Rebecca Shaw, author of the Turnham Malpas/ Barleybridge village series, made creating, writing and marketing village sagas sound very easy. Such an inspiration. She didn’t believe in retiring after her children departed for university. She chose to be a writer!
We are grateful to Carole Hastings, Publicity Chairman, for the following…
Calum Kerr, lecturer in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Winchester, kicked off the evening by telling us about his ‘short story a day’ regime that he started May 1, 2011 and has continued every day since then. He was chosen for a Christmas Eve feature on Radio 4 and has organised the National Flash Fiction Day to take place on May 16 with events and various competitions happening across the country, including Southampton and Winchester. An anthology of the best work will be edited by Calum and Valerie O’Riordan.
Rebecca Shaw, our Guest Speaker, started a creative writing class when her youngest child went off to university in 1992 to fill her free time. She wanted to focus on short stories but was advised that this was the domain of well known individuals, As a result, she wrote her first novel based on the imaginary village of Turnham Malpas and sent it off to six publishers. After five manuscripts were returned rejected…she was delighted when Orion offered her a three book deal. She hasn’t looked back. She has written 22 books in 20 years, the majority based on her village sagas, but three books have been based on a veterinary practice. Her two sons, who are vets, have provided the rich research and technical advice.
Her advice to writers is to write when you are bursting with ideas, not necessarily every day. Then your writing will feels fresh. Don’t try to force yourself to write. She uses the time when she is not writing to observe and to store ideas and information in her brain. She believes that supermarkets are great places for people watching and advises “You must watch the world as it is.” When she started writing she avoided reading for two years so that she could develop her own voice.
Rebecca’s success has proved that there are opportunities to become a published writer when you least expect it.
For those of you who missed out on Calum’s Flash Fiction stories, his ebook 31 is now available for Kindle