Mary's musings

Mary Hoffman, author of over 90 children's books, including the Stravaganza series and Amazing Grace, has begun a web journal which will be updated roughly once a week. You can read more on

Monday, January 31, 2005

All about flowers

I think I didn't write my last entry very carefully! It is the Bargello in Florence, of course. All respect to it and its city.

Anyway, the big news is that City of Flowers has arrived! Two beautiful finished copies in their red marbled, silver fleur-de-lys-sprinkled jackets. It is chunky but not substantially thicker than Stars, in spite of being 30 or 40 pages longer. And there were nice ads to show it off in the Bookseller and elsewhere.

Isn't it mysterious how there is a solid book to hold several years after the idea for it? Wouldn't it be interesting if you could start from the finished book?

I'm inclined to count my blessings, having just finished writing up the results of a survey I did on the earnings of children's writers and illustrators. 29% were making £5,000 or less per year. Only about 17% earn more than £30K. A Publicity Director at a publishing house makes over £37K. It is topsy-turvy world where the promoter makes more than the creator. Perhaps they would like to start from the finished book?

We have been to see the snowdrops at Burford Priory - great drifts of them under the trees and on the river banks. You can't normally visit the Priory so it was intriguing to see inside: a log-fire in the huge stone fireplace in the entrance hall where we had tea and homemade cakes. How very Cotswolds! It was lovely and we hope to do it all over again next weekend with different vistors.

I have now seen the extended Return of the King and think that Peter Jackson should have left the Saruman scene in. And the Houses of Healing. We could have had one fewer scene each of Gothmog (the Orc with the pink cauliflower excrescences) and Frodo Sam and Gollum toiling through the rocks of Mordor.