I imagine walking down the usually buzzing main shopping street, with the theme from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly ringing in my ears. The only other sound is my boots connecting with the pavement as I walk. It is only me and tumbleweed. It’s a sad fact, and I don’t mean to be flippant, although the reference to tumbleweed is artistic licence. I never thought I would live through a global pandemic. Let’s hope I do; it’s not over yet. The threat of succumbing to COVID-19 is constant, especially now three different variants of the virus have been identified, but I am reliably informed that viruses always mutate. I wish this one wouldn’t!
Edna is a member of both DAWG, the Didsbrook Authors and Writers Group and DADS, the Didsbrook Amateur Dramatic Society. She is blessed with an unwavering self-belief that she is about to join the ranks of world-renown authors, convinced she is Didsbrook’s answer to J. K. Rowling, hence her rather suspect non-de-plume, E. D. Fowling. Edna is one of my favourite characters from The Doyenne of Didsbrook because every inch of her reminds me of one of Roy Clarke’s wonderful characters, Hyacinth Bucket.
I would like to introduce you to the gin-swilling Miss Laverty, one of the characters from my first novel, Just Say It. The year is 1963, and my main protagonist, Lisa Grant, is four-years-old. Her mother, the self-centred Elizabeth, has hatched a plan with two families living down the road to employ a governess to teach Lisa and the neighbours’ young daughters.
When writing fiction, creating characters has always been the fun part for me. Getting inside each character’s head and shaping them into credible human beings for others to enjoy, love or hate.
He stopped his tirade and got up to pour himself a stiff whiskey and, realising he was trembling, knocked it back in one.
‘Damn you, Will! If we are going to make our marriage work, the least you can do is be civil to me. You’re widely regarded as being exceedingly bright. So, you should be able to work it out.’
‘Work out what?’ He turned to glower at her, and hissed ‘insufferable as well as insane,’ before slamming his glass down on to the drinks tray and poured himself another one.
‘The dates, Will, they don’t add up. Not with Jeremy anyway, and Grandbo only wants to walk a virgin up the aisle. He told me to get out when he found out I wasn’t.’ Elizabeth started to sob. ‘He was about to put his grandmother’s engagement ring on my finger. It’s a sapphire… the size of a quail’s egg. Oh, Will, I really thought he was going to be the one. Unfortunately, he’s not interested in marrying a woman with a desecrated hymen, let alone one carrying a developing foetus. My life is ruined, and I never wanted children, and it’s all your fault!’
I was delighted to be a contributor for Jersey Life‘s December 2020/January 2021 edition. My brief was to write an article on the benefits of writing for mental health and general well-being, especially in light of COVID-19 and the effects of Lockdown, and I came up with Writing to Heal. […]
It does bother me that I spend everyday writing, but never allow myself time to sit and read a book these days. But, I have decided to stop beating myself up about it because I do read. I read a lot, but not always in the good old-fashioned way.
These days, thanks to the Internet, it is so easy to tap into a plethora of resources for literature, art and just about everything else… 24/7. So I quench my constant thirst for knowledge browsing the Net.
A chick, in my book, is a baby chicken covered in downy, yellow feathers up until the age of 6-weeks. I’ve always bristled when the term is applied to young women, and I have always subconsciously disassociated myself from Chick lit, believing the genre to be driven by scantily clad, sex-driven female main characters. I couldn’t have been more wrong and, although I’m not a fan of categories, it’s time to reassess the genre I think I’ve been writing in.
You’ll have written the synopsis, well, you have written hundreds of different versions of the damn thing which you don’t think does your story justice, but you pick what you think is the best one and send it off with your query letter and wait.
This is the point where you need to start managing your expectations. My carefully chosen mantra is rejection is not the end, although it might feel like it, it’s just a step on the path.
I am about to start submissions, again, so I hope this one doesn’t come back to bite me! I wrote this doggerel almost thirty years ago. It was inspired by an experience I had at sixteen when I still had, misguided, aspirations about pursuing a career on the stage.
‘Of course, men always look at the mother first to see if they are ageing well. Hopefully, you will age well, Lisa, dear, but that is one reason I always spend time making myself look as good as possible. Mind you, I look so young you and I could easily be sisters. I look at myself in the mirror every morning, and I find it impossible to believe that I’m thirty-six. On a bad day, I only look twenty-five. Unfortunately, you’ve inherited more of your father’s genes on the facial front. I think it’s fair to say you look more like him than me.’ The mention of her father sparked disinterest, and Lisa turned back to look at her typewriter.
She closed her eyes.
‘Forty-years-old and no husband. It’s unthinkable. How could it possibly happen to a daughter of mine?’
Having a forty-year-old daughter did not sit comfortably with Cynthia, especially a forty-year-old unmarried one. She squirmed inwardly, turning up her stinky fish nose and pursing her lips as the phrase spinster of the parish flashed into her mind.
She wasn’t really surprised. She always felt Katie’s choice of men over the years had been questionable. Probably satisfying in the bedroom department perhaps, but none of them ever had any money.
In Cynthia’s mind, money, lots of it, and preferably a title were the essential ingredients to sustain a successful marriage.
THE EDITING NIGHTMARE – THE END! Well, all bar the kicking, screaming and the next wave of submissions. Or should that be the other way around?
Capturing the essence of a 90,000 words (±) novel is a bloody nightmare. We spend weeks, months and years, scripting stories, creating characters, in 500; is a bloody nightmare. Or is it because and I’m trying too hard too hard in my attempts to wow a potential agent?
The thought of writing a memoir had never crossed my mind. I’ve listened intently as members of my writers’ group read from their life writings. One member decided to defy convention and sail around the world with her children. Another lived in India for years to learn the practice of Ayurveda, a form of traditional Indian medicine. Both amazing life experiences. But, consciously thinking about writing about my life experiences might not have occurred to me but, the fact was, I’d been doing it for years.
When your writing life begins to smack of lemons, you start questioning your ability. Have you really got the courage to take that leap of faith and separate yourself from the rest of the pack? However determined you are to get into print, it is not enough. You need courage, shedloads of […]
HAPPY SATURDAY! I hope this finds you rude with health and feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, which is not like Lisa Grant is feeling in today’s snippet from Just Say It! She has recently moved to London and is sharing a flat in Notting Hill with two school friends. Waking up the morning after her twenty-first birthday, which turned out to be one hell of a party, suffering from the KATZENJAMMER to end all KATZENJAMMERS.
The wind drops, the rustling of the leaves stops as a feeling of déjà vu washes over me. I’ve felt this rigid iciness beneath my fingertips before. Thirty-five years ago. I remember.
Bye, Bye week number 30, 2020. You’ve been an interesting one.
The last two weeks of my life are a blur. Flickering in my mind like a black and white cine film. I am running. Travelling at night under the cloak of darkness. Slithering out of the United States, escaping from the injustice thrust upon me.