Making Hay in 2020 - Katherine Roberts

The Hay Literary Festival is something of a pilgrimage for me, dating from the days I lived an hour's leisurely drive across the border and along the River Wye. One year I was even invited as an author to talk in a big tent about my first 'Seven Fabulous Wonders' adventure THE GREAT PYRAMID ROBBERY (and Hay must have worked its magic, since that is still the best selling title of the seven in the series). I don't think I've missed a Festival in 20 years, except of course this year when it, like pretty much every other event where literary folks mingle to exchange ideas, was cancelled "due to Covid". Well, dear Dictator Covid, this month I decided to risk the rising number of cases in Wales and the threat of a last-minute local lockdown, and drove across the border anyway to visit Hay and see if there were still any ideas knocking around.The experience was, as expected, a little sad. Half the smaller bookshops seemed to be closed (though hopefully just tem…

Keyhaven and poetry by Sandra Horn

I can't count the many strange and beautiful things and places I’ve seen in my life – thundering Icelandic waterfalls fringed with towering icicles; hot water seething under the sand on a beach in New Zealand; aurora borealis from a midnight boat approaching Tromso; the eeerie loveliness of the Alhambra, islands, downlands, lakes, meteor showers, the moon…I’d love to be able to say that they have inspired me to write poetry, but no. I’ve gawped and gaped, felt awe, wonderment, deep joy, but I’ve not been able to put any of it into words. When I’ve tried I haven’t often managed to capture the essence in a way that satisfies, although I’ve tried- and several of the poems in my first collection, Passing Places, have been set off by particular landscapes - but there is something about Keyhaven, that keeps messing with my head and making poems.  There, a shingle bank stretches for over a mile out into the Solent. It started life as a geological oddity but since its ancient origins has…

Nissen V Nissan - Jan Edwards

Because of my dyslexia I do keep the spellchecking function on as a matter of course but Microsoft and other software/social media sites can make this incredibly frustrating.I have watched as Word especially (though Facebook can be as guilty) will change a word, without red-underlining it, not just once but several times after I have gone back and altered it.These anomalies can often be put down to syntax – i.e. when writing dialogue where characters are not speaking in grammatically correct sentences.At other times it is down to the software’s limited dictionary. I always have Word in the UK, rather than US, spelling and language mode but still have occasions when it throws a wobbly over Z versus S.
Because The Bunch Courtney Investigations are a crime series set in WW2 the number of ‘unrecognised’ words rises by some margin.Today it was ‘Nissen’, as in Nissen hut. I was typing fairly quickly to get my ideas onto the screen before it vanished into the ether and simply did not notic…

Having a go at something new, by Elizabeth Kay

It’s so much harder than I thought it would be. You make your own rules in fantasy, so the plot can head off wherever you want. I’ve always said that a book has to be an adventure for me too, and if I knew too much about the story before I started it would feel flat and unexciting. I always knew where I wanted to end up, but not how I was going to get there. Starting a thriller like that is not ideal, as I soon discovered. I am currently on the eighth re-write of the first few chapters, because every time I think of something that doesn’t quite ring true I have to go back and make sure that whatever I alter doesn’t impact on the storyline later on. So, in the end, I had to do the thing I really hate doing, which was to write a synopsis. I’m not used to it, though. My synopses normally get written once I’ve finished the book. Despite having written it, I am constantly changing things. Let’s have Character B’s wife killed, so that he’s free to become romantically involved with Character…

Seriously, write funny – by Fran Hill

Did you know that Wendy H Jones hosts a weekly podcast called ‘The Writing and Marketing Show’?

She invited me along, thankfully not to talk about marketing. It’s not my specialist subject. For example, last week, I met two neighbours chatting. They asked to buy copies of my latest book. ‘Why don’t you share a copy?’ I said. ‘You live opposite each other. No point buying two.’

Their eyebrows lifted but they didn’t argue. Who would?

No, Wendy interviewed me about humour writing. On this, I’m a touch more secure. I self-published my first book ‘Being Miss’, a funny fictional account of a teacher’s day, in 2014. In Lockdown May this year I had my second book ‘Miss, What Does Incomprehensible Mean?’ released by SPCK Publishing. This time, it’s a funny memoir of a typical school year, in diary form.

I used to think ‘writing funny’ a lesser calling than, say, writing serious novels on gender politics or intellectual plays about social ills. Why couldn’t I be more informed/learned/intellectua…

Goodnight, and Good Luck - with your bids at the Children in Read charity book auction! - by Alex Marchant

This is my last regular blog post for Authors Electric, so I would like to say farewell and thank you to everyone who has read and commented on my posts over the past couple of years, and for the support of both my fellow author/bloggers and readers.It’s been an exciting time for me since publishing my first children’s novel The Order of the White Boar in October 2017, and I’ve enjoyed sharing the ups and downs of life as a newbie indie author with you all. But I’ve come to realize that a commitment to writing a monthly blog results in time spent away from getting on with the novel writing itself (which is already rather far down the pecking order in terms of time spent). So I’ve sadly decided to call it a day.But I’m calling it a day on a day when the launch has happened of a wonderful charity auction of books! For the next 62 days, until the Friday that is the annual BBC Children in Need day, an auction of more than 500 titles across a range of genres will be underway at https://ww…

Reading Women Authors in Translation by Bronwen Griffiths

Last month was Women in Translation Month. Meytal Radzinksi started WIT in 2014 with the aim of highlighting the brilliant women writers, translators and publishers who bring us literature from around the world. Radzinksi was concerned that women authors made up less than 30% of the books translated into English and WIT has been a means of promoting such women to the wider reading public.UK book readers are less likely than their European counterparts to read books in translation although that is beginning to change – 2018 saw a 5.5 increase in the market. However, a substantial part of this growth was down to best-selling Scandinavian crime thrillers - authors such as Steig Larsson and Jo Nesbo. (Research by Nielsen for the Man Booker Prize, March 2019) – and overall we in the UK read far less in translation than other comparative countries. This can be partly explained by the fact that we can also read books written in English from countries like India, Nigeria, South Africa and Zim…