Monthly Archives: February 2016

Books and other Bits


Far too long since I last blogged, despite good intentions.

Lots has been going on since the beginning of December last year and not only the splendid and prolonged invasion of family over the Christmas period.

On December 12th my critique group ‘Walden Writers’ had a book sale in our local library which was a lot of fun. We were allocated several tables on the ground floor and it was really good to engage with local readers and talk about our books and – it being just before Christmas – we sold quite a few, too. Our secret weapon was Clare Mulley, the biographer, who is no shrinking violet. Clare shouted out to all passers-by to come and sample our wares – and, as added incentive, we offered chocolate brownies and a free Walden Writers magazine, showcasing our writing, to anyone who bought a book!

I can’t stress how valuable a good critique group is to a writer – and this one is the best, consisting, as it does, of published writers in various genres. I’m just starting out on a new venture, in slightly unfamiliar territory, so I am very much feeling my way – and to have their expert, constructive criticism, is invaluable.

But sadly, just now I can’t get to meetings of any of my ‘book-y’ groups as I’m confined to the house following a foot operation, unable to drive or to fulfill my normal commitments. The upside is that there is absolutely NO excuse not to get on with the new project, so I’m plodding on, trying to rough it out. This is the process I like least; the enjoyable part is coming back to a story after a few weeks’ absence, seeing its many flaws, and rewriting and editing.

Another upside is that I’ve been able to do a lot of reading. Finally got round to Meg Rosoff’s ‘Picture me Gone’ and Patrick Ness’s ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’ as well as the first of the ‘Hunger Games.’  Yes, I know.  Shaming that I’ve not read these before but hey, better late than never, eh?  Other reading I’ve really enjoyed is Sarah Waters’ ‘The Paying Guests’, ‘The Miniaturist’ by Jessie Burton and ‘Brooklyn’ by Colm Toibin.

Today I booked a place on the wonderful Charney Manor writers’ retreat in Oxfordshire. I’ve been twice before and it is always such a shot in the arm to talk to other children’s writers, compare notes, join in the many activities and just generally be reinvigorated and re- inspired. Roll on the Summer.