Dearest child, I can’t recall your name (the consequence of a chaotic mind?)

Dearest child, I can’t recall your name (the consequence of a chaotic mind?)

It’s not an uncommon condition. Anomic or nominal aphasia, apparently. Problems with name retrieval. Or anomia, problems recalling any word. Ah, yes, that happens too, occasionally.

Ironic that there are three names for the condition, and that I probably won’t remember any of them when I’ve finished writing this post.

C’est la vie. Whatever it’s called, I’ve got it. I run through a telephone directory before I hit on the right name for whichever member of my family I’m trying to holler. I might chuck in the names of the dogs, the horses, distant acquaintances (and, all too often these days, the name of a character in the novel I’m writing). My children have learnt to forewarn new partners that mother will refer to them by someone else’s name. In my defence, the name I use isn’t always that of one of their exes, but anomia has no decency filter.

When recalling the stars of TV or screen, Google is my friend. I can quickly locate the cast list for any film or drama. Now, what was the name of that blasted film? Pop stars, and who-sung-that? No point in looking to me for your answer, as many a pub quiz has proven.

Where we stayed on holiday will be ‘that little town/harbour/resort in the north/east/west/south’ and as a writer, I live in perpetual fear of being asked to name my favourite authors. Or what they wrote, come to that.

Apparently, it’s something to do with the way your synapses fire (or fail to fire in my case) and it frustrates me because I consider myself to be reasonably intelligent. I can recall many facts of less importance than the name of the person I’m talking to. My history teacher might have disputed my self-awarded IQ, but you tell me how it’s possible to correctly order the monarchs of England if you can’t remember their names. I wasn’t getting the dates wrong, you see.

When I speak, as an author, about my writing, I sometimes recount a funny story about how I changed one of my character’s names halfway through the manuscript (and the beta reading friend who sent me a text asking who the f**k is Ethan?).  It always gets a laugh, (or is it a scornful titter?) and I thought it was amusing too… until the second novel came back from the editor with TWO character name changes, and one poor soul with THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.

I’m afraid that’s what happens when you become part of my family.

Thank goodness for proofreaders. And thank you for reading, mary/jane/ben/tom… whoever you are. Please don’t take it personally, I’ve got a chaotic mind and I am synaptically challenged.

Talking about my book…

Talking about my book…

That is what I have to do now. Blog tours, author interviews and a couple of local speaking/signing events lurk on my horizon. I will have to talk out loud, in front of people. Yikes.

Numerous niggles are harrying my mind. The blog tour sounds fine; I can sit at my computer, happy in my space, editing and re-editing my words as often as I like before I send them out. Viewers can glance at my post and move swiftly on, or they can read every sentence. I cannot be offended because I will never know which of those actions they have taken (unless they drop a comment or a reassuring ‘like’ – lovely gifts from cyberspace which let you know you have actually connected).

My issue with author interviews is that I’m not sure I’m getting the answers right. This belief is confirmed when I read the interviews of proper, grown up authors. Those familiar with my blog will surely remember that my response to a straightforward query about my favourite books resulted in total brain freeze. (I felt only empathy for Natalie Bennett after that train crash of a radio interview). Also I did not study journalism at the University of Brilliant, I cannot quote Shakespeare (at least not knowingly), I have never written for the National Shout it Out, and there are zero awards to my name.

My author bio is a desperate little paragraph with few writer credentials, and zero proof of wordsmithery:

Left school at 16 ( I couldn’t wait to get out). Worked with horses. Got married, had kids, wrote a book.

There is more of course, but little of relevance. Various eclectic jobs, study and hobbies. You’re taking a gamble on me as an author, but hey, live dangerously. Oh, I’ve just remembered, I won the poetry contest at our village fete – for three years on the run! How the hell did I miss that out? They even gave me a cup (it had to be given back at the end of the year, of course). My poem about the Queen’s Jubilee was an absolute cracker. I would love to share it with you here but it is sadly lost in the mist of obsolete PCs.

Now the book, I can talk about, as friends will verify (whilst rolling their eyes to the heavens). Here are some great sample questions on author interviews which I can’t wait to get my teeth into:

Describe your hero in five words” – Hunky, bloody gorgeous. Bit of a sod. (Oops that’s seven)

Was your novel inspired by real life events?” – No! But no one believes me (mates who have read it are eyeing the Farmer in very different light). Some of the horses and dogs existed in real life…does that count?

“Can you remember where you first saw your book on the shelves” – I can promise you I.WILL.REMEMBER.THAT. When it happens.

And now the biggest Frog – PUBLIC SPEAKING. I’ve yet to find out if I can pull this off without my voice going weird and squeaky. I used to read the lesson in church as a child. That didn’t bother me. In my twenties and thirties I became adept at lecturing my offspring. Do either of those qualify as public speaking? I have hollered across a windy field whilst teaching people to ride, so I know the voice can carry when it wants to.

Luckily I have two secret weapons in my armoury.

  1. The lovely, helpful people on the “Alliance of Independent Authors” Facebook group, who have been amazingly generous with hints and tips.
  2. Gin and tonic.

Wish me luck.