Being something of a Luddite, I never imagined having my own website. I did not feel there was a need for one, when there were several really excellent sites about me and my books.
Even I recommend them to readers who wanted to know more about me. The sites are so good that they are being noticed by outsiders. INIS: The Children’s Books Ireland Magazine, used a screenshot of Obernewtyn.net in an article about the fan fiction phenomena. You can read more about it on the website.
So why would I need my own website? The answer seemed to be, because everyone had one. But why? The fan sites did it all for me. There were times when I learned something I needed to know about my books or awards or reviews from a site, and once, I managed to track down where I was supposed to be giving a speech on a fan site. Their knowledge of my books is encyclopaedic and frankly, it moved me to tears one glum grey day when I was feeling a bit low and cut off from my world, and stumbled on a whole host of warm, personal birthday wishes to me!
And on the rare occasional when I have wanted to contact my readers with news- the fact that in America, The Stone Key would be cut into two books, Wavesong and The Stone Key, as will the last book, The Sending – I wrote to one or another of the sites offering the information either openly or via one of the web masters or mistresses. But for me, the charm of the websites is ultimately that they are readers talking to readers. It was respect for the autonomy of these sites that prevented me using them as a conduit, and my presence there was always disguised because I did not want to inhibit the dialogues. I have also tried very hard to avoid the theorising bout my books, not because I found it tedious, but because the one visit I made to a theories board was so creative and fascinating that it frightened me. It seemed wholly possible to me that I could be influenced and while one might argue that the resulting writing would still be mine, I prefer not to risk it. Ditto fan fiction.
It was the delays in publication of the last book, The Stone Key, that made me realise it was time for a more direct means of communicating with people. At the same time, I did not wish to operate comment boards or any forum which I would then need to oversee, for this would only eat into my writing time (resulting in missed deadlines). Besides which there were wonderful forums being run elsewhere, which I could still have the pleasure of joining from time to time, incognito.
So, I decided on a limited website, run for me, for which I would supply material, and which could be linked to existing fan sites as well as to the Penguin site. Having resisted my own website for so long, I find that I am excited at the thought of opening a new portal in my life.
So what can you expect? I will write a new segment of this running letter once a month in this space, in which I will talk about the weather, politics, movies and ballets I have seen, places I have travelled to, my daughter and her cat, letters I have received, the odd rave about something and of course, I will write about what I am working on, in so far as it can be talked about. There will be no room for comments but feel free to do so, as well as to write to me by snail mail, care of me, PO box 288, Apollo Bay, 3233. But I warn you, my hand writing is horrendous and sometimes it can take a while for me to get back to you, since the letter will then come looking for me.
The site will also offers reviews of books I have read, regular tips for writers, and a list of events at which I will speak or sign books or something I have heard about which I think is worth promoting. There is also be an ever-changing gallery of pictures and photographs, and if you would like to send something in, there is an email address that will be monitored by Webmistress Tina.
Of course, I will also tell you about anything new that is to be published, and you can be sure that when something is close to coming out, I will tell you, though the official news will also be announced at the Penguin site. In this first letter, I can tell you that I have written a small book, which will allow me to draw in ink as I have done in the Little Fur books, and the next big book that comes out will be The Sending, which I am working on right now. For that reason you can imagine that the Obernewtyn characters will be making appearances in various letters, though I will restrain myself from actually revealing anything that is to come. What I can say about the characters is that I have been asked to write a short story set in this world, from some point of view other than Elspeth’s, and although that project is some way off, I am really excited at the idea of a glimpse of some other mind entirely- whose, I have yet to decide. No doubt it will come to me as I work on The Sending.
For those who are awaiting Darkbane, I apologise for the long delay. I am punished by having to wait who knows how long for the final George RR Martin book, and for various other writers. But I have not forgotten Glynn and Ember and rest assured, they are waiting eagerly in the wings. There are other projects which are also coming alone little by little, backstage, which will burst into the light from time to time, and I will announce them, too.
There will be more to come on the site, as time goes by. I have lots of ideas, but for now, welcome to my little corner of cyber space, and please, visit the other sites, too. I often do!