Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"Uncharacteristic Behaviour" Second Novel Published

And so I've published my second novel, an urban mystery, "Uncharacteristic Behaviour".  The idea for this book has been with me for a very long time.

Decades ago, in Sydney, there was a huge public protest against the demolition of some fine Victorian houses in Potts Point, to make way for a monster (it seemed then) apartment building. People chained themselves to railings, squatted in the few vacated houses, crowds clashed with police, and there was even a strong suggestion that one woman activist, who disappeared at the time, had come to a violent end.

At the time, caught up in my own life, trying to raise three children as a single mother and hold down a fairly demanding job at the ABC, I spent little time considering the seriousness of the situation. I hated what I heard on the news, was fired up from afar (in fact, I lived quite close by), but did not become involved. These were passionate, radical, somewhat intimidating people, these "counter-culture" activists, and I was a closet protester, safe in my own world.

Needless to say, the houses came down, and the apartment (which I later lived in!) went up, and stands today, a monument to urban developers everywhere.

Then, not too long after, strange as it seems, I found myself living in an apartment house in Toronto on a street where the same thing was happening! People chained themselves to the railings, squatted in empty houses, angrily gathered and marched with their placards. It was deja vu. 

In fact, this was a long term battle that had really started in the 60s. It took a long time to redevelop an area as large as this one. That earlier complex is still considered the largest redevelopment of its kind in North America, housing between 17,000 and 25,000 (nobody knows for sure...) residents.  By the time I was there, the developers were buying up and demolishing beautiful historic houses on the south side of my street, and the protests continued. With the help of a major civic activist, who went on to become the Mayor of Toronto (which campaign I did get involved with), the new high rise expansion was cancelled. Housing co-operatives were later built on the sites of the demolished houses.

My novel only involves one small street. The word "gentrification" applies to it because the planners' idea was to make the area more up-market, more refined, classier...whatever. This certainly doesn't describe the Toronto apartment complex, although the Sydney apartment building is apparently desirable, even if only for the spectacular views, I think. But the rest of the street probably looks much the same as it did in the 1900s - minus a few fine old terrace houses, of course.

I'm getting too old  to be running around the streets with banners and placards. Writing Letters to the Editor is no longer the way to go. So what did I do to voice my feelings about frivolous destruction of historic buildings? I wrote a novel.

Paperback at Lulu now, but shortly at Amazon, and there is an eBook, if you dislike too much commitment.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Amazon and Me

I've spent quite a bit of money at Amazon over the years. It's also the perfect place to research writers and titles. (I always need to know about Kate Atkinson's latest book.)

But to be there, listed there, with my own book -- well, this is a whole new ballgame. It took a while after publishing with Lulu, but finally I can hit my own name, and there's "The Attic".

To all of you who write, who long to publish, who dream of holding your book in your hand -- this is the way to go. It's not for the money - we are not naive - but your book becomes part of the literary world, whether or not anyone chooses to buy it.

I'm reaching an age where I prefer not to see my birth date written down, and I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable at the prospect of becoming a sweet, doddery, old lady, chatting people up at the bus stop, claiming to be a writer, but who had never published. Damn it, that wasn't going to happen to me.

And don't let it happen to you (assuming you are a woman - otherwise replace "lady" with "codger").

If you want fame and glory, then good luck with that. If you want to get rich, become a banker. But if you simply want to know that your words will never fade away...ever... then self-publish. Worry about the fame, glory and money later. It could happen. (In my case, probably post-mortem.)

So Amazon is no longer just a place for me to spend my money, or to research, but has become the safety deposit box for my book, along with the other three, when I process them.

Who knows, even Australia's Fishpond  could list it some day.

And to my dear reviewers, at both book sites, my deepest thanks. At least I know someone's read it...