Cultured Llama’s a wonderful publisher to work with – and I mean ‘with’. Maria C. McCarthy, Dr Bob Carling and I have been toiling amicably on suggestions for improving my story collection, Who Killed Emil Kreisler?, due out next month. I’ve heard of editors who demand the most ludicrous re-writings – and I mean ‘demand’. Maria’s meticulous red pen was judiciously employed in her reading of the script. We agreed on most things and discussed those over which we differed. I took her major criticism of one of the stories to heart, and stayed up nights trying to re-cast it. I thought it couldn’t be done, but I finally cracked it, to my satisfaction and to hers. Editing and publishing are collaborations, not confrontations. Books are not the same as newspapers, of course: on dailies, where I’ve worked as a sub-editor, reporter and feature writer, there’s no time for arguments, though I always tried to reason with someone over a solecism, if there was time. In any case, once I knew the difference between ‘uninterested’ and ‘disinterested’, it was engraven on my memory, and I hope on others I’d enlightened. If I had to sum up the last couple of months, it would be to describe the to-ing and fro-ing as thorough, efficient, and civilised, thanks a deal to digital operations and computer science. But it was lovely to handle hard copy and its editorial marks, and to use the term ‘hard copy’ again. I used to know all those hieroglyphics by heart. Bob and Mark have also been working on my own graphic as a basis for the book’s front cover. We are all renaissance men in South Wales – even the women!