the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other authors

At a loose end around 10:30am today (BST)?

Why not tune into Suzie Grogan’s Talking Books radio show on 10Radio (or use your usual world steaming service) to find me giving away the inside story on writing This Much Huxley Knows and much more. Alternatively, if you’d prefer a breath of Scottish air, here are some photos from our walk in the Pentland Hills (south west of Edinburgh) yesterday.

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Don’t get the flags out yet…

I promised an update on submitting The Girl and the Tutor. Although the news isn’t an offer of representation or publication, it is encouraging. Since 31 January, I’ve received two further full manuscript requests and one partial. The initial full has since been declined. As part of a Twitter pitching event three weeks ago, I was invited to send the full manuscript to the digital-first publisher Bookouture. Although I can’t understand why people think it’s a good idea to send rejections out on a bank holiday, I heard back on Good Friday. So as one door closes, another (potentially) opens. In the feedback I received, it was suggested I develop a dark thread in the contemporary story to echo the one of exploitation in the 1978 timeline. This idea absolutely chimed and I will start revising the novel to show how bad things happen in cozy, beautiful settings. Onwards and upwards!

In the meantime, life in Edinburgh continues with several new walks discovered. Yesterday, we took a bus to Balerno (near the Pentland Hills) and walked back along the Water of Leith walkway. Here are some photos from the eight miles we covered in returning to Stockbridge.

What a lovely day!

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Graphic to illustrate a manuscript

From a post by The Supercargo about header images, my friend and fellow writer John Nixon at Pens Around the World has inspired me to play around with pictures to illustrate my manuscript The Girl and the Tutor. It’s the story of a girl who never grows up due to an early obsession with her maths tutor and here’s what I produced:

I’ll refrain from going into the whole plot but suffice to say I chose a copyright free image of a prefect from Unsplash and another of a tutor from Pixabay. In Canva, I was able to select the heart-splattered background and the leaf image to finish the job. What do you think?

Interestingly, there’s a pitch party launching in April called moodpitch. This is where authors get a chance to write a tweet-length pitch (280-characters) for their novel in the hope of attracting interest from agents and publishers. At this pitch party, there’s also an expectation that the tweet will include a moodboard. Looks like I’m all set to go!

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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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