Thursday, 29 October 2015

A Sunday Morning Chat

This is where I found myself on Sunday morning. This is Chester City Hall. As part of the Chester Literature Festival, I was booked in to speak to a lovely lady called Carrie Kania, an agent from Conville and Walsh. The slot was for fifteen minutes, not long, to discuss the first fifty pages of my novel which I had previously emailed to her.

I was directed up a sweeping staircase to wait on a wooden bench. I don't know if it's allowed but I took the opportunity to photograph the impressive, gothic interior. You can find a couple of shots at the bottom of this post.

After waiting for only a couple of minutes (I was early), one of the heavy wooden doors opened. The writer before me left and Carrie invited me in, a small dog trotting at her heels. Her dog is called Foxy and once he had barked at me sufficiently to let me know who was boss, he settled down for a snooze. I nervously took a seat, notepad in hand, ready to hear the verdict on my writing.

Carrie was relaxed, chatty and very professional in her manner. She talked about my writing, my cover letter, the market for my work and where I should go from here. Her advice on my cover letter was detailed and thorough, to the point that I now feel confident about writing it. I've shown my novel to other readers and writers, but having an agent with an in depth knowledge of the publishing world see my work was always going to prove incredibly useful.

The verdict was that the standard of my writing and my novel was already at the point where I could submit it to an agent. Carrie advised that I send it out to agents who specialise in the genre and age group that I'm writing in (12+/teen fantasy), three to five at a go.

I came across the advert for the Chester Literature Festival completely by chance but I'm so pleased that I took the time to find out about it all. The meeting with Carrie has enthused me to carry on with my novel, knowing that I'm on the right track.

I have a final draft to finish (I'm about halfway there already), and then a cover letter and synopsis to write. I've already compiled a list of suitable agents (one of which is Conville and Walsh where Carrie works). Hopefully, I can begin to contact them in November.

Wish me luck.

Carrie and Foxy
- image from

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Photo Inspiration for October

I recently walked into my study and noticed that there was a white smear on the window. When I looked closer, I found this.

 Can you make it out? It's an imprint of a bird that must have collided with the window. You can see its beak, breast feathers and the feathers from an outstretched wing.

I checked the garden but there was no dead or injured bird, and no sign of feathers either, just in case a local cat had taken advantage.

The imprint was created by something completely normal but it signifies a suspended moment in time, a reminder of the past, a ghost.

What would it inspire you to write?

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Something Useful for 2015 - Exercise No. 15

It's autumn. The trees are shaking off their greenery. My morning journeys are wrapped in fog from the fields that I drive past. There's a chill in the air even when the sun is shining. I can feel it in my bones (or maybe that's a touch of rheumatism). Everything is on the shift.

This month's exercise is inspired by a word that, for me, denotes this time of year.

Change is ever present although sometimes the change is so gradual that we don't notice it. On other occasions, change can be brutally quick, shocking even.

If you were to write about 'change', what would your story tell me? Who would it be about? What would be its tone? How does change inspire you?

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Choice Words for October

It truly feels like autumn now, the turning of the year into cooler days and tawny shades. I love this season for the same reason that I love spring - there's change in the air.

My choice words this month come from the award winning writers Doris Lessing and Octavia Butler.

The wonderful Doris Lessing talks about writing.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

What I'm Doing This Month - October

Where have the last few weeks gone? I wrote September's post about my plans for the month with the full intention of posting lots more in the following weeks. Then, our house move happened and somewhere in there our internet connection was cut off for several days too.My time has been hijacked by continual carrying, unpacking, searching and way too much cleaning. I'm still surrounded by boxes but at least now they're only knee high and I can see my family over them.

Yesterday, I handed over the keys for our old house and so today, I can finally sit in my new study without any immediate deadlines to drag me off my chair.

So what's happening in October for me, as a writer?

My Novel

I'm still working on my novel, editing and polishing. I was excited to return to it this week but nervous too. Time away from my writing allows me to look at it with fresh eyes and I worried that I might have lost the thread of my storyline in all my editing but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Last month I polished the first fifty pages and emailed them off for an agent appointment at the end of this month.


I packed my book away when I moved and have only just found it again. I'm reading Sepulchre by Kate Mosse. This is the first novel of hers that I've attempted and so far I'm intrigued and entranced by her writing. The aim is to finish it for this month's book review.

Chester Literary Festival

During the Chester Literary Festival, I will be meeting with Conville & Walsh agent, Carrie Kania to discuss the first fifty pages of my novel. The aim is to not only inquire about the quality of my writing but also the commercial viability of my novel. It's only a short slot but fingers crossed it will provide some fresh insight on my writing.

A New Murder Mystery

I wrote three new murder mystery plays last year for Murdering The Text and I think it's time to add another so this month I'll be throwing around ideas for my latest whodunnit. I have several scenarios in mind.

So that's it for me for October. Now I'm (mostly) unpacked and online, I'll be back to my usual blogging routine of once or twice a week. All of that should keep me busy for now.