I read ‘The Woman in White’ by Wilkie Collins as a teenager 70+ years ago, so when I came to think of a title for my memoir that would suggest that among my several professions were some in which I would wear a doctor’s white coat, his title never crossed my mind.
Now retired, I have been in turn a Harley Street dentist, an entrepreneur (co-owner of Conran-group designed educational toyshops), the director of a Cancer Research laboratory at a major London teaching hospital, as well as a wife and mother of four children.
I was first reminded of Wilkie Collins’ book when I saw my memoir for sale on Amazon and now I see that BBC 1 is about to air a serialized version starting tonight – the last was in 1997. Be interesting to see what the BBC makes of it.
It was lovely to be invited by the librarian of Askew Road library to give a talk and reading from my memoir Woman in a White Coat. The occasion was one of the Wednesday coffee mornings that have been running in the library for many years.
The library is on one floor and in a light friendly open space. To one side, towards the back, is a gaily coloured children’s area with carpeting so the children can read and play on the floor.
The chairs for the participants were arranged in a large semicircle. Louise was in the UK with her family for Easter and she came with Josh so I had an audience of at least two plus the librarians. But when I sat at the table at the front, the expanse of empty chairs looked enormous. Louise and Josh were lost at one end.
However, to my surprise and delight, by the time we started at 11am, not only were all the chairs filled but some latecomers had to fetch extra seating.
Most of the audience – mainly women with one man – were seniors who remembered life pre-WW2 and my story of life in a cold water tenement resonated with them, as did the medical episodes. They laughed and caught their breath in all the right places.
What a lovely responsive audience and welcoming library staff. I felt very lucky to have been given this invitation and have promised to return – perhaps with my sequel ’25 houses’
So pleased that after a fairly horrendous experience with a company putting my memoir Woman in a White Coat on Amazon, my memoir is available for pre-order at £9.99 from Amazon or from your local bookstore. Had a wonderful trio of professionals – Nathan Burton Cover designer, M Rules Typesetters and Clays the Printers.
The cover designer, Nathan Burton, produced lots of possible designs for the cover. I could have chosen any one – they were so great. I chose the blue and turquoise version of this design but nearly picked this one instead.
it’s bright and cheerful but I felt the colourway I chose had more gravitas!!
This was the most striking design but I didn’t want to use a picture of me. I chose to write my memoir under the pseudonym of Dr Abby J Waterman and so I didn’t pick this one.
The original photograph is of me with a ‘phantom head’ – a metal skull into which plaster casts are fixed bearing real teeth that have ben extracted for reasons such as periodontal disease.
We practiced cutting cavities and inserting fillings and crowns on them. We gave them names and got quite fond of them!!
What a great experience!! As I am now an 86-year-old, I expected some difficulty, but it couldn’t have been easier. And they were fantastic at answering my queries by email.
I didn’t use them for Amazon because while they offer 70% royalties to US authors they only offer 41% to those in the UK. If I write another book, I might consider using them for Amazon too – though as I pointed out to Pronoun, it seems most unfair that authors on this side of the pond will earn so much less!!
I can take or leave Canaletto’s paintings – they all look too similar to me and too yellow – nothing like the colourful Venice of my memory – but I loved his drawings – especially the early designs for the theatre., where he started his career. His drawings show his great sense of humour as well as his compassion.
His paintings and drawings of Venice would have been a must for wealthy Englishmen making their Grand Tour.
Interesting drawings and paintings by his contemporaries included some by Sebastiano and Marco Ricci, Francesco Zuccarelli, Rosalba Carriera, Pietro Longhi and Giovanni Batista Piazzetta.
We have George III to thank for the collection. He bought Joseph Smith’s entire stock for £20,000 in 1762 – some 15,000 books, 500 paintings, drawings etc.
I personally prefer Canaletto’s paintings of London and its surroundings, carried out during his repeated visits to England 1746-1755, but obviously not included in this exhibition.
Like all my friends who cook regularly and don’t buy takeaways, I already have too many cookbooks but the two published by Sainsbury’s were irresistible.
At the end of a big shop at their Kensington branch, Josh bought Volume 1 and I’ve already cooked three of the recipes, including these delicious Chicken Rolls. This week I went back to buy Volume 2. For some reason they are not on the Sainsbury’s website and when I phoned the branch they said they hadn’t any – but they did and I bought one!!
Before cooking them, I cut some of the chicken-filled puff pastry rolls into 7cm lengths to have with gravy, Boulangiere potatoes (from the cookbook) and flat beans. The rest I cut into these little 4cm lengths to have as snacks instead of sausage rolls.
When we got married in 1956 I could just about cook omelettes and minestrone so when I finished my second house job as a newly qualified doctor I went to a six-week all day Good Housekeeping cookery course.
Memoir extract from Woman in a White Coat Vol 2 Chapter 4
When I finished my second house job, I was five months pregnant with Simon and already showing, so I was unlikely to find a part-time temporary job in medicine. I was doubly qualified, having qualified as a dental surgeon 6 years before, but I couldn’t face the thought of standing all day in a dental practice, though it would have been quite easy to find a locum dental appointment. . Continue reading YET ANOTHER COOK BOOK – SAINSBURY’S THIS TIME→
David Headley, who heads DHH Literary Agency and with Daniel Gedeon owns Goldsboro books, together with Clays, who print both self-published books and books from mainstream publishers, last week hosted a most informative evening, Indie Insights, about self-publishing at the Goldsboro Bookshop in Cecil street.
Andrew Lowe from Andrew Lowe Editorial gave a talk about the need for meticulous editing; Mark Ecob from MECOB design spoke about cover design – and later sent me copies of some of his fabulous covers, James Bond from Whitefox emphasized the need for a concerted publicity campaign, while David Headley finished with a talk about the advantages of being published in the more traditional way.
For me the take home messages were that self-published books need to be as professionally produced as those put out by the main publishing houses, that self-publishing requires a lot of effort and a not inconsiderable amount of money if the result is to be first class but that it can be extremely rewarding for the author who has so much more control over the finished product. Self-published books really start to make money with the first reprint since the origination costs have now been covered.