Saturday, November 22, 2003

me and the beastie

Many years ago � it was at the end of the Mr Punch tour in December 1994, I think � wandering through a city that might have been Boulder Colorado and might have been somewhere else entirely, Dave McKean and I found a toy shop which sold something called a Closet Beastie. It was a handmade beast the size of a large teddy bear and looked faintly sheep-like, and had a large pocket, with toys in. Later, I bought one and gave it to a friend. I found it -- him? -- tonight, high up in a forgotten cupboard. It's a bit dusty but seems happy to be out in the open air again.

I also discovered that if you don't have any raisins or sultanas to hand, a chopped-up plum will work just fine as stuffing for a baked apple.

Lousy writing day, though.

Sometimes lousy writing days are lousy writing days because you're still figuring something out, and you're not quite ready to let yourself know what it is. And sometimes they�re just days when your head doesn�t want to do the thing where anything worthwhile ever seems to make it out of your fingertips.

Dear Neil,

My question is twofold, in a way.

You were born in Britain and yet you now live in the US. I just wanted to know how the whole system works with publishing. I've noticed that British authors who live in the US (like Bernard Cornwell) have their books first published in the UK and then in the US. Is this a requirement if you are originally British? And since you now live in the US are you a US citizen or do you still have your British citizenship or do you possibly have dual citizenship?

The reason I ask is because I'm in the same boat at you, in a way: I'm from Europe working through the steps of becoming a US citizen, and I have no idea how the whole citzenship/nationality system works with the writing and publishing world.

So if you could clear that up a bit, or point me in the direction of a few websites or sources, that would be most helpful.

Thanks and good luck on the book!

I have British citizenship, and a Green Card, for whatever it's worth. I've never taken US Citizenship, probably never will: I still think of myself as English.

Where your book is published first tends to be by whoever bought it first. Publishers these days tend to try and publish as close as they possibly can in dates, and they butt heads a little at contract stage to decide who can physically bring the book out first. In the old days a year between publishing on either side of the Atlantic made little difference to anyone, and was quite usual. These days, people will go to (or rather than wait for six months or a year. It doesn�t have anything at all to do with the nationality of the author though.