My friend and fellow author, Morag Cormack stops by the blog today to tell us all about her novel writing. Enjoy her interesting experiences here.
Moira Cormack’s first novel, The Witch of Land and Sea, was published in 2016. It started as a ten minute exercise on a creative writing holiday with Magical Journeys. Since then she has written two more novels which she is in the process of editing and has had short stories and poems published in various anthologies including a scary story, Rush hour, taken up by Tapes and tales.
Moira came to writing later but as her best friend told her – you have always written, diaries and letters, and you have told stories. To her delight she found an old box of this writing in her mother’s loft and is grateful to the sentimentality of her mother. One day there might be a memoir.
Moira is a lover of fairy tales from around the world and this passion infuses her writing and life. She has four daughters and has raised them to share in her wonder of the world around them. They had an aurora phase as a family when she would wake them in the middle of the night and they would go in search of the Northern lights. They never saw them but did see shooting stars and owls on silent wing.
She walks her dog locally every day and tramps through the mud watching the birds and trees. She has great empathy with the Ents in the Lord of the Rings stories and her writing picks up on the local area and turns it magical.
She is currently attempting to read the Booker longlist to form her own opinion before the judges make theirs. She is on book eight out of the thirteen and has formed an opinion already.
Moira can be found on twitter, facebook and Instagram but more often at her computer or running after her children.
Moira lives with her family in Midlothian in Scotland where she provides parenting classes for young families.
Margaret Atwood is a very well-respected Canadian author, but I had never read any of her books so I was pleased when this novel was book of the month at our book group, even if it was 545 pages.
The novel is based on the true story of Grace who emigrates with her family from Ireland to Canada and is subsequently convicted of murder. This part of the story I found interesting and credible. However, with the introduction of a medical practitioner who had an affair with his landlady and then disappeared followed by another purported medical expert who seemed more like a circus performer, I began to lose interest.
However, the novel does deal with attitudes towards women and the way women were treated in the nineteenth century. This reflects the writers feminist views as to how women are still viewed in society.
It was a novel that divided our book group with equal numbers loving it and loathing it. So Alias Grace is definitely a book that you will need to read to make your own opinion. For me, on the basis of this, I will not seek out other novels by Margaret Atwood.
I am happy to introduce my friend and fellow author, Jane Lacey-Crane today. She is taking time to tell us about her journey towards becoming a published novellist. Read her interesting story now.
After the release of my first novel, ‘Secrets and Tea at Rosie Lee’s’, in May 2018, it’s fair to say that I was on a bit of a high. After years of false starts and life getting in the way, I’d finally achieved a long-held dream. I’d wanted to be a writer for as long as I could remember and now I was. Finally, I’d cracked it – I’d written enough words to complete a full-length manuscript – all I had to do now was write some more! My contract with my publisher is for three books – so, one down, two to go. This should be easy, I thought, I’ve done it once before, I just needed to get on with it. And then everything stopped. I couldn’t find the words, I had nothing to say and what I did have sounded trite and unimaginative. I quickly realised that ‘Second Book Syndrome’ is a real thing and I was suffering from it badly.
‘Book One was obviously a fluke,’ I would tell myself, as I sat staring at the cursor flashing on a blank page. ‘I need to let my poor editor know that her faith in me was totally misplaced, it’s obvious that I can’t do this.’
It was only after speaking to some wonderfully supportive fellow writers, that I cam to understand that my blind panic and total lack of confidence, were totally normal. We all feel like frauds, we all feel like one day someone will tap us on the shoulder and say, ‘Excuse me, there’s been a mistake, we never meant to offer you a three-book deal since you aren’t even capable of writing a shopping list, let alone a novel.’
But gradually, with lots of support from my fellow authors, many of whom listened to me whinge about the pain of writing a second book for weeks and weeks, I felt more confident – and I began writing the story of Evie, a widow trying to seize her second chance at life. She’s unsure of what the future holds and in the midst of this uncertainty she meets an old friend; a man who is now a famous movie actor and all-round sex symbol! It’s loosely based on something that happened to me – but I’m not naming any names!
It’s true what they say – you never know when inspiration will strike – in my case it was in a packed cinema in Peterborough, over a giant tub of popcorn – but I’m very glad I eventually found my way out of the writing desert! ‘City of Second Chances’ will be published some time in early 2019. And then the whole process of writing a new book begins all over again. Wish me luck!
Although writing stories was something that Jane had always done, she never thought anyone would pay her to do it so she focussed on learning to act instead, figuring that this was a much more reliable way to earn a living. Sadly, her career as an actress was shortlived, actually it was non-existent, so she turned her attention to another reliable line of work – Cable Television! This was where Jane managed to finally get paid (badly!) doing something she enjoyed – writing. She began with scripts for a series all about Serial Killers (imaginatively entitled ‘Serial Killers’) and then moved on to a series of history documentaries. This series never saw the light of day in the UK but Jane has been informed that it used be very popular with insomniacs staying in hotels in the Far East. This may or may not be true.
She is currently working on her second contemporary novel for Aria Fiction.
My friend and fellow author, Rosie Travers recently published her debut novel, The Theatre of Dreams through Crooked Cat Books. If you have not got your copy yet, she is here today to tell you more about it. Thank you for stopping by, Rosie. Over to you.
The Theatre of Dreams is a heartwarming story of new beginnings, with a dash of mystery and a sprinkling of romance. Set in the fictional south coast resort of Hookes Bay it stars an out of work actress, a devious octogenarian and a bankrupt architect, all united by their desire to restore a neglected seaside pavilion, but each with a very different motive.
The Theatre of Dreams was inspired by the historic Lee Tower entertainment complex which used to be situated on the sea front at Lee-on-the-Solent in my native Hampshire. The Art Deco buildings were demolished in 1971 and the site is now a car park. My attention was caught by a notice board commemorating the spot and the idea for a novel was born!
The Theatre of Dreams was published by Crooked Cat Books on 1 August 2018.
What Readers are saying about The Theatre of Dreams
“This book really was a true pleasure to read from first page to the last. I found myself so thoroughly invested in the lives of both Tara and Kitty I was sad to say goodbye to these ladies when the book ended. I challenge anyone to read this book and not become completely enthralled with these characters. The character development in this book was just simply stellar!”
“Refreshingly different, wonderful plot, kept me interested till the last page and hungry for more.”
“A cleverly crafted romantic mystery tale with well-rounded characters telling of, youth, old age life, death and several other murky ingredient in between.”
Musical theatre actress Tara is down on her luck and in desperate need of a job.
When terminally-ill octogenarian Kitty invites her to take over the running of her former dance academy in the old-fashioned resort of Hookes Bay, Tara thinks she’s found her guardian angel.
But it soon becomes very clear Kitty is being far from benevolent. Too late, Tara realises helping Kitty will signal the end of an already tarnished career, unless she can pull off the performance of a life-time.
I grew up in Southampton on the south coast of England and loved escaping into a good book from a very early age. As a teenager I scribbled numerous short stories and novels, none of which I was ever brave enough to show anyone. After working in local government for many years in 2009 I moved across the Atlantic to Southern California when my husband took up a three year dream overseas assignment. Life as an ex-pat wife wasn’t quite as glamorous and exciting as I first envisaged, so to fend off homesickness and culture shock I began a blog about our life in Los Angeles, which re-ignited my creative juices. When I returned to the UK I undertook a creative writing course, always intending to turn my US adventures into book, but it never happened. Instead I developed a talent for short stories, and boosted by a couple of competition wins, I then starting writing a novel.
I am a cat lover. I was given my first cat by my great Auntie Lizzie when I was three years old and have been enchanted by these creatures ever since. So it will not surprise you that A Street Cat Named Bob has been on my ‘to be read’ list for a long time.
It tells the story of the author, James Bowen, and how his life changed after he was adopted by a stray cat. James one day returns home to find a ginger tom cat curled up in the hallway of his sheltered accommodation. James could not resist helping the cat he named Bob. He nursed him and tried to send him on his way but Bob had other ideas and was having none of it. James Bowen was a recovering drug addict at the time, living in sheltered accommodation in London and making small amounts of money to survive the best way he can including busking and selling the Big Issue.
Very soon Bob and James are an inseparable duo on the streets as James works and Bob sits at his feet attracting much attention from the public. James can only just survive on the meagre amount of money he already makes so a decision to be a full time pet owner is not one he takes lightly. Both James and Bob have troubled pasts but together they form a firm companionship and bond. Life is not easy though for them both though, they face many obstacles and struggles but they have the love of each other and manage to overcome everything thrown at them.
It is a story of hope and inspriation. I found it really heartwarming and really loved the story. I highly recommend A Street Cat Named Bob.
I first met Michael Jecks a few years ago when he was lecturing at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School and I am so glad I did!
I have always enjoyed the Templar books, which start with The Last Templar, written by Michael Jecks. Act of Vengeance is a great modern spy thriller written by one of my favourite historical crime fiction authors. It is quite different to the hugely popular Templar series, and it took me a while to get into this book, but the writing is excellent and the effort was well rewarded.
Act of Vengeance is one of the very few books I have read where the author successfully takes the action from Britain over to America and back without getting lost in the petty details. London, Alaska, Washington State and Virginia – with a very topical plot-line. The British and American secret services become intricately involved when a washed-up UK agent is sent on a final mission to follow up on the suicide of a British soldier.
Act of Vengeance is a well constructed story of Jack Case, an agent out of favour, called back to undertake a tidying up exercise after the death of a former interrogation officer in a remote cabin in Alaska. This is a story of betrayal, of rendition and of an agent’s persistent quest for truth and revenge.
I highly recommend Act of Vengeance and personally look forward to more stories featuring Jack Case, or at least more modern thrillers from Michael Jecks.
Lemon Blossom is the second book in The Wayfarer Trilogy written by my friend and fellow author, Nina Romano. The first book is The Secret Language of Women, also reviewed on this site.
I absolutely loved the the first book in this series and had been looking forward to reading Lemon Blossom too. It is the story of Angelica a warm and caring person, and her family. She eventually meets a man she can love.
The family’s story is told through Angelica and her mother. It is warm and perceptive. Angelica and Giocoma’s love story at the end of the book has left me craving morefrom this gifted, sensitive writer.
Lemon Blossom is an intriguing, fulfilling book in which the reader is shown a young girl develop into a deep, thoughtful young woman who experiences personal, family and societal tragedies, but overcomes them.
The story is not just of a woman longing for love and her place in the circle of childbirth and motherhood, but of the love a mother feels for her child. Wanting to protect one’s child from the realities of the world and a woman’s true place in it, yet wanting her to have so much more than she herself had.
Lemon Blossom also explores the need in a family for children to know where they came from and the cultural traditions of the family. Nevertheless, the mother realizes that the world around her is changing and her daughter needs to adapt to thrive.
This amazing story, and Nina’s gift of immersing the reader in the setting and the historical timeline makes for a remarkable novel that I heartily recommend.