Making Movies

It’s been an interesting time just recently, which is why you may have noticed that I’ve been noticeable by my absence.

Now that my daughter is a well-established teenager, naturally she has realised that her father is a doddery old twit without the brains he was born with. And he needs controlling and managing.It took her an age just to get me to tidy my desk for some photos!

Usually this would be as irritating to me as it would to any self-respecting grumpy old fart, but I’ve discovered a great attribute in my OCD child: she has the ability to film me and then do all the editing work without my needing to do a thing. She is saving me hours!

Every week just now we’re recording a short film, which we’re putting up on YouTube. So far we’ve covered various books – we’re up to six in the can, I think, with other films on research books, what my desk looks like, and a short piece on the Great European Famine, too. All jolly good fun, of course (for me). The only problem I do have is thinking up new topics to go here on my blog, because just because she’s putting up videos of me doesn’t mean I don’t have to remember this. And my newsletter. And Twitter … there isn’t much time to write any more, oddly enough. The first film was all about how the books came about, with location shots of places like West Henstill House, where the first story was planned.

Henstill, where the first book was planned and edited!

Henstill, where the first book was planned and edited!


So far the films have been well received. Do please take a look at them on YouTube and tell me what you think. If you like them, please do make a comment or at least hit the “like” button. It helps to show me what is wanted. For the future, I have plans for every book to be discussed, for items on the history, items on the countryside (when we have a better camera microphone that doesn’t pick up every soughing wind and play it back like a hurricane), and views of the locations used for all the books. I’ll also be talking about new books coming, about my research, and about the life of an author. So pretty much everything I’d normally use in my talks. I’m putting it all here.

The stone outcrop at Hound Tor. The village was deserted because of the famine

The stone outcrop at Hound Tor. The village was deserted because of the famine

It’s an interesting time just now. For the last couple of years I’ve been working with the Royal Literary Fund as one of their Fellows, helping students at Exeter University with their work. Basically, I have been working one-t0-one with them, helping them to communicate their ideas in a form that will improve, hopefully, their marks. It’s not been easy – usually I’m working with student who have better language skills, better vocabularies and, let’s be honest, far better brains than me. It’s been a real eye-opening experience, especially since I’ve been able to learn so much from these young students. However, now my time is almost up I cannot say I’ll regret being able to sit and concentrate on my books again. It’s been a huge distraction, getting up to go to Exeter first thing in the morning two days a week. It’s certainly cost me a lot of writing time, because trying to settle down and concentrate on the three days I’ve been at home has been difficult. I need time to get into my books, and when the week is badly disrupted, I find it hard to get back into the swing of writing. That is ending, luckily. I’m already diving back into the next story for next year, and enjoying the process again immensely.

Medieval Village of Hound Tor

Medieval Village of Hound Tor

However, I will miss the university. It’s been fun to work there. And I have certainly learned a lot more than I would otherwise!

One last thing: today I have received fibre optic broadband. In theory this makes my internet connection a great deal faster. Well, I’m not convinced entirely. I think a lot of the slowness of my system may have been more due to slow computers than slow wires, but we’ll see. If things go as planned, I’ll be starting to upload photos on Flickr again. There are many on this computer that are waiting to be sent off into the cloud ready for readers to look at: photos of daft authors trying to Morris dance, photos of office space, photos of locations in which the books have been set. So keep your eyes open there.

Finally, I’m also hoping to be able to draw up a map or two to show where the action in my books was set. This is much harder, because so many locations (I’m thinking London, Paris, Exeter and even Crediton) have changed out of all recognition. Still, there are places where I can take some pictures and occasionally put them up. Now I’ve replaced my camera lens (I dropped the other one while in New Orleans and smashed it completely!) I can start taking photos again, and I will.

So, that’s about it. Sorry to have taken so long yet again, but as I always say, things are a little hectic round here! Hopefully I’ll be more organised now I have a teenaged PA to keep me under control.

View back to the moors

View back to the moors

3 Responses to “Making Movies”
  1. For he’s a jolly good Fellow!


  2. Tonya Mathis says:

    I don’t mind the wait, you’re always worth the read. Love the photos. Can’t wait to watch the videos.


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