Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Red Rock Character Interviews

Good morning Danni, Gracie and Isaac. To start with please tell us about your home and family.

Danni: I live with my Uncle, Robert. He took me in when my parents died. He lives right out in the middle of nowhere. It’s really boring.
Gracie: My father is a businessman, in charge of a major global corporation. There’s only me and him. My mum left when I was small.
Isaac: I live in Italy with my parents and brother, and before you ask, yes I’m Italian.

Where do/did you go to school?

Danni: My parents were journalists and they travelled all over the world. So they packed me off back to England to this horrid boarding school. I hate it there. I’d much rather they had taken me with them!
Gracie: All over the place. Dad moves around a lot so I went to the nearest International School to wherever we happened to be.
Isaac: Yeah, weird that. I’m Italian and I go to school in England. It was my mum’s idea. She’s seriously into all things English. She thought an English education would be better for me so she sent me to this boarding school there. It’s not all bad though. I met Danni and she’s cool.

Who are your best friends?

Danni: My best friend is Isaac. I met him on my first day at that horrid school. He’s the only reason I can bear it there. He’s a real geek mind, but in a cool way.
Gracie: I don’t really have any. Not close ones at any rate. We moved too often so I got used to looking after myself. I make friends wherever I am but I don’t bother keeping in touch when we move away
Isaac: Danni, I just said. She’s at school with me.

What are your ambitions?

Danni: I want to go travelling. I know the world is a dangerous place and it’s not as easy as it used to be to take a gap year and go off backpacking, but I’m not one to let a bit of danger stop me doing anything. Bring it on!
Gracie: Crikey, that’s a tough one. I have absolutely no idea what I want to do, only that I don’t want to join my father’s business which is what he wants me to do.
Isaac: I’m going to write and develop computer games. I’ve already written a couple. Do you want me to show you? We can all play this one. (Fires up computer, gaming commences, rest of interview delayed by several hours.)

What is your favourite food?

Danni: Pasta – cooked by Isaac’s mum. She’s Italian you know.
Gracie: Chocolate. Yeah, I’m a bit of a chocoholic.
Isaac: Anything cooked by anyone other than my mum. Everyone else seems to think her food is great. Not me.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Danni: Hang out with Isaac. Watch films. I love going to the cinema it’s kind of cool and retro. And I love buying hats!
Gracie: I actually like to draw, you know, comedy cartoony stuff. Caricatures of people I know – but I don’t dare let them see them – they’re far from flattering (giggles)
Isaac: Computer games, writing them, playing them. It’s important to play a lot so that I get to know the competition when I set up in business writing my own.

What is your biggest passion?

Danni: Hats. The madder the better. Hats are cool!
Gracie: Shopping. I love shopping for new clothes. And shoes. Man you should see all my shoes.
Isaac: Err, I think I just answered that – computer games.

What annoys you the most?

Danni: People who tell me not to do things. Like teachers.
Gracie: Boys who come on to me when I’m not interested
Isaac: When I can’t play my computer games! Want to see another one? (Gaming recommences)

Thursday, 10 September 2015

A Bit of Blog Housekeeping

Over the years I've posted a lot of writing advice on this blog and much of it is hidden in the archives. So I thought it was time I brought it all together in one place so that other writers who visit this blog can access it easily.

I've created a new page, Tips for Writers, which forms an index and contains links to all the useful writing and submission related posts I have made over the years. I plan to add more advice on here and so this page will be updated.

I have also hosted many wonderful guests, some at the starts of their careers and some who have gone on to be hugely successful. Another new page on the bar above called Guests provides an index linking to all their guest posts and interviews.

I think you might find some of them rather interesting - as well as recognising a few names!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Victorian Gadgetry

During the summer break we took a trip north, and one of the places we visited was Cragside House near Rothbury, Northumberland – and what a fabulous feast of Victorian gadgetry and technology was waiting for us!

The house is stunning, surrounded by a truly amazing rock garden and extensive grounds. It was built by a very successful Victorian industrialist, engineer and inventor Lord Armstrong (inventor of the hydraulic crane) and his touch was all around, even though the astronomical observatory and laboratory were long gone.

Cragside was the first domestic house to be lit using hydroelectric power and to this day electricity is generated on the premises using an Archimedes screw. In the ancient world the Archimedes screw was used to move water uphill, but in this case the action is reversed, the flow of water from the burn being used to turn the screw which in turn runs the generator that provides electric power to the house.

The gadgets and devices inside the house were equally exciting. The house was fitted with a lift which which was controlled by a hydraulic pump and in one of the rooms I found this wonderful example of an early Victorian electric fire.

But my favourite was this – ever the practical man - the kitchen was fitted with a Victorian version of a dishwasher!

Cragside House is owned by the National Trust and well worth a visit if you are ever up that way.