friend. I look forward to another adventure with Dandy, which has been too long in the coming.

After watching a production of MacBeth with Dame Judi last month, we are calling our pups Toil and Trouble.

Next I want to adopt three kittens and name them Shirley, Goodness and Mercy. For they shall follow me all the days of my life.

That was apropos of absolutely nothing

RM Greenaway said...

You make a lovely Vera! Congratulations on your travels, and for Book Launch #20!

Daniele K said...

Wow, 20 books! Congratulations. Thank you for the enjoyable post and opportunity to win a copy. Dmskrug3(at)hotmail(dot)com

Cathy Ace said...

Lovely post, as always....and wishing you all the very best with Dandy's next adventure :-) Cathy

Celia Fowler said...

Congratulations on your U.K. book birthday! I can't wait for it to come out it the States in August ~ Safe travels!

Catriona McPherson said...

Celia - The book coming out in the states this summer is a different one. Not Dandy Gilver. (Thanks for the good wishes!)

Dianne B said...

I love the title and can't wait to read.

keenanpowell said...

Congratulations on the new book! Can't wait until it comes out in US.

Kathy Reel said...

Oh, I so wish that there was a picture of you crouched in the bread oven writing! Even your research is entertaining. Congratulations on your U.K. Publication Day. This cover, this connection to Macbeth, this story. It can't miss being a hit.

Pat D said...

Hilarious! Probably your accent kept you out of trouble. I'm afraid if I tried to talk my way out of oven trouble in my Texas drawl I might be visiting gaol. Can't wait to read Dandy's latest.

Susan C Shea said...

I'm as impatient as the rest for the new Dandy to get to the US. They're always such a treat. It'll be fun to see if I can figure out which clue was related to your wet, cold day in the bread oven.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

"What, you egg? Young fry of treachery. " (My favorite line from the play. )

SO happy for you--you are amazing! Congratulations!


xoo

Catriona McPherson said...

Danielle, you have won the giveaway! Congratulations, Cx

Mia P. Manansala said...

I love the image of you crouched inside an ancient bread oven, scribbling away like mad. Almost choked on my morning cup of coffee while reading that.

Anyways, congratulations on your 20th book! I hope to be half as prolific as you someday. Looking forward to reading this latest addition to the series ^^