Current news is that my new book is being launched on 19 November 2016, in Bucharest.
That aside, my big problem is that I have more ideas than I could possibly pursue in a lifetime. My little brain spits out ideas like a snow machine, every flake glistening with promise. I exaggerate wildly, but you get the picture. My big problem is not the idea splurges, but the following through and turning them into something useful. That I’m not so good at. But helping people with ideas, that I can do.
I’m also a competent writer, a reasonably engaging teacher, and I make a passable cake.
From the phrasing of the last paragraph, you might twig that I’m English. I hesitate to say anything more self-aggrandising, but I hope others might say it for me.
My name is Arabella McIntyre-Brown; for 20 years I lived in the 2008 European Capital of Culture – Liverpool – and before that in London for a decade. I was born in River, West Sussex, and till I was ten I had a Swallows-and-Amazons existence mucking about in orchards and woods getting wet and muddy and falling out of trees. At 19 I got a job as a dresser at Chichester Festival Theatre where I took a glove back to Ingrid Bergman every night, amongst other delightful tasks. Heady times which gave me a taste for name-dropping.
Then I went up to London. I worked for Byron’s publisher John Murray, and the Arts Council. There was dressing Nigel Hawthorne at the RSC, and dressing assorted singers at English National Opera, and falling in love with opera in the process. Then I tootled off to Athens for a year teaching English and cemented a life-long love of Greece which began when I was seven. After that there was the Transglobe Expedition, a chamberful of barristers, Thames TV, and Camden Lock.
In 1988, tired of London, but not tired of life, I decamped with the cat and the sink plunger to Liverpool for no good reason other than it was love at first sight. No job, nowhere to live, nothing but a conviction that this where it was at. Amazing city, especially in 1988 when it was close to the lowest ebb of its fortunes. Became editor of a business magazine, then two more. Won awards, then quit to write a book. Liverpool: the first 1,000 years outsold everything bar Billy Connolly when it came out at Christmas 2001. It beat Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Ali G and Delia. Unbloodybelievable. I could be seen lurking in Waterstones watching people taking my book off the shelf, and had to fight myself not to bound across the shop and offer to sign it.
Wrote more books, published others. Then my sister, my mother and three other family members died within 14 months, after which I knew that the only sensible thing to do was to move to Transylvania.
Which is where I now live, in a remote village 3,500ft up in the Carpathian Mountains. I have a busy life, feeding the neighbours’ chickens (all the fun, some of the eggs, none of the responsibility), being barged by sheep, nudged by horses, told off by black redstarts, bounced by dogs and managed by cats. Only the cats live chez moi – the rest come visiting because I feed them.
Before I moved out here, I was in deepest Wales for a year, during which I wrote 300,000 words of crime fiction, which won some awards online. I developed the Freemagination workshop, and am nearly ready to publish the book; there’s also a short YA mystery set here in Transylvania in progress. I told you, too many ideas. But they’re all progressing.
And there we are. A steady, carefully-planned career, as you see. But the course of my life, as straight as a springer spaniel’s route through long grass, has given me a saltspoonful of knowledge about a googol of subjects, and the lateral connections are probably what gives me ideas. You are welcome to rummage about in what remains of my brain, and I’ll be delighted to give you all the help and encouragement I can.
Have a rootle through the site, leave comments, point me at resources you’ve discovered, let me know how you’re getting on, and please click the follow button so you keep getting other people’s wise words and my inane witterings. We used to spend family holidays at West Wittering. Can’t remember ever getting to East Wittering. But that’s another story.