First, news of the latest Jago painting to arrive on my screen. The story begins with a Facebook message from Daphne Smart in mid-July in which she replied to my thanks for a Like she had given for another Jago painting. I had noted that Daphne was connected with Bicester (Daphne is the former Head Gardener at Turweston House) and remarked that 'Bicester is part of Jagoland!'
'Yes I know', she replied. 'I have met him. He painted a picture of our cottage in Turweston, nr. Brackley, in 1982. I also know Brian Knibbs who mentioned your book.' Brian Knibbs and his story about Jago have two page references in Chapter Eight of the biography. I love this combination of communication through cyberspace and at the same time by simple word of mouth.
This week, Daphne sent me the Jago Stone painting as promised. Here it is:
Daphne gave me this story about the time that Jago painted the picture:
'My memory is that he just appeared one day in June, set up his easel and painted our cottage. I didn't get to speak to him much other than to ask if I could buy the finished picture. I can't be absolutely sure but I think he asked £15 for it.
My youngest son James (he would have been six) can recall riding up and down the drive trying to look over Jago's shoulder in order to see what he was painting. He had set up a small easel, and his paint box was open on the ground. James can recall accidentally riding over the paint box as he circled him to get a better view. Jago didn't bat an eyelid and wasn't flustered at all. He had finished the picture by then and chatted to James for a few minutes.'
Another story to confirm how good Jago could be in connecting with children. His own childhood had not been easy. His own children did not get his attention. But the charismatic gypsy artist liked being in the company of the young, albeit briefly.
As February turned to March this year, the Covid-19 pandemic appeared. My inspiration had arrived. 'Dying To Know' began to take shape. My first four chapters have been drafted and now I am working on chapter 5. Fourteen and a half thousand words written. as I explained last month, I have two critical readers to help me, one in the States and one in the Netherlands - both friends made in the course of the writing and publication of the Jago story. They are very good at their job; chapter two has been rejigged in the light of their critique and a number of slips and lapses in sharp focus have been addressed.
Whatever I write has to satisfy two criteria: Is it readable? And is it worth the reading - will the reader be enlightened? 'Dying to Know' is passing those tests.
My aim is to have the book complete by the summer of next year to coincide with the arrival of a vaccination schedule.
If you would like to read in advance the first chapter in order to get a taste of the book and its direction, I'm happy to send you a personal copy if you contact me using my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
|PPE in the 17th century|
As for Jago's biography, please, please - add your own reviews on line on Amazon or Waterstone's or send to me by personal email when you finish reading. This is hardly the best time to have a book published and sales will, to some extent, depend on word-of-mouth recommendation. If you can help publicise the virtues of a cracking good read, Unicorn and I will be very grateful.
To end this newsletter, a story of marketing success:
If you know anyone you think might be interested in these mailings about 'Jago' and/or 'Dying To Know' please encourage them to follow the link to my website. Here it is: http://www.robdonovan-author.co.uk/JagoStone-Biography.html They can join you as subscribers - 66 to date.