Monday, February 16, 2015

What do historians think of historical fiction?

I do so admire the historian, Simon Schama.

He has recently written what I consider to be the most balanced and fair article on historical fiction. It was published in last weekend's Financial Times, which, incidentally, and maybe surprisingly to some, has a highly readable weekly arts section.

You can find it by clicking on this link.

On a personal note, I would like to thank everyone for your recent comments on my decision to consider
self-publishing, both on this blog and on Twitter and Facebook. I have gained great support and encouragement. Thank you, one and all. I also have received emails suggesting publishers I could approach. I am seriously considering every option.

In the meantime, I intend to self-publish an anthology of my published stories of which I have all rights, nor any contractual ties. I then plan to self publish my short story writing 'course' which was werll-received when I ran it years ago on my 'elephant' blog. The idea is that if I don't get my knickers ion a twist making them readable and looking okay, I will proceed with my published novels.

As I said, all is up in the air. Nothing has been written in stone.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Crossing the Rubicon

I have done it. What? Political commentators call it a U-turn. Poets might call it a sea-change. To some writers I have betrayed them. To others I have finally seen sense.

Here goes.

I have decided to give up chasing moonbeams. I have given it my best shot but with only one novel published and which sunk without trace, I have decided to give up the unequal struggle and will concentrate on what I alone choose to write (whilst not forgetting the people who might read it), not try to second-guess the fickle market. I will self-publish. Those who want to read what I write can and those who don’t have the choice to ignore me. 

I know, I know. I have pontificated and bored for England in the past why I didn't do so. Of course I was looking for validation. I never did and still don't believe that I deserve to be published. I still maintain that following the traditional, validated path to publication is the best way forward. I still believe in hard work rather than luck and 'who you know.' I will continue to advise every wannabe writer to perfect one's art, style and genre, find the right literary agent, and that, after working with together and forging a close relationship, submits the resulting typescript to the right editor at the right publishing house. 

That is the dream I have been pursuing for over 20 years since I seriously pursued a writing 'career'. I have bored everyone about my halting progress following the distant star luring me on, only to end up with my hubris splattered across the concrete—more than once—on my former blog: The Elephant inThe Writing Room. In fact, my writing career has been nothing more than an exercise in how to do everything wrong. My first mistake was that I started too late in life. Look, I started to study French at Reading University which was when, as I now realise, depression first hit me during which I did secretarial/admin work, realising after two years, it was as boring as hell. I then went back to education with an English BA course at Queen Mary College, University of London, which is based on the Mile End Road. I loved it but spent most of my time eschewing the union bar, assiduously never missed a lecture, seminar or tutorial. I worked in bookshops then became a translator for the Metropolitan Police in New Scotland Yard, then a wife and mother in Yorkshire. Not exactly exciting but I was happy apart from the occasional blip before finally deciding to take up writing. Now at 64, with two adult sons, one lovely daughter-in-law and the brightest grandson in the whole world, of course, the hands of the clock are whirring around like mad. 

Now I can see my 'writing career' for what it really is. Don't get me wrong. I am not bitter or regretful. I believe we are totally responsible for the way our lives turn out. Writing is what I will always want to do and I will continue writing for the good of my spirit and my soul for as long as I can. I intend to keep on well into my dotage.

I have no complaint against the realities of the art as well as the business of writing.  As I said, no-one owes me anything. Times are tough for everyone and rightly or wrongly we live in a capitalist society (although, I hope money isn't the be all and end all of human ambition. Until someone finds a way, we cannot live on words. 

Then again I am eating mine as I type this. 


As you've probably realised, my blog has been dormant for far too long - well, it's been a long winter.  Although this blog has b...