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, September 18, 2006

Writers united

The "other SAS" (Scattered Authors Society) had their fifth (or was it sixth?) annual retreat at Charney Bassett the first week in September. I've been to every one, though they usually happen in July. We were blessed by a week of hot and sunny weather and had some extraordinarily good sessions, on editors, ergonomics, writing with or without contracts, reviews, writing historical fiction and whether to get involved in trilogies or series.

I went in a glow of virtue, having finished the penultimate round of Falconer's Knot corrections AND the first full draft of my adult novel. So I was able to get the most out of Charney. We had a literary quiz one evening in which my team ended up being the Five Horsewomen of the Apocalypse, or, as Adele Geras put it, War, Famine, Death, Pestilence and Julia Jarman. We came second to Chris d'Lacey's team but only because he kept looking at our answers, I'm sure. I was very proud of being able to remember that the author of Archie and the Strict Anabaptists was John Betjeman.

We do five-minute reads at the beginning of each session and last year I gave them a snippet of Christina on the Nursery Floor, so it felt really good to tell everyone I had now finished it. I read the opening of The Falconer's Knot and people were very complimentary. But we are a nice bunch.

We do Recommended Reads too and I raved about Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. There was a lot of recommended non-fiction this year, including 1599, a year in the life of William Shakespeare.

I had three hours at home on the Thursday to re-pack for Sweden - and it should have been only two - but that is all for the next post.


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