I remain committed to my principle of reading whatever the hell I feel like, but I liked the look of this challenge and I think it’s compatible with it. It will be interesting to see what the balance between books from small presses and self-published books ends up looking like. My instinct is that I’ll pay more attention to self-published books, for fear of being bitten by imprints; on the other hand, I’d like to put less business in the way of Amazon this year, and more in the way of independent bookshops.
I’ll be posting brief write-ups on this blog, but if I don’t have anything nice to say about a book I won’t say much at all.
There’s a bingo card:
It would be very poor business practice not to point out that I have two books that are eligible for this challenge.
I can potentially help with the following squares:
- A debut. Speak Its Name was my first book.
- An award winner. It was the first ever self-published book shortlisted for the Betty Trask Prize, and that’s one of those lovely prizes where just being on the shortlist means you come away with an award.
- Book that defies genre. Speak Its Name is LGBT university-set Barchester. A Spoke In The Wheel is… belated coming-of-age? Redemption? Maybe romance, if you look at it sideways? I tend to stick them both under ‘contemporary’ and dodge the question.
- Out of your comfort zone. Depends on where your comfort zone lies, really. You may run screaming from Christian politics, and I really couldn’t blame you. I will say that a lot of reviews of A Spoke In The Wheel have led with ‘I know nothing about cycling, but…’
- LGBTQIA. Both of my books feature queer characters in prominent roles (two bisexuals, a lesbian, and I’m still not sure about Gianna). If you want head-on engagement with the space where faith meets sexual orientation, try Speak Its Name. If you want a happy background f/f relationship, go for A Spoke In The Wheel.
- Marginalised people. See LGBTQIA above, and there’s also Polly in A Spoke In The Wheel, who has a chronic illness.
I also have a short story in Supposed Crimes‘ Upstaged: an anthology of queer women in the performing arts, which is:
There’s only one of me, and I’m a woman, so you could make a case for my being both:
If you’ve never heard of me, I’m:
And, if you’re not from the UK, I’m:
- an author from another country
Finally, of course, there’s the old favourite:
Speak Its Name
A Spoke in the Wheel
Now to see what’s already on my bookshelves that will count towards the challenge… Whatever you’re intending to read, I hope 2019 has many good books in store for you!