Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I swore I’d never do this. That I’d stay pure. That I’d save my writing for my books.
“Everyone’s doing it,” my editor coaxed.
“But once I’ve done it, I’ll have to keep on doing it,” I said. “My friends who blog do it two or three times a week. They’ve addicts.”
“But it’s fun,” my web mistress winked. “You’ll like it,” (Her name is Christine, but I call her Madame and she calls me Sir, and she helps me with everything to do with technology, because I’m basically terrified of anything with strange initials like URL or pdf or RSS. I’m also a very old friend of her sister, Louise, who goes by the name of Blinky.)
Anyway, Madame me set up with this blog pad, and she’s decorated it all nice for visitors and all, so what can I say? I’ve been seduced! I’m a blog virgin no more!
So tell your friends! Tell your relatives. Tell complete strangers, like the people at the checkout counter, or half the people on your Facebook page. (That is if your Facebook page is anything like mine.)

“Great,” I hear you say. “Just what the world needs. Another writer with a blog. So tell us, oh Great One, who thinks he’s so important people should actually spend time reading his Blah Blah Blah -- what’ll we get if we come to your blog?”
Well, okay, yeah, I’m a writer, so some days I’ll probably blog about stuff that comes up in my work. For instance, my novel Chanda’s Secrets is being made into a movie in South Africa and I’ll be flying over on Friday to be on set. It’s a German/South African co-production set to open in Berlin in the fall. The shoot is in Elandsdoorn, a town of about thirty-thousand people, a two-hour drive north-east of Johannesburg. It’s the first time I’ve had a book turned into a film, and the chance to be back in Africa is wonderful, especially with all the local actors and the rich cultural mix. So, yeah, I’ll probably blog about that.

And in January, I’ll be on a private writer’s retreat in Cayo Largo, Cuba, for a couple of weeks, working on the first draft of the first book in a new series for HarperCollins: The Grave Robber’s Apprentice. I write for a couple of hours before breakfast, then hit the beach, swim out half a mile to the reef and relax with the corals and barracuda, then write a few hours before and after supper. It’s kinda perfect, and there’s always lots of interesting and/or weird tourist encounters, so hey, that should be good for a few entries.

Then in February my coming-of-age/ mystery/ thriller Borderline comes out in Canada (March in the U.S.) from Harper, so I’m sure there’ll be some self-indulgent commentary on that front. And stuff about researching with a guy from the ACLU, and a hostage from the Iran hostage taking in the 1970s, yadda yadda.

And in March, I’m taking a break with Daniel to either Vietnam and Cambodia or northern India for two weeks. (We haven’t decided. If you’ve been to either, please let us know what you think we should pick.)

April is my The Grave Robber’s Apprentice deadline, which should be fun if you like reading about nervous breakdowns. (Blogging is also the perfect writer’s tool at deadline time, actually, because it gives writers another reason not to be doing what they should be doing -- like, uh, writing the damn book -- which only adds to the incredible pressure that is so essential to getting things done.)

Then in May, Daniel and I are off to Italy -- Venice and Florence, mostly -- to do research (ha ha) for The G.R.A. sequel, The Necromancer’s Revenge. And face it, if I can’t write something interesting about hopping onto gondolas and seeing reliquaries with the severed limbs and organs of medieval saints, then I really ought to give up writing and sell tacks.

In between the above, I’ll write about things that pop into my head -- or if I’m blocked, maybe toss in a short series on recent trips, like my time this fall in Argentina, doing hairpin turns in the Andes, skinny dipping at Iguazu Falls, and checking out the crypts in Buenos Aires.

Oh, and I’ll always try to include a picture -- except for stuff like skinny dipping and such: The world has enough horror.
More important, I’ll be answering any questions you may have about writing or whatever. So come on, feel free -- what have you always wanted to ask a writer? Or this writer? Don’t be shy. Just ask. I’m an open book -- even if some of my pages are torn.

UPDATE: The film adaptation of CHANDA'S SECRETS is called LIFE, ABOVE ALL and will premiere as an Official Selection at the 2010 Cannes International Film Festival.


  1. Fantastic to see you've made the plunge Allan! All looks great. The left, the right.

  2. So you'll just put the skinny dipping on Facebook, then?
    Welcome to the blog pool, Allan!

  3. Yah! So glad you started a blog. I'll be anxious to hear all about the Chanda's Secrets movie...and so will our students!
    Now...we just have to get you on Twitter....

  4. Posting while travelling will be great... interesting sttuf happen to you and Daniel, some times hilarious... some other not that much (for you two, at least). Anyway, will be great to know about you and Ben and Jerrys (until you find a group like AA but for ice cream eaters)

  5. Torn pages, hummmmm.

    Duct tape. That's what I'll get you for Christmas. Solves all ills, bandages every wound. Duct tape. The perfect gift. --BMF

  6. Congrats Allan. I am not following your example, but will follow your posts. Fascinated to know about Chanda's Secrets as a film! The book did well here, too, and the Dutch translation of Chanda's Wars will be published next year...

    All the best
    Annelies from NL

  7. Great start to your blog, Allan! Love the photo too - I can't recommend Ben & Jerry's Cinnamon Roll ice cream enough. ESPECIALLY with apple pie.

    And darn you Canadians and your unrestricted access to Cuba! It sounds wonderful!

  8. Yay, Allan! Welcome to blogging! Chanda's Secrets is such a moving book. Great to hear it'll be a movie. Looking forward to reading your blog some more.

  9. Hey Allan, I think it's Good to have the blog going as I'm sure the folks who have been reading your Great work over the years will enjoy being able to share their views and impressions with you and each other. Every one here hopes the filming of Chanda's Secrets goes very well.

  10. Looking forward to reading your blog, Allan. Congratulations!

  11. Good to hear form you Allan. A visit is long overdue but this will have to do for now. Consider Northern India - a rich wonderful culture and very beautiful ( in a chaotic, crowded sort of way).
    Bill Love

  12. Thanks everyone for commenting on my first blog!

    A Question: I really want to be able to respond to you personally, especially if you have a question. (For instance, on Jane and Bill Love's comment 11 to say, "Thanks for the tip." Am I only able to do that in this kind of group comment, or do the technologically gifted among you (i.e. not illiterate like me) know of a way for me to post my response after the specific guest comment? Thanks!

  13. Very Nice Allan! We will follow with interest!

  14. It's exciting to see how the filming is going - it must be an incredible experience for you! They have cast the characters so well. I love little Soly! Jan

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