A Lover of Books

Archive for the day “March 18, 2016”

Guest Post by Deirdre Quiery

Deirdre Quiery

Deirdre Quiery is the author of ‘Eden Burning’.  I have previously hosted a couple of her guest posts on here.  Deirdre is now back with another one.

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Storytelling, Photographs and Memories

Blog by Deirdre Quiery

1st March 2016

 

Today I spread onto the floor photos which I had kept in a bag from years before. It was to help me tell the story of Eden Burning next week in the Irish Pub in the Port of Soller. I wanted the past to become present. I am looking at one of those photos now – of my father blowing one of those squeaky things which roll out as they make their noise. He is wearing a green crown of paper on his head. It is Christmas.

My mother has a song book in her hands, wearing glasses and a blue and white track suit with cartoon doggies on the jumper. My nephew John is dancing, pretending to play a guitar. There is a Christmas tree growing out of his head. There are the legs of my sister wearing black tights to the right of the photo but not her face. You know that this is not a professional photo.

Yet it captures something which every photo does which words cannot do – or maybe cannot do so well. You have to keep looking and keep telling something more with words to help the reader get it. Yet it is infinite what can be told. The photo seems to tell it all in an instance. You drink it in.

In this photo a Van Gogh print hangs on the wall – a yellow cornfield. The dull brown and white curtains are closed. It is evening. My mother’s feet twist outwards and are slightly swollen –squashed within slippers.  My father’s eyes, now that I look at them again are distant – with a hint of his dementia to follow. What I feel is that I am there with them. They are not dead – my parents – they are not lying in boxes of ashes waiting to be buried. My father’s ashes are behind me as I write. I will do something with them – but only when the moment is right.

The photos on the floor are like that. I must do something with them. Words are like that. You must do something with them. I will tell the story of the photos and Eden Burning on International Woman’s Day on the 8th March. My mother’s feet will tap on the floor. She will laugh and sing “Danny Boy”. My father will smoke his Hamlet. The hairs will still be growing out of his nose. His eyebrows will need a good cutting. His hands will be curled into claws with arthritis. John my nephew will play a real guitar with his hair in dreadlocks.

That Christmas will never be forgotten. As a writer, words are for me what makes the world eternal – never to be forgotten. Words make the world real. They can even make the world realer than real. Now I feel like John, playing with words as he played with his pretend guitar. I know that the world is waiting for new words to be spoken – for new worlds to be created.

 

‘Eden Burning’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/eden-burning/

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Eden-Burning-Deirdre-Quiery/dp/1909273902/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458254682&sr=1-1&keywords=eden+burning

 

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Eden Burning

Competition

Matthew Smith is kindly giving away three copies of ‘Eden Burning’.  To enter just leave a comment about this guest post.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 3rd April 2016.

The winners will be randomly chosen within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be passed on to Matthew Smith who will send out the prizes.

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Guest Post by Rob Enright

Author Photo

Last year I interviewed Rob Enright.  You can read it here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/12/01/interview-with-robert-enright/

Rob has written a guest post for this blog event.

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Taking a break….from taking a break…..

When I wrote the words ‘The End’ at the end of the first draft of ‘Doorways’, I gave myself a nice pat on the back. Nine months of writing had come to a very satisfactory end. Within those nine months, I garnered a number of fantastic reviews for my self-published debut novel, ‘One by One’and had also signed a contract with Urbane Publications to print the book I was writing. Slowly, I was beginning to back myself, that I might be able to get somewhere with this whole writing malarkey.

I had entered the nine months with nerves. Not because I doubted my ability to write, far from it. I can hand on heart say, the best thing I have ever done with my life is write ‘One by One’. It has completely changed my outlook on life, the idea of what is possible and what can be achieved with application. I was nervous because I was stepping away from the genre I had just written. Now ‘Doorways’ is still a crime novel to an extent, but it is more urban sci-fi. Matt Smith, my generous and workaholic publisher at Urbane, asked me why the step away and I still stand by my answer: because it’s what I want to write. He had nothing but encouragement for the answer (and interest in the idea) so his support has vindicated my decision to switch genre.

So, nine months down the line, I send in my first draft and am now eagerly anticipating the feedback. The journey is beginning and I tell myself, I deserve some time off. As January fast approached it’s end, I made the decision to take three months off from writing. Now bear in mind, for the past two years I had written two novels back to back. The two years before that were spent writing film scripts (one of which was a film script of One by One. A vastly inferior, stripped down version of the book which may one day be shared with the world.) I had been writing solidly for four years and further back than that, I had spent six years half starting a novel or a film here, designing a comic there. It was time for a break.

A week passed. Evenings were filled with catch up TV, video games I had promised myself to play and gym sessions. It was lovely. Another week passed. I watched several films I hadn’t seen, spent more time with the girlfriend. It was nice.

Another week passed…..hmmm….I wonder if my idea for the sequel will actually work?

Next week…..it doesn’t work, let me brainstorm.

As February came to a conclusion I was back writing again. The sequel to ‘Doorways’ has been fully planned and fleshed out and is raring to go. I have also devised, planned and begun to flesh out an idea for a comic book series. Working for Disney as a HR Analyst by day exposes me to so much Marvel, it has rekindled my love of the super hero. All in all, I guess writing has become something so engrained in my life now, I can’t take a break just yet. Maybe next year?

As ‘Doorways’ begins its journey to publication, and I am hoping into your hands!, the sequel will soon be in the works. My life will get busier, hopefully too busy, when the book finally hits the shops.

My spare time will be lost between promoting one and writing the other.

I cannot wait.

When I have all that to look forward to, why would I want to take a break just yet?

 

Rob Enright

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Doorways’ by Rob Enright

Book Cover

Guest Post by John Simmons

John Simmons

This is the first of two guest posts from John Simmons, author of ‘Leaves’.

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The collaborative bonus

The old stereotype of the solitary writer, pen in hand, starving in a garret, is not true to reality. Except… In the end writing comes down to the transfer of thoughts from an individual brain to a form that can be read by many. So there is a solitary element, and I suspect most writers love that.

“The novelist is an egomane who refuses to delegate his job to anyone.”
John le Carré

But we are also social creatures and I love the feeling of writing alongside others, supporting and supported by others. Urbane, with its network of writers and readers, offers that. When Urbane published my novel Leaves it brought an end to a long, solitary wait for publication. I had written early drafts some decades ago then consigned it, spurred by the discouragement of mainstream publishers, to that loneliest of all places – the bottom drawer. But Matthew Smith of Urbane encouraged me to get it out and, remarkably quickly, it was being supported by readers and writers whose cause was to get books read that deserved to be read.

I had previously found the value of this collaborative approach through other projects I had initiated. In particular I had established two organisations focused on writing. The first was called 26 (after the number of letters in the alphabet). After a dozen years 26 has grown to a membership of 350+ writers, mainly drawn from the world of business writing.

Business writing has given me an income to subsidise other more personal forms of writing. I believe that writing for business needs to be more creative – there’s more than enough boring business writing out there. This philosophy is behind special projects run by 26 involving large numbers of writers focused on a single theme. Recently we had 26 Pairs of Eyes with the Foundling Museum and currently 26 Twits that celebrates the work of Roald Dahl.

The second organisation is Dark Angels. This started as a book with that name, setting out my philosophy of business writing, and it developed into a training programme that has now reached and influenced hundreds of writers. Along the way we have undertaken some spectacular collaborative events – an exhibition at the Story Museum (Other Worlds), and a collective novel (Keeping Mum) written by 15 writers (amazingly it worked). The writers involved become better writers through the involvement of other writers. There is a joy in working together with other writers and seeing how they take different angles on achieving the same objective.

This experience was distilled into three books that are now being republished by Urbane as the Dark Angels trilogy – the other two books are We, Me, Them & It and The Invisible Grail. Without wanting to sound like a cult, people claim that these books have changed their lives. They have certainly formed a network of writers who have the generosity to work with others and who believe in the absolute pleasure of writing as an essential, shared part of life.

 

Links

‘Leaves’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/book_author/john-simmons/

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Leaves-John-Simmons-ebook/dp/B01080YCXM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1457984419&sr=1-1&keywords=leaves+by+john+simmons

www.dark-angels.org.uk

www.26.org.uk

 

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