Book Ends, Episode 10: Rae Earl

And just like that, we’re on Episode 10 of Book Ends! I had every intention of it being more regular than this but I’m happy we’re still churning them out as the literary world proves to be a goldmine of interesting and inspiring people to chat to.

Rae Earl

The special guest for this episode is Rae Earl, author of My Mad Fat Teenage Diary, which became an acclaimed TV series, My Mad Fat Diary, earlier this year on E4 (the book is now referred to as My Mad Fat Diary too).

The book is a collection of the journals Rae kept the year she turned 17 – it was 1989, the Berlin Wall was still up, Charles and Di were still together and Rae herself had just been released from a psychiatric ward, suffering from extreme anxiety, self-harm and OCD. There was very little known about, or services available for, adolescent mental health at that time and often teenagers suffering from mental illnesses were lumped in with the adults, as Rae was.

Sharon Rooney as Rae Earl in My Mad Fat Diary. Photograph: Channel 4/PA via The Guardian

As well as this to deal with was her mum’s new Moroccan bodybuilder boyfriend, constant dodging of the neighbourhood bullies (aka The Green Lane Twats) and a perpetual quest to shift some of her 14 ½ stone from her “five foot stumpy four” frame. Writing became Rae’s therapy and her journals recorded all the details of that tumultuous year.

Sharon Rooney as Rae Earl in My Mad Fat Diary, E4

Over a decade later, working as a broadcaster and married to a very lovely Aussie bloke, Rae was about to throw the diaries out when her husband noticed the pile of dog-eared notebooks and asked what they were. He encouraged her not only to keep them but to share some of the (less naughty!) content on their radio show. The response she got from their listeners motivated Rae to collate and publish the journals as My Mad Fat Teenage Diary. In the book’s introduction, Rae poignantly states:

“Everything I’ve written is true. I’ve changed people’s names but they all existed. (One person is actually a mixture of three people: Bethany – she’s three girls rolled into one. There is never just one bitch in a fat, mad girl’s life.) I’ve taken some liberties with time, but everything happened. Every word. I’m sharing it because these days it makes me laugh – and because I still see fat girls everywhere labelled as ‘bubbly with a nice personality’. And I suppose I want to tell them (and everyone else) that in the end it’s all OK. You can be fat and nuts and a virgin when you are 17 – and things can still turn out OK.”

Rae is also the author of OMG! Is This Actually My Life? Hattie Moore’s Unbelievable Year, a YA fictional diary set in the present day, published earlier this year.

In a bizarre coincidence, Rae now happens to live in my hometown and has become a close family friend. So on a recent trip back to Australia I popped round for a coffee and Rae graciously agreed to be this episode’s guest.

Rae and I in her living room, looking at her books!

Rae and I in her living room, looking at her books!

In this magnum opus of an interview, Rae shares the process of turning a personal diary into a book for all the world to read; the response to it; the events that inspired it; the surreal-ness of seeing someone playing YOU in a TV show; hidden phallus projections in English literature; and of course her tips and advice for budding young writers. She even reads excerpts from her two books – we begin with Mad Fat Diary and there’s an excerpt of Hattie Moore at 22:24. I must apologise for being unable to stifle a giggle at some point, listen out for it.

“The teenage experience goes across all generations….it could be set in 2247 and it would still work. The point is not the era, it’s the subject matter.” – Rae Earl in this interview

And like Hattie, I totally got the teasing about having the surname Moore. I even gave Rae a few more (no pun intended) to use in future Hattie stories 🙂

I got to see Rae’s writing shed too. It was as awesome as it sounds.

Where the magic happens....

Where the magic happens….

Rae and I in the shed...not much room to move. And cold, hence the blanket ;)

Rae and I in the shed…not much room to move. And cold, hence the blanket 😉

Thank you Rae for a wonderful few hours in your home, for the milk chocolate McVities and for being the most hilarious Book Ends guest I’ve had so far!

Thank you Tom (who makes his first Book Ends appearance in this episode too) for being the patient genius audio producer that you are.

And thank YOU for listening and reading and following Book Ends! I hope you enjoy this episode – it was thoroughly enjoyable to put together.

You can listen to the podcast here:

Or you can download it in iTunes 

Or download the file separately to your computer.

Guests

Rae Earl
British writer

Publications mentioned

My Mad Fat Teenage Diary (now released as My Mad Fat Diary) by Rae Earl (Hodder)

OMG! Is This Actually My Life? Hattie Moore’s Unbelievable Year by Rae Earl (Walker)

What a Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe (Penguin)

The Turn of The Screw by Henry James (Oxford Paperbacks)

Mister Men by Roger Hargreaves (Price Stern Sloan)

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend (Puffin)

1984 by George Orwell (Penguin Classics)

“This Be The Verse” by Philip Larkin (poem)

My Mad Fat Diary E4 web site

Credits

Presenter
Philippa Moore
Producer
Tom Schoon 
Music
‘I Want A Dog’ by The Pet Shop Boys (buy on iTunes)
‘Babies’ by Pulp (buy on iTunes)
‘David’s Last Summer’ by Pulp (buy on iTunes)

Keep buggering on…..the latest from Book Ends

Keep buggering on

Some motivational signs in Rae Earl’s writing shed. Yes, that’s right. I was in her shed!

It’s been a while between drinks over here at Book Ends, hasn’t it?

A LOT has gone on behind the scenes though.

I’ve been rewriting my own novel, following some excellent feedback from two agents. The air is prickling with possibility. But I have had my moments of Absolutely. Freaking. Out. However, I read this brilliant thing yesterday and am attacking the MS again with renewed vigour.

It’s getting there. Slowly.

I also have recorded two episodes for the podcast on my recent trip to Australia, which will be available very soon.  I interviewed the awesome and hilarious Rae Earl, author of My Mad Fat Teenage Diary, who now lives in my home town; and Ramona Koval, writer, broadcaster and one of Australia’s most respected literary journalists….and, truth be told, the reason I started this podcast in the first place.  Sitting opposite her, with my mp3 recorder between us, sipping Greek mountain tea on a wintry Melbourne day, was one of those pinch-yourself moments.

I am thrilled with both interviews and can’t wait to share them with you.

I have also lined up some more exciting guests who will be subject to my interrogation very soon – including Gemma Burgess, who will feature on here tomorrow with a written interview to celebrate the UK publication of her latest book, Brooklyn Girls.

It’s all good in the hood in these parts, so do stay tuned!

– PM

Book Ends, Episode 9: Adrian Teal

Welcome to another episode of Book Ends, the podcast for writers and book lovers. This episode is a rather momentous one…..not only is the guest the first cartoonist on the show…..but he’s also the first bloke on the programme too!

atealavatar

Adrian Teal

In this episode, I am in conversation with cartoonist Adrian Teal, author of The Gin Lane Gazette, which was a successful crowd-funded project for independent publisher Unbound.  It was printed in hardback for supporters of the project at the end of 2012 and the trade edition has just been launched in UK book stores this week.

GINLANE_TRADE

Ade has been drawing caricatures for as long as he can remember and learned the craft in the workshop of Spitting Image, a satirical puppet show shown on television from 1984 to 1996.  Always interested in the eighteenth-century thanks to an early obsession with the film The Bounty and mutineer Fletcher Christian, Ade worked as a political cartoonist for newspapers and then for historical publications until he came up with the idea for a fictional Georgian tabloid using real life events and figures.  The result is the very funny and clever Gin Lane Gazette, which Ade describes as “an eighteenth-century version of Heat magazine” full of eccentric larger-than-life personalities, scandal and gossip….and all of them are true stories.

“You can stick a pin anywhere you like in the eighteenth-century and you will find wonderful, engrossing, weird, scandalous, sexy stuff…it’s everywhere.” – Adrian Teal in this interview

baboon

“Of The Earl of Sandwich, attack’d by Mr John Wilkes’s Baboon”

gypsywife

“An Account of Mr. George Hanger’s Abandonment by his Gypsy Wife”

handelpic

“The Unassuageable Gluttony of Mr. Handel Reveal’d”

xmastree

“Of Her Majesty The Queen’s Curious Christmas-Tree”

You can hear all of the above hilarious true tales in the podcast!

On the road to publication, Ade’s brilliant book hit a few roadblocks when he approached mainstream publishers – he was told his idea was too risky and quirky for their lists – but his answer eventually came in the form of crowd-funding his book with independent publishing company Unbound.

“Crowd-funding and subscription publishing is actually a very eighteenth-century concept,” Ade explains.  “Authors would get enough  people to order advance copies of their book and once they had enough, the book got printed.  Unbound is now doing the same thing for the internet-age.”

As with all Unbound projects, Gin Lane Gazette supporters were able to choose from varying levels of pledges – £20 got you a first-edition hardback copy of the book, £85 got you a signed copy of the book and your likeness appearing in its pages.  In fact, I spotted a few familiar faces!  It’s a great way of bringing readers and authors together and getting readers more involved in the publication process where they can make a visible and meaningful contribution to a book they really want to see in print.

In this interview, in addition to sharing the journey of The Gin Lane Gazette, Ade shares some advice and tricks of the trade for budding caricaturists (he uses and recommends Edding 1800 Profipens) and the typical working day of a cartoonist.

And will there be a Gin Lane Gazette II?  Listen to the interview to find out!

You can listen to the podcast here:

Or you can download it in iTunes 

Or download the file separately to your computer.

Ade also has some upcoming Gin Lane Gazette appearances so if you’re keen to meet him and hear more about eighteenth-century scandals and oddities, you can catch him at one of the following:

9 April 2013 at Danson House, Bexleyheath, Kent

15 April 2013 at Benjamin Franklin House, London (free event)

Many thanks to Ade for giving up an afternoon to chat with me and also to the staff at the Cowper and Newton Museum in the charming village of Olney, Buckinghamshire, who kindly let us record the interview on location.  Being the home of eighteenth-century poet William Cowper it was most fortuitous and appropriate!

Guests

Adrian Teal
British cartoonist, writer and eighteenth-century enthusiast

Publications mentioned

The Gin Lane Gazette by Adrian Teal (Unbound)

The Age of Scandal by T.H White (Penguin)

The Bounty (film) (1984) directed by Roger Donaldson (Scanbox Entertainment)

The QI Annual 2009 (Ade did the front cover of this issue)

The Big Story (short film) (1994) by David Stoten and Tim Watts

Credits

Presenter
Philippa Moore
Producer
Tom Schoon 
Music
Concerto grosso Op.3 No.6 in D Major 1.Vivace 2. Allegro and
Concerto grosso Op.6 No.6 in G Minor 3. Musette(Larghetto) 4. Allegro  both by Georg Friedrich Handel
All images from The Gin Lane Gazette are copyright Adrian Teal and used with permission.

Book Ends, Episode 8: Pippa Kendrick

Welcome to another episode of Book Ends, the podcast for writers and book lovers.  This episode may be the most delicious yet….it’s all about cookbooks and food writing.  If you’ve ever wanted to write a cookbook you won’t want to miss this!

In this episode, I am in conversation with cook and food writer Pippa Kendrick, author of The Intolerant Gourmet, which was named as one of The Times Top 40 Cookbooks of The Year in 2012.

The Intolerant Gourmet

After becoming seriously ill in her early twenties with complications from undiagnosed food allergies, passionate food lover Pippa began to look for ways she could adjust to her new way of life without compromising her enjoyment of food and eating.  Always a keen writer, Pippa began a food blog, also called The Intolerant Gourmet, as she explored this new terrain of allergy-friendly cooking and discovered there were many like her, daunted by what seemed to be a bland, unpalatable and unexciting but necessary way to eat.  Pippa’s zest and passion changed all that!

Pippa Kendrick

Pippa Kendrick (photo courtesy of theintolerantgourmet.com)

Pippa’s revolutionary and deservedly popular approach to indulgent, exciting and sumptuous allergy-friendly cooking has won her many fans and resulted in her first cookbook, The Intolerant Gourmet, being published last year.

In this episode, Pippa shares the journey of The Intolerant Gourmet with me, from the proposal and agent-hunting stage, through to production and finally publication.  She also shares her writing (and cooking!) routine.  There are many wonderful nuggets of inspiration in this conversation but I found this one particularly memorable:

“(Book publishing) is such a tough competitive market….if you don’t know your own potential  it will be harder for other people to see it.  Do yourself a favour and make yourself as marketable as possible.  Remember they (agents and publishers) won’t read your submission twice!”

You can listen to the podcast here:

Or you can download it in iTunes 

Or download the file separately to your computer.

Many thanks to Pippa for her time in giving the interview, and do go and check out her website for more delicious recipe inspiration, including her favourite, Bakewell Tart!

“A great book tells you something you already knew but that you hadn’t said out loud.” – Pippa Kendrick, in this interview

Guests

Pippa Kendrick
British cook and food writer

Publications mentioned

The Intolerant Gourmet by Pippa Kendrick (Collins)

Full of Flavour: Create…How To Think Like A Chef by Maria Elia (Kyle Books)

Alice’s Cookbook by Alice Hart (Quadrille Publishing)

Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Sami Tamimi and Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury Press)

Miss Smilla’s Feeling For Snow by Peter Hoeg (Vintage)

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L James (Arrow)

Credits

Presenter
Philippa Moore
Producer
Tom Schoon 

Book Ends, Episode 5: Stella Newman

Welcome to another episode of Book Ends, the podcast for writers and book lovers. I am thrilled to welcome Stella Newman as today’s guest.

Stella’s first novel, Pear Shaped, is a tale that will make you laugh, probably make you hungry as it’s filled with delicious descriptions of food (!), but it might also make you wince with recognition too if you’ve ever had your heart broken by someone who, in hindsight, really wasn’t worth it. Described as achingly funny, searingly honest, sharp and sweet….Pear Shaped is very much like the author herself.  And not only is the novel compulsive reading – I read it in one afternoon – but it’s also a bit of a foodie’s guide to London (and New York too) in disguise.  I blame this book entirely for introducing me to Compost Cookies.

You can listen to the podcast here:

Or you can download it in iTunes 

Or download the file separately to your computer.

UPDATE 9/12/12: You can listen to this episode via SoundCloud too as the above options aren’t working at the moment!

 

I hope you enjoy listening to our very abridged chat!  Thank you again to Stella for having me around for tea, cookies and eventually wine…and of course my wonderful audio producer Tom for turning our three hour conversation into a far more reasonable forty odd minutes.

If you’d like to know more about Stella and her work she keeps a number of blogs – one of which features her editor’s recipe for the best ever brownies.

Guests

Stella Newman
British writer

Publications mentioned

Pear Shaped by Stella Newman (Avon, Harper Collins)

Take Care of Yourself by Sophie Calle (Actes Sud)

Heartburn by Nora Ephron (Virago)

Credits

Presenter
Philippa Moore
Producer
Tom Schoon 

Book Ends, Episode 2: Lisa Jewell

Welcome to another episode of Book Ends, the podcast for writers and book lovers. I am delighted to welcome Sunday Times best selling author Lisa Jewell as today’s guest.

The author of 10 books, Lisa has had a prolific writing career since the late 1990s when redundancy, a bet with a friend, an admiration for Nick Hornby and “a vague flicker of interest” in writing all combined to set her on the path to becoming one of the most popular authors in the UK.

On today’s episode Lisa talks about her life as a established writer with a lot of inspiring and useful advice, such as:

  • What happens when you run out of ideas?
  • How do you learn to write a book without freaking out?
  • Minimising access to the Internet for maximum writing efficiency!

You can listen to the podcast here:

Or you can download it in iTunes 

Or download the file separately to your computer.

I hope you enjoy this episode and thank you again Lisa for such an inspiring conversation!

Guests

Lisa Jewell
British writer

Publications mentioned

Ralph’s Party by Lisa Jewell (Penguin)

Vince and Joy by Lisa Jewell (Penguin)

After the Party by Lisa Jewell (Penguin)

Before I Met You by Lisa Jewell (Century, Random House)

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby (Penguin)

The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella (Black Swan)

The Writers and Artists Yearbook

Frida (film) directed by Julie Taymor

Credits

Presenter
Philippa Moore
Producer
Tom Schoon