Honoured in the New Year – City of Discoveries

Warmest congratulations to the team at The People’s Friend as it reaches its 150th anniversary – a noteworthy moment.

The Ladies – Mandy Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennet, Hetty, Carrie, Elspeth, William, Thomas, John, Harold, Phemie, Mr Souter and Drew Fleming were people I spent a lot of time with last year. They are the central characters in the Anniversary Serial I wrote for The People’s Friend magazine to mark its 150th year of publication.

And also many thanks to the fiction team for inviting me in. My editor, Alan Spink sent a query e-mail in March. It was a total surprise filling me with excitement and dread in equal measure: what an honour to be asked: what a responsibility to carry. Of course, I need not have worried as the editorial support for which the magazine is known among its writers was there for me throughout. Alan in the forefront, but fiction ed, Shirley Blair adding her Dundonian voice and Magazine ed, Angela Gilchrist pointing things out when the three of us might have let our enthusiasm outstrip our writerly antennae. (Really? Ed)

1869 is a year rich in happenings if you want to write something for a woman’s magazine. My first synopsis was liked and commended, but rejected on fairly straightforward grounds. It wasn’t set in Dundee.

Cue a huge learning curve helped along by the work of Judith Flanders, Lynne Wilson and Norman Watson. The serial is not history or documentary, but it is informed by the histories written by these people about life in London, Edinburgh and Dundee for the poorer class of person.

The serial, CITY OF DISCOVERIES, is fiction and I hope you’ll join us over the eight weeks and read the stories of my lovely characters. I’m looking forward to having them arrive in my life again every week.

Anne

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Fascinating – I Am Sara Jayne Townsend, crime and horror writer

Sara Townsend

Today’s guest, Sara Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror. She was born in Cheshire in 1969, but spent most of the 1980s living in Canada after her family emigrated there. She now lives in Surrey with two cats and her guitarist husband Chris. She co-founded the T Party Writers’ Group in 1994, and remains Chair Person.

The first two books in her amateur sleuth series about Canadian actress Shara Summers will be released by MuseItUp Publishing in 2014. DEATH SCENE, the first book (and a re-release) will be available from 22 September, with the sequel, DEAD COOL, released on 25 November.

Fascinating Fact One

I started writing stories age 6. This was the age at which I first learned how to write.  Before that, I was still making stories up; I just didn’t know how to write them down.  I used to tell myself a bedtime story every night, using one of my toys as the central character and making up their adventures as I went along.  So the correct answer to the question of “how long have you been writing stories” is “since always”.

Fascinating Fact Two

I am the only left-handed person in a family of right-handed people. People are more aware these days that left-handed kids learn things differently – when I was growing up I was just accused of being incompetent.  I got told off for putting the knives and forks the wrong way around when I was asked to set the table.  I couldn’t tie shoe laces until I was eleven – the way the loops went around just made no sense to me.  And knitting – I struggled with knitting.  My right-handed mother tried to teach me many times but it just seemed so awkward and eventually I lost patience and gave up.  I now realise why I struggled – like so many things I was being taught how to do it right-handed and it wasn’t working for me.  Unfortunately the experience has now put me off knitting, sewing, crocheting and other crafty things for life. Dead Cool 200x300

Fascinating Fact Three

I am one of the world’s clumsiest people. All my life I have fallen over, walked into things, knocked things over.  I bash my knee on my desk daily.  At least once a week I misjudge walking through a door and bash my arm or shoulder on it.  I regularly trip over and fall on apparently flat pavements.  I am never without at least one bruise somewhere on my person.  I think it is mostly because I am never thinking about what I am doing or where I am going.  My mind is generally elsewhere – usually deep in the current work in progress.

Fascinating Fact Four

In spite of what I said above, I have never broken a bone (though I hope I am not tempting providence by admitting this in public). I have sprained my ankle (and always the left) three times, I have torn tendons, pulled muscles, had numerous horrendous bruises and ended up with concussion when I fell down the steps of the tube station one rainy winter’s day and bashed my head against a brick wall.  But my bones have remained intact – not even a fracture.  I must be getting plenty of calcium.

Fascinating Fact Five

sara bass

From my early teenage years I have harboured a secret desire to play bass guitar in a rock band. A couple of years ago I decided to come out with this secret ambition and began to take lessons, encouraged by my guitar playing husband.  I’m still something of a beginner, but we’ve been doing open mic sessions together around our local area, and I really enjoy getting up on stage and playing the rock chick part.  I just wish I’d been brave enough to give it a try years ago.

 

 

 

DEATH SCENE BLURBDeath Scene 200x300

Poking around in family closets produces skeletons…

British-born, Toronto-based, actress Shara Summers turns amateur sleuth when her sister is stricken with a mysterious illness. Summoned back to England to be with her family during a time of crisis, Shara discovers doctors are at a loss as to what’s causing Astrid’s debilitating sickness.

After her aunt is found dead at the bottom of the stairs the death is deemed an accident. Shara suspects otherwise. Her investigation unearths shocking family secrets and a chilling realization that could have far-reaching and tragic consequences that affect not only her own future, but Astrid’s as well.

DEATH SCENE is coming 22 September from MuseItUp Publishing: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/coming-soon/death-scene-detail

You can learn more about Sara and her writing at her website at http://sarajaynetownsend.weebly.com or her blog at http://sayssara.wordpress.com