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

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A sudden change of direction

I have been working on three books simultaneously for some time. They are at different stages: The Falconer's Knot is down to page proofs, American jacket copy and things like maps and acknowledgments. The adult novel is finished and awaiting revisions before it goes off to the agent. And I am researching Troubadour, the next historical novel for Bloomsbury.

Now a fourth and fifth, at least, have been added to the mix. Bloomsbury are offering me a contract for two more Stravaganza titles and they want me to write the first of these next - preferably before Bologna, which is towards the end of next April. So a soon as I have written the proposal for Troubadour and revised the adult novel, I must start researching Padua, which is where the next Stravaganza novel is set, at least in its parallel universe form.

At last I shall be able to give a positive answer to all those fans who write and ask if there will be a fourth book! It's really very exciting but I now have to wrench my head around to starting that new book - there is an outline of course.

Rhiannon and I had a lunch yesterday to celebrate her finishing of Bad Blood and mine of Christina on the Nursery Floor. We then went off to meet the illustrator John Shelley, with his wife and little daughter, in Oxford. John was one of our artists on Lines in the Sand; he has lived in Japan for the last 20 years and is now thinking of moving with his family back to England, with Oxford as top choice.

Last week I got a phone call from another artist who worked on Lines in the Sand - Jeff Perks, who is having an exhibition in Derbyshire next year. Jeff makes one picture a day on the subject of Iraq. The one I bought at the launch is a stark picture of a body on a stretcher, with the words "It's all going according to plan" - as relevant today as it was three and a half years ago.

This week I read Bad Blood by Rhiannon Lassiter (fantastic pscyho-horror story by my daughter), The Making of Me, a collection of autobiographical writing by the late, much-missed Robert Westall. I saw the DVD of The Commitments. Haven't watched this for a while and was struck afresh by what a sad story it is, the band giving their greatest gig the night they break up. I wonder what happened to all those talented singers and musicians and why haven't we seen the actor who played Jimmy Rabbite in anything since? Also saw the satisfying final episode of the TV Jane Eyre; what an earth was the casting director playing at with St. John Rivers? He was supposed to look like a Greek god!


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