The route to publication has moved on another step. I have checked through the printers proof again. This time instead of doing it on the computer screen I printed a hard copy of my novel. There are 350 pages so I printed four pages using both sides of an A4 sheet of paper. It is beginning to look like a book, with an acknowledgements page and the publication details as well as the publication rights. I found only six changes needed making. I’m sure there are others but I’m missing them. I will get it returned to me again to check there are no more changes necessary. I do hope there are none, as I’m sure the law of diminishing returns sets in and I will fail to spot any mistakes in it.
I think the next version will have the front and back cover in place. We have yet to finalise the draft blurb, so that’s another step
to get through. Interestingly I met a writer friend on Tuesday, who complained that the blurb for her book was written by the publisher and she was not consulted. One of the differences between traditional publishing and independent is the lack of control, once a writer has sold the publication rights, over the presentation of the novel to the public.
The same author expressed how dissatisfied she was with the marketing of her book. I am paying for a marketing campaign, so I do expect some publicity to be generated. The other job I had this week was to answer a questionnaire about my book which included providing another summary of the story and biography which included any media interest in my personal story. During my Twenty-five years at the Bar I did do a number of cases which attracted a great deal of publicity at the time, but most of it was some years ago. I thought two might still attract some media interest today.
The first was the killing of the fashion designer Ossie Clark by his lover Diego Cogolato. Ossie Clark was very successful designer in the 1960’s along with his then wife Celia Birtwell. There is a wonderful painting of them both by David Hockney in the National Portrait Gallery. By 1996 Ossie was living in a one bedroomed council flat in West London and Cogolato under the influence of a mixture of drugs killed him. He was diagnosed as suffering from a drug-induced psychotic state. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and after I mitigated on his behalf he received a sentence of six years.
The other case featured in the newspapers only five years ago, when a young woman called Alex Griffiths was successful in her A level examinations. The Times, no doubt looking for a different angle to report on the announcement of the results chose to write an article about her, because as the baby she was stolen from St Thomas’s Hospital within hours of her birth. A nation-wide search followed, and she was found alive and well three weeks later. I represented the woman who stole her, coincidently also called Griffiths, Janet Griffiths. She too was diagnosed with mental health issues, in this case she had Munchausen’s, not the by- proxy type that has been much in the news over the last few years, but the original illness. She received a hospital order and was released after about eight months. She was to die about four year later of cancer. It is not often a barrister gets to know what happens to the victims and defendants in cases in which they appear, but I am pleased that on this occasion I did.
The recent death of one of my favourite cookery writers, Katie Stewart, has reminded me of the debt I owe her for my own skills in the preparation of meals.
I first became acquainted with her recipes in The Times when I became a Law Student in the 1960s. The Times was compulsory reading for lawyers then as the Times Law Reports could be quoted in Court. I began to read Katie Stewart’s cookery column and when I moved into a flat and cook for myself, I used the recipes she wrote. I soon acquired a reputation as a good cook and an invitation to have dinner with me was highly prized, particularly with the men of my acquaintance. I would turn my desk into a table with a tablecloth, candles and nice white napkins. I would follow the recipes meticulously and always produce a good meal for my friends.
I still have the Times Cookery Book as well as her other books and they are the bedrock of my repertoire. I love the recipes for poached fruit, Lamb Cutlets Shrewsbury and lots more.
Recently I have become a fan of Sophie Grigson, who has inherited her mother’s flair for easy to prepare dishes, using fresh fruit and vegetables. Diane Henry too writes straightforward recipes for busy cooks. Her baked apples with marmalade and almonds are superb.
Anyone else like Katie Stewart or what other cookery writers do you swear by.