Letter: November 2006

Hello everybody,
Well, the clocks have gone back and it will soon be Christmas - at least so the people who produce catalogues would have us believe. I am absolutely inundated with them and put most of them straight into the recycling bin.

I have a question for you: Do you think I should update my newsletters more frequently? Mike Stotter, the Editor of Shots magazine, told me that people lose interest unless they have something new to read every week. But quite honestly I don't do that much per week to keep going on about it, and I do have the books to write. I would be grateful if my readers could e-mail me with their opinions. Weekly or monthly? The choice is yours.

Now to my news. At the very end of September I visited Devon again and spent a night with my friends Diana and Jeff Bolam in their delightful house in Combpyne, a tiny little hamlet in the heart of the countryside. That night we went into Sidmouth to see my friend John Elnaugh perform in Wuthering Heights, the stage adaptation. Quite honestly I didn't think it worked at all well. The story is too big to be confined to the stage and I found the whole thing quite turgid. The actors tried hard and did their best but I thought the end result was disappointing.

The next day I returned to Sidmouth and stayed with John, that night going to a cast party which I thoroughly enjoyed. The following day being Sunday we met my cousin Greta Jensen, who lives in Totnes, and took her out to lunch. We all had a good time and she finally drove off into the sunset, as did I the next day.

Back to London and straight off to a book launch party given by my friend Elizabeth Corley in Waterstones in Leadenhall Market to celebrate the publication of GRAVE DOUBTS. There I met up with several people I knew, including Mike Ripley and Joan Lock, to say nothing of Mike Stotter.

With John Elnaugh and Sir Bernard Ingham at the Ellis Peters Awards

With John Elnaugh and Sir Bernard Ingham at the Ellis Peters Awards

Shortly after this I attended the Ellis Peters Memorial Prize for the best historical crime novel. Needless to say I wasn't even shortlisted, I don't think my face fits with the judges. However I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening in a super hotel which is converted from the old Marlborough Street Magistrates Court. It was beautifully done and they have kept the old dock and magistrates' bench ~wonderfully preserved. The prize was given by Sir Bernard Ingham, who I thought was a delightful old boy, quite different from his television persona. An American, Edward Wright, won and another U.S. writer was shortlisted. Quite charming, but it does make one wonder what is wrong with British writers at the moment.

Next weekend was the fabulous recreation of the Battle of Hastings, enacted on the actual battlefield. I gave a lunch party and several of my old reprobate friends turned up. We walked to the field and there sat down on ground sheets and watched the entire spectacle. 3,300 recreators and 100 horses took part and it truly was a magnificent sight. It was very special because of 1066 and 2006, and a great deal of thought had gone into the organisation. Incidentally the recreators came from all over the world and a big contingent were French - fighting for William needless to say. By the way, he won!

Next item on the agenda was an excellent Hallowe'en Party given by my friends Pat and Chris Hart in their big house in Hastings. Children were invited and I am delighted to say that my grandson Elliot won the apple bobbing, nut bashing and tied for the most horrible mask with his father, Brett. He had a lampshade with a moustache and eyes on it on his head. Brett wore a stocking over his face, and appeared quite unrecognisable.

Derek of Uckfield My beautiful granddaughter Amelia Augustus on the sheepskin rug Henry with his Grandy Cheeky Fintan

This month's other photographs are of my hairdresser, Derek of Uckfield, standing outside his shop, my beautiful granddaughter Amelia, my grandson Henry on his birthday alongside his Grandy (as I'm called), and my cheeky grandson Fintan. I also couldn't resist one of my cat, Augustus, on the black sheepskin rug I bought on a recent visit to Wales.

That's all for the moment, folks. Take care of yourselves and let me know what you think about the frequency of the newsletters.

Very best wishes,
Deryn Lake

November 2006