the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other authors

News about Huxley!

Following my last post with details of a free giveaway for This Much Huxley Knows during the weekend 8/9 January, I thought you might like to know what happened. My publisher at Black Rose Writing reported there were 2,653 downloads worldwide. This resulted in Huxley hitting the Amazon best seller lists for free downloads in USA, UK and Australia with Canada taking the top ranking where it came #25 for a day. I was also thrilled to see the novel had been downloaded in Japan and made it to #28 of the free foreign language books.

As a result of this promotion, the stats figures on Goodreads have shot up with fifty more readers adding This Much Huxley Knows to their reading lists.

There’s also been an increased number of reviews and ratings, both on Goodreads and Amazon.

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A heads up for you

Happy New Year to all you lovely readers of The Writer is a Lonely Hunter. To celebrate six months since the launch of This Much Huxley Knows, my publisher Black Rose Writing, has decided to make my second novel for adults free to download this weekend. Grab your chance to connect with the adorable Huxley, a wise young narrator who shines a light on the follies of adults. Book bloggers have been enthusiastic in their praise for the story – you can read a snapshot of their reviews here:

Huxley is a totally lovable character that I defy anyone not to adore by the end ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Julie Morris, A Little Book Problem

This warm, compassionate book captures the voice of seven-year-old Huxley perfectly ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Karen Cole, Hair Past A Freckle

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Almost a year in pictures

It’s time to thank you for following my blog during 2021 and to wish you all the very best for the coming year. As a way to wind up events, please find some photos of our travels since release from lockdown.

Lambs in Dorchester.
A long weekend in Tenby.
View from a writing retreat at Cape Cornwall.

Our itinerant life continues in 2022 and I look forward to sharing more of our experiences with you. In the meantime, here’s wishing you and yours all the best for 2022.

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R3COMM3ND3D from Damp Pebbles

Towards the end of each year, Emma Welton at Damp Pebbles invites book bloggers, bookstagrammers and published authors to choose three must-read titles published in that year. There are 50 posts in total for 2021 and currently there’s over 110 individual publications listed including This Much Huxley Knows. Thank you so much to Julie Morris at A Little Book Problem who recommends my novel and says:

This is a book that will have slipped under many people’s radar as it isn’t published by a mainstream publisher and I think that is a great shame because I don’t think I have ever read a book that so clearly describes life from the point of view of a child or captures so brilliantly the joy and pain of being a seven-year-old that doesn’t quite fit in. This is such an individual book, both saddening and uplifting to read and it deserves a really wide audience. I hope including it encourages more people to pick it up.

In other pre-Christmas news, I was interviewed by Melanie at Grab The Lapels in one of her regular Meet the Author posts. The interesting questions generated discussion amongst readers which you can follow here.

We’re away over the Christmas week (all being well) but we still decorated our tree. Doesn’t it look pretty?

If I don’t post again before the holidays, please accept my good wishes for Christmas.

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Who’s That Indie Author? Gail Aldwin

So pleased to have an interview with Book Club Mom who does such great work in spreading the word about books and reading. I hope you enjoy our chat.

Book Club Mom

Author Name: Gail Aldwin

Genre: Contemporary fiction

Books: This Much Huxley Knows, The String Games

Brief bio: I am a British writer who has lived and worked in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Uganda and Spain. As well as novels, short fiction and poetry, I co-write short plays and comedy sketches that are staged in my home county of Dorset. I love to appear at national and international literary festivals, including input at the Mani Lit Fest in Greece 2021.

What got you started as a writer? When I lived overseas, the letters and emails I sent home were the start of my journey to becoming a published author. When I ran out of anecdotes to share, I began making them up and developed the skills to write fiction.

What difficult experience has helped you as a writer? As a writer you need plenty of resilience. It’s…

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Small press promotion

I’ve learnt about the positives and pitfalls of publication with small presses by the process. Rather than dwell on the pitfalls, I’d say one of the huge advantages to working with small presses is the support and encouragement gained from other authors with the same press. It’s great to feel part of the group and to support each other by offering early reviews, sharing posts on social media and generally being a cheer leader for each other’s successes.

When Black Rose Writing author, Christina Consolino offered an invitation to fellow authors to join her in a Christmas Giveaway, I jumped at the chance. I’d read and thoroughly enjoyed her women’s novel Rewrite the Stars which considers the options for a mother of three as her marriage implodes due to her husband’s PTSD. Other authors involved in the giveaway include Linda Rosen. Her latest novel is Sisters of the Vine and you can read all about Linda and her writing in the interview I conducted here. I also enjoyed reading Jason Lady’s middle grade fiction Super Problems. I am in the process of reading books by other authors in the giveaway but from what I’ve read so far, I can thoroughly recommend you enter to win a bumper prize of eight electronic books. It’s easy to do, just lick on this link, which takes you to a google form where you’ll need to add your name and email address. The giveaway is open from today (14 November) until 14 December at noon ET when the winner will be selected.

The form only takes a minute to complete, what not give it a go?

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This Much Huxley Knows

If this brilliantly crafted review of This Much Huxley Knows doesn’t have you rushing off to purchase a copy from Amazon, nothing will.
mybook.to/ThisMuchHuxleyKnows

It is the complex childhood paradox of complete freedom yet constant constraint that Gail Aldwin captures perfectly in This Much Huxley Knows, a book that instantly took me back to being 7 years old and all that this entailed.

Thank you, Bex. You’ve made my day.

Bookaholic Bex

Now that the wheels of time have hastily hauled me halfway up the hill of middle-age, I find myself looking back on my childhood through increasingly rose-tinted glasses. Remember the days of never having to worry about money? Never having to plan ahead further than which game you would play when you got home from school? It all looks so idyllic from the precarious heights of adulthood, surrounded by bills and endless responsibility. But the truth is life wasn’t perfect back then and being that young came with a whole set of very real frustrations, like having to go to bed early when there was good stuff on tv and not being allowed the Mr Frosty ice-drink maker that EVERYBODY ELSE HAD AND WHY IS LIFE SO UNFAIR. (Note: my parents did eventually buy this for us after a lengthy campaign of emotional blackmail, a technique that sadly never worked…

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Back from Greece

As we let our house as a holiday home whenever we’re away, it takes a little while to feel at ease in our surroundings again. Everything about our return went very smoothly and the only stress was mastering the QR reader to submit our Covid tests. Fortunately, we were both negative. We found the Greeks were much more observant of Covid precautions. We wore masks and were required to provide evidence of double vaccinations in Athens (but not elsewhere) on entering restaurants, during journeys by bus and at all museums (even some outdoor ones).

After we left the gorgeous Gerolimenas, we caught the bus to Gythio which is a lovely port town with a delightful harbour front. The tiny island nearby is called Kranae and is mentioned by Homer as the site of Paris and Helen’s first night together after fleeing Sparta.

View of Gythio from Kranae

We stayed in a fabulous hotel in Gythio with a roof top bar where we were served cocktails. At breakfast, I was introduced to Loukoumades, delicious doughnut balls soaked in honey and sprinkled with nuts. As it was the end of the holiday season, the harbour side restaurants boasted loads of tables yet only a handful were taken. I enjoyed the sense of visiting Gythio when it was not too busy.

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Walks around Gerolimenas

We arrived in Gerolimenas five days ago and have thoroughly enjoyed our time here. The small harbour town is found in the south of the Mani peninsular in the Peloponnese, Greece. We were introduced to Gerolimenas by Carol MacGrath who kindly brought us here following our time at the Mani Lit Fest.

We’re staying on the harbour in a first floor room with this view.

We’ve done some lovely walks while we’ve been here including climbing the cliff!

One day we explored Oxia with its tower houses, ruins and church. We ran home the last 2km to keep ahead of the rain.

Another walk along the coast and we found a delightful little bay with further ruined houses including a circular tower.

Yesterday we covered 12km walking on an ancient path from Alika to Kenipolis. Here are some of the lovely places we spotted.

We’re moving on to Gythio tomorrow. Expect more photos!

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Having a blast at the Mani Lit Fest

Over the weekend, I was delighted to present a workshop and talk at the Mani Lit Fest in the Peloponnese, Greece. The invitation came as a good excuse to continue our itinerant lifestyle and we’re spending the next month roaming around the country. Stoupa makes a delightful starting point and the Mani Lit Fest was a wonderful event to be involved with. I delivered a Get Creative! workshop where I shared prompts and exercises to generate ideas for short fiction. One of the participants had read This Much Huxley Knows and throughly recommended my novel to the gathered group. The following day, I gave a talk about my experience of being published by small presses. This was well received and an email arrived soon after from a member of the audience who said my input was thought provoking and reassuring.

There was a real buzz around the Lit Fest. The highlights for me included a talk from James Heneage (founder of the Chalke Valley History Festival and Ottakar’s bookshop chain) who shared stories from his new book The Shortest History of Greece. Carol McGrath gave a hilarious presentation on Sex and Sexuality in Tudor England (the name of her forthcoming non-fiction book) and then there was a delicious introduction to the cookbook Salt and Honey from Nicholas Tsakiris and his daughter. (David followed a chilli lentil recipe last night which was very tasty.)

The Lit Fest was held at a local restaurant where the venue created a cocktail in honour of Huxley. A non-alcoholic drink (Huxley is only seven years old) can you guess what it contains?

There was also delicious cake (enough for two) called Ekmek Kataifi. It’s made with a layer of syrupy shredded filo pastry, another of vanilla custard, a layer of whipped cream and topped with pistachios. It goes very well with Greek coffee although I think it’s also good with tea.

If you’d like to enter the Mani Lit Fest Flash Fiction Competition (I’m the judge), send up to 1000 words on the theme of return. The competition is free to enter and is open until 30 November 2021.

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