I am featured in an article in the “Lancashire Telegraph” today talking about my wattpad experience and the fact that I am currently searching for an agent to represent my new manuscript.
Lancashire is my home county in England the place where I grew up and blossomed into the adult you see before you today. In case you didn’t know Lancashire is famous for hot pot, flat caps and pigeons (see below).
My first novel ‘Dovetail Diaries’ has been received with a warm welcome on wattpad, which is where I first developed the story. It has now had over 500,000 reads which is just amazing. Quite a few people started asking me if it is available on kindle and so now, it is!
I’m in unchartered territory with this self publishing stuff, but I’m learning. I will of course let you know how it goes… The book is available to buy here: http://tiny.cc/0knluw
My goodness I love the Greeks. Even studying them at school didn’t put me off, in fact I chose to study the Greeks when I got to sixth form college. We had a dusty, corduroy wearing teacher who knew everything about what the Greeks got up to. This was quite a rare thing to stumble upon in the further education field of Lancashire which wasn’t exactly Eton.
Regardless I found it way more fascinating than all that depressing World War II stuff we did in History, no – Classics was all about the art, the architecture, the pottery, the plays and of course the myths.
I still marvel at how they came up with them all, so perfect in their brevity and insight into the human condition, so thrilling to hear with their unexpected twists and turns. That’s not even to mention the characters, the heroes, the Gods, the Goddesses who are invariably huge and flamboyant, always ready for the most twisted of adventures. I’m definitely the kind of person that likes to imagine I’m somehow part of it and I most definitely like to draw inspiration from it.
Apparently I’m not the only young adult writer who likes to do so. Harry Potter is supposedly full of Greek references, there’s the whole Percy Jackson the Lightening Thief series which brings the Gods into the modern-day. Not to mention one of my favorites from Philip Pullman with the His Dark Materials Series.
Philip Pullman spent twelve years before publishing his first novel teaching Greek mythology by telling his students stories of the Gods and heroes including oral versions of the Iliad and Odyssey. This is what he says about this period in this life:
“the real beneficiary of all that storytelling wasn’t so much the audience as the storyteller. I’d chosen—for what I thought, and think still, were good educational reasons—to do something that, by a lucky chance, was the best possible training for me as a writer. To tell great stories over and over again, testing and refining the language and observing the reaction of the listeners and gradually improving the timing and the rhythm and the pace, was to undergo an apprenticeship that probably wasn’t very different, essentially, from the one that Homer himself underwent three thousand years ago.”
Wow. The classical references in his trilogy are clear – the name of the heroine Lyra for instance, comes from the Greek instrument the lyre and it is also the name of a small constellation which was shaped after the legendary poet Orpheus.
There’s also the Hunger Games which was openly inspired by the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur which tells of how in punishment for past deeds, Athens periodically had to send seven youths and seven maidens to Crete where they were thrown in the Labyrinth and devoured by the monstrous Minotaur.
The idea for my first book Dovetail Diaries came straight from a Greek myth about the brother and sister God/Goddess team Apollo and Artemis. It’s a tale of jealousy about the one and only time Artemis ever fell in love.
I’d say I’m very thankful to my dusty old Classics teacher for introducing me to the intoxicating world of ancient myth and legend. For me the Greeks are now and probably always will be an endless source of fascination.
I’ve been doing a few press interviews lately which has been quite fun. Its quite a strange thing to have to suddenly talk to other people about my writing. I get so used to planning and writing it all out in my little bubble, complete with a sky view that I can stare at quietly alongside plenty cups of tea – alone at my desk – with my husband cruelly silenced in the other room.
Suddenly injecting other people into the scene, especially ones with microphones asking questions, well, its a whole new ball game. Just a few days ago I went down to East Coast FM which is my local radio station. I had literally called them the day before to tentatively ask if they would like to talk to a local writer – the guy who answered Jim Anderson was actually on air at the time (albeit on a music break) and he told me straight off that I should come down. I suspect he was quite desperate for guests but nevertheless I dutifully showed up for 10am, as requested.
The station broadcasts from a lovely local market town called Haddington which I always enjoy visiting. Once there they plied me with cups of tea and we chatted about all sorts of things. A wee while later I was thrust on air behind a big microphone (why are microphones so terrifying?) being asked lots of questions about Dovetail Diaries and my life as a writer. It was actually fun, to be able to talk to this friendly radio host and pretend no one else was there. Of course, I made sure I gave a hearty shout out to my Mum and my friend Fran. I knew I had at least two people listening. Saying that I found out later my Mum had actually tuned out thinking the interview was done by that point, oh dear.
I was also interviewed for a very cool blog last week which is devoted to music and fashion. I got to ramble on here about my music taste, even listing out 5 songs I would recommend to go with each of my books. Funnily enough also on the radio they asked me which songs I would like to play during the intervals of the interview. We ended up with Muse’s Hysteria, Phil Collins In the Air Tonight and a song by David Bowie. I thought that was pretty cool for a community morning show, hopefully it woke up all the local Grannies.
Quite a few people have expressed interest in the book trailer for ‘Dovetail Diaries’. I was asked yesterday by a girl on wattpad a few questions about it so I want to answer them here so others can see how it was done too. First of all I have to admit my secret weapon – my husband. He is a film producer who loves cinematography, he is well into his cameras – like, well into them and he knows how to make a good film. So that helps, obviously. Saying that in this day & age anyone could create a great trailer if they wanted to.
First of all we sat down and had a creative brainstorm on what we wanted to communicate. My husband has also read the book so he knew the mood and feel of it. We wanted to include a girl who would hint at the main the character, Amber. We also decided it would be simple and effective to use certain objects that we thought would be in her house – film those things and then put them all together in the film to create a certain mood and feel.
So we asked my young cousin to be the girl – she’s absolutely gorgeous & about the right age. Then we went to a sort of junk yard and got hold of some objects that we thought would be perfect for Amber. This took some searching for the right stuff but we didn’t spend much at all. We also used objects we already had around the house and I borrowed the china cup from my Mum!
Before the shoot we did what’s called a ‘shot list’ where we wrote down every shot and in what order. Then we took one morning to do the filming – just by clearing out a space in our house, inviting my cousin round and filming until we had all the shots on the shot list.
Music is an interesting one – did you ever notice how it can make or break a film? Especially something like a trailer. My husband found the music for this trailer – it is from a YouTube cellist called Jaeyoung Chong who makes the most beautiful music. My husband just wrote and asked to see if he would help and he agreed. The editing was done in Final Cut Pro but there are much cheaper and easier editing programs such as iMovie. In total I’d say the whole thing took about a day or a day and a half to do.
Here are the main tips I can think of:
– Look around to see who & what you already have that could contribute in some way
– Use locations that are easily accessible and free
– Gather together friends & family for a fun day of filming – make them cake if necessary
– You don’t have to have an expensive camera, it could be done on an iphone. This trailer was filmed on a Canon 7D, you may possibly have a friend who owns a good camera & could also be persuaded with cake to help out
– Plan to do the whole thing on a weekend or a few evenings so it doesn’t take up lots of writing time
– Use your powers as a writer to create an effective script/storyline for the trailer
– Don’t forget to direct the viewer at the end to the book – so they can easily read it
– Always ask permission to use someone’s music – they will probably say yes
I hope this helps and anyone who makes book trailers, please let me know I’d love to see them!