Beyond 100 Drabbles, my second drabble book, is to be published on Saturday 23rd November. The keener eyed amongst you will notice another name on the front cover alongside my own. What? You’ve not seen the front cover? If that’s the case, please see exhibit A below. And while you’re there, please take a look at exhibit C, a photo of Kath Middleton, the 'other name' on the cover!
(If you’re scratching your head about exhibit B, it had to be removed at the last minute as it was deemed to be too shocking for public viewing.)
Jonathan: So, without further ado, Kath, please introduce yourself.
Jonathan: Kath? Kath? Sorry about this, readers. Kath’s just finishing her slice of cake.
Kath: Sorry, Magnus. I’m ready now. I’m Kath. I’m from the UK. And my specialist subject is cross-breeding vegetables.
Jonathan: No, Kath. CUT!
Jonathan takes Kath aside, reminding her that this is the drabble book blog interview and not an audition for Mastermind.
Kath: Ah, wrong day, sorry folks.
Jonathan: Okay, no harm done. Shall we begin?
Kath: Yes, I’m ready!
Jonathan takes a deep breath.
Jonathan: You're chiefly known as a reviewer (Ignite) and also someone who champions indie books, but how long have you been writing?
Kath: Authors always say, "I've always written," but so have I. I began writing poetry in my teens as everyone does and, in a bizarre case of arrested development, I still do. Since people have taken an interest in my drabbles, I’ve begun to write some longer fiction. I am also the only person I know who uses adjectives in shopping lists.
Jonathan: Adjectives in shopping lists? That’s perfectly normal.
Jonathan edges his chair back a little.
Kath moves hers forward to compensate.
Jonathan: And, just before we put your reading habits to one side and concentrate on your writing, do you remember which indie book you read first?
Kath: No. It was about three years ago and I'm old enough to find recalling why I came to the shops a bit of a challenge!
Jonathan: Ah, so that explains why you started off as if you were on Mastermind.
Jonathan: Never mind. Do you manage to squeeze any traditionally-published books into your reading time?
Kath: I read a few. I belong to a book group in my village and they choose traditional books because not everyone has an eReader, or even an internet connection. I always find there's another indie book I want to read though. I don't often have to resort to a trad book!
Jonathan: Well it seems appropriate to mention here that Beyond 100 Drabbles will be available as a paperback shortly after eBook release. (whispers) Was that subtle enough?
Jonathan: Do you have any hobbies apart from reading?
Kath: My hobbies are largely creative. I breed vegetable varieties and make patchwork quilts. I love baking bread and cakes. As I've hinted, I occasionally dabble in the sort of writing not intended for public consumption. Ransom notes and such like.
Jonathan: Okaaaay. And when did you start writing drabbles?
Kath: I wrote my first drabble on a weekend away with the local Natural History Society in June this year. I hadn't been very well the week before and writing a drabble was a great excuse for not walking up a mountain in the rain. Like I should need an excuse! I'm a granny!
Jonathan: As you will know, a drabble idea can strike at any time (and often when you have no pen or paper to hand - but thankfully I haven't had to resort to scrawling on toilet paper... yet!) I find I get my best ideas while in the shower or sitting out on my patio. Do you have any particular place that leads to drabbles more frequently than others?
Kath: Bed. When I'm drowsing in the arms of Morpheus I often blink awake with another idea. Often it's how welcome a cup of tea would be, or why I've got cramp in my foot - but sometimes it's actually a drabble.
Jonathan: Do you bring your years of experience to your writing?
Kath: Hell no! I just make stuff up. Don't you? You mean you really have stabbed all those people?
Kath backs slowly towards door...
...but then is enticed back with cake.
Jonathan: Have you any advice for aspiring authors?
Kath: Never trust a granny.
Jonathan: And? Is that your answer?
Kath: Sorry, of course that’s not the complete answer! Never trust a granny... not even your own!
A particularly large tumbleweed drifts across the studio.
Jonathan: How do you find it works, sharing a book?
Kath: Excellently, as long as you already like one another's work. We spur each other on. When you get a daily drabble or two in your inbox, you feel bound to send something back. We also have a friendly relationship so we feel able to point out bits that feel clumsy or drabbles that are unclear, without either of us taking the huff. We've improved one another's work. It's no help being told, 'That's very nice, dear,' each time.
Jonathan: That’s a very nice answer, dear. And what do you think is the effect on the book of the differences between us?
Kath: You mean the fact that you're male and young and I'm female and... mature? It makes for a wider range in the drabbles. (Aside to readers - Jonathan is Skywalker to my Yoda. I can't tell him much about drabbles as he's been writing them longer than I have. I'm trying to teach him to levitate though. And I can actually waggle my ears. Look! I'm doing it now. They're not green though. Much.)
Jonathan: Just a reminder, Kath, that we’re not on video. They can’t actually see what we’re doing, or wearing for that matter.
Kath: Oh, is that why you’re just wearing...
Jonathan: ...AND moving swiftly on... I have some burning questions to ask you. But be warned they may be far too deep for you to answer. Firstly, if someone were to make a film of your life (although I'm not sure modern cinemas are equipped to cope with the demand), who would play you?
Kath: Helen Mirren. I've always wanted to look intelligent and elegant!
Jonathan: And now for a more sensible question. My name is quite often spelt incorrectly. I have seen several variants of Jonathan which are in relatively common usage but also some absolutely bonkers spellings that I wasn't aware of at all! Has anyone ever spelt your name incorrectly, and if so, did it lead to chaos, e.g. being addressed as the Duchess of Cambridge?
Kath: I was once asked on a forum if Will often landed his helicopter on my lawn. I spent so long trying to decide if that was rude that, by the time I was prepared to comment, the conversation had moved on. I don't like to be called Kathy. I'm not that person. Sadly, it's mostly elderly gents who call me that so I can't really slap their faces or they'd fall off their zimmers.
Kath: Actually, just ignore that last bit. I don't like being called Kathy but I really don't slap elderly gents!
Jonathan: I’m afraid I can’t just ignore that last bit. The contract you signed gave me your full permission to use every word you utter in my presence.
Kath: Contract? What contract? I don’t remember signing a contract? What else did it say?!
Jonathan makes a show of rustling papers and appears to have temporarily misplaced the contract.
Jonathan: Errrr, never mind. We can deal with that another time. Right, back to the book. Our time is almost up.
Kath: (peering at watch in relief) Oh what a shame!
Jonathan: If you were forced to describe the book in three words only (and I am forcing you here), which trio of words would you choose?
Kath: Jonathan and Kath. Am I allowed to add - The Movie? It's only a matter of time, you know.
Jonathan and Kath: (in unison) So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu. Adieu, adieu, to you and you and you.
Kath: Wait! We can’t finish with just three yous. It implies your blog has three readers!
Jonathan: Hopefully it’ll be correct by the time we post this interview. I know someone who has expressed an interest in visiting my blog.
This interview was recorded in a top secret studio in 2013. In fact, the studio was so well hidden it took several weeks for Jonathan and Kath to find their way home afterwards.
'Beyond 100 Drabbles' is available to download from Saturday 23rd November 2013. The book features 120 drabbles and is an eclectic mix, so the authors would like to wheel out the cliché that there really is something for everyone. Jonathan and Kath also wish to point out that the book itself is more sensible than this interview. Well, mostly.