How Ten Words Won Author Ally Sherrick a Book Contract

allysherrickTake a place at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) conference, an entry in the Ten Word Novel Pitching competition and a well-known children’s publisher as the judge. Mix them all together and what have you got? A small but important chance for your story – the one you have slaved at for months in your writer’s garret and in which you believe so passionately – to reach the audience of bright-eyed and enthusiastic young readers you’ve written it for.

black-powder-aw-2-195x3001When I entered my ten word summary of Black Powder in the competition, I had no inkling at all that I might actually win. I had already collected a number of rejections from agents who had told me that unfortunately my story ‘wasn’t for them.’ In fact I was very close to consigning it to the ‘Bottom Drawer of Not-Likely-To-Be-Published Doom’. So I was over the moon when I discovered that Barry Cunningham, Publisher and Managing Director of Chicken House Publishing Ltd, had picked it from the pile of entries.

The prize was a review by Barry of 2,000 words of my story – an historical middle grade adventure about a boy who gets mixed up in the Gunpowder Plot. I was delighted that I was going to receive comments and perhaps some advice back from him; but I was thrilled when he contacted me after reading it and said he’d like to read the whole thing.

chickenhouselogoAfter some last minute further polishing, I sent my manuscript off to Barry in late November 2014 and spent a nail-biting few weeks waiting to hear. Imagine my delight when he contacted me to say he had really enjoyed reading it and that he’d like to take it to the next Chicken House acquisitions meeting. He warned me that they may yet decide not to take it on, but that, at any event, they would like me to come down to meet them at the Chicken House coop in Frome, Somerset. A date was duly fixed for a meeting in early March – although I was still none the wiser as to where things might be going!

But all that changed when, after an initial chat round a ginormous old table in a room which looked suspiciously like Dumbledore’s study, Barry told me they’d like to publish my story. If I’d been over the moon before, I was now heading on warp drive into another galaxy entirely – especially when the offer came through from Barry the next day for a two book deal!

18 months later and though my book is now published and sitting proudly on the bookshelves of bookshops up and down the land, I still haven’t quite beamed back down to earth.

But, two things from my travels through space I do know to be true:

  1. We writers must always keep the faith. If you love your story, never give up on it, no matter what.

And …

  1. Seize every opportunity that comes your way. Entering that SCBWI competition nearly two years ago gave me the chance to realize my dream of becoming a published author and of sharing my stories with a whole world of readers.

And the lucky ten words? ‘Boy must join Gunpowder Plot to save father from hanging.’

Black Powder is available from Waterstones, Foyle’s, WH Smith and all good bookshops, and online from Amazon.

For more information about Ally visit her website: www.allysherrick.com or follow her on Twitter: @ally_sherrick

Barry Cunningham, Managing Director of Chicken House Publishers and discoverer of Harry Potter.

barrycunningham‘Children’s publishing is going through a second Golden Age.’ BARRY CUNNINGHAM announced.

The children’s writers of the past, Roald Dahl and Spike Milligan to name two of Barry’s conquests, knew how to get inside a child’s head, but also when to accept that the adult knew best.

These days children as readers are much more respected. 36% of all book sales are children’s books. Over half of Young Adult books are bought by adults. 78% of these for their own reading satisfaction. What does that tell you about adult’s books? Publishers and writers both need to listen and respond to the requirements of their target market.

‘Publishing a book is very different from saying whether it is well written.’ he says. Barry stated that his job as a publisher is to find readers for his writers’ books. And if he isn’t able to find those readers, he won’t take on that book.

Ally Sherrick, one of Chicken House’s debut authors, entered the SCBWI 10 word pitch competition and answered correctly. Further reading of Ally’s draft gave Barry the idea of Ally’s ‘voice’. This is what captures the publisher/agent’s attention.black-powder-aw-2-195x3001

‘Access the child in you,’ he advises, ‘Go back and feel how you felt then.’ Play tricks with narrative.

Villains, whether that be the villainous situation or as an actual person is the most important character. Heroes come and go. ‘Harry is not as important as Voldemort.’

Dialogue is also important. Use it rather than description to show key moments.

For Barry, planning is precious. He has one writer who has killed off the same character twice! ‘Even so, she’s very successful’, he said. Perhaps chose to plan by listing your characters. You will have lots of information that may not go into the book, but it is important stuff to write down as reference that the writer needs to know.

Read your work aloud – this shows you where the weaknesses are.

When you submit your work, take a look at the writers already represented by your chosen agent. And compliment them! Do as you’re told.

Barry is exasperated that there are still some writers who don’t send 3 chapters, a synopsis and covering letter. Make the synopsis short – one side of A4 will do. Agents read hundreds of synopses. Tell the agent something about yourself ‘Perhaps not that you’re a motorcycling vicar.’ he says, but ‘what you have planned for your character’.

Everyone wants to know about book 2. Barry didn’t suggest that there might not be one.

Use the Publisher/Agents website. Here you’ll find details of competitions and open days.chickenhouselogo

The children’s market is fiercely competitive. But it is still an industry that does dreams. Chicken House relishes finding new voices and ‘if it is good enough, children will follow you through the back of the wardrobe’.

Ally Sherrick Debut Children’s Author of Black Powder

black-powder-aw-2-195x3001ALLY SHERRICK, debut author of Black Powder, a tale of gunpowder, treason and plot, a twelve year old boy and his mouse best friend was our speaker with Barry Cunningham, Publisher and Managing Director of Chicken House Publishing in Somerset., .

‘I hope you’re enjoying your MA course in Creative Writing as much as I did.’ Ally said to those Winchester MA Writing for Children students present at the inaugural meeting of the Hampshire Writers’ Society Sixth Season.

It was during her two year course that she re-discovered her creative seed which had been crushed by the professionalism of the past twenty years of ‘crust earning’.

At the end of her working day, ‘writing was the last thing I wanted to do.’ she said.

In early 2000 Mark Haddon, award winning writer of the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, suggested to Ally during an Arvon Course that the voice of the peice that she written for the course wasn’t written for children!

Ally didn’t despair. Instead she set about devouring books by other children’s writers, including Meg Rosoff, Plenary Speaker at this years Winchester Writers’ Festival.

When redundancy forced Ally to ask herself ‘What do I want to do with the next section of my life and with the backing of a supportive husband she embarked on the MA Writing for Children at Winchester University.

The MA opened up access to networks including SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators)

Her first novel, a sci-fi was finished. She submitted it and when it was rejected, she had the good grace to put it in her bottom drawer and move on. The story and the characters are the important ingredients’, she tells us, ‘it doesn’t matter where you set it.’ A SCBWI ten word pitch competition won her the attention of Barry Cunningham.allysherrick

Since then, she and the Chicken House team have worked, not always agreeing but stayed focussed. Together they brought Black Powder to publication.

‘Connect with your inner child’, Ally says, ‘My dial is stuck at age 11.’

Ally is now writing book two, a children’s book set in WW2.

Clare Morrall on Clever Timing, Consistency and Unnecessary Advice

AstonishingSplashesI first started to write a novel at the age of thirty-five, which wasn’t clever timing, as I was spending long hours teaching violin and piano, and bringing up my two young daughters on my own. At first, I would put the girls to bed early and write through the evenings. It was good for them, I told myself, a regular routine, a calming-down period before going to sleep. But children soon get wise to these things. Early bedtimes became harder to justify.

Eventually, a friend offered me the use of a room in her house, and I would sneak off for a couple of hours on a Wednesday and the occasional Saturday afternoon when the children went to their father’s. There was no time for procrastination. I had to sit down, turn on the laptop and start writing immediately. This was my only chance and I wasn’t going to waste it. Occasionally I would go to sleep, it’s true – there was a lot going on and I was usually exhausted – but mostly I got on with it.

I would always write something, anything, even when I didn’t feel like it. I made myself continue typing, whatever the results, because I knew that my thoughts would eventually start to flow and sometimes, sometimes, inspiration would take over. I still write like this, forcing myself to produce something in the available time, then going back and rewriting, shaping, moulding like a sculptor.

AftetTheBombingI’ve been asked to give tips on how to produce a consistent voice. When I wrote After the Bombing, I was very conscious of the need for authenticity, so I spent a great deal of time online, reading first-hand accounts of the bombing in Exeter, absorbing the feel of the language, the phrasing, the expressions, until I had to stop myself and start writing. The future world of When the Floods Came WhentheFloodsCamepresented another difficulty, how to portray language that was familiar, but also evolving. I decided to invent expressions – catchphrases, new cliches – especially for the younger characters, allowing the words to grow out of existing jargon. But my main advice for convincing dialogue would be to listen. Absorb the voices around you, let a hint of the waffle remain for believability, then cut everything down to the bare bones. Fictional dialogue reflects real conversation, but doesn’t reproduce it exactly. It’s not a good idea to crush your readers with meticulous accuracy. You don’t want them to die of boredom.

My daughters have moved on, both married, so I can write at home again, no longer having to lose the travelling time. Writing a novel is hard work, a formidably long process. But it’s what I do. I write for the satisfaction of creating, for love, not because it will make me rich. In the end, if people want to write, they’ll write anyway and nothing will stop them. Advice is probably unnecessary.

Marion Bond- Its Own Place

Report by Lisa Nightingale

HWS Member Marion’s collection of spiritual poetry has been published by Sarsen Press, a Winchester printing company offering a book production service.ItsOwnPlace

Marion formed tight bonds with a writing group in Hampshire, but 20 years ago was cornered into returning to full time work as a teacher. Sadly, she gave up writing.

Marion’s poetry uses traditional styles which are not affected by the whirlwind progress of society and recently, she has been able to resurrect her writing. Having heavily edited everything she wrote as she went along and never having severed those contact made in Hampshire 20 years ago, Its Own Place was pretty much ready to go.

Sarsen has printed and proof read Marion’s work, but she has had to do her own marketing. 3MarionBond2016Again contacts have helped here – Winchester Cathedral publicised a performance from Marion although she says ‘She’s not a performance poet!’ The Cathedral was packed to its patchwork glass windows with an audience 2000 in strength.

Marion has a strong on-line presence. But here she writes under a pseudonym. That pseudonym is also a valuable contact as she advertises Marion Bond!

You can tell by talking to Marion that she is incredibly knowledgeable about her craft and cares very much about quality.

Its Own Place is available to buy from Amazon UK

Marriage, A Journey and A Dog – Brenda H Sedgwick

Report by Lisa Nightingale

Marriage,AJourneyandaDogBrenda is a teacher of Creative Writing and a proud grandmother. For most of the year she teaches and lives in Sri Lanka.

When in England she quickly becomes the object of the centre of entertainment for the grandchildren.

Sri Lanka is where she completes the bulk of her writing

As a teacher, Brenda’s colleagues offer proof-reading and editing services. She says. Marriage, a Journey and a Dog went through sixteen re-writes. Brenda is also privileged to be part of an intimate group of Published Writers in Southampton. ‘As a small group we all trust each other’s criticisms to be constructive.’

The book has been self-published by Brenda using Matador, part of Troubador Publishing Ltd. Brenda reported that she has enjoyed the process. But, with some aspects of the publication process she felt that she had to redo the job herself – if she wanted it done sufficiently.

Marriage, a Journey and a Dog is a Romantic Comedy. Natalie, the main protagonist is a character that many women will be able to identify with. Natalie travels across France and Spain on the hunt for the hospital where her sport-obsessed husband awaits a lift home. On the way, she forms an unexpected affinity with works of art. They become friends, confidents and a housewife’s oracle. And then she returns home; to Eastleigh and predictability. But she is a new woman now. How will she re-adjust?

Book two, a sequel in many ways will be available to you shortly.

Marriage, a Journey and a Dog has been described as a great holiday read, a terrific road trip story with colourful characters. It is available to buy at Amazon.

 

HWS Book Fair 14th June from 6pm

Hampshire Writers’ Society Published Members’

Book Fair

14th June 2016 from 6pm

The Stripe Building, University of Winchester, Sparkford Road, Winchester

Hampshire Writers’ Society Authors

About the Authors

Marion Dante

Marion Dante `1

Dropping the Habit

Published by Poolbeg Press. April 2007. ISBN: 978-1842235232

Marion Dante left home aged fourteen to spend thirty-three years in a convent.

Was she her Mother’s sin-offering?

When she returned to Civvie Street she said that she felt like an egg without a shell.

While recovering from cancer she discovered writing was therapeutic.

Fund-raising for The Fountain Centre in St Luke’s Cancer Centre, the Royal Surrey Hospital, provided her with a mission. Her effort has been recognised with an invitation to attend Buckingham Palace Garden Party 19/05/16.

Two of Marion’s novels are soon to be released:

Searching for Love;    Love….as Strong as the Tuscan Hills

Marion Dante dantemarion5@gmail.com             www.mariondante.com/contact

Claire Fuller

Our Endless Numbered Days

Winner of the 2015 Desmond Elliott Prize

Claire Fuller’s debut novel, Our Endless Numbered Days is the story of Peggy Hillcoat, who is taken by her father to a European forest where he tells her that the rest of the world has disappeared. Peggy isn’t seen again for nine years.

The book won the 2015 Desmond Elliott Prize, was a Richard & Judy, and Waterstones book club book, and has been translated into ten languages. Claire lives in Winchester with her husband, and has two adult children.

www.clairefuller.co.uk

Dai Henley

Blazing Obsession

Blazing Obsession shows how powerful revenge and obsession are, and how they can result in fatal consequences. The novel, which combines police procedural, legal drama and amateur sleuth genres, will appeal primarily to crime fans.

Following the sale of my successful businesses in 2004, I retired and joined a Creative Writing class in 2006 and still attend weekly. Writing has become my No 1 passion. I’ve also attended many workshops and seminars at the Winchester Writers’ Annual Conference.

I received Highly Commended awards for short stories at the Christchurch Writers annual competition in 2011 and 2012.

In 2010, I published my autobiography, B POSITVE! my blood group, which readers have described as an inspirational read.

http://www.daihenley.co.uk

 Celia Leofsy

 

The Company of Goblins

Celia has always been interested in writing and drawing. As a child, the stories and poems she wrote were brought to life by her sketches and illustrations.

The Company of Goblins, Celia’s first book, is for children aged 7 – 12 years and is fun for boys and girls alike, and of course contains sketches. Over the last four years Celia has given talks on Norse Mythology in schools, libraries and at festivals.

‘Identified by the Ljosalfar as the child prophesied in the Scrolls of Alfheimer, Izzy Green grows up unaware of her powers until she is nearly twelve. During a surprise visit to her father’s boss, she senses that something is very wrong. With her cat, Orlando, she is catapulted into a series of terrifying adventures when the Ljosalfar, the highest order of elves, enlist her help to find their diminishing source of power.

Masked behind digital communications and technology where no one need ever see them, the king of the goblins plots to take control of both human and magical domains. The first step is to secretly steal the teeth left out for the Tooth Fairy; the source of the Ljosalfar’s power.’

www.thecompanyofgoblins.com

 

Maggie Farran, Sally Howard,

Karen Stephen, Catherine Griffin

Untitled  Maggie Farran, Sally Howard, Karen Stephen, Catherine Griffin

Secret Lives of Chandler’s Ford

‘Secret Lives of Chandler’s Ford’ features short stories that are contemporary,historical and futuristic. The writers live and work locally. Each of the writers has their own individual style. However they wanted a theme to unify the collection. As they all love Chandler’s Ford it became apparent that there could be no better backdrop to their stories.

Anthony Ridgway

Ant RidgwayIn the photo at a progress meeting are Grethe (Ant’s mum), Ant, and Suzan Houching, who is illustrating the book.

Wizzy the Animal Whisperer

written by Anthony Ridgway and illustrated by Suzan Houching

Published by Little Knoll Press

Ant Ridgway’s new book, Wizzy the Animal Whisperer, is an adventure story about Wizzy the wheelchair, Dan, and friends, James and Sophie.

The book will be launched on 29th October at The Point, Eastleigh

My name is Anthony Ridgway. I have cerebral palsy. I first had the idea for Wizzy because children often stop me when I am out and about in the local park in my electric wheelchair. They ask their parents. ‘What is the matter with that man?’  Some people get embarrased and walk away; sometimes I have to explain, ‘My legs don’t work.’

The name Wizzy came about from a friend, Leo, who used to call my chair, ‘Wizzy Wheelchair.’

Wizzy is a talking wheelchair with attitude! Dan and Wizzy are like two friends.Dan’s father designed the chair so Dan is able to be independent, using Wizzy’s amazing abilities. They have some terrific adventures together. I hope you will enjoy reading about them.

My mum and dad, Grethe and Mike, have helped me hugely over the years.My dad used to write things down for me. Sadly he has now died.

I write now using a computer programme developed by Dolphin Computer Access. I type using a large keyboard and the computer speaks out each letter. In this way, I build the sentences. My mum helps me edit, which is especially useful when the programme uses automatic spell check with sometimes amusing results.

I would also like to thank my creative writing teacher, Barbara Large MBE, for her support and encouragement since we first met in 2008, and for helping me to polish up my writing.

www.littleknollpress.co.uk

Marion Bond

Its Own Place

Marion Bond was born in Dumbarton, in 1955 and subsequently attended The University of Glasgow, where she studied English Language and Literature.

The next three and a half decades were spent in teaching English at independent and comprehensive schools and Sixth Form colleges, in Glasgow, Yorkshire and Hampshire.

Successful in international poetry competitions, including the University of Southampton International Writers Conference and the Wells Festival of Literature and a reviewer for poetry magazines, such as South, she has performed her work alongside Ruth Padel, Don Paterson, Chris Logue, Jo Shapcott and Wendy Cope at venues as diverse as The Edinburgh Fringe, The Gantry, The New Forest Arts Centre and Winchester Cathedral.

For the last twenty years or so, Marion has been writing and publishing poetry in small presses.

She favours blank verse, but enjoys experimenting with forms such as the villanelle and the sestina. Her first collection, Its Own Place, will be available from May 2016 (Sarsen Press) and reflects themes of faith and spirituality. Marion has also published short stories.

She has a wide international following online, under her pseudonym Candia Dixon-Stuart, where she presents satirical and humorous prose,  as well as poetry: candiacomesclean.wordpress.com

Di Castle

Grandma’s Poetry Book

I am a writer living in Swanage. Born and bred in Hertfordshire, I always had a love of words, writing as soon as I could hold a pen.

My poetry collection, Grandma’s Poetry Book, was self-published by Matador in November 2014. I have other books in progress and there has been interest from agents in my memoir of growing up with a profoundly deaf sibling.  I have a passionate interest in raising deaf awareness.

During my career teaching in Further and Higher Education, I collected a hoard of unfinished manuscripts.
Later, my writing took precedence and, since becoming a regular attendee at the Winchester Writers’ Conference, I have enjoyed success in their competitions gaining two first prizes and highly commended awards for articles on a range of subjects. I began blogging in 2012 and as well as issues surrounding deafness I blog on mental health, dyslexia, writing and anything topical that stirs me to fire up the computer. You can read my blogs here: http://www.dicastlewriter.wordpress.com.

In the last year I have become an author for http://www.henpicked.net and have had articles published on http://www.oapschat.com , Gransnet and The Depression Alliance website.

I have been interviewed on Hope FM and also by Andrew Knowles of Dorset Social.

I take my book into a local care home, read some poems and show the illustrations. Residents who don’t normally speak start telling me their life story and other snippets.

In the 1980s Di, along with her partner, Bryan, was one of the more prolific scriptwriters for the Terry Wogan morning show and some of their letters and the story of their romance is itching to get on to paper.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Grandma’s Poetry Book – Di Castle – a nostalgic childhood journey through the eyes of a first-time grandmother. Fifty-seven poems bounce the reader through the writer’s experiences with hilarious illustrations by Denise Horn. Touching and funny in turn, the collection captures the many facets of fleeting easily forgotten moments.

http://www.dicastle.co.uk/book/4586441911
Priced £6.99 the book is available  via http://www.dicastle.co.uk or contact dcastle32@talktalk.net
This is Di Castle’s debut and a second book is awaiting illustrations and final polish.

Her next book Should I Wear Floral and Other Poems on Life Love and Leaving will be out during 2016. Also illustrated by Denise Horn, this is a collection of poems looking at the funnier side of life and the irritations of mobile phones and much more.

Di Castle
Follow Di’s blog, on Facebook and Twitter:
http://www.dicastlewriter.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Di-Castle-Writer/266866193324409
or on Twitter @dinahcas

Damon L. Wakes

Damon_L_Wakes

Damon L. Wakes holds an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Winchester, and writes just about anything that springs to mind. He produces both short stories and novels, and particularly enjoys crafting new worlds. He also constructs works of interactive fiction, which can be explored on virtually any device with a web browser.
The first three Flash Fiction Month anthologies: OCR is Not the Only Font, Red Herring, and Bionic Punchline are free to download as ebooks.

The books in this series don’t need to be read in order, but they all follow the same format and were written as part of the same annual event:

OCR is Not the Only Font

Silly, surreal and sometimes serious, these thirty-one very short stories cover a vast range of subjects and themes. Written entirely during July 2012, these flash fiction pieces are accompanied by a deeply unscientific analysis of the challenge that spawned them: to write thirty-one stories in thirty-one days.

Red Herring

Written one-a-day in July 2013, these thirty-one more very short stories feature a wide (and often surprising) cast of characters: a drunken angel, a baby-themed supervillain, a man who spontaneously turns into two mildly annoyed horses. This book is for everyone who’s ever wondered: “Just what would happen if Hydrogen quit its day job to become a country music star…?”

Bionic Punchline

What do a squeamish torturer, an intelligent zombie, a newspaper-phobic superhero and Genghis Khan have in common? They’re all in this book, and their stories were all written for Flash Fiction Month 2014. With one story for each and every day of July–and a humourous analysis of the event–there’s something for everyone here.
“I have no problem with this, nor any useful comments!” ~Jasper Fforde

Osiris Likes This

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to wake up three thousand years late for work? Whether doomsday devices come with instructions? How reptilian alien impostors might really get on in politics? Find answers to these questions and twenty-eight more in the fourth flash fiction anthology from Damon L. Wakes.

Face of Glass  – a novel

On an ancient island paradise, an ambitious foreign merchant overturns tradition. But even as finely-crafted stone gives way before steel, an ancient power seems to offer a lowly slave one slim chance to change his fate, and restore his tribe to its former glory. This power, however, comes at a terrible price: it threatens everything he had hoped to gain.
For more information go to Damon’s website.

More coming soon……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legend, Folklore and Taxidermy Kate Mosse

Report by Lisa NightingaleKateMosse2

‘If you are writing; you’re a Writer.’ International Best Selling Author Kate Mosse told us, ‘Say to yourself. I am a Writer.’

Kate writes women’s’ stories. Those that are not about finding a husband or having children – there are plenty of writers doing that. A writer can write in any genre; let the story choose its own genre.

It’s place that triggers her writing finger. Taxidermists-Daughter-mmp-217x327She stands in her setting, whatever the weather, lets her spirit take her and immerses herself in its history, opening her imagination to hear and see the setting’s people.

Using the places that fascinate her in her day-to-day life has always been key to the success of Kate’s writing. ‘Hold the faith’ she says. Keep going until you hit that little spark, the oddment in your research that sets your story off and running.

‘Be kind to yourself.’ She instructs us. ‘Accommodate your real life in your writing.’

Bring it back to your story; find the trip that sets it apart and focus on this, especially when promoting your book.

The sad truth is that for many women in various countries reading and writing is prohibited. The highlighting of their situation is freeing their creativity and they are eternally grateful. The Prize for Fiction which celebrates and promote the very best of international fiction written by women puts their books in the hands of readers.

If you are writing history, you have the freedom to pick your story, but you mustn’t lie. Historical writers occupy two camps – Kate is firmly in the one that believes if you are going to take a historical incident as a setting for your story, then you owe it to those that died there to be true. As a playwright Kate feels the same and urges others to think seriously about their honesty to the facts – otherwise we end up letting in those who would exploit us. She uses the example of Donald Trump influencing the masses who have been led by the incidents and facts of film like The Hurt Locker, which aren’t true.

As for character, Kate knows her stuff – characters and plot are indistinguishable; one leads the other and vice-versa. Characterisation is more about what’s in their heart. This is what drives Kate’s characters. It’s not until much later in telling their story that they will actually appear in her imagination and she can say ‘ah, that was you!’

Kate places character 1 in the story and soon character 2 will present themselves. CitadelIf, in your first draft, a character starts to take over – let them! See where they take themselves. Often, those that you thought would be minor characters turn out to be major players.

LabyrinthThe time slip novels of the Languedoc trilogy allowed Kate to place a character overlooking her setting and gave her the opportunity to love and describe it. The other character, of course couldn’t do that – they lived there! But she doesn’t recommend time slip – it is time-consuming, research heavy (OK for Kate – she loves research) and requires many different drafts.

One genre that she wouldn’t write? ‘Science Fiction,’ she says. She couldn’t do spaceships. But then the setting and place is Kates inspiration and she like to ‘physically feel’ the place. Which of course, is difficult on the moon.

For a list of her books and she urges you to buy from your local, high street book store can be found at www.katemosse.co.uk

 

Poet and Creative Writing Lecturer at Winchester University Joan McGavin

Report by Lisa Nightingale

winchesterPoetryFestLogoThe 2016 Winchester Poetry Festival of which Hampshire Poet of 2014 Joan McGavin is a trustee, includes discussions, reading and translations of poetry celebrating all things revolution.

Established successful voices read their poetry and in Journal Letters discuss the letters of Keats who, 100 years ago rebelled against his family’s wishes that he should become a doctor. He became a poet instead and thank goodness for that!

These events are TICKETED. Get in quick!

The festival also features many FREE EVENTS and showcases local and international new voices including a duel between two translators of German poetry!

Take part in the many workshops and the Literary Walking Tour of Winchester which features Keat’s Ode to Autumn inspired by his walk along the River Itchen.

This year sees a new competition: Young Poets Ballad Competition which is run in conjunction with P&G Wells. Head Judge is Richard Stillman, Head of English at Winchester University. Rules and guidelines for this competition can be found at www.bookwells.co.uk/images/WinPoetryBallad2.pdf

Winchester Poetry Festival is delighted to be collaborating with Test Valley Garden and Literary Festival bringing us Poets in the Garden. Readings by distinguished poets, Susan Wicks and Ruth Padel.

Poets in the Garden Julia Bird and Mike Sims
Poets in the Garden Julia Bird and Mike Sims

Poets Julia Bird and Mike Sims bring the work of Keats to life and Stephan Buczaki chairs a gardener’s’ question time. ‘A wonderful combination of talent, creativity and good company in the glorious heart of England.’ as Alan Titchmarsh puts it.

Details of both festivals can be found at: www.winchesterpoetryfestival.org Follow the link to www.testvalleyfestival.co.uk

Kate Walker – Twelve-point Guide to Writing Romance.

Kate Walker
Kate Walker

‘Just because I’m too old to do it, doesn’t mean I don’t want to remember it.’

was a comment Kate Walker, author of 65 romances received from a 96 year old avid Mills & Boon reader.

Mr Mills and Mr Boon established their publishing company in London in 1908. They took on Kate Walker as one of their authors in 1984. M&B is now multi-national company selling 150,000 ebooks in addition to 130 million traditional tree-books. Owned now by Harper Collins, M&B retains the well-known Harlequin name. Listening to Kate; their stereotypes could not be further from the truth.

Category romances are where M&B have made their name. They focus solely on the couple. At only 55,000 words, there is no room for anyone else’s story.

Readers of romance are ‘real little sadists’ says Kate. They expect a ‘Black moment’ when it seems the couple have no hope. But, they also demand an emotionally satisfying (happy) ending. The heroine could be as shady as the hero. He must have a vulnerability. Both characters must be ‘real’. The reader wants to ‘become’ them. For darker conflict; Kate has used Post Natal Psychosis. The hero rudely taking the heroine’s parking space is not acceptable!

Kate knows that if a title sells well in the USA, all the international countries will buy it. In Japan books are also turned into Manga (as we all know the Japanese do not deny themselves the pleasure of comics just because they reach adulthood)

As well as lecturing, Kate is a reader for the Romantic Novelists New Writers’ Scheme. KateWalker12PointGuidetoWritingRomanceShe wrote her acclaimed Twelve-point Guide to Writing Romance in response to requests for advice and a desire to reach all those that were unable to attend her workshops.

The portrayal of the passion between the couple whether that is emotional or physical must hook the M&B reader. The writer must be in love with their hero and portray him so that the reader, despite themselves, falls in love with him too. If you can achieve this relationship, you are onto a winner.

Kate writes ‘what she wants to write.’

Report by Lisa Nightingale