Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What we're writing (or not)--Rhys

My news is that I'm NOT writing!
I sent off my new Molly Murphy book a couple of weeks ago, before I went to Europe. I'm now in the early gathering information stages of my next Lady Georgie book. So this trip is part business, part pleasure.

My first days in London were all business. One of them was spent at Kensington Palace, where a lot of my new book will take place. It was frustrating as several of the rooms I wanted to see were in the private part of the palace. I know, I should have written to Will and Kate for permission! I especially wanted to see the old clock tower as I had heard it was haunted and wanted to see for myself.

I asked one of the security guys there if he had ever seen a ghost. He named several ghosts who were reputed to haunt the palace but he hadn't seen one. But he told me he had seen a ghost in his own home. He lives in a very old house and one night he was watching TV alone. He got up to turn the TV off, turned around and a woman was standing right behind him. She was dressed entirely in black and she smelled of damp earth. She said to him "Once I was blind. Now I can see."

He said he got out of there and ran up the stairs. His father was staying with him and he asked his father to go down and turn the TV off. His father got halfway down the stairs, then came up again and said, "I'm not going down there until morning."

You get such great stories when you chat with ordinary people and some of these wind up in books. I think this stage of a book for me is just being open and receptive and getting a feel where the story might go. I want Kensington Palace. I want a ghost and a royal scandal. Delicious, huh? So I'll let ideas simmer as I travel around Europe and hopefully I'll have a story by the time I have to start writing.

Right now I'm in Poland and appeared at the Warsaw Book Fair. It was huge--in the football stadium and my books were displayed as huge blow ups above the booth. And my signing was followed by three interviews in the press room. It was strange doing interviews with a translator. I was like a yoyo, looking from one side to the other. Loads of people gathered to take my photograph as I signed. I felt like a celebrity! I gather Poland has more bookstores per capita than any country. The fair was certainly packed, and they had to pay an entrance fee.

Tomorrow on to Rome. Now what could Lady Georgie get up to in Rome, I wonder????


  1. It certainly sounds as if you are having a wonderful time with your travel and research . . . .
    What a great story about the ghost visiting the security guard at home!
    I'm looking forward to your next book . . . .

  2. Have a wonderful trip and some well deserved time off.

  3. What fun Rhys--do you read any Polish? I wondered how the book covers looked...both Georgie and Molly?

    Safe travels! xo

  4. REMEMBER--Thre Brenda Novak auction is almost over..and I am offering a fabulous package: Books by every Jungle Red! SO come one come all..and get in on the bidding! (Lots of other amazing prizes, too

  5. Rhys, you ARE a celebrity!!!

    Love the photos from Poland, and it was lovely to see you in London!

  6. Wow, Poland! What a feeling it must have been to see the Polish version of your books!

    My grandfather grew up in an apartment in a very old building in Europe. He and his brothers and parents witnessed some other-worldly things there that he didn't like to talk about. His parents were fairly no-nonsense people, from what I understand, and not the sort to seek out a ghostly experience, or to encourage it in their children. So, I'm wondering if the kind of thing that happened in that guard's home or in my grandfather's childhood home are more common in countries with much older buildings.

  7. Bon voyage and enjoy some well-deserved time off!

  8. What a thrill to see your words in another language and to meet those readers!

    I bet there are a lot of ghosts in Poland, given its fraught history.

  9. What an awesome experience in Poland and such a cool story!

    Enjoy your trip and some time off.

    Now to decide whether I have the cash for the auction...

  10. How exciting to see your books in giant from hanging above the booth! Love the picture! And, I agree with Debs, that you are indeed a celebrity. However, I take that one step further, and I assert that all the Jungle Reds are flat out rock stars.

    The security guy's ghost story was great, and we do learn so much by talking to others in all walks of life. I'm glad I'm not shy, as I've struck up some conversations with fascinating, ordinary people, most of them at book events (of course).

    Enjoy some time off, Rhys, but I'm sure a writer's mind never turns off completely from its imaginings wherever you go.

  11. Oooo, the Once Was Blind ghost story sounds like an excellent starting point for a ghost and a royal scandal. Of course, the security guard might prefer it remain his own.

  12. The best part of a trip is talking to the locals. You hear such great stories! Enjoy your trip Rhys.

  13. Rhys, Wishing you "bestsellrem" -- which apparently is Polish for bestseller. Eat some perogies for me.

  14. Rhys, that's fascinating about Poland -- the highest bookstore per capita? That very cool.

    You deserve to feel like a celebrity!

  15. Rhys, love the way your research works--a little dab of reality (look at actual locations), a little of just absorbing new experiences--the guard's wonderful ghost story--and then just letting everything stew gently in the back of your mind as you continue on your way. I'm sure there will be ways and means to have Lady Georgie get to Rome, or meet a Polish count with a ghost story in his background....

    and I agree, all of the Reds are fab celebrities!