Tuesday, 23 June 2009

DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME?

Great song. Mid 90s, I think.

Today’s research (er-hum) took me to this 16th Century pub in Chagford, a picturesque village in the middle of Dartmoor. I then remembered reading somewhere that one of my favourite writers lives there, and in a moment of puerile veneration, I imagined him walking in, sipping a pint of ale and discussing the delights of the short story. He didn’t, but the beer was nice anyway. Then, round the corner, I found a wonderful independent bookshop. Its fiction section was modest but I still presumed I’d find a signed copy of one of his collections, a novel or two. I didn’t. Perhaps he likes a low profile. Perhaps he runs the village fete in total anonymity, locals unaware the greatest living short story writer is in their midst.

I was about to demand an explanation for the absence, when I saw this, an anthology with one of my stories in, which isn’t quite the same as the First Time you see your book for sale by accident, but it felt near enough. Two entire copies. I then looked even harder for a WT, which if found, would have surreptitiously been placed next to mine.

Pub-based research is tough but somebody’s gotta do it.

5 comments:

Barb said...

It's good of you to put yourself out like this, Tom. I know you really wanted to be indoors writing, but that research just has to be done.

TOM J VOWLER said...

Indeed, Barb. :)

Lisa said...

I'm a huge fan of pub-based research. I also rather enjoy writing first drafts in sunny beer gardens (to link in with your previous post).

As a Devon girl I am ashamed to admit this, but I'm never quite sure how to pronounce Chagford...

TOM J VOWLER said...

I think the pronunciation becomes easier the more time you spend in its pub, Lisa.

Tania Hershman said...

Good tip, I have a pub scene in my Big Project Next Book thing, absolutely must ensure that it's authentic. None of this making stuff up :) Congrats on finding Riptide, what a thrill. Maybe WT has read it??!