I didn’t set out to write in any particular genre – it just happened. About five years ago I went on a week-long Arvon writing course at Lumb Bank, Ted Hughes’ old house in Yorkshire. The course topic was Starting to write, and it was divided between poetry and fiction. I thought I’d be drawn to poetry as that was what I’d enjoyed writing all those years ago at school but, despite having a fabulous tutor, Jo Shapcott, I found I loved writing fiction with the equally fabulous Susanna Jones.
I wrote a short piece there, inspired by an exercise focusing on placing a character within the landscape around me and this went on to become the opening of my first novel, a novel I had never planned to write. On the sunny June day that I arrived home, feeling bereft at leaving Yorkshire and the lovely people I’d met on the course, I wandered around my local carnival and bought a couple of cakes from the aptly named Celestial Cake Company. The seed was sown – I worked my historical and tragic piece about a young mill worker in Yorkshire into the emerging contemporary story of her descendant – a London girl with a penchant for cake making, who longed to escape from the rat race.
From there a second novel was born. I’d got stuck with the first (I’d been over-ambitious for a novice) and so decided as an exercise to write a bit about one of the other characters in it, out of which a full-blown storyline developed. In between, when the plot ground to a halt or my timeline unravelled, I wrote poetry as an escape.
Apart from historical commercial fiction I’ve also tried my hand at romantic fiction and a YA crossover novella – neither of which have left my computer as yet. I’m now halfway through the third volume of what has become a family saga whilst doing the first edits on the second, which is destined to see the light of day with digital publication scheduled for October this year. Watch this space…
For Week Four of the Thanet Creative Writers competition.