Around the world in eighty days… well, perhaps not quite around the world but it certainly feel as though I have not stopped travelling since I last wrote a Newsletter in December.
Where to begin?
Let me start with the US Tour because it has certainly been a highlight of this year so far. I began in Texas and from there flew to LA, on to San Francisco with several neighbouring stops including the Sonoma Wine Valley. From there, I crossed the continent to New York, upstate New York, then to Detroit, to Ohio where I was thrown an unforgettable birthday party, and then last stop Chicago – a city I have never visited before but one that won my heart.
And the good news is that I have received several invitations to return next year spring and to visit other states, other cities that were not on the itinerary this time. So, if you have an event early next year in the States or you would like me to visit your bookshop or garden centre or botanical gardens or even front yard, now is the time to put in the request…
My most enduring impression of this amazing and whirlwind trip was YOU. The welcomes I received, the friends I made, the faces I was then able to put to the names who have written to me and been on my Facebook page, (http://www.facebook.com/olive.farm). YOU were so generous with your time and gifts and enthusiasm. I cannot thank you sincerely or deeply enough. It was an unforgettable month. San Francisco and Chicago were both new to me and both were revelations. That first sighting of the Golden Gate Bridge absolutely lives up to its legendary reputation and Chicago, the windy city, just blew me away with its audacious architecture and its all-American history. Throughout my entire journey, the weather was wonderful in spite of forecasts for storms, flooding, snow, freezing temperatures. As soon as we landed, wherever, Mother Nature put on her big yellow sunshine face and I was able to go exploring in comfort and warmth, quite unlike the rainy weather that seems to be soaking northern Europe at present. Even the Cannes Film Festival, in full swing as I write, has been dogged with downpours.
Almost as soon as I arrived home, I had to unpack my case and repack it because I have spent the last two weeks in London recording audio books for the Scholastic My Story series. This completes the first eight in the series, all of which will be available for digital download very soon. I hope, if they are successful, that we will continue to record more. It is fascinating to read the words of other authors (as well as my own) who have been working on the same series of books, particularly because I have just started writing my fifth book for this series. A First World War love story, and it will be aimed at a slighter older audience, which is a terrific challenge for me. I am already very excited by the two principle characters with all their young emotions and fears. We are settling on the book’s title now so as soon as I have it I will let you know and you can begin to look out for it. It will be published next year to coincide with the centenary of the outbreak of that war.
So now I have a week at home, writing and catching-up with my life, before I set off for Tunisia for a festival in Sousse where three of The Olive Route films are being screened. Do check the Events listing on my website for details, should you happen to be in Sousse between 8th and 13th June. Beyond that I will be off to Ireland in early July for the West Cork Literary Festival, where I will be giving a talk The Olive Route to the Screen, about transforming the two books, The Olive Route and The Olive Tree, into five documentary films. Aside from this one-off event, I will be tutoring a five-day workshop on writing memoir and non-fiction. The dates are 7 -12 July and the festival is to be held in the very lovely waterside town of Bantry in County Cork. Here is their website . I believe there are still two or three places left on the workshop. It should be a very interesting week. If you are going to be in Cork or anywhere in the Republic in early July, please come along and join me on the workshop or, if five days is a commitment too long, please come to my evening event and say hello.
After Bantry, I will return home and stay home for a couple of months to write and be still. I love travelling but writing while on the road is challenging for me. I know some authors don’t mind it at all, but I prefer the tranquility and stillness of my own very sunny den at the farm where I am surrounded by books and my diaries and notebooks. For me, it is my haven. The business of promotion and marketing has become very much an essential fraction of every author’s, every filmmaker’s life but it cannot take prime position and I am learning that sometimes I have to say ‘no’, I cannot accept this invitation to speak or to travel. My next book is overdue and I must put pen to paper. Even this Newsletter has taken it time to reach you and I apologise for that. My days are full and exciting and challenging but sometimes I need to clear the deck and listen to the voices, the characters in my head. The new stories.
One last crucial point, a request from me to you. If you haven’t signed this petition yet, please do so. There is a blog on the website entitled Urgent Message from Carol. It explains why I am begging you to put your name to this request tostop the EU’s proposed overhaul of seed regulations. It is vital for our freedom of choice, freedom to grow and share whatever sees we want. Please support me on this wherever in the world you live, because this is a global issue, a global fight.
So, that is it for now. I will continue with the shorter, in-between blogs and I look forward to meeting you somewhere soon, either by email, on Facebook or in the flesh.
I hope the sun shines for you and keeps you healthy, wherever you are