Today was spent making a tough, but necessary decision. I’ve been struggling with the sixth Glasgow Kiss book for two years now. I first started it in the summer of 2019. When I just couldn’t get going on it, I thought that maybe I needed a break from novels after flying through the first five (and the first two Stockholm Murders!) in less than three years. Around that time, I sold a couple of TV projects, so it made perfect sense to focus on those for a while.
Then lockdown happened, which seemed like the perfect opportunity to get stuck back into the book. Which I did, for a while… then I hit another wall and figured it was lockdown brain. I’ve written here before about how keeping creativity afloat whilst in semi-isolation was an uphill battle at best. After a while, I decided fighting it was getting me nowhere, so I put it aside again.
So this summer, with life coming back to life, I was determined to finish it. As you know, Before Again hopped in the way first, but then I swore I would tackle Glasgow Kiss 6 before carrying on with the glorious madness of Kirsty and her vikings. After all, I already half more than half written — it would be a doddle to finish it off!
Except it wasn’t 🤪
So today, I made the rotten decision that I just don’t like the bloody story. It is an interesting concept, it might even be something someday, but in this form it is just not working.
As soon as I made the decision I went for a lovely autumnal walk in Pollok Park and a brilliant solution to that book, and generally the way forward with the series, unfolded in my mind. I’m really excited about what’s coming next for that series (and other books!)… I just need a wee bit more time to make it happen!!
This morning had a fab story conference with the brilliant producer of my audio series. We bashed out season THREE which we will be starting to work on in a couple of weeks. As much as I love to work on my own with some of my books, the buzz of getting to brainstorm with somebody who is just as invested as me is thrilling! I am so excited for the upcoming season — and sorry English speakers won’t get to hear it!
Today was a bit of a bonkers one. I’d bought a ticket for the first A Play, a Pie and a Pint at Oran Mor since lockdown and was happily pootling over to the West End when I realised I’d got the time completely wrong and had missed the first half. I was absolutely gutted, but it was a beautiful warm, sunny day so I decided it was the universe’s way of telling me to sit in the Botanic Gardens with an ice cream. However, just as I sat down, no less than two actors dropped out of my reading that evening, so my poor ice cream melted while I frantically texted with one hand to replace them.
Script readings (or table reads, as they are sometimes called) are one of my favourite things to do. It’s just what it says on the tin, a bunch of lovely actors read from a screenplay in development. It’s fab to do in person, but I’ve done a few over the past year or two on Zoom which works not bad, plus you have the luxury of casting from all over the world. On Wednesday evening, actors Zoomed in from five countries, which was pretty excellent!
Readings are basically the only way to really get an idea if a script is working or not, in my opinion. You can get notes from other writers or from producers, but only by bringing it to life in a tiny way can you can feel when the energy picks up (or doesn’t!). If the actors stumble over the lines it might mean you need to look at your dialogue, or it could mean it’s not clear what the character is thinking or feeling.
Well, two absolute rockstars stepped into the breach last minute and my reading was a DOOZY! It’s a passion project I’ve had in my head for over a decade, so hearing it aloud for the first time, read by such an absolutely stonking cast, was so very thrilling. Lay awake far into the night just grinning to myself!
Had a couple of follow up meetings from the reading in the morning — exciting things are in the air!
Then it was all about preparing for tomorrow’s launch of Fully Fifty-Fifty: Flappers and Feminism. As many of you know, I’ve written about the female pioneers of early Hollywood on and off for years. Getting their stories out is an absolute passion of mine, but, to be real for a moment, the research to get it right is so time-consuming that I literally can’t afford it. In so many ways I am so lucky to get to do what I do full time, but it does mean that sometimes I have to balance out passion with what will let me buy food and shoes and stuff. It’s annoying, but such is life!
So when I read about Substack’s subscriber model, I was so excited and knew it was worth a whirl! I’m going to put the first few weeks out for free then see if I can get enough paying subscribers to justify the time I spend on it… fingers crossed!
And it’s out!! I released the first newsletter, an essay correcting some misogynistic misconceptions about Virginia Rappe on the centenary of her death. Virginia Rappe was at the centre of one of the most explosive court cases of the 1920s — think of the OJ Simpson case in the nineties, except times a billion. On Labor Day 1921 she attended a party at a San Francisco Hotel given by prominent actor Roscoe Arbuckle. Three days later, she was dead. Arbuckle was accused of manslaughter by sexual assault, and his three trials (two ended in a hung jury) gripped the US for months and months. It was the first instance of trial by media and though Arbuckle was acquitted, he never worked in Hollywood again.
Was he an innocent victim of malicious accusations or did he get away with murder? Read on to find out!