~ Hazel Harps On

The Penguins Are Coming!

I’ve gone a little penguin crazy. Well, sometimes you just have to give in to your natural impulses… and mine have been all about buying penguin products recently. For example, here are my new penguin scarves…

... my new penguin bag…

... and my new penguin angel chimes.

It’s all in a spirit of celebration. Because in November I was sent the advance copies of my forthcoming novel AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS. It will hit the bookshops in March and is already available to pre-order. I’m really glad I pushed myself so hard over the summer and it’s such a relief to be at this stage. As you might glean, I’m just a bit excited about it!

My debut novel, ELLIE AND THE HARP MAKER is also still very much in my head. I’ve done the ELLIE talk (with harp) at several venues now, most recently to lovely audiences at Yeovil Literature Festival and Minehead Library. I’m kicking off December with a book signing at Pulhams Mill and some playing to coincide with their Christmas Fair. Ah, Christmas. Yes, that’s coming, too. I’ve already done my first carol harp performance of the year and December will be stuffed full of them.

I’ve played at Dunster Castle for several festive seasons but every year I like to do something new, to keep myself on my toes. I bought a pedal loop a while back. This is a clever machine that allows you to record as you perform and then, if you are coordinated with your feet, you play back your track whilst adding more harmonies over the top of it, live (am I making sense?) This also means that – joy of joys - I can sing in harmony with myself, creating a mini-choir of Hazels. I’m not 100% sure this is a good thing, but hey, it’s fun! At any rate I’ve been practising with feet, fingers and voice all at once. If nothing else, it must be good for the brain cells. And I do love a challenge.

Talking of which (and getting back to the penguins), Minehead Library are keen to have both me and my harp again for a presentation next year. But how can I make the harp relevant to book 2, when there are no actual harps in the story? Easy! Or… maybe not. At any rate, I’m going to try and write a SONG ABOUT PENGUINS. I’ve made that promise to myself. Next year I'll bring to bookshops, libraries and literary festivals not just a book talk but also a penguin song with harp accompaniment.

You have to admit, it's original. And - if I can manage it - what could be nicer?

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