Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Author's Photograph

This is copied from The Coward's Journey - a blog following my novel through the publication process...HERE!!
And along came the inevitable request for a high-res photo of meself, to adorn or otherwise the catalogue, the book, the Bloomsbury website.

Oh how tempted I am to copy other authors and dig something out from years ago, when my neck and chin didn't have constant illegible conversations, when there was space enough for a splodge of subtle but glorious colour on the eyelid and the eyebrows didn't insist on dropping in to see what all the fuss was about.
Wouldn't it be loverley to pop down to the local cementworks and order a facial. Then a makeover, where all the lines were filled with filla, hedges clipped, topiary toped. A quick blast of sellotape behind the ears to restore the jawline, a new drenching of the tired old locks. A streak or twain (not in the football sense of course..) and the subsequent hiring of a top photographer for a week.
A week? Oh yes. Then I could have photos of me in every mood. In every item of clothing I posess (a la OK!, or Hello!) black tee after black tee after black tee. Then the green one!
I could have images of moi, sultry in bed in the morning, dog's breath and all, wincyette nightie fetchingly askew. Moi at brekkie, chomping toast. Moi feeding the cat and the husband in that order. (Husband makes less noise). Moi on the phone to the GAP Year son Somewhere in India. Motherly love and red lipstick, black shiny phone. Cool.
Moi in black rollneck, posed lightly over arm of sofa. Taken from above, natch. Or moi carefully posed at desk, fixed, intelligent yet quizzical and beguiling expression on physog. Fingers( light pink nail varnish?) ready to type on keyboard... and on the desk, randomly scattered tomes that always live on my desk, of course, just found in a box in the roof - the poems of John Donne! Shakespeare! Roget's Thesaurus! A carefully angled silver frame, containing, if you look very very carefully, a signed photo of Martin Amis...or yet again, moi, with a wind-up clown, a pile of books, in an artisanal setting and wearing a blonde wig? Yes, I did, and no, never used it.

Oh fer gawd's sake.
I can't find me desk let alone me keyboard. It is under a heap of stuff. Mostly mine. Actually I lie - if I look down, I can see the following:
1. A Ordnance Survey Map of Pulborough, Worthing and Bognor Regis.
2. A pencil sharpener in the shape of a plastic Loch Ness monster wearing a tam, emblazoned Nessie!
3. A copy of 'Contented Dementia' - ( for my Dad's carer - but who knows, soon enough, for moi...)
4)Another pencil sharpener, in the shape of a cat. I won't tell you where you stick the pencil but it miaous piteously. (From GAP Year son, Christmas last.)
5) Papers, papers, papers. More papers. Hiding yet more.
6) A reel of white cotton.
7) A box of earplugs.
8) Nine more books slipping off the side - among them, The Biography of the Bible, the short stories of Flannery O'Connor, The Mapmakers of Spitalfields by Manzu Islam..
9) Notebooks, files, more paper.

See, that's me. What would a makeover do except make me look rather daft when I turn up to do readings or somesuch, without the makeup team in tow?
I'm using the same pic I used for 'Glass Bubble' and 'Storm Warning' -here you go. Taken in 2007, it made me look rather grown-up.
I've just about caught up with it.


  1. I always think that as well. I don't want to turn up somewhere and the people think-"God, that one looks better in a photo." I'd prefer the opposite, the same reason I'm always honest about my age. Why say you're 39 and 3/4 when in fact you're 47 and you look very firmly 47.

    I must say though you look a right hot chicky in the one with the books. I suppose hubby said no on that one.

  2. Exactly - and no, I didn't even ask the man about the house, Im afraid!

  3. I do love this photo of you ,though. It really captures you. It's lovely and both serious but a bit giggly at the same time. And you know what they say. If it ain't broke.....

  4. Sue, what a nice thing to say - I like it too. Despite the deep laughter lines... (what, at only 35?!)

  5. Much better than a glamour shot. Like your stories, fine and honest.

  6. Hello Patricia - thank you so much!

  7. Truly you have no need to worry. You were the best looking girl in the school. I know, I was there - teenage and jealous!
    I'm inexpressibly delighted to read about your siblings. Wonderful. Every success with your novel.

  8. Jane!! Wheeeeeee! How lovely to see you - and yes, isn't the sister thing just great? I will write and tell you the whole story. It is far better than any fiction, I promise.
    What utter crap re the memories of school - do you need medication? I, on the other hand, remember wanting your hair very badly. I also remember you asking me to cut it, and it started longish one side, but I didnt hold the scissors level, and when I got to the other it was shortish. Your Ma went ape.
    I wanted your singing voice. And you had nice legs, not neanderthal throw-backs. (I now know I got those from my father, and the adjective fits absolutely...) . Ha!!!