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

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Georgia on my mind

I've been back from Atlanta for nearly two weeks and walked straight into having to help organise another trip to Italy, in July. We'll only just be back from Siena and five days later I'll be setting off to Florence again.It's a tough job but someone has to do it.

Then it was Guardian judging and it took a while to get back into Troubadour. But I'm now half-way through the last chapter and it's looking promising for submission at the end of next week.

Everything went well at IRA and I signed lots of books and traded on the novelty of my English accent. It was very good to meet my new editor at Penguin and spend some time with her; she came to the two schools with me, which were way out in the countryside. They were very clean and attractively decorated State schools, with extremely polite and well-behaved children. One little boy wanted his poster of Princess Grace signed, even though it was all pink and girly!

I found it a strange city - very spread out without any coherent centre. Everyone was in a car (the public transport is sketchy) and I had to go everywhere by taxi. I did visit its Aquarium and admired the two Beluga whales. But I think Atlanta must have a huge carbon footprint.

Guardian judging was fun and it's a pity I can't say anything about it,except that it was good to meet Mal Peet and Jenny Valentine, the other two judges. Jenny's book Finding Violet Park, won the award last year and I had just read it and thought it very good.

I spent the weekend writing new material for the re-vamped Stravaganza website; it's so peculiar to keep wrenching one's head round from one book to another.

We went to a party in London on Sunday. Only one "You could be the next J.K.Rowling" - must be losing my touch. I heard lots of Chopin, though I did NOT like the box piano or even Chopin's own. I think he would be very happy to hear his works played on a modern instrument.

I saw Midsomer Murders on TV, which I quite enjoy - especially the theramin - but I don't think it's any good. John Nettles and his screen wife look as if they've both been Botoxed and the plot lines are absurd. But I've given up Doctor Who and ER so occasionally want something distracting.


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