I needed the body double, because as I’ve already mentioned, I have been putting in a lot of behind the scenes work on a fiction blogging project with another writer, Tolu. I’ve collaborated with people in the past – with Emma on Sh and with a heap of other writers on the Beat The Dust What’s So Special About Kansas Story.
I am generally not a team player, and I prefer to do things alone. When I’ve set out to make writing with other people, I’ve chosen to do it people who have a similar style or outlook to me – Emma and I are both librarians and I think our stories are in the same family too. According to Melissa Man, who gathered the writers for the Lit Jam, we’re all ‘off beat’.
Sarah Hymas at Flax Books commissioned me and Tolu to do this project and was clear from the beginning that she wanted to connect two writers from different cultures. Tolu’s in Sweden now, but he comes from Lagos. He brings travel, photography, experience in writing journalism and YA fiction. He’s got a few languages under his belt. I have been off this island twice in twenty six years, speak nothing but English and write stories and novels for adults. I’m still waiting for our first falling out but I think we both like the work we’re doing.
And it is going well. Emails have been flying backwards and forwards. We have our two main characters, a shadow of a plot and we’re working on photographs for the blog and the publicity material right now. Duncan Cheshire isn’t going to be my only body double. There are going to be armies of deputy Jenns colonising the internet, planning murders, painting fingernails and stealing other people’s stories soon. You’ve been warned…
The blog is going to be launched at the close of the Lancaster Literature Festival: Litfest08. I’ll be writing bits and pieces here before then letting you know how I’ve been getting on.