Friday, 16 March 2012

Time sucks and photographs

One of the very many things they don’t tell you when you get your first book deal is how much time you spend as a writer not writing at all. There are accounts to be totted up, contracts to puzzle over, proofs to check, dues to pay, research to be done, books to post out, emails to be answered, contests to enter and judge …

And then, of course, there is the dreaded promotion, the biggest time suck of all. Somebody recently described my generation as ‘electronic immigrants’: we’re doing our best to fit in and be part of it, but it’s just not our language.  There’s always going to be something alien about social media for me, but I’ve got the message: it has to be done. 

Kippa Matthews, a patient man
So I am having two new websites designed at the moment, one for Jessica Hart and one for Pamela Hartshorne.  I spent most of today having a new author photo done for both, and my jaw is now set in a frozen smile.  There’s something very unnatural about smiling at a camera rather than a person.  I don’t know how models do it.

I suspect I’m too vain to photograph well.  I’m always too worried by what I’m going to look like and is the scar on my nose going to show and what’s my hair doing, and is my smile too gummy - all the kind of things that nobody else notices at all – so I never relax.  I’ve noticed that a lot of men, who don’t care what they look like at all, look great in photos.  

Anyway, it’s done, so I’ll see the results next week  In the meantime, I have done my talk on medieval shipping in the wonderful 14th-century Merchant Adventurers’ Hall here in York, so that’s another job off my list.

Funnily enough, one of the characters in my next time slip is going to be getting on a ship so on this occasion I got to combine promotion with research.  For all those of you wishing you could have been there to find out ALL about medieval shipping (and I know there must be hundreds of you out there, even though not a single one of you sent me a picture of a keelboat as I asked so nicely), here's a picture of a 15th-century hulk or carrack.  It's absolutely amazing where these ships got to, mostly without charts or compasses, not to mention watertight decks.  


  1. So true, Jessica. And I never knew you wrote time-slip, that's something else I need to look up before I get down to writing today......

  2. Can't believe you've missed out on me boring on about Time's Echo, Sarah ... but don't worry, we can put that right long before publication day (30 August). You will be sick of hearing about it by then!