Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Book Snobs

I like to read anything. When I was younger my Grandparents would joke that I would read the backs of cereal packets if there was nothing else to hand. Even now I always have a book on the go either on my phone, Nook or a plain old fashioned paperback. I read whilst sitting at home, in the bath, in bed, in hospital waiting rooms and on my breaks at work. The only place I am unable to read is in the car. I get terribly car sick and reading makes it worse, which is a shame as I spend a lot of time in cars and for me that is wasted reading time!

My favourite books are women's fiction. I love the authors Jill Mansell, Katie Fforde, Milly Johnson, Jane Costello, Sophie Kinsella, Lucy Diamond and new authors Lucy Holliday and Heidi Swain. I also enjoy crime thrillers and read novels by Tess Gerritsen & M J Arlidge. I also like revisiting Enid Blyton and Beatrix Potter and reading Non-Fiction books about the war and the Royal Family.
I will give any book a go and will happily admit to enjoying so called "chick lit" which is sometimes described as light and fluffy. 

Now I am writing my first novel. It falls into this so called light and fluffy category, but I would describe it as a romantic comedy. It is hard going and anything but light and fluffy to write. That is why I have a bee in my bonnet about Book Snobs. The kind of people who if you haven't heard of the obscure Latvian author they are talking about look at you as if you have murdered their cat!
If you enjoy heavy going books then that's fantastic, if you like nothing better then curling up in bed with a copy of War and Peace then that's brilliant, if you can quote me passages from Shakespeare then that is wonderful too, but don't look down your nose at me if I ask you if you have read Shopaholic and Sister or The Magic Faraway Tree.

On my last writing class we were discussing books we had read and authors we liked. One gentleman said he enjoyed the works of Evelyn Waugh. Another lady said she hadn't read any of her books, which was met with laughter by the gentleman. Evelyn Waugh for those of you who don't know is in fact Arthur Evelyn Waugh and he wrote Brideshead Revisited. Now I knew who he was, but this lady didn't and she was mortified that she had embarrassed herself. I told her I had been in a similar situation at college with George Eliot who is of course Mary Ann Evans. It's an easy mistake to make. Many people were surprised when PD James passed away to discover that PD stood for Phyllis Dorothy and that she was female. Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte published their first works under the names of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. More recently JK Rowling published under the name of Robert Galbraith. It's no wonder people get confused!

What I am trying to say is that it matters not a jot what you read, just as long as you do. Us aspiring authors need people to read all sorts of books. If everyone liked the same thing the world would be an extremely boring place and we would have nothing to talk about.

So read everything, pick up your children's books and read them (I love Little Grey Rabbit books and there are loads at my local Doctors surgery), use your local library and pick an author you wouldn't usually pick, borrow books from friends (but remember to look after them). If you don't enjoy it, what have you lost? Nothing, but you might love it and then you have another set of books to devour. Heaven!

Book Review of Our Song by Dani Atkins

I finished this book earlier today and have only just stopped sobbing enough to write a review! I was lucky enough to win a copy from Books and the City (Simon & Schuster) courtesy of Sara-Jade Virtue.

The book is the story of four people whose lives are intertwined. Charlotte is married to David who was Ally's first love. Ally is now married to Joe and they have a seven year son Jake. 
David and Ally parted with Ally sure that Charlotte was instrumental in their break up.
Fast forward several years and Ally and Charlotte find themselves in the Intensive Care Unit of the local hospital,both sitting at their husband's bedsides as they lie gravely ill. Joe has earlier saved a child from drowning and has hypothermia, whilst David has a serious heart condition.
Can the two women set their past differences aside and be there for each other?

I don't want to give too much away in this review and I couldn't possibly do the book justice. You will need tissues - that's a certainty, unless your heart is made of stone. Dani Atkins' writing especially of the young Jake is so incredibly moving, I had to stop several times to wipe my eyes and blow my nose!
The book is set in the past and present, interchanging to build each character seamlessly. The reader learns about each character and how all their lives interlink all the way through the book.

This is an ideal "curl up and read" book and I would definitely recommend it to everyone. I for one will be reserving Dani's past catalogue at the library and looking out for her future releases.

5 *****

Our Song by Dani Atkins
Published by Books and the City

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Hello 2016!

A big "Hello" to 2016

Well it's been a busy year so far as writing goes. The best news I had on the 2nd January was that I had been accepted onto the New Writers Scheme (NWS) with the Romantic Novelists Association (RNA). They only accept 250 applicants every year and you have to be poised over your email send button at 12pm on the 2nd January to hope that your request for a place is top of the pile. Luckily mine was and I am now busy working on my novel to get it sent off to the RNA to be critiqued by experienced writers. 
I have already had many other writers contact me through social media who are on the NWS and members of the RNA . This is really encouraging as it opens up a whole new wealth of experience that I can call on when I'm having a "bad writing day!"

I have now finished 2 terms at my local Adult Education Centre where I took part in Creative Writing classes. My tutor Jackie was fantastic and again I met some lovely people. The classes really helped me expand my writing and I would love to do another. The new term has started, but I must get on with my book so I opted not to return. I also completed a Writing Fiction course with the Open University, which was very interesting. It explored areas of writing that I probably hadn't thought of exploring and made me think of different aspects to include in my novel.

I have been lucky enough to have support from many friends that I have met through writing and was recently interviewed on author Heidi Swain's blog. Click here

So it is onwards and upwards for me hopefully this year.

Just a note to say how sad the news about David Bowie, Alan Rickman and now Glenn Frey has been. I can't believe that in such a short space of time we have lost these talented artists. First and foremost my heart goes out to their wives, children and families who have lost their special someone. Then I am sad that we will never again see any new material by these people. I guess I need to just make a playlist of Bowie & Frey hits whilst watching Rickman films.