Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Autumn. Oh yes.


It shouldn't be Autumn of course; the year has gone so much too fast, and the leaves have no business to be turning nor the evenings getting dark, and as for the talk of Christmas everywhere--well.

However, my diary assures me it is, and after a wonderful summer, which proves it is Autumn of course, I have to accept the inevitable.

Apart from anything else, I should know it's October  because it's the Wimbledon Bookfest of which I am a patron and which is a sure marker in my year. If you want to know more about it, you can look at the website, www.wimbledonbookfest.org; lots of lots of wonderful treats, and wonderful authors, like Kate Mosse, Rose Tremain, James Naughtie interviewing Sebastian Faulks, and so much more.

I did my Girls' Night Out, an annual event, with Shirley Conran this year; we both talked about our first novels, hers the mega-famous Lace, of course, thirty years old this year, and I'm talking about Old Sins. Huge fun, lot of very good,funny  chat,  with an extremely good audience. Thank you audience.

Shirley Conran and Penny Vincenzi

I'm also interviewing Jojo Moyes, one of my favourite writers, about easily one of my favourite books, her amazing, runaway best seller Me BeforeYou; the story of Will, a severely disabled young man, and Lou, his initially reluctant, chippy, young  carer. If you haven't read it do; it's funny, charming, sexy, and sad, in turns, and once you've picked it up you won't put it down again till you reach The End. Wonderful.

Penny Vincenzi and Jojo Moyes

I don't have a new book this year, but I'm doing my best...half way through I would say, which is an uncomfortable place to be; I always liken it to being on a raft in the middle of the ocean, with no land anywhere to be seen, possible a shark or two in view and no map, or whatever you have in the ocean, to guide me.

I can't tell you what it's about, yet; but I will tell you that I spent a few days in Paris, gathering background for it, (spent a bit of time in the department stores, like the dazzling Printemps with its glorious stained glass dome and quite a lot of time in the sexy cafes and eateries--tough, but there you go, someone has to do it) and a magical day in the truly beautiful town of Grasse, home to --well I think I won't tell you what Grasse is home to, if you don't know, but if you can find out there's a clue to the book's setting.

I'm also off to New York in a month, to do some more research--more department stores and sexy eateries, another hint of a clue--and that's going to be pretty tough too, what with it being nearly December by then, and New York  knowing how to do Christmas like no other city. Saks Fifth Avenue, and the ice rink in the Rockefeller Centre, here I come!

I had a lovely time the other afternoon; the charity Wellbeing, of which I'm a patron, held its annual Volunteers Awards day; the presentation held in the marvellous covered- in courtyard of the Wallace Collection--the ravishing gallery and house that is home to, among many other marvels, The Laughing Cavalier. We sat and had a very posh tea--ladlylike finger sandwiches and miniature pastries, and chatted to all the volunteers  who do so much to raise money for the charity, (affiliated to the Royal College of Gynaecologists and responsible for initiating and funding a great deal of very valuable research) and then I, along with Emma Forbes, Janet Ellis and Emma Bridgewater presented them with their awards. It was such a happy, friendly afternoon; we all had a great time.

So now it's back to school--I mean work, we all think of September as the start of the new year, don't we?--and my book-ish raft in the middle of the ocean.


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