the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other Dorset writers

Writing prize longlist announced

Imagine my delight when I received an email saying The String Games has been longlisted in the Dorchester Literary Festival Local Writing Prize. This is fabulous news as it means my novel is recognised in my home county of Dorset. An announcement on Facebook gives details of the five other longlistees. It’s such fun to find myself in the great company of three writers I know and respect. They are Helen Baggott, author of Posted in the Past, Cathie Hartigan author of Notes from the Lost (Cathie was also shortlisted in 2018 competition with her debut novel) and Brent Shore author of Blessed are the Meek. The two other authors are A K Biggins author of Losing Jane and Vivienne Endecott  author of Exploring Englishness.

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News about my creative writing

In all the time I’ve been busy volunteering in Uganda, there has been activity on the creative writing front at home. I was shortlisted in a poetry competition run by my publisher Victorina Press. My entry has now been translated into Spanish and included in this beautiful bilingual poetry anthology. David sent me a photo and I’m looking forward to reading the book when I get home.

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Other news relates to the The String Games. My debut novel is one of fourteen finalist in The People’s Book Prize and voting is now open to select a winner in the fiction category. Thank you to everyone who has supported me to reach this stage. You are now able to vote again and if you haven’t voted before, this is your chance. Find out all about The String Games here. You don’t need to have read the whole novel as the opening pages are available for you to make a judgement. When you’re ready to vote, scroll down, add your details, tick the box and submit. The String Games is up against some stiff competition but wouldn’t it be great to see a Dorset writer on the stage come presentation day? Congratulations to the other finalists.

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Paisley Shirt

Paisley shirt

Examples of my short fiction have appeared in The Best of CaféLit 2012 and The Best of CaféLit 3. Now the publisher, Chapeltown Books, has agreed to publish a collection of my flash fiction. Paisley Shirt takes its title from a flash fiction story about a surprise relationship in middle age.  The Paisley Shirt collection will appear alongside other  flash fiction collections published by Chapeltown Books including January Stones 2013 by Gill James and From Dark to Light and Back Again by Allison Symes.

I will keep you updated as the work progresses.

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Interview with Kate Kelly

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I  met Kate Kelly at the  recent Bridport Story Slam where we acted at judges along with Julie Musk. It is always great to meet a local person who has found success with writing.  Kate’s  debut novel for young people, a Cli-Fi (Climate Fiction) thriller, is published by Curious Fox. Thank you Kate, for agreeing to be interviewed for my blog.

  • Tell us about your writing journey

I have written all my life. My father was an author and so it felt natural that I should want to follow in his footsteps. But about ten years ago I decided I wanted to take it a bit more seriously. I decided I wanted to be published, and I set about achieving this goal.

I started out with short stories. Short stories are a great way to hone your skills and learn the craft. Before long I was starting to place them in magazines and anthologies. I was writing Science Fiction and for this, and some other genres, the short story market remains healthy.

I then turned my attention to longer fiction. My first attempt at a children’s novel was soundly rejected by everyone I sent it to, but, with my second effort things were very different. I booked myself onto a 1-2-1 with a literary agent at the Frome Festival and could barely believe it when she asked to see the rest of the manuscript. The result was that she signed me and, after some reworking, sent Red Rock out to publishers. And, as you can see, it was picked up by Curious Fox.

  • Where inspired you to write Red Rock?

The inspiration for Red Rock came when I was working on oceanographic survey ships in the Arctic. I stared out at the ice; at the seals and puffins and the occasional polar bear, and I started to think about the last ice age, about the advance and retreat of the ice sheets. I looked towards the coast of Greenland and I started to wonder what might be underneath the Greenland Ice Sheet. What secrets might it be hiding?

In Red Rock I answer those questions.

  • What is your next writing project?

It will be another adventure story for the same age group. Possibly also with a Cli-Fi element to it, but I’m not making any promises.

  • Which authors do you admire and why?

This is a hard one because there are some amazing authors out there. But the ones I admire the most aren’t afraid to be bold and to do something different. Authors such as Sarah Crossan for instance, or Colin Mulhern, or Rachel Ward.

But I’m going to name an author who doesn’t debut until next year, and that is Sara Crowe. Every time I read something she has written I find myself thinking ‘Wow, I wish I could write like that!’, so keep an eye out for Bone Jack, coming in April from Andersen Press.

  • Can you offer some tips for yet to be published writers?

Write the book you want to read. Don’t follow trends, write something fresh and new, and above all, listen to criticism and never stop trying to improve.

For further information, see Kate’s blog at: http://scribblingseaserpent.blogspot.co.uk

 

 

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