Lots happening on the writing front at the moment, so I thought it was time for an update.
As some of you know, I’ve got a place on the Writing West Midlands brand new writer development scheme Room 204 . The aim of the scheme is to offer writers living in the region support, development and networking opportunities. 125 applicants – 18 selected. Whoo hoo!
I’ve had one meeting on my own and a group meeting so far – lots of interesting people all following their writing ambitions. It was interesting hearing about their different projects – novels, adult and children’s fiction, poetry, drama, biography. A room full of creative energy.
At my first solo meeting, the chief executive of Writing West Midlands, Jonathan Davidson – a poet and playwright himself – took a copy of my novel ‘Unravelling’ to read. He seemed very impressed with the cover and overall quality of the book, which was nice. But I was even more delighted when he emailed to say how much he enjoyed reading it.
He passed it on to Roz Goddard, also a poet, who was Birmingham Poet Laureate a few years ago. She enjoyed ‘Unravelling’ too and was particularly taken with Gerald. I warmed to her immediately as lots of people find him too challenging a character, but I’m quite taken with him as well!
Even better than that was the offer of a commission to write a short story. Roz is co-ordinator of West Midlands Readers’ Network and the network is commissioning regional authors to meet with book groups and write a short story to an agreed brief. Oh – and money is involved! Guess how long I thought about it?
I’ve also been asked to write a series of pieces for The Self Publishing magazine on my Room 204 experience over the next year. (I’m desperately resisting yet another exclamation mark.) I’ve just submitted my first piece – fingers crossed they liked it.
In between, I’m deep into reading the entries for the Worcestershire Festival flash fiction competition, which I’m judging with Calum Kerr. The competition received nearly 100 hundred entries – so many different styles and voices – and judging them is a fascinating challenge.
Calum wrote a flash every day for a year culminating in flash 365 and has had his flashes featured on BBC Radio 4. He’s also coming to the Flash Fiction event in Worcester on June 23rd when the winners of the competition will be announced and lots of people will get a chance to read their flash fiction.
So much exciting stuff! Yes, thought I’d sneak that ! in. In between, as research for my new novel, I’m reading a fascinating book ‘The Chains of Heaven’ by Philip Marsden about a walking trip he undertook some years ago in northern Ethiopia. It’s an amazing country with so much rich and varied history.
The Marsden book is also a wonderful antidote to the other one I’ve just finished ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ – the first in a trilogy which currently stand at 1, 2 and 3 in the amazon best sellers!!! I’m reluctant to give it any extra publicity but will have to write in more detail at some stage. Hype or Tripe springs to mind as a title.