Photo: Samantha Gallagher
Kirsty Fox is a long-time member of Notts Writing Group, which meets at the Malt Cross. Her novel ‘Dogtooth Chronicals’ will be the first release from ‘Bees Make Honey’, a creative cooperative she started herself. Its publishing arm is modelled on the ethos of indie music labels. The launch party, “The Thrill of Waiting Up for the End of the World”, will be held at the Nottingham Contemporary café bar on the 26 October from 7.30 pm onwards.
What made you choose the theme of 'the end of the world' for the launch event?
I chose an ‘Apocalypse Party’ because it echoes some of the themes in the book and the uncertain atmosphere of our times. The definition of ‘an apocalypse’ is an event involving destruction or damage on a catastrophic scale, which is what Dogtooth Chronicals documents. But when most people hear the word apocalypse they think of the definitive End of the World. I like the idea that if you are at a point where there is nothing you can do to rescue yourself and the rest of humanity, if you know Bruce Willis and Batman probably aren’t coming to save you, you just decide to enjoy what time you have left.
What entertainment can we look forward to at the launch?
There will be live music from some local artists starting with singer/songwriter Eleanor Lee which will be tender, melodic and tinged with nostalgia. The night will finish with Grey Hairs who are a delightfully primal assault on your eardrums. There will be a short film screening which interprets one of the stand-out characters of the novel in animation form, there will also be craft stalls and zombie fairy cakes. As you would expect from an end of the world party, it will run through the whole spectrum of human emotion! I wanted the launch party to reflect a hub of creativity across different mediums. The philosophy of Bees Make Honey is to be inclusive, to share platforms for creativity, to give another voice to independent culture. Also if it was just me stood in front of a bunch of people awkwardly trying to talk about my book it would be a bit dull!
Is this your first launch party?
It is my first launch party for something so personal. I’ve done a fair bit of work in the catering side of events over the years and have an experienced team who ask the right questions. It feels a bit like I’m organising a wedding, because I’m not the white dress and Shetland pony type, this is probably my big day. I’m going to try very hard not to forget to enjoy myself.
Why is your book called 'Dogtooth Chronicals'?
Firstly the typo is intentional. Referring to the chronic phases of the novel/characters. The bad habits which flawed humanoids are unable to give up, like smoking and unrequited love! Dogtooth refers to the jagged black and white pattern, but there is also a canine theme running through the story.
What made you set up Bees Make Honey?
I’ve always wanted to work for myself and it’s very difficult to make a full-time living as a novelist. Bees Make Honey is a work of passion. It won’t make me financially rich, but I think I’ll get satisfaction from helping other writers. There are too many people in the creative industries who are self-serving and full of false sentiment, which just taints everything. Creativity isn’t an elite thing, which is why Bees Make Honey also runs a creative co-operative blog for sharing information and advice. Our tagline is ‘If bees stop making honey, the whole world is doomed’.
Recently there’s been an increase in self-published work. Is this the future of publishing?
I can’t predict the future of publishing, I’m just trying to stay alert and adaptable. The industry is in a massive state of flux at the moment, because of the rise of ebooks and the freedom the internet can give to an individual to reach niche markets. The big traditional publishing houses sometimes feel like giant sloths. Not lazy, just not very quick off the mark. Most books in their system take 18 months to get to market. I’ve taken Dogtooth Chronicals from substantial professional editing to print in about 6 months, and it wasn’t the easiest book to put through the process. The industry has changed radically in the past two years and there is a big fear of Amazon monopolising the whole thing, because they’ve been ahead of the game. Which is why you should all use Bookfinder.com to search for books on the internet, as they will show you there are alternatives.
If the end of the world really did come this December, what would you do with your last day?
I’m terribly fickle with such enormous questions. I’d try to speak to my family, spend some time telling my cat she will rule the world in her next life, then I’d probably like to drive out to the Peak District with some quality booze and my best friends to get drunk and wait for Armageddon.
If you asked me tomorrow I may say I’d kidnap my kindred spirit, steal a boat and sail out to sea.
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