What on earth is “the author’s shed”? I asked myself the same question. Given that part of the deal is that my supporters get immediate access to it, I thought it best to find out and to put something in it – here it is.
The shed is essentially a project blog to which I can add exclusive content, project updates, excerpts from the book – in short, anything I like.
I thought that for this post, I’d say a little more about the various pledges that involve a tour, as there is insufficient room to go into a lot of detail under the rewards banner. My thinking that underlies all of the more expensive pledges is that they tie into my book in one way or another and that, just as they give friends an opportunity to show a degree of support above the ordering of one book, they give me the opportunity of showing my gratitude, of delivering something unusual that has value and – in the context of my book – meaning.
The tour of Smithfield meat market and St Ethelreda’s Church are conjoined because they are so near each other and it’s early because the market is pretty much closed after 6:30. Why Smithfield? Because Gaia comes to live there, in an apartment overlooking the market, and because meat – the body as meat, in contrast to the non-corporeal mind – is a recurring theme in the book. Why St Ethelreda’s? Because it’s one of The City’s best kept secrets, tucked away, as it is down a cul-de-sac, because Gaia has an epiphany of sorts there and takes Sharon there as a means of demonstrating her friendship, because it has the most beautiful stained glass window of a crucified Christ in a robe of flesh-coloured lozenges reminiscent of the hanging carcasses in Mie’s parents’ butchery (picture below). Why breakfast? Because I know of an excellent caff that serves the best English breakfasts there!
The visit to London Zoo’s Butterfly Paradise exhibit is there because I had to research butterflies – Gaia’s father is a lepidopterist and Gaia’s means of ‘escape’ is to imagine herself a butterfly. Did you know that psyche is the Greek for both soul or spirit and butterfly? Why lunch? Why not?
The Large Book Club Visit is there in that format on Unbound’s suggestion. It makes sense for a book club of ten readers because they save on postage. If the members of a smaller book club all pledge, I’d be delighted to visit their gathering, too.
The tour of Soho is there because Unbound objected to my proposal to advertise a visit to a strip club – and rightly so! It does let the tone down somewhat. It’s the club in which Gaia and then Sharon gain employment and become friends. Oh dear, it seems to be that theme of meat again but it’s more about Sharon’s need to be admired and her search for approval and about Gaia’s need to assume control and address sex on her own terms. Why dinner? Because Soho has some of the best restaurants in London.
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