Oh my! It’s that time of year again – the time when Frinton Writers Group casts aside the shackles of normal life with its responsibilities and tedium, and head off for our writing retreat. We spend the best part of four days together, writing, chatting, talking about writing, planning our writing, and generally relaxing in the luxurious surroundings of our own (temporary) manor house in the country!
I am always looking for opportunities to rekindle a child’s enthusiasm for stories.
So I partnered with Jenni Meredith of Snowball Arts Community Cooperative, and The Community Rail Partnership, and we took Year 5 from a local Harwich School on a journey, on their local train line, to Write Between the Lines?
My aim on this project was to encourage the children to observe the world; to look, listen and use all of their senses to experience the journey and then write about it in a story or poem.
At Manningtree Station, we played games, which uncovered the key ingredients of ‘story’, and on the homeward journey we wrote a poem.
To add to the experience and to provide more stimuli for their creativity and curiosity, the children had an opportunity to explore the Railway Museum at Harwich Town Station.
JK Rowling famously said that ‘no story lives unless someone wants to listen.’
In order to value the children’s work and to provide a public audience for it, the children’s writing will be made into posters for the platform at Dovercourt station, where it will make a positive contribution to station users and the local community.
Curious and creative children grow into active adults who engage with the world around them and participate in their local communities. In some small way, we can all support that objective.
I am so excited by the launch of our new venture!
Myself, my partner Gerald Hornsby and our colleague Ellie Holmes will be present at the Essex Author Day. This is a chance for Essex people to meet authors in person, and chat to them about their writing and their books. We shall be taking this opportunity to launch TheNovelMakers, our joint venture, with a one-hour presentation.
Find us here: TheNovelMakers
and my colleagues here: Ellie Holmes - Gerald Hornsby
“No story lives unless someone wants to listen.” J.K Rowling
It is half term and a chance to catch up on some reading. I am reading The Rumour by Lesley Kara; the brilliant Sunday Times bestseller with a killer twist.
And it gets me thinking about the transaction a writer makes with their reader; a bond of trust. The reader gives their time and commitment to the book and the writer must deliver, and preferably exceed, the reader’s expectations. (The Rumour does!)
As a writer, we must not underestimate what the reader bring to the book. A reader brings their own understanding of the genre, and an interpretation of our words through their life experience. They are expert at reading between the lines, and it is in the spaces between our words where the reader interprets our intention. It is in these spaces where we win their hearts and loyalty, or lose them.
To be a writer, we need to be readers first and to write the books we love to read; to understand the subtleties and codes of our chosen genre and deliver these with originality, conviction and insight and not to shortchange the expectation of the reader.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others:
On the theme of JOURNEYS
The BIG Write: Journeys
With Anita Belli
Sunday 3rd March 2019
11.00 - 3.00
Drop in: no booking required
Love telling tales and making up stories? Ever written a poem, short story or a song? Using games and creative prompts, find exciting new ways to kick start your writing whether you are 8 or 80. Add a line to a collective poem, play story-building games and have a go at a word sprint. We all have a story in us. What’s yours? Suitable for ages 4+
Join us for the opening weekend of Essex Book Festival for a whole day of family friendly activity at The Redoubt in Harwich
In a departure from my previous novels, Once Upon a Blue Moon is lighter in tone and contemporary in setting.
When Hollie bumps into Rory on Camden High Street on a wet day in February, it seems that her long held secret is about to be uncovered.
They were partners, years ago, until Rory took off to find his brilliant career. Hollie found herself stranded in the world of single parenthood with her son Tom, and as a waitress at The Blue Moon Café, she is struggling to make ends meet.
When Rory reappears in her life, perched as he is on the edge of success, Hollie realises just how far she has let her own potential slip. And how dangerous it would be to admit her secret after all this time.
But when a TV company turns up to make a documentary about The Blue Moon Café in Camden Market, all hell breaks loose, and Hollie’s secret unravels in a very public way.
With the help of the film crew and the lively clientele from The Blue Moon Café, the solution unfolds on screen where sparks fly between Hollie and Rory. And where Rory and Tom together build a bridge directly into Hollie's heart.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
Buy Now from Amazon UK:
I am thrilled to be a contender in this year's Joan Hessayon Award from the Romantic Novelists Association. (RNA)
This is my interview on the RNA Blog:
We are delighted to introduce you to the seventeen authors contending for the coveted Joan Hessayon Award in 2018. Before the winner is announced at the RNA’s Summer Party in Oxford in May, you can find out more about each of the authors here.
Welcome to the RNA blog, Anita, and congratulations on being one of the contenders for this year’s award. How long have you been writing? Is this your first published piece?
I have been writing since I was at primary school, but I got the writing bug seriously at Film School, much later in life. I began by writing screenplays, one of which was nominated for a major award at the Academy of Motion Pictures, whilst I was still a student. I turned that film script into a novel and self-published it as The Art Forger’s Daughter in 2014.
How many years were you a member of the NWS and did you submit a manuscript each year?
I was a member many years ago and submitted RomCom manuscripts about 4 or 5 times. Then I stepped back and reassessed my writing goals. I took a career break, cleared the decks and wrote The Art Forger’s Daughter, in a genre which suits me better; Women’s 20th Century Historical Fiction. I like to write about how the past ripples through our lives, with unexpected consequences; and the impact it has on those who come later.
What came first, agent or publisher?
I don’t have an agent, so it is publisher first.
How did you find your publisher?
Recommendation from an RNA member. I was pleased that Endeavour offered me a POD contract as well as e-publishing.
Do you have a contract for one book or more?
One book at the moment, but I plan to offer them more! I am writing the sequel to The Traveller and The Rose, and I have a back catalogue which I am reworking and enjoying enormously.
When was your book published?
4th December 2017.
Tell us something about your book
The Traveller and The Rose is set in a period of history in which ordinary people are caught up in extraordinary events. This is a story of love, passion and betrayal in the Spanish Civil War, which also became known as ‘The Armed Rehearsal for WWII.’ It is a story where characters are driven by high stakes to risk everything for love:
In the tranquil Andalucían village of Santa Carmen, deep divisions are exposed by the arrival of a young English stranger, Kit Brown. He falls in love with Rosa Saragossa, and as Spain tears itself apart in civil war, few will escape unscathed. They must risk their lives to save those they love. When Kit is imprisoned, Rosa will never give up seeking the truth. In this war, however, the shocking truth is hard to find.
What are you currently working on?
The sequel to The Traveller and The Rose. The Ties That Bind picks up the two families, separated by the war. When bodies are found tied together in the excavation of The New Spain, under General Franco, four strangers seek a truth which they will only find in the hearts of their former enemies. And one shadow comes back to haunt them all.
What piece of advice would you give current members of the NWS?
NEVER GIVE UP! It has taken me ages to get here, over 20 years, but the only way is to keep writing. Write something every day. Develop a daily writing habit.
The challenge is over! I managed 106,000 words since January 1st.; 100 days ago.
The best thing about this challenge is that I re-established my daily writing habit and now start each day with Morning Pages.
100 days is just enough time to create a new habit, or break an old one.
I finished a novel, and have put it away to 'rest' whilst I get on with planning a new idea....
Writer and Creative Writing Tutor
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