Even though I have been silent, I have been busy. In terms of brand new work I am about half way through a novel called The Truants. This is a novel based on travels in the Baltic region of the old East Germany, much more evocatively named Pomerania. The centrepiece of the piece is the island of Rügen. The source material for the book is as various as the characters: H G Wells, Amber Reeves, Elizabeth von Arnim, Casper David Friedrich, Goethe, Coleridge and others. It is a challenging book and I’m enjoying trying to understand it.
In terms of the major task of seeing all my novels published, I have revisited an early work Cling. In many ways, this book represented a break-through novel for me. It attracted serious interest from a major literary agency, went the rounds of the publishers, was highly praised by some very distinguished readers but not quite right, it seemed, but no one ever said why. With the help of my publisher and other canny readers, I welcomed the opportunity to revisit and completely rearrange the book. Apart from its structure, I have been able to tweak the prose and use the experience of two decades of writing, during which another half a million words have passed onto the page. The result of this endeavour is Of Love and Gravity.
The response to the new work has been very positive. I hope it will prove a fascinating and absorbing read. The book is set on the tiny Hebridean islands of Colonsay and Oronsay. To my great delight we will be starting the book off there. Christa and Kevin Byrne run a tiny bookshop on Colonsay. It is also the home of the House of Lochar publishing company that has some eighty titles to its name. I will be reading from Of Love and Gravity at the Scalasaig bookshop on Saturday, May 12th at 2pm. The island is remote but full. I took the last room in the hotel and that was booked last year so I can only invite you in spirit – which is likely to be a bottle of Jura distilled on the neighbouring island – a place featured in the novel and where George Orwell wrote 1984. He was well liked on Colonsay and is remembered in regular tots of his island’s whisky.
To my great delight I will be reading at the Derby Book Festival. Liz Fothergill and Andrew Flack have been so supportive of my work and invited me to offer a themed event rather than focus just on Of Love and Gravity. The title is: Being There – a sense of place in the writings of G J Martin. I will choose extracts from several books. The event takes place on Tuesday, June 5th at 2pm in the Quad. You can find the details in the Derby Book Festival programme.
Dan Donson remains a good friend and champion of my work so we hope to have a launch of Of Love and Gravity at Waterstones in Nottingham on Tuesday September 18th at 6pm. The date will to be confirmed later.