The autumn colours are tremendous this year. I look outside the window of my study through the sweeps of rain, and the hills are ablaze with reds and yellows. Autumn has always been my favourite time of year.
What with Covid19 and the various restrictions, however, my oral storytelling ground to a halt this year. On the plus side I have been writing more or less full-time. Book 3 is well underway, with a working title of Cat & Mouse (though that title may change), and I am currently doing agent copy edits which is always a good stage to be at. There's a book 4 in progress too - The Raven Stones. This one is for children and it's been really fun to work on something a bit different.
In between, I've been busy with interviews and zoom calls and run a few workshops online too, thanks to the Arts Derbyshire team, LoveLit. We covered Writing Psychological Thrillers, Editing, and Submitting to Agents and had a fantastic response. I'm currently planning some more in January 2021, so do watch out on my Twitter or Facebook feed if you are interested.
Earlier this month I did a video interview for Repton Literary Festival on "The Books that Shaped Me". And last week a live Q&A for the Tregolls Book Club group in Truro, Cornwall. They even got me singing a Scottish folksong and it was so lovely to interact with a live audience again. If you run a book club or other social group and would like to organise a Zoom event (or similar online video) to talk about my writing, do get in touch.
So any hints on the new book, I hear you ask?
Cat & Mouse is a psychological thriller set in the very unique environment of one of England's most beautiful gorges. Based loosely on an old mediaeval dilemma tale, a woman finds herself in a treacherous, haunted landscape playing cat and mouse with the rest of her group and an unknown stalker.
In the meantime, I have a few Halloween treats for you.
Firstly, I've written a short story called A Bloody Mess, commissioned by Checkatrade (#ad), and illustrated by the brilliant Amrit Birdi (see his fabulous pictures above). A re-imagining of Bram Stoker's Dracula, with a few hidden nods to other classic horror tales, the story was inspired by real DIY nightmares with a Halloween twist. It was great fun to do and you can read the story for free on the Checkatrade website, here. I love those pictures!
Secondly, I have done a video recording of one of my favourite ever Halloween tales. The Hairy Toe will be online to view via the Nottingham Libraries Facebook page from 11am till midnight on Friday 30th October. It's there all day to view whenever it suits you, but for that day only. It's suitable for all the family, so why not grab a hot drink and sit down in front of the fire and enjoy.
Thirdly, I have recorded a reading of the opening prologue for Cuckoo. It still gives me a thrill to think this was my first published book. Available free via my Youtube channel (Sophie Draper, Author), here.
with my best wishes, Sophie.