If you’d like to join us for what promises to be a fascinating and thought provoking evening, (with some fun thrown in, of course), then you can get your ticket HERE, as long as you don’t leave it too late…
See you there!
I’m delighted to say that on Thursday 5 October, I’ll be taking part in the inaugural Sedgefield Book Ends Event, in support of Durham Book Festival
I’ll be talking about my novel Sometimes A River Song, about a writer’s inspiration and using our imagination – also about winning the People’s Book Prize. Thursday promises to be a great day beginning with Wendy Robertson’s writing workshop. We’d love to see you there. Do join us…
I know a number of writers, me included, who find the idea of having to market one’s self or one’s work thoroughly depressing, and for the most part, totally ineffective. Amazon, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads Giveaways, Blog Tours (thankfully I’ve never done one of those) and who are we talking to? Mostly we are talking to ourselves. Or I suspect to other writer’s in similar postions.
If we’re not published by the mainstream it’s hard to get our work out there and hard to find readers. (Although when we do, on that rare occasion, find readers or reviewers who offer their unsolicited praise this is as a gift from heaven!)
We feel we’ve failed because we’re not the name on everyone’s lips and we haven’t made the shortlist for a big prize. We allow ourselves to be judged by a publishing world that has little intellectual, or material, investment in writers. We doubt ourselves. And worst of all we forget that the joy is, and must always be, in the work itself.
Amit Chaudhuri in his Guardian article, Why The Booker Prize is Bad For Writers argues – ‘The meaning of a writer’s work must be created, and argued for, by writers themselves, and not by some extraneous source of endorsement…Virginia Woolf didn’t wake up in the morning and think, “I wonder if Mrs Dalloway will be longlisted for the Booker?”’ (I love this reference to Virginia Woolf. It’s going up on my wall!)
I read Chaudhuri’s article this morning at coffee time. I read it with great relish and I recommend it. We need writers like Chaudhuri to remind us what it’s all about, and to give us permission to carry on. Permission to reclaim ourselves and our work.
And in case you’re in need of further reminding and consoling as to the true work of the writer here is an unmissable piece by Mary Oliver, on – The Artist’s Task
I had to think quickly about my new novel – I needed to provide a synopsis and an idea of what the cover might look like – so I came up with this, photo courtesy of Unsplash.com – a wonderful resource for free images. I’m not sure it really does reflect the landscape of my new novel which, as usual, is more water than earth or sky, but I do like it. It will definitely do for now…
Forgive me but I’m still stuck in the territory of reviews –
I find I’ve just got to write something about what for me is the very new experience of reviews popping up unexpectedly, out of nowhere. One day I have twelve Amazon reviews – a few weeks later when I happen to look there are twenty two!
Let’s face it we all have a handful of friends and readers who might be willing to post on our behalf but this time, as it happens, I asked no one for an Amazon review, though early reviewers were kind enough to put one up.
Now something entirely different is happening – readers, people I don’t know, people from far away, are posting – like this from Jez
Honestly it brought tears to my eyes – A couple of lines is all it takes. ‘A little book with a huge heart,’ I love it! Thank you Jez and thank you to all those readers out there, on Goodreads too, on Instagram and Twitter, taking the time to tell others about, Sometimes A River Song.
When readers tell the world that they loved your book, it’s the best feeling there is. There is nothing else like it…Thank you x
Also – If you’re on Goodreads – from 29th June – 7th July I will be running a Giveaway so please do enter.
‘Once in a while, I’m so astounded by a novel that it’s really hard to write a review. It’s as if I don’t want to pin down the magic. But I’m having a go, because people need to know about this stunningly original and beautiful novel published by a small but brave independent.
The mesmerizing voice is mainly that of Aiyana, a 15-year-old living with her family in a riverboat community in 1930s Arkansas. It’s a hard life for women – but especially for Aiyana, whose whose father says she ‘ain’t worth more than another man’s dog’, has denied her any education, and regularly subjects her to life-threatening cruelty. She needs to escape, even though her father knows ‘every inch of this river from mountain to sea’. She also knows there’s no hope for her in the world that ‘be made of the word’ until she can read…
Despite the ever-present sense of danger, there are plenty of moments in which ‘my heart felt warm as a new laid chicken egg’. I particularly loved the folkloric protection by her eccentric native American grandmother – and, of course, the beauty in Aiyana’s beloved river through the seasons.
It’s a short novel, but deep and wide; I was totally swept away. As others have been; it has already won a People’s Book Prize (outstanding achievement) award. Read it!’