Join Kate Atkinson to talk about STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG, our June Book of the Month, on Weds 22 June, 8-9pm

(136 Posts)

June's Book of the Month is the latest Number One bestseller from a much-requested Mumsnet favourite, Kate Atkinson. STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG is the fourth novel to feature former private detective Jackson Brodie. The story also introduces security chief Tracy Waterhouse, whose one moment of madness turns her steady world into a nightmare of fear and panic. As the plot dovetails and twists and weaves together, Jackson (who has spent a lifetime looking for missing people) now begins to learn those people don't always wish to be found.

Transworld are offering 50 copies of STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG to Mumsnetters. To bag your copy before they run out, email your name and address to k.green@transworld-publishers.co.uk, and put Mumsnet in the Subject bar.

We're delighted that Kate will be joining us on Wednesday 22 June, 8-9pm, so don't forget to join us to ask Kate about all her books, how she writes, her experiences of motherhood, what inspires her... See you then.

Sherbert37 Tue 14-Jun-11 13:43:32

I would like to ask if Kate has a border terrier? Her descriptions of the dog are spot on. My lovely girl is JUST like the first description we have of The Ambassador in the park. Border terriers are so clever and funny - they rock!

Moulesfrites Tue 14-Jun-11 17:05:24

I absolutely adore Kate Atkinson's books, have read them all except Human Croquet which is on my wish list.

I would like to know, as the plots of her crime novels are generally so complex, to what extent she plans and plots them in advance or to what extent they evolve naturally.

Cathfin, I thought the point about the child was that lots of children in the novel disappear and no one really cares? That was my interpretation.

inthesticks Tue 14-Jun-11 19:55:15

Started Early was the first Kate Atkinson book I had read.
The title attracted me. It still does, I don't quite know why but I just love that title.
I hadn't read any of her earlier books because I was put off by the fact that Behind the Scenes won an award. I suspected it would be too literary and worthy for my shallow tastes.

Anyway I loved this book. I found myself re-reading some little passages as they were so well constructed, for example there was one sentence involving Pandora's box, Schrödinger's cat and a can of worms.
I didn't like or get the Tilly character.
I rushed off to get the earlier books and was disappointed with one Good Turn as it was just the same formula but less witty.

Moulesfrites Tue 14-Jun-11 20:08:11

I thought Tilly was a little bit indulgent too inthesticks. I thought it seemed like she was just there as a device, so that she could be at the train station at the end and help to round up all the different threads of the plot iyswim.

I loved One Good Turn (maybe because I love Edinburgh and I thought she captured the atmosphere of the city during the festival beautifully) - although I watched the tv adaptation the other night and I didn't think it did it justice - I think her plots were too complicated to be condensed into 2 hours of tv.

champagnesupernova Wed 15-Jun-11 21:33:41

<averting eyes from thread for spoilers as 60% through but marking place for next week>

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 17-Jun-11 10:00:22

Hello everyone, Kate's publishers have asked us to post that the free copies have all gone now.

See you next Wed pm. smile

I'm getting a bit confused with the Tilly refs - not used to characters sharing my name...

Any more advance questions for Kate please put them here... I'll be sending to her on Monday.

See you all Weds, looking forward to it

My question has been asked already. I also wanted to know if Kate had a Border terrier or knew one well - she writes the dog so accurately grin

I guessed from the first scene that it must be a Border.

It sounds daft, but my favourite thing about the latest book is Jackson's relationship with the dog.

xiaojooi Fri 17-Jun-11 15:30:34

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

CathFin Sat 18-Jun-11 18:24:19

I'm normally a bit of a skim reader but I have taken more care than usual and I wondered if Kate has made Jackson more of a misogynist in Started Early. I thought his one night stand really put him in a poor light. Bath time, will come back to my question later as I havn't finished!

xiaosww Sun 19-Jun-11 12:22:04

Message deleted

Hassled Mon 20-Jun-11 22:14:49

I've been struggling to come up with a coherant, interesting question for weeks now. I'd be a crap interviewer. All I want to do is fawn - I'm a huge fan. I love the Brodie books, I loved Behind the Scenes and I loved Human Croquet - must dig it out and re-read.

Are you happy with the dramatisations? I must say I thought Reggie was spot on; such a good actress - I hope she does well. Was it hard to see the changes that the BBC made? I'd have thought it must be difficult to see your baby relocated and tweaked and have bits abridged etc.

Threadworm8 Mon 20-Jun-11 22:25:55

Kate, I wondered if you ever think about Daniel Deronda when you are writing Jackson Brodie. Maybe that's daft, but they do remind me of one another. They both seem to draw other people's sadness and need onto themselves in a striking way.

Also: thanks for writing to many strong and warm lovely women. It is nice to see a crime drama on TV in which the female parts aren't all either corpses or female police officers battered into maleness by a male police force (Prime Suspect).

Even Jackson Brodie seems female -- very masculine, but with a whole woman inside him too. Do you think of him as having feminine qualities?

Hassled Mon 20-Jun-11 22:31:45

Threadie - that is exactly the sort of interesting, coherant question I was trying to come up with. Damn you to hell and back.

<Wikis Daniel Deronda>

xiaoqkk Tue 21-Jun-11 12:26:07

Message deleted

peggotty Tue 21-Jun-11 13:09:43

Kate, your characters are often very 'damaged' people with Jackson Brodie being no exception. He's more than a bit battered by life as are all the people he wants to help yet Jackson never seems to get the redemption he wants, despite the 'good' he does. Obviously this is why he is an interesting character but are you ever tempted to give him a 'happy' ending despite the fact that life doesn't work like that?!

BelleEnd Tue 21-Jun-11 17:10:57

Hello Kate Atkinson! I am going to be fawning like a fool here, but every word is heartfelt...
You are my favourite writer of all time. I am an avid reader and I read many different styles and writers from many different periods, but I am yet to find a writer who gets to the root of people like you do. THANK YOU for writing... It really makes a marked difference in people's lives if they're reading a good book.

My question: Did you make a concious effort, after your first three novels, to change the direction and setting of your writing? Did you feel as if you couldn't win, in a way- Write another in the same style and you'd be branded a one-trick-pony, do something different and risk alienating the people who enjoyed your existing work?
I will admit to having been really disappointed when I heard you were writing about a copper... Your writing, however, won me over, and I love your books equally. smile

<<removes head from Kate's bum>> grin

peggotty Tue 21-Jun-11 18:08:13

Oh yes and I'd also like to say what a bloody brilliant writer you are. I will be reading all of your books over and over again until the end of my days. Well, if you can't brown-nose your favourite author when you get the chance ..... grin

ThatllDoPig Tue 21-Jun-11 20:00:26

What BellEnd said.

Thank you so much kate. Love your books. My fave is Human Croquet.
Your clever, funny, quirky, beautiful, brave writing was the perfect escapism at times in my life when I've really needed it.

Are you secretly a little bit in love with Jackson?

CJCregg Tue 21-Jun-11 22:45:51

I am also a huge fan. Can't be here tomorrow night so am posting a question now in the hope that Kate will answer it.

Kate, I have to echo lots of others on here and say you are my absolute favourite writer. Behind the Scenes is my Desert Island Book - I have read and reread it over and over, and love it more every time. I'm also a slave to Jackson Brodie, and was nicely surprised by the tv adaptations, which I was sort of dreading but they were beautifully true to the essence of the books.

My question is a bit nerdy. Do you think Behind the Scenes is filmable? I heard someone was doing an adaptation but then nothing came of it, though that information might be out of date. I think it works brilliantly as a novel, and that the novel is the perfect medium for that story, its many layers and distinctive voice. Would you like to see it on screen?

<tries to stop self saying 'I love you, Kate!'>

<fails>

PS Do you like the West Wing? grin

ThePathanKhansWoman Wed 22-Jun-11 01:49:43

Have so enjoyed reading your latest novel, can you tell us Kate is Courtney a boy?? Will all be revealed?

ThePathanKhansWoman Wed 22-Jun-11 10:49:12

That sounds a bit mad, just thought Courtney might be a boy, was Kelly about to say, "she's not... a girl", then guessed she was one of the missing children
Jackson had seen files on.

Loved the star theme in the book, Courtney singing Twinkle,Twinkle and the title of book, i love Emily Dickinson.

thegrowlygus Wed 22-Jun-11 12:33:17

I am here to fawn a bit too! I love your writing and all your books, although my question is - are you stalking me?
I was living in York when Behind the Scenes at the Museum came out. Then moved to Cambourne near Cambridge (where Jackson's ex lives for a bit) and now in Cambridge itself. I am from West Yorkshire originally so know Leeds really well too. The only place I can't really lay any claim to is Edinburgh (although I do have very close friends there so know it quite well)

Knowing the places well has made the books all the more enjoyable!

WoTmania Wed 22-Jun-11 18:34:05

Oh, Oh, oh - I'm at a preschool commitee meeting tonight from 8 sad Maybe I'll pull a sicky?
I love the characters - they are so well drawn. i waas a little suspicious of case histories as it was a new style but I lvoe and re-read them all.

I'm reading this book as my first Jackson Brodie and intend to read the previous. The first book of yours I read was Behind the Scenes at the Museum which was a fantastic read. Since the last few books seem to have been Jackson Brodie based, are you intending at any point to go back to the stand-alone novels?

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