What a giddy few days. On Friday it was the special screening of The Hobbit. I rushed to drop my bags at the Marble Arch Inn (great place to stay if you need somewhere cheap and cheerful in central London), then hightailed it to Seven Dials to meet the lovely Claire for coffee. Cue a ridiculously long conversation about books. By the time I got there I was a truly sorry sight: my cardigan was soaked through, my makeup sliding off my face, and my hair as wet as if I'd just taken a full shower: the result of being a Shit Brit and forgetting my umbrella on a December morning. A few hours later I was sprinting back to the hotel to meet my friend Ilana and head to Mayfair.
|Me with Alexa and Ilana, not fangirling at all.|
I'm still completely torn over what to think of the combination of 48fps and 3D. For those of you that don't read up on Hobbit-related things as obsessively as I do, 48fps – properly called 48 frames per second – is perhaps the most controversial aspect of the new film. The standard rate is 24fps. The result is quite unsettling, almost phantasmagoric. The romance of celluloid definitely takes a hit – the scenes move like liquid over the screen, and I was always hypersensitive to the frame rate – but you can't deny that the characters are there. It looks real, which may or may not be a good thing. Some characters look better than others (Galadriel and Gollum both looked fantastic); some scenes work better than others; overall, however, it's a beautiful and immersive experience. Definitely a must-watch, even if you're not a Tolkien fan, just to check out 48 fps – The Hobbit is the first film ever to use it. By watching it you will be literally watching Cinematic History unfold, ooh-er. I'm not sure if it will become the standard frame rate in the near future, as Peter Jackson has predicted, but it has the potential to become more common – I hear James Cameron might use it for his next Avatar films. Although I think with 3D, CGI and 48fps, that might be a bit much. Not sure if I'll believe in Pandora if it's quite that real.
|Ceci est la vie.|
After no sleep whatsoever – no exaggeration – I found myself on the Eurostar on Saturday morning. I don't speak a word of French, so my impending venture on French soil was nerve-racking, but I needn't have worried. My friends and I stayed in the lovely Hôtel Eiffel Saint Charles in the 15th arrondissement (another cheap and convenient place to crash, with friendly staff and free breakfast). I've never been to Paris before, but I was keen to do some research for my later books. I've been toying with the idea of setting one of the novels in Paris for a while, but I wanted to know for sure that I'd feel the same kind of passion for it that I feel for London. But of course, clichéd as it is, I was head-over-heels in love as soon as I saw the Île de la Cité. My inner child was screaming when I saw Notre Dame, picturing Quasimodo singing 'Out There' (sorry Victor, I'm with Disney on this one).
I bought myself a gorgeous 1948 French film magazine, Le Film Moderne, and spent a blissful few hours in Café de Flore, which is one of the absolute best places for writing I've ever come across. The café does a wonderful hot chocolate, and the staff were kind enough to let me sit writing long after I'd finished eating. Other unforgettable sights were the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées, but the Île de la Cité is my absolute favourite part. Stop and see La Sainte-Chapelle if you go there: the stained glass windows make it seem as if you're standing in a box of jewels. I'll never be quite as in love with any city as I am with London, but Paris makes for a very close second place.
THE BONE SEASON UPDATES
On the book front, I'm overwhelmed to announce that The Bone Season has now sold in 18 languages! Sadly I wasn't able to meet my French editor during my time in Paris, but I hope I will in the near future. I'll be announcing foreign sales on my blog and Twitter as soon as I can. I've also had confirmation from Bloomsbury that the cover release will now be in late January, just before the proofs are made up. I'm so sorry for the long wait, especially to those of you who have been following the book's progress throughout the whole of 2012. I hope you'll wait a little longer and see what David Mann at Bloomsbury has come up with. Thanks for sticking with me!
Back to questions next week.