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Amsterdam, Writing

Out today… The House of Dolls

Vos headerToday I start a new phase in this long career with the launch of the first new series since the Costa books began with A Season for the Dead more than a decade ago.

The House of Dolls is the debut book for Pieter Vos, an Amsterdammer living in a houseboat on the Prinsengracht canal. It’s out now from Pan Macmillan and will be published in Dutch by Boekerij in June. I’m  delighted to say it’s also being bought for European TV by one of the largest media companies in Europe… of which more later.

You can read more about the book here. There’s an extensive post with photos on the video and background here. And if you have an iPad you can download a free background multimedia book on the series here.

Next year’s instalment in the series is now being edited. More Pieter Vos and co on the way. My thanks to all my colleagues in Pan Macmillan in London and at Boekerij in Amsterdam, particularly my ever-helpful editor Rienk Tychon for his local insights.

The English edition will be launched at the Amsterdam Book Centre on April 25. I’ll be back in Amsterdam for the Dutch edition at the end of May… more later on that.

 

Writing

Today’s conversation with someone about a Dyson vacuum cleaner

INT. OFFICE - AFTERNOON

DAVID sits at a desk staring at a screen, almost ready to type. The phone rings. He answers.

KERRY (O.S.)

(bright young English voice)

Hello. It’s Kerry here from (NAME INDISTINGUISHABLE). I’m ringing about your Dyson vacuum cleaner. The service contract’s due.

A long pause. O.S behind the phone call we become aware of various squawks from what sounds like a hectic call centre.

DAVID

Which one?

KERRY

(excited)

How many do you have?

DAVID

Let me go and check. This may take a while.

David checks his email. Opens a couple of documents. Yawns.

DAVID (CONT’D)

Only two. I thought we had more than that but I suspect the family’s nabbed a couple over the years.

KERRY

We need to know the models to make you get the right contract.

DAVID

I’ll need to look again.

KERRY

Sorry about that. I can wait.

David goes and gets a glass of water then returns.

DAVID

We’ve got a version 3. Maybe a 3S. I don’t know how you tell. And an Air.

KERRY

Not sure I’ve got them on my system.

DAVID

Well that’s what we’ve got. An iPad 3. And an iPad Air. Not sure they’re really old enough to need a service contract…

KERRY

iPads?

DAVID

That’s what I said. A version 3. And an iPad Air…

KERRY

I was talking about Dyson Vacuum Cleaners. Not iPads.

A long pause.

DAVID

I don’t think so. I definitely heard the word iPad in there somewhere.

KERRY

Dyson! Dyson!

DAVID

I know my hearing’s not been so good since that incident with the Q-Tip but… sounded very like iPad to me.

KERRY

This is about service contracts for Dyson Vacuum cleaners.

DAVID

Not iPads?

KERRY

No! Dyson Vacuum Cleaners!

DAVID

Well that’s a shame.

KERRY

Why?

DAVID

Because I’ve got an iPad. Two like I said. Dysons… wouldn’t have one of the things in the house. Don’t like ‘em at all. Never touched ‘em…

Another long pause.

KERRY

I could always ask about the iPads…

DAVID

If you think it’s worth it Kerry…

Pause. Line goes dead.

Writing

Today’s conversation with a caller from ‘Microsoft’

INT. OFFICE – MORNING

DAVID sits at a desk staring at a screen, almost ready to type. The phone rings. He answers.

SAMANTHA (O.S.)

(bright young sub-Indian Continent voice)

Hello. This is Samantha from the Microsoft Window Control Centre. To whom do I have the honour of addressing?

DAVID

Batman.

A long pause. O.S behind the phone call we become aware of the loud noise of a busy call centre. It sounds like a bus station in rush hour.

SAMANTHA

Mr Batman…

DAVID

It’s just Batman. No Mr…

Another long pause.

SAMANTHA

Mr Batman… we are ringing to tell you your PC is infected. It’s very important we help you install some software to remedy this…

DAVID

Batman has no infected PCs. He has the power to infect them. But being good he does not use this.

SAMANTHA

(seemingly puzzled)

You must go the website I will give you and install the software there. What’s your email address?

DAVID

Batman’s email address state secret.

SAMANTHA

Are there other PCs in your house?

DAVID

Robin has a PC.

SAMANTHA

Is Robin there?

DAVID

Robin out getting new tyres for Batmobile. Many potholes in Gotham.

Long pause…

SAMANTHA

Is…?

DAVID

Alfred’s here. He’s old.

SAMANTHA

(relieved)

Can I talk to Alfred?

DAVID

Alfred ironing batsuit, Samantha. Not like to be disturbed.

SAMANTHA

It’s very important. Can I talk to a grown-up?

DAVID

Batman go ask.

David leaves desk, goes downstairs. Waters house plants. Empties dishwasher. Makes cup of coffee. Sits in chair with coffee and reads paper. Finally returns to office and picks up phone.

DAVID (cont’d much later)

Samantha? Samantha?

Answer comes there none.

 

Writing

Granada and Eastern Andalucia by David Hewson (book review)

David Hewson:

The internet never forgets… here’s a review of a travel book I wrote 27 years ago when I was skint and desperate for writing work… any writing work…

Originally posted on con jamón spain:

Granada and Eastern Andalucia by David Hewson Like many writers in their early days, David Hewson wasn’t exactly rolling in it. But years later – having turned a popular TV series, The Killing, into a hugely-successful series of novels  – he’s perhaps made, well, a killing. He’s been a journalist (having helped launch The Independent newspaper) and writer for years.

In 1987 David, by his own admission, needed a few bob so traveled around southern Spain and wrote Granada and Eastern Andalucia (he also wrote Seville and Western Andalucia and Mallorca). We bought a copy and love it, including the cute hand-drawn route maps – although the illustrations are poor.

The first 15 pages describe, in a nutshell, the history, geography, architecture and food of the region. The book continues with twelve days of travel by car covering Málaga, Granada, Córdoba, Jaen, Ubeda, Carzorla, Guadix and – much to our delight, but hardly surprising – Las Alpujarras. The…

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