Friday, 19 September 2008

Patrick Gale

Yesterday I went to a Wonderful Words day (run by Cornish libraries) with several poets and authors including Patrick Gale, famous for his most recent novel, Notes From An Exhibition, which was picked up by the Richard & Judy book club earlier this year. His website is here . It’s a fascinating novel about a Cornish artist in Penzance and how she and her family are affected by her manic depression, or bipolar disorder as it’s called now. She is ‘saved’ by her husband who is a staunch Quaker, another fascinating topic. If you haven’t read it – do.

I have to say my concentration was somewhat shattered by a) appalling signeage at Tremough Campus (Falmouth university) which directed us the wrong way to start off with. Having wandered round, lost, for twenty minutes, we finally found the right building and the right room, only to discover that they’d run out of hot water and tea. On the basis that if you want something done, do it yourself, I volunteered to go and get some hot water. I was sent on a wild goose chase but finally found the staff room, boiled up two kettles and tipped them into the thermos and returned only to find that no water would come out of it. It turned out the necessary siphon part was missing so we had to nick it out of another thermos.

So you can see that wasted another twenty minutes and I wasn’t my most suave and sophisticated by this time – just gasping for a cuppa. And then I looked round the room and – well. His photographs don’t do him justice. He is stunning. Tall and slim, wearing a cream linen jacket, mauve and white striped shirt (believe me, it suited him wonderfully) and navy blue trousers. But it was his dark eyes that drew me, and dark eyelashes, plus when he smiled, which was often, his eyes crinkled up and he revealed white, even teeth.

In case any of you are getting the wrong idea, I would like to say that I know he lives with his ‘hubby’, Aidan, on a farm near Land’s End. I know, but I can look – and drool – and I did. When not reminding myself that I was a journalist and therefore sort of on duty.

So I sat and listened and watched (nice hands too) and he talks very well – funny, bursting with intelligence, fascinating about Quakers and their way of life. And all the questions he was asked about how he writes, his thought processes, what he does when he’s stuck – I sat there thinking, ‘I do that. Oh, and I do that too.’ Which was kind of heartening and not. The not bit being that while I am delighted at his success (and it’s taken him 10 novels to start actually making money at it), the other part of me is thinking, ‘I want to be there. I want to be published. Now!’ (And no I havent heard back from that agent yet.)

Anyway it was a fascinating morning and he signed one of this books and – the best bit - he’s agreed to give me an interview next year when his next novel comes out. I can’t wait….

15 comments:

JJ said...

Do you know what Flowerpot? I want your life.

I love Patrick Gale and have been reading him since his non-famous days. The Cat Sanctury is one of my faves.

Yes again, I'm jealous!

So glad it went well.

Flowerpot said...

glad to find another PG fan! I only discovered him this Christmas so have been avidly reading him since then! and yes I do have a good life. Very little money but a good life!

liz fenwick said...

Oh, the book is on tbr pile....he sounds a god....love the description! Lucky woman - you get to meet him again!!!!

Lane said...

That is such a good book. It was fascinating. And you get to interview him! That is very cool fp!

Akelamalu said...

I hadn't heard of him before now, so thanks for that.

Why is it that some of the best looking men are gay? :(

Flowerpot said...

Liz - I know, I can't wait!

Lane - it was a great book. I need to read it again just to remind myself...

Flowerpot said...

Ak - it's strange isnt it? And believe me he is stunning!

Pat Posner said...

I haven't seen any PG novels, I'll look out for them now and think of you drooling, Flowerpot, while I read them!

Debs said...

He is rather dashing, isn't he? How wonderful that he's promised to do an interview with you.

Crossing fingers for you re the agent.

Flowerpot said...

Pat - have a lookout for them. His earlier ones are rather Iris Murdoch-ish and he gets going with Rough Music (so he said!).

Flowerpot said...

debs - yes he is stunning. Definitely male protagonist material for my next novel!!

Annie Bright said...

Wow, Flowerpot, what an exciting life you lead!

Grump said...

Never heard of Patrick, will look him up. I grew up in the Quaker faith, even went to a Quaker school. In fact one of my old school mates lives down near Lands End and still attends 'Meetings' I think in PZ. I'll ask him if he sees Patrick Gale there.
Hope your got your cuppa tea by the end.
Woofx

Flowerpot said...

Annie - well for the most part it isnt at all exciting - like for the other 364 days of the year!! But that one made up for it...

Flowerpot said...

What a small world Grump! Patrick did a lot of research about Quakers in the PZ area because that's where his book was set - I'd be interested to know if your friend met him.