Thursday, November 27, 2008

Christmas rush?

Not that I check out my amazon page very often, you understand, but I must have accidentally clicked on it today whilst looking for some other book. I discovered this message:

Only 2 left in stock--order soon (more on the way).

What has prompted this sudden surge in demand for A Vengeful Longing, I don't know. Could it be that people are snapping it up as a Christmas present for the discerning reader of historical crime fiction?

If so, I hope amazon are as good as their word and get some more copies in. Pronto.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cocteau in the Underworld

Soprano Jacqueline Varsey as Eurydice. Photo by John Lloyd Davies.

I got some photos through of last week's workshop at the People Show Studios. They were taken by John Lloyd Davies, our brilliant director and head of Opera Genesis at Royal Opera House 2. I hope they give you some idea of the workshop production.

Baritone Owen Gilhooly as Cocteau at the beginning of the opera. He is struggling to write, but cannot overcome his grief for his dead lover. Writer's block. Photo by John Lloyd Davies.

Cocteau and his mysterious visitor, The Princess, played by mezzo-soprano Victoria Simmonds. Photo by John Lloyd Davies.

Encouraged by The Princess, Cocteau is about to kill himself. Photo by John Lloyd Davies.

Orpheus, played by tenor Andrew Mackenzie-Wicks, is summoned by Cocteau for advice on journeying to the underworld to bring back a loved one. Photo by John Lloyd Davies.

At Orpheus' bidding, Cocteau accepts the Princess' symbolic "gift", "one petal from a blood red flower". This blurs the boundary between this world and the underworld. Photo by John Lloyd Davies.

Cocteau's dead lover, Raymond Radiguet, played by counter-tenor Andrew Radley, appeals to Cocteau. Photo by John Lloyd Davies.

Having chosen art over love, and in the process rejecting his lover, Cocteau is able to overcome his writer's block and returns to work. Photo by John Lloyd Davies.

Composer Ed Hughes on set - photo by me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day four of rehearsals

Today was day four of rehearsals for our opera workshop. And tomorrow is the performance. I can't begin to say how impressed I am at the way it's all come together. The singers have been amazing. There's a set and even lighting.

Yesterday I learnt that the studios we're rehearsing in used to be the gym where the Kray Twins boxed.

I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. It's going to be great to see the workshopped scenes from beginning to end. Watching the piece take shape has given me a real taste to see the whole opera produced. I just keep thinking of the bits we're not workshopping and wondering how they would look and sound.

We all hope that one day a full production will come out of this week's hard work.

In the meantime, I heard from Kristen at We Be Reading about a fab review she's written of A Vengeful Longing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In rehearsal

This week I'm spending my days in Bethnal Green, at The People Show Studios. We're workshopping the opera Ed Hughes and I have written. He did the music - I did the words, just in case you were wondering. And thankfully, people other than me are doing the singing.

The workshop is being run by Opera Genesis, which is an initiative run by Royal Opera House. Our opera, Cocteau in the Underworld(scroll down after clicking for info), has been commissioned by The Brighton Festival.

It's pretty bloody mind-blowing to have people singing your words, that's all I can say! And I turned up today to discover a set had taken shape. Also mind-blowing.

We're working towards putting on a performance for an invited audience on Friday. Not a lot of time. But the performers are brilliant and the director (John Lloyd Davies) is a genius. So, we shall see. In the meantime, I'm having a great time!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Cardiff here I come

Historical Crime Fiction Evening
Borders, The David Morgan Building, 14 The Hayes, Cardiff
6.30 pm Thursday, 4 December, 2008

While we're on the subject of Christmas shopping, I'm thrilled to be taking part in the above event in Cardiff with fellow histcrimefic authors Andrew Taylor and Bernard Knight. They're both stellar writers so I feel very honoured to be in their company, and I owe my place at the party to Rhian, aka Crime Fic Reader, who has organised the event.

Rhian has been fantastically supportive of me over recent years and I'm enormously grateful to her for that, as well as for doing such a sterling job putting this event together at a very difficult time for her.

Paperback writer

Just a quickie to preview the cover of the paperback edition of A Vengeful Longing.

It's not officially published until January 8, 2009, though I've been told that Faber will be releasing some stock early to catch the Christmas shoppers. So feel free to mention it in your letter to Santa.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Trevi Noir

I was lucky enough to be invited to the very first Trevi Noir festival in Umbria, Italy at the weekend.

Many thanks to the event organisers, Michael Jacob and Daniela de Gregorio, the husband and wife writing team who are together Michael Gregorio, author of Critique of Criminal Reason and Days of Atonement. Two fabulously dark and gripping books, by the way.

I did a full round-up of Trevi Noir for the Rap Sheet and there's the definitive summary from Mike and Daniela themselves on the Michael Gregorio blog. I thought here I'd just post a few photos from the event:

Rachel and Mike.


Laura Wilson and Maxim Jakubowsky

Caroline and Andrew Taylor.

I think it's fair to say, a fabulous time was had by all.