Don’t Listen to Old Wives’ Tales


My blog has been dormant for a while, but I have a good excuse as I have been in hospital having a knee operation. Recently, I seem to have interviewed everyone else and not paying enough attention to my own promotions. The problem is, when you are in a lot of pain, sitting down at the computer for long periods, it becomes tedious. I won’t say I am back to normal again, but let’s hope with the onset of Spring and Summer, life will once again take a new turn and the pain will subside; I am improving.

Living in the Netherlands has not been easy for me. I attended the RNA Winter Party in 2013, I visited my daughter in York a few weeks ago, and now I shall be going to the UK again for the RNA Summer Party, a first for me.  However, I do expect that within two years, the cost for all these visits will be saved and my life will change. This week we put our house, in The Netherlands, up for sale. I have lived here for the last thirteen years and due to my husband’s retirement, we shall return to live in England once again. Book signing events in the UK will  be much easier when I return.

Safkhet Authors in York

 

 

 

 

 

Sakfhet authors meet at York, (L) Marilyn Chapman, Angela Welford, (that’s me on the right) Rear, Irene Soldatos.

The life here in Holland is interesting. I now speak Dutch and enjoyed learning about the culture, but there are things we miss. I was born in North Yorkshire and the moors and hills are part of my life.  Holland is very flat and the scenery seems to go on forever without interruption. We miss having a cup of coffee with a neighbour and meeting up with an old friend in town.  The Netherlands is very different when you live here. It is time to make some positive changes and return to the old country to speak our own language. I look forward to being able to have the freedom to catch a train to a meeting or avail myself for radio interviews and so on.

My next book is in progress and I hope before the end of this year it will be ready for submission. The Tanglewood Affair is a fast-paced romantic saga and  soon I shall be able to tell you more about it. The story is  set in Dorset and is probably the place to which I shall retire. Unfortunately, I have no  family left in Yorkshire.  My daughter will move in the future and we will live our retirement in the south of England and have a completely new lifestyle.

I enjoy writing; it is most therapeutic. It has taught me a lot about the person I would like to be. I have also found a routine for writing a book and it seems to work well. It’s very simple really. I start at a given point; it doesn’t matter if it’s awful, you can take out the awful bits, but when you do, you should have something to build on. Many writers find it hard to ‘begin’. I don’t pay too much heed any more about what I write and how I write it and where it starts. I can always fix it through editing and build on those ideas. I allow my subconscious to tell the story. It’s surprising what’s inside that brain of mine!

Writing is all about enjoying yourself. All the rules and regulations I read on various web sites, forums, where well meaning people place their comments about writing and say what you should or shouldn’t do. It’s a bit like listening to old wives’ tales and it can scare you to death. New writers need a lot of confidence building which can take many years. I came from a business background and learned through my training what to listen to and what to dismiss.   For me it’s a ‘letting go’ exercise and building on my inner thoughts and feelings and past experiences and allowing the brain to speak for itself. I think it’s what makes the best stories. Be yourself and let your characters lead the way and tell the story. I tend to become the character and stay in his/her head all the way through a chapter. Once the story is written I can then go on to check the show/tell concept and the usual grammar errors.  I also have  excellent editors who help me though the areas I couldn’t ‘see’. I don’t try too hard and I fit in my writing time whenI feel like it which is usually in the daytime when the brain isn’t tired. I think you shouldn’t rush your story and be as real as possible in your dialogue; don’t make it hard for yourself.

Your copy of Goodbye, Henrietta Street can be ordered in paperback and e-book.  Enjoy your holiday read about Pippa and Sven’s friendship on The Isles of Scilly. A forbidden romance with all the beauty of island life.  Will one kiss change everything?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_13?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=lin+treadgold&sprefix=Lin+Treadgold%2Caps%2C197

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

An Author in Two Worlds


An Author in Two Worlds

 As my part of my Around the World book tour, I want to introduce you to Author, Anna Jacobs.

 Welcome Anna to my blog.

Image

It seems you are a bit of a globe trotter. You have a life in Australia and another in the UK.  What a great idea, you get the best of both summers.  Would you like to share some of your experiences with travelling in this way. What are your personal benefits?

It’s a great lifestyle and a surprising number of older people are adopting it. As you say, we don’t get winters. That doesn’t matter too much in Western Australia, where the winters are quite mild most of the time, but I’m so glad to avoid the UK snow and this year, floods.

The best things we get from our travel are interesting people and stimulating experiences. My husband and I both have siblings in England, and it’s lovely to see them every year. Letters and phone calls were never enough.

The other interesting people were something we didn’t plan. We bought a house in a leisure village attached to a golf club, where we found ourselves with globe-trotting neighbours who are as nice as they’re interesting. What a bonus!

There are some downsides to this lifestyle. It takes several days to prepare a house for leaving. You can’t just walk out for 5 months and hope it’ll be OK. Among the many tasks, you have to clear out fridge and freezer, clean everything in sight, divert mail, arrange house surveillance, and make preparations for returning ie emergency food. As well as organise the travel. And then there’s the flight itself, from Oz to UK. Ugh! It’s horridly long, even in business class. It takes me two and a half novels (on average) to fill in the time, since I can’t sleep on planes.

I hear you have a new book coming out soon Anna, how exciting! Would you like to tell us more?

Image

 

With three books a year coming out from three publishers, I’m always looking forward to either a new book or a new edition of a book (eg paperbacks come out a few months after hardbacks). I enjoy that.

At the moment I’m very excited and yet a little sad that ‘The Trader’s Reward’ Book 5 and final in my Traders series, will be coming out in April. The series is set in Western Australia, Singapore and in England or on ships going between these countries in the late 1860s and early 1870s.

My favourite situation among the many fascinating events in that series is the opening of the Suez Canal in ‘The Trader’s Dream’. That was so interesting to research. In fact, the whole series was a pleasure to write.

After that, the next book is about July, ‘Mistress of Greyladies’, the second book in the Greyladies series set just before and after World War I in Wiltshire. I avoid taking my characters to the trenches in the war, because I think that’s been done to death. My heroine is a VAD (Voluntary aide Detachment) who is a sort of trained nurse’s helper. But VADs also acted as drivers or did any jobs necessary, mostly in the UK, though some went overseas. Greyladies is a spooky old house with a long history in the same family. It’s as much a character as the people in the books.

 How long have you been writing and what is your genre?

 I’ve been published since the 1970s, when I had several French textbooks published. My main genre is historical fiction, UK style sagas (with a poor woman facing and overcoming the odds, and a big cast of characters) and I’ve written some historical romances as well. I also write modern novels, and in the past I wrote fantasy novels as Shannah Jay. My old historical romances and fantasy novels are all available now as ebooks, and the romances as trade paperbacks.

 How many books do you have published and which was your first?

 I have 65 novels published. My first was a Jane Austen style historical romance (Persons of Rank) which won a $10,000 prize and publication in Australia in 1991. It was such fun to write that I did a second one (The Northern Lady). This was first published as Forbidden Embrace, a title the publisher gave it which I never liked it, so changed it back to my original title when I got the rights back and republished it.

After that I found my own writing style and didn’t write any more regency romances. I write warm books with happy endings (whatever bad things happen in the middle) and no overt sex or gruesome violence. I call my characters ‘people’ and they are, to me. They walk through my dreams as I’m writing.

I’m writing three novels a year and really enjoy what I do. Luckily I was born without the housework gene and pay someone else to do that.

 What research have you found most difficult for your books?

 I enjoy doing nearly all research but the most difficult thing is when two sources give different views of the same event. For instance, Sylvia Pankhurst wrote a book about women’s lives on the home front in WWI, and paints a terrible picture of women working in munition factories. I also found the memoirs of a woman who did that job and went on to become a union official (very advanced for those days). She found a spirit of camaraderie and the experience helped her after the war. I chose to believe the woman who’d actually worked in a munitions factory.

 Are you a member of a writing association and what benefits do you gain from being a member?

 I’m a member of several different writing organisations, the Romantic Novelists’ Association of the UK, the Romance Writers of Australia, Novelists Inc and the Australian Society of Authors. They’re all wonderful, supportive groups and I wouldn’t be without them.

 Novelists Inc isn’t well known but it’s an international organisation (based in the USA) for multi-published authors. There are authors there with over 100 or even over 200 novels published, and a wealth of information to be shared. You can find them at: www.ninc.com

 Do you prefer to read a paperback or a Kindle?

 When I’m reading a good story, I don’t care which form it’s in, though I prefer paperback for my favourite authors, whose books I’m likely to keep and re-read. I don’t trust electronic devices to last as long as paper books. I’m still re-reading Georgette Heyer books I bought in the 1960s, or using research books published in the 19th century. Where will the Kindle be in 50 years’ time?

I read three novels a week – what can I say, I’m addicted to stories? Kindle has the advantage of allowing you to download another book by a particularly good author, or try a story by an author you’ve not read before.

 How did you learn to be a writer?  Did you attend creative writing classes or have you always loved writing from leaving school – Tell us more

 I’ve never attended creative writing classes or courses. When I started writing, there was no Internet and few writing classes. I just wrote, wrote and wrote some more. You learn to tell stories (which is how I think of it rather than as ‘writing’) by doing it, ie telling stories, just as athletes learn their skills by practising and training. You couldn’t learn to throw a javelin by going to a class and watching someone else do it, could you?

I was always good at telling stories, but didn’t settle down to do it seriously till the most important business in my life was completed ie finding and marrying my wonderful husband, and starting a family. I wouldn’t be without my daughters and their ‘attachments’ for anything. And it’s important for my writing to understand the cycles of life, I feel.

I did use a few how-to books in the early days, and picked out of them the advice that helped me. There is no single way to write. You have to experiment till you find the way that’s best for you. And no one in the world can tell you that you must do it one way. You do it your way.

The proof of the pudding for a would-be novelist is a publishable story of a professional standard. And that takes longer to reach than today’s ‘instant’ generation realise. I truly believe it takes years and several books written to make a good writer – unless you’re a genius and there are few of those. I was told half a million words written at least are needed to make a writer, and that’s a good guide. After all, when you’ve developed your skills, you can come back to your early works and rewrite them ‘properly’.

 How do you prefer to promote your books?

 I don’t prefer to promote my books. It interrupts my story-telling. I do enjoy meeting readers eg at library talks. I don’t do Twitter, but am on Facebook as Anna Jacobs Books. And I send out a monthly newsletter. I get such appreciative responses from readers that I enjoy doing that.

 The main thing is reaching readers and letting them reach me, because I learn so much from their comments. I’m always striving to become a better writer. Much more important than going mad on promotion at all costs. If you write good books, readers tell each other about them. Word of mouth is still the most effective form of promotion long-term.

 What kind of books do you read?

 Not historical sagas/romantic stories, which I write for two publishers. I spend two-thirds of the year with them and that’s enough.

I enjoy modern family relationships novels, cosy mysteries, fantasy novels, and I enjoy good research books, especially ordinary people’s memoirs published by amateurs or their families. You can really get the taste of the past from those, a taste not filtered through a historian’s eyes, however good the historian. I just read a collection of comments on the aftermath of WWI by people who’d been in the war. It was fascinating.

And I’ve read several ‘Mass Observation’ compilations. They’re wonderful. Before, during and after World War II, the government funded a small organisation to collect people’s thoughts about their daily lives – and sometimes do surveys. The best I’ve found of these are ‘Nella Last’s War’ and ‘Nella Last’s Peace’. They made a film of the first ‘Housewife 49) which was very true to her book. And Nella could certainly write in an engaging and easy to read way!

 Who is your favourite author and why?

 Georgette Heyer, whose books made me love history when teachers at school had bored me to tears with lists (eg Causes of the Industrial Revolution). Her stories also taught me how wonderful minor characters can be. But I have several other authors whose books I buy automatically:

 In no particular order, my favourite authors of today are:

Lillian Stewart Carl (gentle archaeological murder mysteries set in Scotland)

Robyn Carr (complex modern stories of relationships set in the USA)

Ann Cleeves (murder mysteries, particularly her ‘Vera’ series which were made into a brilliant TV series, set in Northumberland)

Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher mysteries, set in Australia in 1930, with some of the most brilliant visuals and costumes I’ve ever enjoyed

Bronwyn Parry’s Australian series of rural mysteries, very tense and gripping

Emilie Richards’ family/relationships stories set in the USA

I could go on, but don’t want to bore people.

Where do you see your writing life within the next ten years?

 I’d like to continue writing several books a year, in at least two genres, and one of the most important things to me it to improve what I do. I’m very passionate about quality of writing – my own and other people’s work. If I read a brilliant book, I say quietly, ‘That was a top quality read.’ It’s my highest compliment and what I aim for myself.

 The publishing industry has been in turmoil for several years and it’d be a rash person who predicted anything confidently.

 Basically, I just want to tell stories that people enjoy reading.

 Have you any advice for ‘wannabe’ writers?

Yes. Learn your craft by writing several books and do not hurl them out as self-published books until you’ve done your training. Truly, one book does not a novelist make. It’s like saying your first cake (or even your tenth) will be of of professional bakery standard, good enough for a wedding cake. Not going to happen.

My first novel is still on file and it’d need a complete re-write before it could be published – and even then, I won’t do it, because it’s a trite plot idea. No, RIP, dear story. But it taught me so much, it was well worth writing.

Anna Jacobs: Historical stories: ‘The Trader’s Gift, ‘Heir to Greyladies’, ‘The Trader’s Reward’ (4/14)  Modern stories: ‘Winds of Change’, ‘A Place of Hope’, ‘In Search of Hope’  http://www.annajacobs.com

  I wish Anna every success for the future and hope to meet her on her next visit to the UK when I come over from my other life in Holland

 

If you have any questions for Anna Jacobs please write them in the comments box below and feel free to share on Facebook and Twitter.

 

11 Comments

March 3, 2014 · 2:10 pm

The Fantasy World of Author R. F. Long


As part of my Around the World Tour, I would like to introduce author, Ruth Long, a writer of sword and sorcery, urban fantasy, paranormal romance for adults, and young adult readers.

 

Welcome Ruth.

 Ruth Long

How many books have you written and which of these are your personal favourites?

Gosh, I’ve almost lost count at this stage. I’ve been writing stories for as long as I can remember. Of the ones that have made it to publication, or will get there soon – I’ve written six novels and two novellas. I write fantasy romance as R. F. Long and fantasy for Young Adults as Ruth Frances Long. I’ve two coming out this year – one paranormal romance and one YA.

It’s hard to choose favourites though. I suppose if I had to it would be my paranormal romance Soul Fire and my Young Adult fantasy The Treachery of Beautiful Things. That is, until the new ones come along… ;)

 I see you live in Ireland. Are you able to network with other writers there?
Definitely. Ireland has a thriving community of writers in all genres and they’re very supportive of each other. Sites like Writing.ie help us all keep up to speed. And of course, as a country, we’re rather famous for our sociability. Twitter helps a lot too. I spend a lot of time on Twitter (@RFLong).

 Soulfire72LG

 Has Ireland inspired you with your writing?

Right from the beginning. Irish myths and legends are a great passion of mine. They are such an amazing source for a writer. Our legends are deeply embedded in our landscape and our lives. Every hill, every river, every valley seems to have a story connected to it. More directly my forthcoming YA book, A Crack in Everything, is based in Ireland, and deals with a lot of Irish fairy folklore, especially the idea that the fairies were angels expelled for refusing to take a side in the war in Heaven. It’s due out in Autumn 2014 from O’Brien Press.

There is also a certain humour, a way of using language, and weaving stories together that is peculiarly Irish, and I tend to run to that sort of lyricism at times. Thank goodness for good editors! ;) We like things to be beautiful, we like things to be tragic and above all we like a good story to hang it all on.

The Treachery of Beautiful Things

From your web site http://www.rflong.com I see you have an agent. Many writers dream of having an agent.  What have been the advantages for you?

I wouldn’t want to be without my agent, Sallyanne Sweeney, for a moment. I can’t make head or tails of legalese and she is fantastic when it comes to contracts. She negotiates for me and lets me get on with the creative side of writing. She helps with edits, reads my work critically, lets me bounce weird and wonderful ideas off her and gives me someone to contact in times of blind panic. She’s really encouraging and supportive. Having one professional person to do all that is a godsend.

 

 Are you a member of a writing association?  Do you think it is important to belong to a group when first starting out as a writer and why?
I’m a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Children’s Books Ireland. Writing tends to be a solitary pursuit so contacts made through groups like these are really important. I’m also a member of online sites such as Romance Divas, and I’m part of a critique group with a number of writers I met there. This is more personal group in that we read for each other, listen to the upsets and rants we would never want to make public, and constantly support and encourage each other. Life is hard so you need friends who understand what you’re up to, why the voices in your head won’t shut up or do what you tell them and how that’s perfectly normal. Plus getting to know other writers means finding out about loads of awesome new reads.

 

 Do you prefer to read a paperback or a Kindle?

I alternate between the two. Some books I have to read on paper, but the convenience of ebooks is really attractive too. I had a Sony reader for years, but recently got a Tablet so I have the Kindle reader on that. It’s also very handy for proof-reading and critiquing for friends.  My day job as a librarian, often dealing with rare books from the 15th and 16th centuries onwards right up to brand new publications, tells me that print books aren’t going anywhere, but there’s no reason why the two can’t happily co-exist.

 How did you learn to be a writer?  Did you attend creative writing classes or have you always had a natural ability.

I’ve always wanted to tell stories, from when I was very little. And fantasy was always my genre of choice. I learned to read early and soon read my way through the junior library and headed into the adult library. Romance came a little later in life but as I read I discovered that if a story didn’t have a romance in it, I usually made one up myself. I found that I tended to put characters together in my mind whether it was there in the story or not so I suppose romance stories were always in the offing. I’ve done one or two courses, mostly online, and I learned a lot through membership of online writing groups and through critique groups.

 

What kind of books do you read? Who is your favourite author?
All sorts, from fantasy and YA to thrillers and crime novels, Historical, both fiction and non-fiction. I think writers should devour books as well as produce them. Reading widely teaches you about storytelling. It’s an advantage of life as a librarian, especially when I worked in the public libraries. My favourites are Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I’d read them forever. But I tend to be more of a fan of individual books than specific authors.

 

 Do you have another book in progress toward 2015?
I have two coming out this year – a paranormal romance called The Mirror of Her Power from Taliesin Press, and my YA fantasy A Crack in Everything. So I’ve edits for them in the offing. I’m already working on the sequel for the A Crack in Everything, called The Hollow in the Hills, and then I’ll start on a sequel for The Mirror of Her Power. Of course, I’m never just working on one thing, so I have two other stories I’m whittling away at in the meantime. I’m going to have a very busy year.

 

 Where do you see your writing life within the next ten years?

I’m happy to just keep on writing. It would be lovely to be able to make a living from writing full time but I don’t think I’d ever want to give up my day job. So enough to be comfortable I suppose. I hope to grow my readership and still be able to vary the type of stories I tell.

 As an author, what is your next big ambition?

To write the best book I possibly can. Always. To do credit to the stories that come into my head and get them to print in as perfect as way as I possibly can.

If I’m going to go for the full fantasy wish-fulfilment answer – I’d dearly love to see one of my stories on film.  :D

 

Thank you Ruth, it was a pleasure to hear your story.  You are an inspiration to all.

 


Please go to Ruth’s web site for more information
http://www.rflong.com  or leave a COMMENT below

 

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

WELCOME SALLY JENKINS


Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

I first met author Sally Jenkins as a member of www.mywriterscircle.com She has recently entered the world of e-publishing and I wanted to find out more about her. Welcome, Sally, to my blog.

1. How many books have you written and which of these are your personal favourites?
I have five books available on Amazon Kindle plus a couple of manuscripts that ‘didn’t quite make it’ sitting on my hard-drive. Maxine’s Story, the first in the Museum of Fractured Lives(http://sallyjenkins.wordpress.com/the-museum-of-fractured-lives/), series is my personal favourite. It’s about young love – those feelings that we all experienced as teenagers when we really fancied someone. But, unlike most people’s love affairs, the consequences of Maxine’s short relationship with Kaspar are far reaching…

Sally Jenkins Karen's Story - The Museum of Fractured Lives - Cover imagesml


2. What research did you find most difficult for your books?
Most of what I write requires little or no research but I can think of one exception. The short story, Replacing the Empire, which is included in the collection One Day for Me – 8 Award-Winning Stories, tells how Wallis Simpson got cold feet on the morning of her marriage to Edward VIII. The scenes in the story are fictitious but I wanted accurate historical facts in order to give the tale authenticity. The internet was a great boon in researching the names of both the royal wedding photographer and Mrs Simpson’s bridesmaid. I also managed to include in the story some actual quotes from Wallis Simpson. The story achieved second place in the Snapshots of History Autumn/Winter 2012 Competition.

 

3. Do you prefer to read a paperback or a Kindle?
I like the Kindle because I can adjust the font to suit my eyesight and read without the need to my find my glasses! But I love browsing in my local library too and always bring some ‘gem’ home with me. So I still read ‘proper’ books as well.

 

4. How did you learn to be a writer?  Did you attend creative writing classes or have you always been a writer from leaving school – Tell us more.
I started a general creative writing correspondence course when my eldest daughter was a toddler (she’s 22 now!). Through that I started having success with magazine articles and then short stories. This gave me confidence and I abandoned the course to focus on short stories for women’s magazines. I attended a couple of one day courses on this genre and met Helen, who became my writing buddy. We now exchange work every fortnight for critique – this a wonderful discipline for making me produce something regularly! I am now moving towards longer stories, unsuitable for the magazines’ requirements, hence The Museum of Fractured Lives series.

 

5. I hear you have published with various magazines. Is this how you began your writing career?
Readers’ letters and articles were my very first successes and then I moved on to short stories.

 

 

6. How do you prefer to promote your books?
I think promotion is the hardest part of e-publishing! I promote via my blog (http://sallyjenkins.wordpress.com/) mainly. I also belong to a couple of writers’ forums (including MyWritersCircle) where I post any news to do with my books. When I have a special offer I use some of the multitude of websites and Facebook groups that publicise free and discounted e-books.

 

7. Do you specialise in one genre or do your prefer to write general fiction.
I would classify my writing as ‘women’s fiction’ but I’ve had good reviews from men as well so maybe it’s ‘women’s fiction verging towards unisex’!

 

8. What kind of books do you read?
I enjoy crime and thrillers. I’ve just finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – I enjoyed it but thought the second half was much more gripping than the first.

 

9. Who is your favourite author and why?
One of my favourite authors is Elizabeth George who writes the Inspector Lynley stories. I like the contrast in character between upper-class Lynley and his down-to-earth sidekick, Barbara.

 

10. Where do you see your writing life within the next ten years?
That’s a difficult question! More of the same I think – I enjoy the control of publishing without the constraints on story length and genre that a mainstream publisher would impose. And I’ll continue the magazine writing too – flicking through a publication and seeing my name in print still gives me a thrill.

 

11. Now you have published what is your next big ambition?
I’m aiming to slowly grow the length of the books I write, this is to allow for increased character development plus more twists and turns in the plot. So ultimately I want to be creating full-length novels.

 

12. Do you like animals and if so do you have a pet of your own?
Animals aren’t really my thing. My children were always desperate for a dog but I refused on the grounds that it would be lonely whilst we were out at school and work. But the real reason was I didn’t want to walk it, groom it and clean up after it – maybe I’m just lazy! We do have a goldfish named Reg – but that’s the limit of our menagerie.

 

13. Have you any advice for writers who wish to publish an e-book?
Edit and polish the manuscript until it shines! Do not be one of those shoddy e-publishers who’s just out to make a quick buck – very few people get rich e-publishing. I am in the middle of writing ‘Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners’ – so my advice would be to get hold of a copy when it comes out next month! Sign up to my mailing list (http://eepurl.com/AHkMP) and I’ll drop you a line when it’s available.

Sally Jenkins A Writer On Writing -Fiverr

 

 

Thanks Sally I am sure folks will enjoy reading all about you.  I wish you every success in the future.

If you have any questions for Sally please  COMMENT in the  box below

 

4 Comments

Filed under Writing

Ambition to Reality with Mansu Edwards


           Following on from my ‘Around the World’ interviews I would like to welcome author and poet, Mansu Edwards who lives in the USA and  self-publishes his poetry. Mansu has written and published several books and I was keen to know more about his ambitions as a poet and author. I first met him through http://www.mywriterscircle.com; he is a keen contributor to the forum. Enjoy reading about how ambitions can turn to reality.

Mansu Edwards

Mansu Edwards

       Perhaps you would tell us about your academic career and how you came to write poetry.

 I majored in Media Arts in college. The courses included Screenwriting, Film Studies, Lighting, Media Aesthetics, Journalism, etc. I selected Media Arts because I enjoyed writing and thought that screenwriting would be a good fit. It would allow me to use my imagination. I began to write poetry during my junior year. An AOL user from Pennsylvania inspired me. We wrote rhymes back and forth using the Instant Message feature.

 I gather from the information I received, you are self-published.  Can you tell us about your journey and decisions to go down that road. Did you search for a publisher first or did you decide to self publish from the start?

I’m an Independent Entrepreneurial Imagionationist.  I decided to take my career in my own hands because of the exorbitant Vanity Publisher fees. The company contacted me because of poetry I submitted to the Library of Congress. After severing ties with the Vanity Publisher I chose new material and mixed it with some of the old entries. Also, I changed the title of the book to ‘The Disappearance Of Hate’.

Biscuits and Yogurt

Biscuits and Yogurt Vol 1

 How have you benefited from writing poetry?  What does poetry do for you?

 I received monetary compensation from selling it in the streets, festivals, online and at work. This process made me appreciative and humble. It made me know that God gave me this gift for a reason.

 How would you describe your genre?

My writing focuses on internal growth and the art of thinking. I use various themes such as relationships, food, humor, psychology, sci-fi and sociology. I go with my gut feeling. Who knows my next book could be a Western? I don’t want to place boundaries on my writing.

 Which author/poet inspires you most and why?

 James Allen inspires me. He wrote ‘As A Man Thinketh’. It’s concise and inspirational. It’s the concept of seeds producing positive or negative circumstances.

 Tell me about your work, ‘The Disappearance of Hate?’ What is this book about and how has it helped others?

 ‘The Disappearance Of Hate’, a collection of poetry that takes the reader on a journey from self hate and negativity to empowerment and freedom.

 Why do you feel it is so important to inspire others?

It’s very important, because a person or thing always influences us. It can push toward growth and fulfilment or destruction and chaos. I focus on positive inspiration. I want people to break mental boundaries to achieve internal and external successes. When we improve the world improves as well.

 How many books have you written up to 2013 and could you please describe each one in no more than twenty words?

 I’ve written five books:

1. The Disappearance of Hate- A collection of poetry that explores the human psyche.

 2. Mental Diet- An inspirational cookbook of fictional recipes to empower people. Some of the recipes include ‘Stress Free Mac And Cheese’, ‘Unstoppable Baked Wingettes’ and ‘Turkey Burger Success Deluxe.

 3. Vertical Algebra — Success quotes from Black Englishman Sir Kedcuv Rhineclavu IV translated by Mansu Edwards and a Crater Rock Alien from Mars.

 4. B.A.Y. Vol. 1- Preview for ‘Biscuits And Yogurt Vol is an E-book. It contains ‘The Story of the Wouldve’s’ and ‘The Chair’.

 5. ‘Biscuits and Yogurt Vol. 1’ is a satirical self-esteem handbook/E-handbook of short stories, poetry, and various forms of writing. The entries include ‘A Day in the Life of Brigsby Lasker- a Blog by Brigsby Lasker’, ‘Marketing/Assistant Needed in Small Office- Soho’, ‘Schedule of a Professional Failure’ and ‘The Graduate Funeral’. 6. ‘Peruvian Calligraphy’ is an E-book of short stories exploring male and female interactions.

 Do you think poetry is more popular than ever or do you think we need to create more awareness that poetry is a good thing for the mind and soul?

I think it’s popular because there are so many poetry groups on Meetup. There are still spots in the city ‘Nuyorican Poets Cafe’, ‘Bowery Poetry Club’ and ‘The Five Spot’.

 Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time? You have stepped outside the traditional book writer box once before. Is this present genre likely to change or have you finally found your future as a poetic writer?

I see myself writing more books and starting several companies. I’m not sure which direction I will go as a writer. I know that I will continue to push the boundaries of writing. My goal is to be innovative, creative and follow my heart. I leave everything in the Lord’s hands.

 Tell me more about your current work in progress and what you hope to achieve.

I was working on a novel entitled ‘W.B.’ It’s different than my previous books/Ebooks. I don’t want to talk too much about it because it’s still in the early stages.

A copy of  ‘Biscuits And Yogurt Vol. 1’ and ‘Peruvian Calligraphy’ E-book can be obtained from my blog www.mansuedwards.wordpress.com .

 Thanks Lin for having me.

Thank you, Mansu, for a very interesting interview and I wish you every success for the future.

Please feel free to leave a reply below.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

FROM ROMANCE TO HORROR.


Joe Cheetah original 

INTERVIEW WITH JOE MYNHARDT, CRYSTAL LAKE PUBLISHING

I have known Joe Mynhardt for a number of years through mywriterscircle.com a friendly internet site for writers. I remember when Joe’s wife asked me to arrange an internet party worldwide for his birthday through the circle.  It was an amazing event and so many people came on line to give their good wishes. Joe has determination. When he says he will do something he does it and throughout the years I have been nothing but impressed with the way he has moved from a hobby writer to owner of Crystal Lake Publishing in South Africa.  Joe specialises in publishing and writing horror and as my blog is usually dedicated to romance writers, I felt it was time for a shift in genre this month and provide Joe with a spot of his own right here. I hope you will enjoy this interview and leave some comments for Joe Mynhardt to pick up and read.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Let’s see, I was born in Walvisbay, Namibia, in 1980. I was pretty much an introverted loner, until I started taking Karate at age 9, which really boosted my self-confidence – thank goodness for that. We moved to South Africa in 1992 after Apartheid ended, and now I find myself living the grownup-life in Bloemfontein. I started teaching in 2005 and writing horror in November of 2008. A lot of doors opened up after that; I guess all the hard work and networking really paid off. I pretty much spend every second of each day writing, reading, editing, or thinking about writing and the genre. I do whatever can make me a better writer, editor and publisher. Yes, that includes acting like an idiot in front of my friends… sometimes – I call it research.

 What first attracted you to horror writing?

Growing up, I was lucky enough to have parents who allowed me to watch horror movies and read whatever comics I wanted. So I basically grew up watching movies like Nightmare on Elm street, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Poltergeist, Child’s Play, and a bit of Alfred Hitchcock and Twilight Zone as well. What’s really strange is my own family now don’t understand why I want to write horror. Go figure. Anyway, since then I’ve been extremely interested in whatever classic horror movies or books I could get my hands on, including Stephen King, Ambrose Bierce, Algernon Blackwood, Lovecraft, Poe, Campbell, Howard and many, many more. I’ve got so many favourite authors right now, I couldn’t even begin to mention them

What made all these books, movies and comics so much more educational for me was the fact that I looked at these highly intriguing characters and wondered where they came from. Who invented them? Who drew them and gave them names? Essentially, who gave birth to them?

My ever-growing imagination was also complimented by my need to create. Where that need originated from I have no idea. Since age nine I always wanted to build or invent something. Why horror stories and books? Because horror gives the writer more creative space than any other genre. Anything can happen. And it’s that uncertainty, that fear of the unknown, which makes horror so damn great.

 Why do you love this genre?

Since a young boy I’ve always been interested in the supernatural. I loved scary movies. I didn’t care if there weren’t really any monsters creeping around in the dark. It was the possibility that excited me. You put two kids in a dark room with an open closet and each one will imagine their own unique monster.

I’d say the biggest turning point was when I watched Alfred Hitchcock’s Final Escape episode. The twist in the tale story has been my favorite ever since. And let’s not forget The Monkey’s Paw.

As writers we quickly learn what grabs the attention of readers. Things like drama, action, conflict, strong characters, dire situations and an antagonist that wants the exact opposite of your hero. And if you look carefully at these aspects, you’ll see they all play a big role in all stories. Horror is in every genre: losing a loved one is a horrible event; standing on a stage in front of people; being laughed at; losing a fight; being dumped, getting married (just kidding).

Plain and simple, horror stories are exciting. You never know what to expect.

Crystal Lake Publishing has also just published Gary McMahon’s short story collection, Where You Live. McMahon has built up a solid reputation as one of the hottest horror authors around at the moment – how did you secure this coveted collection?

 I met Gary through a project we were both involved in at Dark Minds Press (Dark Minds anthology), and he was the first person I invited for Crystal Lake Publishing’s inaugural anthology, For the Night is Dark. He was also the first to accept. I’m a 100% certain that some of the other authors joined the project to share the TOC with him.

We stayed in contact after that, and I’m of course a big fan of his work. He’s already working on The Outsiders with a few other authors, including Simon Bestwick, which will be out in 2014. He also recently wrote an introduction to Fear the Reaper (the 2nd anthology) and I think he was quite impressed with the quality of the book. It was then that he contacted me about republishing a sold out, limited edition book he had published a few years back with Grey Friar Press, including a bunch of new stories, of course.

 How does the working day look like for Joe Mynhardt?

Okay. I get up at 6:24am, breakfast bell rings at 6:45. Because I live at the school where I work, I walk to school in under a minute – awesome. I get to school at 7 but only start teaching at 7:40. School comes out at 13:40, so I rush to get lunch, then greet my wife and dogs, as well as change clothes, before going to sport at 14:00 (what a rush). I coach soccer and cricket, depending on the season.

After hours of standing, marking, arguing and solving problems, I finally go home at around 15:30. Some days I come out a bit earlier. If it’s cricket season, a match can easily take you to 18:00.

I do my best to put on my publisher’s hat as fast as possible, so I can get some work done before my wife comes back from work at 17:00. Believe it or not, the hostel serves dinner at 5pm, as well.

Then, on two nights a week, I’ll sit in study hall for an hour, helping the kids with their homework. After that I get a bit more work done. I try to finish by 21:00 every evening, but it’s not always possible.

Then we either watch an episode of a series, or I read or listen to an audio book before going to be at 22:30.

All this happens on a good day. On a crap day I’ll have to drive around and do errands. I normally leave errands for Fridays, but things just don’t always go according to plan.

Fear the Reaper smaller version

For those who might not know, once a book is accepted by Crystal Lake, approximately how long does it take for it to be published?

 The big publishers can take up to three years, but they take on way too many titles, and have too many people working on one project, anyway.

There are a lot of factors that come into play. For example, some books require a rewrite in certain areas. Since the authors I use in anthologies are highly sought after, I give them 6 months to write their contributions; they have a lot of other deadlines to cope with. After that it takes about 2 months to edit the anthology, then I might need to send it to someone who’s writing an introduction. I also need a month or two to send out ARC’s for pre-launch reviews that I’ll use during the launch.

Somewhere in there the cover needs to be made, eBook and paperback formatting, scheduling a successful launch or blog tour and so on.

So I prefer about 9 months per project.

What we can expect from Crystal Lake Publishing in 2014?

 Except for a surprise novella (which will then be combined into a collection later the year), there are quite a few books already lined up:

William Meikle’s Samurai and Other Stories.

The Outsiders (a Lovecraftian, shared-world anthology).

A yet to be named non-fiction eBook that’ll guide horror writers in the right direction, written by a host of horror authors.

Tales From the Lake Vol.1.

Children of the Grave (a zombie, shared-world, choose your own adventure collection, where each author writes a different direction).

And if everything goes well and things aren’t too hectic, I’ll be able to finish my second collection by the end of 2014, but it’ll probably only be out early 2015.

The second Tales From the Lake horror writing competition.

But you never know what opportunities will come along. I always leave a bit of room in case something big comes knocking. You see, always be ready when opportunity comes knocking.

Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?

Definitely psychological chills. Without the psychological manipulation of a decent writer, the gore bits would mean absolutely nothing. No one would care about the character. With today’s special effects in movies, people have been a bit desensitised. That’s why some writers now feel they have to go overboard with gore scenes. Look back at the older movies, remember how they never actually showed the monster eat the victim. They just zoomed in on his approach and faded to black. Still scared the hell out of me and everyone who watched it. Why, because we cared about those people. The writer made us care. But, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing better than a perfectly timed bit of gore that makes you go, “Awesome!”

A great approach is to show the carnage the ‘monster’ or whoever has done, without actually showing him or it until the very end. That way you have the chills and the gore. There are great stories with only the psychological horror, but too many of them in a row tends to weaken a collection, in my opinion.

I tend to put a lot of gore into a story where the bad guy finally gets what he deserves. In the title story of my Lost in the Dark collection, I have a bad guy who gets the tendons behind his knees, ankles and arms severed (even his eyelids), then he gets tied to a tree and torn apart by wild animals. The timing was perfect, because by then the reader despises him for all the horrible things he had done, things much worse than what happened to him, and it made me go, “Awesome!”

for the night is dark final cover

What considerations to you take when it comes to cover art? Do you leave it up to the author or artist or do you take full control?

Most of the covers come either from a picture I had in my mind, or a part from a story in the collection. Artists Ben Baldwin likes to read a few stories to get the feel of the book. But when it comes to an author’s collection, I connect the author with Ben and they work it out amongst them. Ben knows what I like and I have 100% faith that he’ll create another masterpiece. From the start he’s always been able to bring the picture in my mind to life.

My initial love of books started with book covers. I’m a big fan of covers, whether it’s vinyl covers or DVD covers.

I’m a big fan of emotionally impactful covers. Covers that you can stare at for days. Every time the reader picks up the book, they’ll first stare at the cover before paging on. If you can make someone feel let’s say anger, fear, awe, curiosity or unease when they look at a cover, you’ve already set the mood for a great book.

Some of the covers might remind you of a childhood fear, or perhaps make you realise that you’re scared of something and you never realised it.

Do you think books encompassing different genres have helped or hindered the industry?

That’s a catch 22 situation.

On one hand, anything that gets more people writing and reading is great. With so many online outlets (Amazon, Createspace, Smashwords etc.), writers don’t have to worry so much about where their book should be on a bookstore shelf. Bookstores invented names for the genres, not writers. We write stories, and sometimes those stories want to go wherever they need to go. I can’t tell my imagination, “Sorry, but we’re not allowed to go in that direction.”

But then you have to keep marketing in mind when you write a book. You need to know who your target readers are. So sometimes you have to pull your characters back a bit and keep the ending as well as the genre in mind. When a reader looks at a cover, they should know immediately what waits for them inside.

I’d say stick to one genre in general, because you will let your readers down if you don’t, but nothing stops you from adding romantic subplots, fantasy worlds or a funny character. Your horror book will be so much better for it if you do.

Otherwise, write different genres under a pseudonym. I write and read horror and thriller stories, or just plain weird and dark, but there’s always room a bit of romance, comedy and so on. I’m actually working with an author on an erotic horror novella for 2014, with a lot of twisted humor in there for extra fun.

 You have had a lot of stories published. Do you still remember the first piece you ever sold?

 Definitely. It was in the middle of 2009, after I’d been writing for a few months. I’d won a couple of flash fiction challenges at Mywriterscircle.com, and decided it was time to try my luck with a few markets. I had no idea where to start, until I saw a publisher looking for a few stories on the forum. I polished one of my Flash Fiction winning stories and sent it off. A bit of editing was necessary between me and the editor, but the story, ‘Daddy’, ended up being not only my very first published piece, but also my first sale. I think I received about $50 for it, and that’s for a story of about 130 words. Not bad.

I was pretty hooked after that.

Do you prefer writing and publishing short stories, novellas or novels?

For now I prefer short stories and novellas. I’m not able to fully represent a novel yet. I can’t offer authors an advance or the massive advertising budget a novel requires. This company is still young, so I’m sure we’ll get there some day.

I also read more short stories as well, since they’re just what someone with a little bit of time in need of entertainment looks for.

 What sort of characters do you like to read about?

That’s a tough one. I have to say I have three favorites at the moment. The lonely outcast looking for a place in the world, the quiet person who ends up surprising people with his hidden talents, and the poor soul who has lost everything and doesn’t know where to turn. I get one hell of a kick out of seeing characters realize their destiny, whether it’s to sacrifice themselves, save countless lives, or even become a serial killer. This is horror, after all.

Would you say you are filled with the stereotypical idiosyncrasies that go with being an artistic person, or are one of the sane ones?

Sane? Yes. Normal? Not quite. I am a bit on the weird side, since I’m always lost in my thoughts, travelling through distant, imaginary worlds. I think I’m pretty normal, but my friends, family and wife just chuckle when I try to persuade them otherwise. I don’t really care. As long as I can keep writing and creating, I’m happy.

Sometimes I just ignore the real life around me. It sucks a bit, because then people think I don’t care.

You should see how crazy I get when I’m tired. Put on some Iron Maiden and you’ll see a completely different side of me.

I used to think I was a pretty decent guy for someone who wants to write horror. To my surprise, I found out that most horror writers are amazingly nice people. I guess we get all our frustrations out on paper before going out into the world and doing something stupid. Perhaps it’s a good thing we spend so much time on our own.

Which writers were your biggest influences growing up?

I wasn’t a huge reader growing up. I actually struggled to sit still long enough to read anything other than a comic. I was however a big fan of stories, be it movies, comics or whatever forms they came in. I can’t recall seeing a lot of short story collections in libraries back them. I loved going to the library, mostly for looking at covers, reading back page blurbs and, of course, for Asterix and Tintin.

I eventually got hooked on Stephen King, thanks to my sister. IT was the very first King book I read, and except for Dracula, it was also the thickest book I ever took on as a youngster.

I especially enjoyed weird stories like the Twilight Zone episodes, and Hitchcock Presents played a very big role in my love for horror and all things dark and twisted.

My biggest influence will still have to be Dracula.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Not sure if all writers experience this, but for me each story needs to be approached differently. It’s like the octopus circling the corked bottle until it finally finds a way in, or a rock climber approaching a mountain face. Sometimes I need lots of planning, sometimes I just have to write, and other times I write different scenes every day until the story fits together like pieces of a puzzle.

In the end, I like to plot, but most of it will just be short notes of scene ideas. Everything comes together in my mind and then I start writing.

Do you like to do all of your research upfront, or write till the very end?

I have the apparent weakness of wanting to edit when I write, but I’ll never stop to do research. I’ll just highlight whatever I’m not certain of in red and continue. Next time I go online, I’ll sort out whatever needs to be double checked.

 When it comes to writing and editing, do you have a set schedule that you like to follow?

I write whenever my schedule allows it. I’m a teacher living on the school premises, in a small flat below the hostel, so time is a bit limited. I normally write/edit between 3pm and 5pm each day, then another hour or so in the evening. I do tend to regularly change my writing schedule or the order in which I do things, especially weekends and holidays, just to keep things from getting monotonous. I don’t want writing and editing to become a chore.

These days publishing, marketing and just running Crystal Lake Publishing is taking most of my time. I hate making authors wait, so I try to reply the same day.

 When it comes to the invite-only anthologies you’re known to put together, are there any surprises and/or co-incidental similarities in theme that come about?

Surprisingly not. Each story is just so unique in its approach and symbolism. You see, I like to study writers and their work, then I bring a bunch of them together, a bunch I’ll know will not only fit nicely together, but bring out the best in each other.

Once the stories are submitted I’ll work with the authors to sharpen the story, and if I do ever find any similarities are will not benefit the collection, we’ll work on it together till everything evens out nicely.

Once I invite an author to an anthology, he/she is 95% guaranteed to be in that anthology. There will probably be a first someday, where an author and I will agree that the story isn’t going to work. Not all authors are easy to work with.

 Where can we find Crystal Lake Publishing on the internet?

 Check out our website: http://www.crystallakepub.com/

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/crystallakepub

Chat with us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Crystallakepublishing

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/107478350897139952572/posts

All our books can also be found on Goodreads.

And of course Amazon. But instead of barraging you with links, it might be better to just visit our books page. If you click on the book covers, you’ll find out more about each book, or you can just click on the Amazon buttons to follow the universal links straight to your country’s Amazon outlet.

I’m also very approachable, so don’t hesitate to contact me at crystallakepub@gmail.com. I’ll add you to the mailing list (which goes out with every new release), and if you’re an author, be sure to send me a bio and links to (or examples of) your work. I might just contact you for a project in the future.

I wish Joe Mynhardt every success with his publishing venture and hope we shall be seeing more of Crystal Lake Publishing in the future.

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

This Week’s Blog Post with DizzyC


If you need advice on publishing your book, take a look at this week’s blog post with DizzyC

http://dizzycslittlebookblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/safkhet-soul-blog-tour-lin-treadgold.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+DizzyCsLittleBookBlog+%28Dizzy+C%27s+Little+Book+Blog%29

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

What a year it’s been!


As we  have reached late Autumn, I wanted to write a summary of my year so far.

2013 began with the editing process at Safkhet Publishing. It was a tough time.  I had been ill, although not very ill, but I had some odd symptoms on my tongue, a strange tingling sensation which I happened to explain to my doctor during an appointment  for something else. I felt fine other than the usual aches and pains. Within a couple of days she sent me for a scan.  I was horrified to discover I’d had a stroke.  Yes, there it was a white blob on my brain which I could see on the screen quite plainly.  The first words I said to the cardiologist after he told me, was ‘Oh, my goodness, that’s shocking!’ and it was!  Both my parents died of strokes, but fortunately I have never smoked as my father did and neither do I drink a lot, so yes it was shocking as I had always thought of myself as healthy.

In the months that followed I had treatment with some life saving pills and although sometimes I had felt quite confused and unable to focus properly, I eventually improved and hoped this won’t happen again.

The worst part was the confusion.  I did my best to concentrate hard, but it was just a case of time and not worrying about it too much.  The best thing to do was get on with the editing process and hope I wasn’t going to fall ill again.

After editing back and forth,  we had, at last, finished and the manuscript was ready to be printed.  My role now was to put my social networking together and arrange a book launch.   I had the most generous support from the people of the Isles of Scilly.  The book is a holiday read with Pippa Lambton and Sven Jorgensen as the main characters. I hope it will encourage people who have never been to Scilly to visit there.  It is such a beautiful place. The story surrounds the nature and scenery of the islands.

Goodbye, Henrietta Street was launched on 1st July 2013 and I spent the afternoon in The Edge of the World bookshop in Penzance at my first book signing event which I enjoyed very much.  I had organised  a book launch  party, on the 8th July,  at The Mermaid pub on the islands.  I travelled by sea to St Mary’s and the weather was a force 6 and needless to say I had to give up a signing session on the ship, due to violent sea sickness. In the following days, summer had arrived and I experienced the most wonderful three weeks, touring the islands, in the warm sunshine, and meeting the local residents and tourists of Scilly. I felt very sad when I had to leave.

The weeks that followed involved networking on Facebook and Twitter and returning to the UK in September where I did another tour in Whitby, Yorkshire, which is also where part of the story takes place. This was fun, as my book is now in the bookshop in Whitby. We sold many copies.  I had a wonderful time in the local library which I found to be very friendly and professional.  They had invited people to attend a talk on ‘becoming an author’ and I received some excellent feedback from the audience.

As I live in The Netherlands, it isn’t easy to arrange book signing sessions due to the language. Fortunately, there are a couple of places I have managed to do this.  Last weekend, I spent the afternoon in The English Bookshop, in Amsterdam where a man came into the shop and bought four copies of the book for his friends.  On 3 November I shall be part of the entertainment at the Irish Cottage pub in Oude Niedorp in North Holland.  We have a book signing session in the pub during the afternoon and plenty of food, drink,  and Irish music. This should be very good because many of the people who attend these events have a soft spot for English islands and interesting places in the UK.   I look forward to it very much

This morning I received some news, they sold out of books in Whitby and will keep them in the shop in the future. They have also invited me to come over and do a book signing session in the shop next Spring.

So folks, that’s my year so far, and I am delighted to inform you that I am now feeling much better and in the middle of writing my second book.

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

From One Author to Another


Author, Jennifer Bohnet talks to Lin Treadgold about her life in France and her writing activities. Her latest book Shadows of Conflict is available on Amazon in hardback at the end of September 2013.

Go to Jennifer’s home page to find out more about her books.

http://jenniferbohnet.com/ 

Jennifer Bohnet
 
 

LIN: I am so pleased we exchanged experiences in the last few weeks, it has been interesting to meet a  like-minded expatriate. You live in France and I am in Holland.  You might like to tell us something about yourself and how many books you have written?

JENNIE: It’s been great meeting up with you via the internet, Lin, and thank you for the opportunity to be a guest on your blog. A bit about me? Well, we’ve been in France for 14 years now – 3 up here in Brittany and the previous 11 in the South of France. We originally cycled from Roscoff down through France via the canal paths with our then collie dog in a trailer behind Richard’s bike. It was good fun and we keep muttering we should do it again but I think the moment has passed! SHADOWS OF CONFLICT published by Hale this year is my fifth book.

LIN: Do you write throughout the year or do you wait, as I do, until summer has gone and start a new project through the winter months?

     JENNIE: Because I write short stories and serials as well I write all year – or try to! There are certain times of the year though that do prompt new motivation. Although it’s a  long time since I was at school, September and the new school year always has me making resolutions, starting new projects, and buying yet more notebooks. 

LIN: When did you begin writing your first book?

JENNIE; My first two, French Legacy and For The Love of The Sea were serials in The People’s Friend and were then accepted for Large Print publication by Ulverscroft. The next two were shorter serials so I had to edit, re-write and add about twenty thousand words with a couple of new sub-plots. All this began to happen in 2005.How is the quality expatriate life in France? 

      LIN: Are there things you miss about the UK?  For me it’s  Branston Pickle, Bisto gravy, and English cheeses.  I also miss the hills; Holland is so flat. How is the quality of  life in France?    

     JENNIE: Living in the South of France followed by Brittany has actually given  us two different expatriate lives in France. Same country but two totally departments. One very cosmopolitan, the other very rural and quiet. Food wise there is very little I can’t buy here these days – even Branston Pickle. Friends bring us treats like Devonshire clotted cream and pasties – oh, and peanuts for the birds are almost impossible to source here! We are lucky in that we live in gorgeous countryside – with hills -  and the sea is a short drive away in three directions.

      LIN: How do you manage to interact with other authors in real time when you are in France?  Do you come to the UK for conferences? 

JENNIE; Sadly I have no interaction with other authors in real time here. I did recently hear of another writer who lives up on the coast in another department but as yet we haven’t managed to meet up for one reason or another. I am a member of the RNA but have never attended any of their famous (or should that be infamous?) parties.Maybe one day I’ll get there.

LIN; Many authors write about what they know best; I am one of those too although I do enjoy the research.  Do you tend to keep your stories around France or are your books based elsewhere as well?

      JENNIE: Three of my books are based in France and the other two are set in Devon where we lived before running away to France. Number six is again based in France but is drawing on some of my experiences of running a beach cafe in Devon. So it’s a mixture of what I know and research.

      LIN: What started your writing?  When was the moment you said ‘I’ll write a book’ ? Was this due to a life changing experience?

     JENNIE: I’ve always written but coming to France was the life changing experience that propelled me into writing books rather than features and short stories.

     LIN: Who are your three most favourite authors and why?

     JENNIE: Oh, this is a difficult one – just three? Anna Seyton for Katherine – the historical novel of all time (imo). I adore all of Erica James’s books – she is so good at bringing characters to life. Jill Mansell, Veronica Henry, Katie Fforde, Marcia Willett – oh sorry you said three! And why? Basically because they all write, in totally different ways, about ordinary relationships and make them special.

LIN: You and I obviously enjoy sea-related stories.  I couldn’t imagine living too far from the sea, I was born on the top of a cliff! What do you feel it is about the sea that provides an author with a wealth of story telling?  How would you describe the feelings? 

     JENNIE: I was born on the seafront at Weston! Yes I love being near the sea but not so keen on being in it or on it! I’m not sure why it’s so inspirational for writers. Possibly because it can call up a myriad of emotions and thoughts – calm, stormy, happy, threatening, romantic etc. Knowing that gentle waves can change almost instantly to rough hard hitting ones ready to snatch things, lives, away and alter everything, can be inspiring.  

LIN: We are both members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.  Describe why membership to the RNA has been important to you.

JENNIE: Membership of the RNA is the thing that keeps me in touch and up to date with the writing scene in the UK. Getting to an RNA do is on my bucket list!

LIN: Who would you say has influenced you most in your writing style?

     JENNIE:Another difficult to answer question. I read a lot – usually contemporary, occasionally historical. I think sub-consciously you absorb things into finding your own voice. I honestly couldn’t name a single writer who has influenced me more than anyone else. Although I did go through a period of wanting to be the next Aga Saga writer aka Joanna Trollope. 

LIN: Are there any members of your family who are also writers? 

     JENNIE: Not yet – although I live in hope that my son will eventually put pen to paper because I know he has the talent from the few things he’s written but at the moment he’s just not interested.

     LIN: Thanks Jennie for a most interesting alliance, I hope we shall meet in real time in the future and exchange more of our writing experiences.

     JENNIE: It would be lovely to meet up in real time Lin. I’m sure it would be non stop chat. Thank you for inviting me.

SHADOWS of CONFLICT - Jennifer Bohnet

SHADOWS of CONFLICT tells the stories of Katie and her god-mother Mattie. When Katie, redundant from her media job, accepts Mattie’s offer to take over her shop, A Good Yarn, in Dartmouth, she expects her life to be busy and unexciting. But with an American film crew in town intent on uncovering buried secrets from World War II, a disgruntled relative, and Mattie herself still refusing to face up to the lingering shadows of an unhappy childhood, life is neither simple nor quiet. When Patrick, her ex-boss, offers the chance of her dream media job Katie has to decide whether accepting it is worth turning her back on everything and everyone in Dartmouth – including Leo, a friend from the past who plans to be a part of her future. Will Katie make the right decision? And as the Americans uncover a secret from her past, will Mattie shake off a lifetime of regrets and shadows from the past to finally find happiness with Henri, her new ami

 

6 Comments

August 29, 2013 · 12:47 pm

Pictures from my Isles of Scilly Book Tour July 2013 – (double click to enlarge)


_MG_5132

North Farm Gallery, St. Martin’s

Just before I got seasick on the RMV Scillonian!

One of the signing venues at Fraggle Rock Cafe on Bryher. A delightful spot for a meal.

One of the signing venues at Fraggle Rock Cafe on Bryher. A delightful spot for a meal.

Another venue at the Abbey Gardens on Tresco

Another venue at the Abbey Gardens on Tresco

One satisfied customer!

One more satisfied customer!


_MG_5077

Bone Idol Sea Shanty group singing at the book launch of Goodbye, Henrietta Street

the sun going down over the two hills of Samson island

the sun going down over the two hills of Samson island

Leave a comment

August 19, 2013 · 8:44 pm