Friday, 5 November 2010

Out to Lunch

This blog is Out To Lunch. It will probably have steak - but I'm not making any rash promises. And it will return when it can think of ANYTHING interesting to say for itself...


Sorry to those who were kind enough to attempt to read my 'Short Story Posts' post. Sadly, there wasn't one. I was attempting to update my PAGES - and pressed Edit Posts instead of Edit Pages. I've told you before I can't be trusted on Blogger - and just proved my point!

I do have a little bit of short story news though - Liz Smith from My Weekly has emailed me to say my story, which they've renamed 'Last Straw', will be in the January 15th issue - I'm so excited! (Her news was nestled between two rejections - but I can totally live with that)

Have a great weekend everyone.

Hats off to the Past, Coats off to the Future – The History of Wilshere-Dacre School

Today, I saw on Amazon that my non-fiction book, ‘Hats off to the Past, Coats off to the Future’ is a Bestseller. Umm...well it ranks 2,119,358 in Amazon Bestsellers. – That’s the same thing – right?

Ooh, and even better than that: The book is so blummin’ rare it now sells for £25, when it was once £9.99. Trouble is I’m no longer selling it – a second-hand bookshop is cashing in on my meagre success. Just think, I could have been a millionaire if I’d only held some back.

Seeing my book on there has caused me to trundle merrily down memory lane. The year is 1997. The month is November. And the excitement of publishing my own book is making my insides want to venture out.

I only published a limited number – 500 to be exact – I couldn’t afford more. And along with subscribers – over 200 (I’ve since disposed of the thumb screws) plus a loan from the lovely parents – I did it. Yes, I self-published a non-fiction book. And, thank the heavens, the WHOLE lot sold within a month.

I’ve actually been asked several times *she says a little too smugly* if I’d do another run. But I never have, although I wonder sometimes if I should. Mind you the book's on four floppy disks – and who has floppy disks these days?

The greatest pleasure of writing about my old junior school was it made people happy. I got letters of thanks that fill two albums. *I’m actually looking at them now, saying, ‘awh, how lovely – people can be so kind.’* It was such a satisfying venture, from the thrill of interviewing my old head teacher, to the parcels arriving full of MY books.

Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen. times. Memories aye?

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Is this Fact in Fiction, ma Lord?

I’ve been tinkering with a part-written short story I wrote four years ago, around the time I was in a car crash.

The core of the piece is taken from the horrid experience – mainly how I felt at the time – and particularly the feeling of coming out of unconsciousness to the sound of fire engine and ambulance sirens. Yes, I’ve changed the names and the actual circumstances to a large extent, but it is based on fact. And I've realised this isn’t the first time I’ve used a personal experience as a basis for one of my short stories.

This made me wonder how much of ourselves we reveal when we write.

My novel is, in my opinion, a complete work of fiction from top to tail - well so I thought. My sister thinks otherwise. She noticed I based the protagonist’s childhood home on where we lived as children. It even has a lamppost outside, a yellow back gate and a picture of galloping horses on the wall. Bet you can’t wait to read it. ;-)

So did I deliberately base it on my childhood home? I’m not sure – it all just appeared on the page, flowing from my subconscious. But it seems, although the plot is complete fiction *I’m pretty sure it is*, I’ve drawn on my own memories to set the scene.

The only thing I never seem to do when I write, however, is base characters on REAL people. It’s really odd – as I know some people do – but every single one of my characters is a total work of fiction.

Do you use factual events or people you know in your fiction? Go on, tell me - I promise not to tell anyone. :-)