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Letter From Urbino 6. 'After Rain the Angels come'Roma Tearne for Salem-News.com
In my rain-swept garden, although the Albertine roses that usually cascade against the wall have failed to appear, the foxgloves seem to be withstanding this unseasonal rain.
(LONDON) - So many people have supported this little project of mine that this post can only be dedicated to them. I don't normally write personal pieces but touched by the encouragement and kindness I have received during this year I feel somehow the occasion demands it. For, in spite of all that is written on the curses of the Internet, there remains a curious warmth when an unknown reader follows an unknown writer's blog.
The novelist's lot, the loneliness that comes with the job, the uncertainties (does anyone even read your books?) is assuaged by such a practice. I know that my posts are read around the world in countries I have never ever seen, in places where the sun shines continuously and a sea breeze springs up and in places where the summers are short. Places where wars have come and gone, where conflict remains and places where hope alone survives in a brilliant example of the human spirit. So for those of you who read these pages, this piece is for you.
Only a week to go now, before the film & book are launched at the National Gallery in London. If you are in London please come. It is a public event and the link for tickets is here.
It has been a long road and I have almost forgotten the beginning. Almost, but not quite. I still remember the day when my agent rang me having finished reading the manuscript of The Road To Urbino. I was in a bar in Milan with an old friend, drinking a strong black coffee. Outside on the pavement a tub of pink oleander cast shadows on the ground. And then amidst the hiss and steam of the espresso machine and Italian laughter all around I heard the voice from England telling me that yes, she loved the book.
'Brava!' said my friend when I told her, and putting out her cigarette, she added, 'now we have a glass of prosecco!'
Re-reading the manuscript, correcting, discussing character and plot.
'Why would he do that? What drives him? Would she really say this?'
To have a sensitive, caring editor is the one blessing a writer must have. Someone who gives you the time to develop your craft, who guides but does not dictate. The editor after all is the conductor who views the whole when you, the writer become too close. My characters and I are lucky to have her.
In this way the book wound its slow way into production. Copy editing, checking, changers, re-changers.
'It's good, ' my children told me, with all the authority of being my children.
Another six months of solid work from morning until late at night with a different kind of editor.
'My job,' Conrad told me firmly, 'is to make your vision happen.'
But did this involve the vast number of chocolate cake we consumed on those long hours into the night?
'That's your choice,' he said. 'You should be concentrating on the screen.'
Winter turned to spring and the sky lightened. Stories from my homeland in Sri Lanka filtered down to me. I was appalled anew by the brutality of what was going on. Such ugly viciousness from people who were my countrymen. The only thing left was to bury myself in my work. Night after night I stared at the images on the flickering screen, discussing, changing, finding just the right music that conveyed the mood I wanted. And then, the voice of the wonderful actor Rob Mountford and suddenly there was a shape to the film. So it was off to London to check the film on the equipment at the National Gallery, not once, not twice but in all three times.
'Here it is,' said my editor at Little Brown, handing me the first copy of the book, smiling encouragingly.
She is a woman with the knack of making every author feel important, I thought.
I hope Urbino will do her proud.
So now all is done and I can only wait. A first review of the novel was out yesterday in the Morning Star. I believe it is a good one, but dare not look.
In my rain-swept garden, although the Albertine roses that usually cascade against the wall have failed to appear, the foxgloves seem to be withstanding this unseasonal rain. I see them through my study window, bending with the wind. Surviving.
I hope they will.
Roma Tearne is a Sri Lankan born artist and writer. Her first novel, Mosquito, has been shortlisted for the 2007 Costa Book Awards first Novel prize.
Currently a Fellow at Oxford Brookes University, she has had many exhibitions including "Nel Corpo delle cittá" at the prestigious MLAC ( Museo Laboratorio Arte Contemporanea ) in Rome.
She became the artist in residence at the Ashmolean Museum Oxford in 2002 and while there, worked on "Happenings in a Museum"
Salem-News.com is extremely pleased to work with this esteemed author, and to be able to utilize her approach in communicating stories about war and ethnic strife that cross all boundaries; those things that make the very soul of our earth bleed needlessly.
Roma Tearne's Writing CollectionMosquito (ISBN 0007233655) was published on March 5, 2007 by Harper Collins.
Bone China (ISBN 0007240732), was published in 2008 by the same publisher.
Brixton Beach (ISBN 9780007301560), was published 2009 by HarperPress.
The Swimmer (ISBN 9780007301591), published in 2010, was long-listed for the Orange Prize 2011.
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