The Voss and Edwards All Fall Down treasure hunt is go! First prize is a Kindle Fire, with runners-up getting a signed set of All Fall Down and Catch Your Death. You might want to read this post first which explains how it works (opens in a new window).
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A Typical Writing Day
When I was in my twenties and spending every spare minute chasing my dream of being a published author, I had a rose-tinted view of what my life would be like if this dream ever came true. I would rise mid-morning with a mild hangover, spend a few hours dreamily wandering the streets thinking up ideas, perhaps having lunch with my editor or a journalist, before spending a few hours answering fan mail and tinkering with my latest long-awaited masterpiece. In the evening, I would head to the Groucho and have drinks with Kate and Naomi, maybe becoming embroiled in a literary feud with Martin Amis.
The reality is somewhat different. This is a snapshot of what life is really like for Louise and me. For the uninitiated, we co-write thrillers and live hundreds of miles apart, in Wolverhampton and Salisbury – a long way from the Groucho.
6.45 MARK Wakes up with today’s to-do list buzzing in head and toddler crying in next room. Checks how many Twitter followers I’ve gained overnight and Amazon chart positions before going to pick up toddler.
7.15 MARK Gives toddler and five-year-old breakfast and scribble to-do list on the back of a piece of toast: “Write a chapter, update blog, refresh Amazon chart position 78 times, edit chapter plan for new novel, send 14 emails to publisher and agent, make video trailer, update Facebook page, set up competition on Goodreads, HAVE BRILLIANT IDEAS.”
8.15 MARK Has tenth argument with five year old of the morning before finally getting her out of the door and to school.
8.15 LOUISE Wakes up, reads 381 emails and texts from Mark, manages to resist urge to go back to sleep and gets out of bed.
9.00 LOUISE Answers correspondence, then texts Mark: ‘I am entering the Master’ (running gag; this is what we call the Master document of our work in progress. We think ‘entering the Master’ sounds a bit rude).
9.00 MARK Can’t get into office as it’s full of toys so sits down on sofa to start work on chapter.
9.12 LOUISE Text from15 year old daughter ‘I feel really ill. I want to come home.’ (Not easy since am currently – temporarily – living 85 miles away during the week to spend more time with ailing mother)
9.15 MARK Finishes reading The Gruffalo and resume work on chapter.
9.20 MARK Sends Louise ‘brilliant’ idea for a novel about a girl taking a walk through a deep dark wood.
9.30 MARK Changes nappy while singing along with Mr Tumble.
9.35 MARK Resumes writing chapter
10.15 LOUISE Writes 847 words of the sex scene she’s working on, saves it in the Master in Dropbox, and emails Mark requesting his comments.
10.35 LOUISE Listens to Popmaster on Radio 2 and scores a respectable 24 points out of 39. The actual contestant only scores 15. Louise feels very smug.
10.58 MARK Leaves toddler wailing in living room while he goes to the loo.
11.00 MARK Sends email to Louise with ‘incredible’ idea for new novel about a toddler who accidentally starts World War 3 by hammering on his dad’s laptop and hacking in to the US Government’s computer systems while dad is in the loo.
11.05 LOUISE has a cup of tea and eats one dark chocolate ginger. Receives another email from daughter: ‘I’m serious. I’m really really really ill.’ Feels extremely worried but knows that anything actually serious will warrant a call from the school, so waits….
11.07 LOUISE Reads the packet of the dark chocolate gingers, sees that they are only 26 calories per portion and a portion comprises THREE dark chocolate gingers, eats nine more.
11.30 MARK goes through Louise’s chapter and leaves comments, asking if that sexual position is actually possible in real life.
12.15 LOUISE Puts on another layer.
12.20 LOUISE Gets so cold she goes to bed for a small nap.
12.30 MARK Puts toddler down for a small nap.
13.30 LOUISE wakes up again, goes to visit her mother in the Home. There’s an activity going on (a sing-song) so persuades her mother downstairs to join in. Mum (who has Alzheimer’s) oblivious to the singing and chunters away, much to the irritation of some of the other residents. They attempt ‘Daisy Daisy’ and at the line ‘I’m half crazy,’ the ancient woman next to her says gloomily, ‘We’re all ‘alf crazy in ‘ere.’
13.37 LOUISE gets back to rented cottage and emails Mark with an idea for a thriller set in an old folks’ home, the murder’s been committed by someone with Alzheimer’s but he can’t remember whether he did it or not.
13.41 MARK Emails Louise saying he’s finished ch.37 and it’s in Dropbox – and he’s pretty sure the Alzheimer’s thriller has already been done.
14.07 LOUISE Knits three rows of her hat. Takes wash out and hangs it up.
14.15 MARK Refreshes Amazon position for 128th time that day and decides that the entire plot of the latest work-in-progress needs to be changed.
14.17 MARK Has panic attack.
14.25 MARK Wakes up toddler and works on plot outline while toddler chases cat around the front room.
14.30 MARK Sends Louise ‘amazing’ idea for a novel in which a feline detective duels with a toddling serial killer.
15.05 MARK Realizes he has forgotten to pick up daughter from school.
16.00 MARK Sits down to work on book and is immediately asked to play Barbies by daughter.
16.16 MARK Sends idea for ‘genre-busting’ novel to Louise about a group of beautiful blonde women who are murdered one by one by a serial killer called Ken.
16.19 LOUISE Emails back saying ‘haven’t we already written that one?’ Rings daughter to check on her health, she is completely fine and dancing on the train home with her mates.
16.30 LOUISE Writes a 1800 word article on the stress of being part of the ‘sandwich generation’ when you have responsibility for both parents and children.
19.00 LOUISE Has a large glass of wine.
20.00 MARK Tries to start literary feud with Martin Amis on Twitter. Remembers that Martin Amis has no idea who he is. Looks at the Groucho’s website and sighs.
Midnight MARK finishes chapter. Checks Amazon ranking while brushing teeth. Collapses.
Question: Which song do the elderly residents of the care home try to sing?
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See how our day compares with Hunter S Thompson’s. The similarity is uncanny!