Friday 27 January 2017

On the radio

Heads up: I'm on London's Resonance FM radio tomorrow at 2.30-3.30pm, speaking with Jude Cowan Montague about her new novel for readers of all ages, Young Hitch: Forbidden Flames. It's a great read, introducing the famous film director as a mischievous eleven-year-old boy in his native East London.
Young Alf Hitchcock lives in a world of his own in the bustling streets of Limehouse where his family runs a fishmongery and fried fish business. He smells of smoked haddock and is bullied for it, his father treats him as a nuisance, and the boy loves to escape into the new-fangled picture palace that stokes his already over-active imagination. So when he stumbles into a real-life story of life and death, what will he do?
Writer, poet and film archivist Jude is the resident host of The News Agents show, but this time I'm delighted that she invited me to ask the questions. We'll discuss the inspiration for the book on the streets of East London and the early days of newsreel, the background to the Sidney Street siege in 1911, Hitchcock's life and work, and the nuts and bolts of writing bio-fiction, trying to unpick and understand an established character.
Jude's own blog has some atmospheric and informative background posts: Young Hitch, Geek, Misfit and Anti-hero.

Friday 6 January 2017

Lavender - off the beaten track

When the lavender is harvested in Provence at the end of July, a heavenly scent is carried on warm evening breezes. Alerted by the first wafts of perfumed air, from our terrace we can sometimes see the smoke rising from the other side of a small ridge. The distillation has begun.
In the small purple fields woven into the landscape of the hills around the town of Apt in the Luberon, the stills are sometimes placed in the very fields where the flowers have been grown. In this part of Provence lavender farming is a far cry from the huge commercial concerns of Sault and Valensole, more like smallholdings tended in the traditional way.
If you would like to read more, please hop over to the web magazine Perfectly Provence, where I've written a guest post. For those of you who love the South of France, and haven't discovered this site yet, you are in for a treat!
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