|Jessie Burton reading from The Muse|
Last night I was Wimbledon Library to see Jessie Burton, the author of The Miniaturist. Her latest book The Muse was published recently and there was huge pile of them waiting to be bought ready for the book signing afterwards.
I bumped into a friend from my book group and she nudged me as we sat there. She said 'One day this will be you.' I wish! But yes, I do have that dream. In fact at a speakers event at Swanwick Writers' Summer School this year we were encouraged to visualise such things - the feeling you will have on seeing your book on the shelf at Waterstones etc. I do this. I have a whole scenario of pictures in my head!
Anyway, back to last night. Jessie was so interesting to listen to. She is a local girl from Wimbledon (didn't know that) - one of her ex-teachers was in the line for the book signing! She spoke about her first book, how it took off so unexpectedly and her world was rocked, how hard the second book was, especially after the success of The Miniaturist. She talked about themes, how different it was to write both books. She touched on research and methods. I was comforted to hear that her planning was much as mine, confused! Jessie then read from the first chapter of The Muse and spoke about one of the characters. I'm not putting out any spoilers here but her mum was in the audience and basically Jessie used a story her mum told her to start the book because she couldn't get started! Her mum then proceeded to remind her that the scene wasn't quite like that! Mum's we do so enjoying embarrassing our offspring. It was so funny.
There was a period of Q&A and the interviewer insisted one question come from one of the few men who were there (I think they were dragged along by wives on the whole). Coming out of this Jessie told us that she has been commissioned to write a children's book and that the BBC have plans for a drama of The Miniaturist. It's in the very early stages. What Jessie wants now is a year off. It's been a world wind time and she'd just finishing a long book tour and has a holiday to look forward to, Jessie came across as very genuine. Her answers were informative and often funny.
I was soon off to purchase my copy of The Muse and to queue up to get the book signed. What a lovely evening.