Apr 22

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

So for more than a year I’ve had very little to say about the things I’ve been working on.  I’ve had very little to say on this blog, in emails, at conventions, giving talks, doing readings or just talking to people who are affably curious to know.  Arguably, I’ve had so little to say that I’ve actually said a great deal, since dodging questions can often be harder work than just saying, ‘yes, this’.  However, at roughly the time this post goes live, I should be on the radio saying tonnes about the books I’ve been writing all this time, and the book that’s just been published, and the books yet to come, and since this is so I may as well say now…

I wrote a book called the First Fifteen Lives of Harry August.

To anyone who’s read the Kate Griffin books and has been wondering quite what topsecretprojects1, 2 and 3.1-3.3 are then please accept now my apologies on having taken so long to own up to it, and having had such a thrillingly malicious time in teasing you about it.  The short answer is, topsecretprojects1-3.3 are the collected works of Claire North, a woman who’s name it turns out has an ‘i’ in it, and whose signature, in those books she’s signed thus far, only took three or four attempts before she worked this out for herself.

I owe anyone who’s patiently sat on this blog waiting for some sort of publication news a far longer explanation, and honestly, now that I’m free to do so I will post about the book, about the pseudonym, about the sequels and… well… everything.  However, now, and for the sake of not shooting my mouth off before I can mix my metaphors, I’m going to leave things on an ellipsis and an extract link….


harry august

Permanent link to this article: http://www.kategriffin.net/2014/04/22/the-first-fifteen-lives-of-harry-august/

Apr 18

This gives me joy

It was sent to me by my agent, years ago, and I found it while cleaning up my computer.  It is pure brilliance, and very clearly written by a literary agent…


Permanent link to this article: http://www.kategriffin.net/2014/04/18/this-gives-me-joy/

Apr 16

All Tantalising Will (Nearly) End

Firstly, how do you spell ‘tantalising’?  Hum.  Even though wordpress is flagging it as a spelling error, I think I’ve got it right…

So I’ve been talking for a while about topsecretprojects1-3.3, and the soon-to-be-commenced topsecretproject4, and I’m not gonna lie, while it’s been immensely frustrating not actually naming these things, at the very least I have taken some pleasure from teasing at the expense of… well… pretty much everybody else.  But while my capacity for chaos, merriment, misdirection and downright dodges in the absence of hard information is borderline boundless, even this must end, and within a week of this post going live on my blog, all should finally, finally be revealed.

Therefore!  And in a final spirit of one-last-tease, let me take this opportunity to say that the audiobook of topsecretproject1 is totally awesome.  Although… I found myself being a little hypocritical when I first heard about it.

As a lighting designer, I get a little worried when writers enter a technical rehearsal.  The whole point of theatre is that each production brings something new to a text, regardless how old or new the words are, and the combination of different people in a room will always find something new collectively, that as individuals or in a different group, wouldn’t ever have emerged. The words, ‘I’ll drown my books’ from Prospero’s mouth can be regretful, liberating, empowering, reductive, triumphant or self-destructive, depending on the actor who speaks them and the production that encases them.  However you occasionally can get still-living writers sat in a theatre saying, ‘yes, well, you could say it like that, but that’s not what I imagined’ or ‘well, yes, I see that you have interpreted it this way, but I think that’s wrong’.  At which point directors wince, actors quiver and as a lighting designer, I lock my smile into the attack position and hope no one notices I exist.

Fore-armed with this knowledge, I assumed that I would be far too wise to ever suffer from writer-syndrome myself.  Then I heard about the audiobook and while obviously I whooped with glee, because who wouldn’t, I also found myself wondering… what if it sounds wrong?  Whatever the hell ‘wrong’ means?

Even if I wasn’t a lighting designer, my old AS-Level English teacher would probably berate me furiously for the thought, with her rousing cry of, ‘the writer is dead, long live the reader!’  My ‘wrong’ is no more valid than anyone else who ever goes near the text, and if anything my having written the book means my word should be the last thing anyone trusts.  After all, I am shockingly biased.

All of this theory and introspective angst is marvelously hypothetical, however, since I sat down a few days ago and actually had a listen to the audiobook of topsecretproject1 and was wowed.  Actually properly wowed.  Of course it sounded different from my imagination – of course it did.  But don’t mistake ‘different’ for ‘wrong’.  ‘Different’ was totally frickin’ awesome.  ‘Different’ was a whole something I hadn’t even begun to realise was in the book, a whole richness that frankly, as the scribbler, I’d totally missed.  ‘Different’ was entirely additive, not subtractive.  ‘Different’ rocked my world.

Topsecretproject1 has been optioned for film.  I assume, as always, that it’ll never happen.  As always, I have complete faith in the producers, who are frankly fantastic, as well as having an office above a frozen yoghurt shop which can surely only be a good thing.  As always I consider it emotionally and professionally sensible to not tie your hopes to the film industry.  If it does happen I will celebrate hugely, and whatever the film is, regardless of how different it may be from the book – and I think it’ll have to be pretty different, to be honest, just for narrative reasons – if it’s anything like the audiobook, that’ll be fine.  One of the great joys of a book is that when you read it, it is yours, a world that you can imagine and construct in your head, in your own way, picking out the things that matter most to you.  But in the great quest to overcome writer-angst-syndrome, I think the main lesson I’ve taken from listening to topsecretproject1 is that as having someone else interpret these things can also be wonderful, since it adds a whole other way of looking, that simply might not have occurred to you.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.kategriffin.net/2014/04/16/all-tantalising-will-nearly-end/

Apr 12

Three Years a Lighting Designer

I have now been a theatre lighting designer for three years and… oooh… six months, give or take.  I say ‘I have been’ but in my first secondment out of RADA a large part of the experience was being informed that to even call myself a lighting designer, in my ignorant state, was an offense to the profession, and I should consider myself brash to even consider myself a junior technician.

At the time, and given the manner in which this truth was addressed, I found it utterly disheartening.  Three years later I do see its point.

However, I’m going to take the plunge and say that finally I think I’m at that point where my calling myself an LD does no dishonour to the profession.  I have lit dozens and dozens of shows, of every size and shape.  I’ve fought against site-specific projects in spaces with no power, no equipment, no nothing save a dose of ambition; sat in techs in giant theatres surrounded by teaming crews and wondered just where in the 200-700 range of channels is the single unit I rigged to a ridiculously specific purpose amid the crowd of movers and generic lights.  I’ve learned to program a whole range of desks with names that I fully intend, when I finally get round to writing space opera, to steal for the names of my planets, villains and spaceships.  I’ve become a girl who lights music gigs, despite the fact that my knowledge of popular culture starts to get wobbly around about the treaty of Tsitsa-Torok.  And I guess in the interest of being literal-minded about this, I’ve been accepted as Professional member of the Association of Lighting Designers, although alas the title didn’t come with a secret handshake.  (Although if you ever meet me in a silly mood, ask me how lighting designers shake hands… I know a particularly nerdy joke along those lines…)

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.kategriffin.net/2014/04/12/three-years-a-lighting-designer/

Apr 09

Season of Daffodils

Every year I tend to blog about how beautiful London can be in spring.  Alas, as I write this entry, all of England – not just London – is shrouded in light smog.  A mixture of European and British pollution, combined with dust from the Sahara, means my asthmatic lungs are currently bordering on non-functional.

However!  For the days preceeding this blog, and hopefully in days to come, London has been bursting with cherry blossoms and daffodils.  I’ve blogged about how happy the blossom on the trees make me, but actually, let’s just take this moment to hear it for the plucky daffodil.  Barely a public park, garden patch, community grow box or innocent windowsill has bloomed this spring without a display of daffodil, so much so it’s beginning to look like a weed.  A beautiful, ubiquitous, lovely weed.

Daffodils in London 2014 (4) Daffodils in London 2014 (5) Daffodils in London 2014 (1) Daffodils in London 2014 (2)

Permanent link to this article: http://www.kategriffin.net/2014/04/09/season-of-daffodils/

Apr 06

Adventures in… Northampton?

Let’s not kid ourselves.  Northampton is not the glamorous throbbing heart of the North.  Once it was clearly awesome.  It has a museum dedicated to the history of shoe manufacture, which once it was a centre of, a beautiful guildhall, a nice market and an absolutely lovely theatre.  The rest… well… I’ve seen sexier places.  But!  It is a cliche for a Londoner to bemoan anywhere that isn’t London, and for an inner city girl to bemoan anywhere outside transport zone 3, so in the interest of defying stereotype, let’s look at the good news.

In the centre of town is some really kinda awesome architecture…

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.kategriffin.net/2014/04/06/adventures-in-northampton/

Apr 02

Spring Festival at London Metropolitan Archives

So, the London Metropolitan Archives are having a festival… and I’m going!  I’m going to read books (probably mine) and talk about books (again, still probably mine although you never know, I get easily distracted) on Friday 11th of April 1-2 p.m..


Right now, as I write this post, I am stupidly ill, which makes it hard for me to sell the awesomeness of all the awesome, but for a view on this thing and how much better it is than my paracetamol-addled brain makes it sound, have a closer look here….




… I hope to see some of you there!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.kategriffin.net/2014/04/02/spring-festival-at-london-metropolitan-archives/

Mar 31

Injury Time!

I shouldn’t be so surprised that after 4 episodes of Hamlet on BBC Radio, and 3 hours of listening, Claudius still isn’t dead.

Hamlet in the afternoon has been my background noise while working this week.  There’s something about the woes of a semi-suicidal-insane-Dane that really lifts the day, not least when that moment comes somewhere in Act 3 when I look up from the computer, consider the world around me and conclude that yeap, I probably would just kill the King while he was at his prayers, and worry about what his heels trip at later.  Self confidence, it turns out, is a many-splendoured thing.

Questions are sometimes asked as to what a writer’s average week is like.  I always avoid it, because by definition, the answer is… rather average.  However!  Something of a theme has emerged these last few days, which normally my days lack: I refer of course to pain and suffering.

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.kategriffin.net/2014/03/31/injury-time/

Mar 27

Writing Battles

A very friendly drunk man, learning that I wrote books for my living, once turned to me and exclaimed,

“Christ, I’m writing a book too!  It’s going to be incredible!”

At these words, a polite smile naturally locked itself onto my features.  For 45 minutes I listened as he told me all about his imminently awesome book, before finally he turned round and said,

“… so what do you write about?”

“I’ve just finished topsecretproject3.  One of the hardest bits in it was writing a battle.”

“Jesus, I know, I know!  The sword clashed against each other, the screams of the dying, the axe falls, the cavalry charged, men fought, sweat and blood and the stamp of foot, the trumpet sounds, the drum beats, epic – epic!  That’s the way to do it!”

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.kategriffin.net/2014/03/27/writing-battles/

Mar 24

The Only Fantasy Map…



… is simple and wonderful.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.kategriffin.net/2014/03/24/the-only-fantasy-map/

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