Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Macmillanite Visits California

Many of the London crowd will recognize Jonathan Drapes, author of the hilarious MNW novel Never Admit to Beige. Fewer will recognize the sands of Hermosa Beach behind him. ( Okay, I admit the sand isn't terribly distinctive. It takes an expert to distinguish the sand of Redondo Beach from the sand of Hermosa Beach, and I doubt that most readers here are trained Sandinistas...or whatever it is they call sand experts.)

With Jonathan is his better half Katherine, and, in the startling plaid hat, their daughter Jessica, who at this point had about enough of fooling around and being cute for visitors and wanted to head off for bed.

Though Jonathan had been a denizen of London for some time, he's on his way home to Brisbane; England's loss, but Australia's gain. Luckily, they decided to stop over just up the road from us (well, by California standards). So Pamela and I had a chance to have a chat and dinner with them, and JD and I had a chance to whine a bit about the whole process of writing.

While Macmillan New Writing may be a very British imprint, if you sum it up they've now published quite a few of us seditious aliens. At this point, I guess that--lessee, one, two, three, four...I make it no less than seven of us are from the outside. (That would be five Americans--Michael Stephen Fuchs, Peter Anthony, Ann Weisgarber, Doug Worgul, and, of course, Yours Truly--as well as the delgates from India [Suroopa Mukherjee], Ireland [Brian McGilloway], and, of course, Jonathan, who hails from the outskirts of Oz.) Jonathan, who works in advertising, was savvy enough to relocate to London just before his novel was published. (And now that it's out and the novelty effect has worn thin, he's savvy enough to disappear. This is somebody who understands PR.)

Alas, those of you who live in the UK and didn't meet Jonathan and Katherine seem to have missed your chance. Though I suppose he might move back next time he publishes a book. In the meantime, you can always pick up a copy of Never Admit to Beige, which I guarantee will be one of the funniest books you've read. Almost every review on the Amazon UK page for the book uses the phrase "laugh out loud." They mean that in a very literal sense; don't read this in public, or you'll finding everyone edging away from you.

And, best luck to Jonathan, Katherine, and Jessica back on the Gold Coast.


Michael Stephen Fuchs said...

Jonathan's a totally lovely guy. I regret that while he lived right in my neighborhood (Earl's Court, previously known as Kangaroo Gulch, for the high Ozzie factor), we never managed to get together outside of publishing industry stuff. All the best to him and Katherine (and Drapes III).


Matt Curran said...

Agree with Michael (and without turning this into a love-in) Jonathan and Kate are a lovely couple, and it is the UK's loss. But best wishes to family Drapes (and here's to hoping Jonathan puts pen to paper again...)

Jonathan isn't the only MNWer to up-sticks for Oz - Sam Grosser of Another Time and Place, went over there last year. And Sarah and I have discussed moving to New Zealand but we're now too settled in Sheffield.
The quality of life over there is just a little better than here, but it's too far away from family and friends...

Jonathan Drapes said...

You want to talk about PR... David Isaak ladies and gentlemen! Thank you for your very kind words David. It was great to catch up with you and Pam. And the street directory has been a godsend. Two days on the wrong side and so far no accidents, although I have to say your four-way stop sign system over here is crazy.

Thanks also to Michael and Matt - yes Michael, a shame that we never had that beer. You'll have to come visit in Australia. It's just like Earls Court.

Apologies for not being more involved in the Macmillan blog, but things have been a little crazy since becoming a dad. I plan to get seriously back to all things writing in Aus, though. An no doubt will be back for a visit to the mother country and bitching about the tube sooner rather than later.

Matt Curran said...

Jonathan (without trying to hijack David's blog) if you do want to come over to MNWer (dark)side blog, please drop me an e-mail at and I'll add you to the permissions.

Best of luck to you and Katherine in Oz, mate - I'm sure you won't need it. If Sarah and I get the chance to go over to visit the rellies, we'll drop you a line.


Jen Ster said...

Hi! Always glad to see more Brits on the left coast. If you happen by Dallas let me know and I'll take you out to the Mesquite Rodeo. Wait, that wasn't a threat! Come back!

Incidentally, Joan is a catalogue librarian, a rather small subspecialty that I know basically nothing about. One of her heroic cataloging idols is Sandy Berman, who single-handedly took on the Library of Congress for years regarding their outdated and ridiculous subject headings under which one could look things up. Examples: "Lamp, incandescent--electrical" instead of the the more commonly used "light bulb." Mr. Berman's followers in the cataloging world are also called SandyNistas. So you Redondo Beach sand experts are in honored company.


PS. Finished Spellbinder yesterday! Whoo hoo!!!

David Isaak said...

Hi, all!

Michael, gald to see your survived your trek. Matt, you're welcome to hijack my blog any time you care to.

Jonathan, glad to hear you survived LA traffic. Well, at least as of that comment...

Jen--I was unaware that cataloguing was such a controversial field. Sounds like a good thru-line for a novel. And, speaking of novels, congrats on finishing Spellbinder!