The good ship ‘First Novel’ appears to be going well: steady as she goes: still sailing on. So, went up-town, or down-town, whichever part of the country you come from. The usual buskers and Big Issue sellers were out on the street. Sat for a while watching passers-by while my granddaughter and son went into a music store. I would rather watch paint-dry than trawl through CD’s and DVD’s. However, people watching can be rewarding. A useful morning after-all. But upon arriving home I switched on my computer and found I had my first review. MY FIRST REVIEW: I’m so excited. The reader gave it 5 stars, and said it had her heart pounding. I knew what she meant.
There’s no such thing as ‘bad weather’, just ‘bad clothing’.
So I’ve bought some thermal long-Johns to go with my thermal vests.
Spent day five getting an author page together: still not finished, but hoping to post it today. Finding a decent photo was a problem, so cajoled someone to take me outside with his camera, but it was cold and windy, so decided to take a snapshot indoors instead. Haven’t got the time or the inclination to get a professional to do it: I hate posing anyway. Wouldn’t mind if I looked like Claudia Schiffer.
Day six: 4.30am and as I looked out from my kitchen window I saw the ground covered in white. Thought it was a light covering of snow – I get very excited when snow falls, I love it: time to get the sledges out – but when I investigated further, found it to be only a very heavy frost. I have been working from the kitchen table for the past week until my son goes back home from his Christmas break. At present he is occupying the spare room which is my office. Its okay, until everyone gets up then that’s me finished until breakfast is over. So, must get on whilst I’ve got the kitchen to myself.
First of all I am still finding my way around this web business. Its like visiting a new town or city for the first time and not knowing where the short-cuts are, so you take the long way around to get anywhere. I keep getting lost, and its proving a right pain in the proverbial backside. But, on a more up-beat note, its the start of the third day, and Tale of Two Women is being downloaded; it seems to me; at an alarming rate. I found out this morning I am 96 in the top 100 free kindle books, and it feels good; very good as I expected a slow burn. I am very grateful to those of you who have downloaded the book and hope to get feedback in due course. The seeds of other novels that have been germinating in my bottom drawer for: God knows how long: I believe American writers call these, trunk novels: will be released shortly.
Inspiration, for me, comes from a chance remark, a situation, an every-day occurrence, anything will get my creative juices flowing. I do not plan, or make notes. I think a lot, I do this whilst performing my daily duties about the house. If I have just thought of something I know I might forget in a few hours time, I will write it down, but that is not very often. Organic is how I would describe the way I work, but sometimes I have to make character notes as I might just forget which is their predominant hand. My second novel came about through one of my characters in Tale of Two Women. He interested me so much I wrote a novel all about him.
If I may recall a few years ago after receiving a bursary to attend a week-long writers seminar, headed by a prolific poet, and a well-known author and broadsheet journalist. The days consisted of group sessions, then working on our own. We also had one-to-one’s, and mine was with the author as I was a budding novel writer. The author, when presented with said novel, sat speechless and emotionless. I thought it was either bloody good, or needed a lot of work. It was neither, I was told, quite categorically, that I couldn’t write, and without said author actually saying the words, I got the impression I should not give up the day job. I took it in my stride, I’d taken criticism before especially during the MA course, but nothing like that, only being told I couldn’t write a sex scene. Then a man at a local Writer’s Group took exception to the word proudly when I was describing a big gun sticking out from its emplacement. Perhaps he had a phallus complex, as at the time I was describing a big German gun. Another time, though, after entering a short story competition under a pseudonym, and winning it, the words of the adjudicator were so encouraging: she said, ‘This author makes every word work for her’. I shall never forget those words. Shortly afterwards I won third place in a novel writing competition with my first novel. Nothing could stop me, only writers block, which is awful, as you begin to believe you should never have started writing in the first place. But I carried on, and like my protagonist in my second novel, To the Edge and Back, which should be released in the next few weeks, I will re-iterate what he said. “If you want something bad enough, you have to take the crap in-between.” He is so right.
This picture was taken in 2012, in Sweden, which has been my second home for the past three years. We were driving back from Ystad to Lund, along the Baltic coastline when we discovered this secluded deserted beach. This is Sweden in snapshot, and reminds me of some wonderful times there. Not only that, I have always liked boats: big and small. We’ve actually sailed the Atlantic – true – on an ocean going liner called the QE2. That’s not sailing, you might be saying, but tell that to the line of people who queued outside the Doctor’s surgery barfing into their sick bowls mid-Atlantic, whilst waiting for their sea-sick pills. We sat having a full English.
Anyway, to get back to writing. This website has come about through having put my first novel on Kindle: something I railed against for a few years, thinking, wrongly, that it was vanity publishing. It isn’t. For years I trawled though The Writer’s Yearbook trying to find an agent willing to take me on. Fruitless: time consuming: downright disheartening, especially when emailing agents your work, then they not having the courtesy to even acknowledge they have your work after sitting on it for six months. I was getting nowhere. It was like hoisting your sails to find them full of cannon shot. I am glad to say my novel is out there now, and I look forward to receiving feed-back.
The book came about after searching through my desk drawer for work I had stashed away. I had hit a wall, and it took me a couple of years to climb over it. Finally coming out of my writer’s block I pulled out two short stories; neither were connected. They were also written in third person and when I re-read them they just didn’t work. I then tried the stories in first person. It was then they came alive. The idea for the character, Laura, came about when hearing of a story about a woman who gave birth to Downs Syndrome child who sadly died only a few weeks after being born. This story didn’t change much. The character, Sarah, was sparked by the heavy snow in the early 80’s when motorists and lorry drivers became stranded in the Brenner Pass and had to leave their vehicles to find shelter. Sarah’s story was then re-written after listening to the radio one day to hear of a couple whose partners lacked libido. Neither wanted to break up their marriage so they came together once a week, in a hotel, simply for sex. It got me thinking – lots of things get me thinking: I’m always thinking. First of all two people have to like each other; then there has to be some sexual chemistry. One cannot have sex with someone they don’t like, unless you’re totally rat-arsed. The conundrum was, when does that connection turn into something more? It was this I was exploring, hence, Tale of Two Women was born.