‘Hey, you’re into writing, aren’t you?’ Yikes, they think of me as a writer.
‘Fancy writing something for us?’ Me? Me! Course I fancy it, but I’m not going admit it. That’s a sign of desperation.
‘My friends and I want to make a short film.’ A film? Hell, I’ve never even thought about writing for the screen.
‘A horror film.’ Blimey. Well, I’ve watched all the Scream films.
‘We’re on a tight budget.’ So … they want me to do it for nothing?
‘Just a ten-minute film. Set in a high-rise apartment. And we need the script by the end of the month.’ Stunned silence. I have a thesis to finish/a garage to build/a baby that wakes me four times a night.
‘You won’t regret
How do you know?
‘So, are you in?’
Finally, you reply, very nonchalantly:
‘Sure.’ I am trying to be cool. But inside I am wondering what the hell I am letting myself in for.
So, this a long-winded way of saying that at the beginning on December with the
builders moving in to blitz the
kitchen, other workmen due to come and replace several windows the week before Christmas and a load of family due for several days over Christmas, I got that sort of call.
‘Would you like to write a chapter for a new book on Oxford Literary Walks? On P D James? Deadline 1 January, or sooner if you can manage it! And of course, remembering my own advice liberally doled out to my students (and despite not having a clue about P D James’s links with Oxford), I said: ‘Sure’.
So, I searched the internet, contacted my contacts, and before I knew it, I was
discovering all sorts of
interesting links James had with Oxford, and had fun putting my piece on her
together. One thing leads to another – as the saying goes – and I was then
asked to do the same for my own fictional detective (D I Holden) based in
Oxford, and so I did that too. So sometime in March the chances are the book
will be out, and I will have two chapters in it. Detective Inspector Susan
Holden and I will be rubbing shoulders with Morseland and Lyra’s Oxford and
Iris Murdoch and even Laurence of Arabia. And that was all because I said
So, make sure you do that exactly when the opportunity comes knocking on your door. ‘You won’t regret it.’
The Girl Who Stole the Apple (2016)