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BLOG CHAT: Jenny and Loreley talk “HALLOWEEN HOLLER”

Hello and welcome on this (still dark) morning, it’s Jenny here!

As the days are getting shorter and the nights longer- alongside  my working hours- I thought it was a good time to share some much needed caffeine with an equally worn out writer.

So, let me introduce you to Loreley Amiti- fellow writer and all round lovely person.

This morning Loreley and I have put our pens aside so we can chat in front of an open laptop. Let’s see what happens… Are you ready, Loreley?

Yes, definitely. As ready as I’ll ever be at this early hour. Hello everyone!

So, tell me, what are you up to at the moment?

That’s a good question, as there are so many things going on at once. I have two readings coming up on 26th and 27th October, which I’m really looking forward to.

Are these for your children’s books?

Yes, I’ll be reading my latest picture book “Halloween Holler”, which is about the grumpy cats of the North of Exeter who want to take over the feared dogs of the South. They’re planning on conjuring up a mighty cat army on the night of Halloween but unfortunately for them, the dogs have the same plan and things go terribly wrong.

When you say “terribly”…

No, no, it’s not that bad. It’s for small children, after all. Just really funny, because they’re all hilariously grumpy and in the end, they make friends when they least expect to do so.

What made you write this story?

I think it came up during endless hours on the bus with my small daughter. Most ideas for my children’s books have actually been born either on the bus or wherever we had a longer wait. We have to travel between the famous North and South a lot and at some point, I had to come up with some sort of entertainment. I love Exeter, but I’m in the process of getting a car now…

Does that mean you will stop writing children’s books then?

Hopefully not, but I will definitely take a break from it at some point soon to focus on my adult fiction. Children’s books are great and I love meeting my youngest readers, but as soon as I have covered every season with one book, it’s time to move on with my fiction books. So many ideas, so little time…

I know what you mean! Have you got a favourite book among the ones you have written?

I should be saying “all of them”, shouldn’t I… Of course, I love them all for very different reasons. I don’t have a favourite to be quite honest, but I love “Halloween Holler”, for example, because the leader of all the grumpy cats, Luke, was based on the character of our own cat. It’s just heart-warming to see my little daughter showing our cat the illustrations of Luke and telling him the story in her own words. She also told him off for always looking so extra grumpy in the book. She is not very impressed with me though, because Luke lives with a boy called Ben, which is clearly wrong. – Silly Mummy!

That’s brilliant! So where can we find you and your new book?

Well, it’s obviously on Amazon and can be bought or ordered in bookshops. But I hope to get to see many of my local readers on 26th October at the Exeter Halloween Fun Run and on 27th October at Exeter Library, of course.

Thank you, Loreley! I hope you’ll get a full house.

Thanks for having me, Jenny! Loved our caffeine chat!

You are very welcome. Come by again soon!

You can find information about Loreley and her events here-


Improving the recipe: a slice of lemon cake

In May of this year I started to write a brand new contemporary fiction novel. Normally I would have finished it long ago, but what with writing a novel as Jennifer Ash and starting Imagine, as well, I have been rather slower with my Jenny Kane words this year.

However, I am delighted to say that I have now reached the redrafting stage of my next novel, which goes by the working title of Lemon Cake, Espresso, and Thigh Boots.

Redrafting is rather like improving a recipe. I’m adding in an extra spoonful of words here and there, taking out excess sugar, and removing the overdose of fat (well commas actually).

Set in and around both the Roman Baths, Bath and the New York Central Public Library in the USA, this novel will have a little more in the way of spice than my previous JK novels- although not enough for it to warrant an over 18’s only sticker!

Roman Baths

Playful and fun, this story deals with the problems that go hand in hand with consciously deciding to live with two personalities…something I might just know something about.

There will – of course- be coffee involved. Espresso in this case- plus a serious- and I do mean serious- lemon cake craving.

I shall say no more about the plotline for now.

When will it be finished?

Watch this space…

Happy reading,

Jenny xxx

 


Bampton Charter Fair

Next week, on 26th October, I’m delighted to say I will be at the Bampton Charter Fair, selling my books, reading, and giving talks to adults and children about my work, and the joy of playing with words.

I will be with my fellow authors from the Exeter Author Association- you’ll be able to find us in the Community Hall on Station Road, conveniently next to a café and a nonstop supply of coffee!

The Devonshire Bampton Charter Fair has been an established tradition for centuries. here’s what the official Charter Website has to say-

Bampton Fair existed even before King Henry III granted it a Royal Charter in 1258 and it is always held on the last Thursday of October. It is one of the oldest surviving Charter Fairs in the country.

For centuries, the fair mainly sold sheep and cattle and was the largest sheep fair in the South West of England. During the 1880’s to the 1980’s it evolved to become the famous Bampton Pony Fair trading in Exmoor ponies.
Today this traditional Devon fair continues to attract local producers of foods and livestock, crafts and traditional skills from Exmoor and its surrounding villages. The streets, church, pubs and venues of Bampton are filled to over flowing with around 100 stalls, entertainments  including craft and music workshops, demonstrations and concerts, and funfair.

Opening from 9am, the Charter Fair regularly attracts in the region of 10,000 visitors- so why not come along and join the fun, pick up a few early Christmas presents, and hear a story or two along the way.

Hope to see you there!

Jenny xx


10 REASONS TO GO ON AN IMAGINE WRITING RETREAT

Alison Knight and I are proud to present our very first “Imagine” writing retreat…

10 reasons to go on an Imagine Writing Retreat…

1                    Writers need writers! No one understands writing and a writer’s life like another writer. Mutual support is the name of the game!

2                    Located in the stunning Victorian manor, Northmoor House, Imagine’s retreat gives you the chance to stay in a home untouched by time (But don’t panic, there is Wi-Fi). You can even indulge in the waters of an original Victorian bathtub…don’t forget your bubble bath!

3                    With so many of the manor’s period features still in place, Northmoor is the ideal location for sparking inspiration and dreaming up new plotlines.

4                    On the edge of Exmoor, near the popular village of Dulverton, there are plenty of beautiful places to explore should you, or any non-writing friends or partners, wish to. There are miles of good walking land on hand. The pre-historic Tarr Steps are but minutes away, and the cafes in Dulverton are excellent. I can personally recommend the poached eggs on crumpets in The Copper Kettle.

Tarr Steps

 

5                    However, you might not want to stray into the village for food because we have employed an excellent local caterer, who is providing a delicious menu that will cater for all dietary requirements. All food is locally sourced.

6                    Come along for a confidence boost! At Imagine we pride ourselves on helping everyone to get their words onto the page. We are here for beginners and experts alike.

Kate Griffin

7                    Meet Kate Griffin! One of Faber and Faber’s most successful crime writers. Kate Griffin is the author of the brilliant Kitty Peck Mysteries. An expert on Victorian London, Kate will be our guest speaker on the Wednesday evening.

8                    Find your inner writer’s peace of mind. We all know that authors suffer from imposter syndrome: “Why am I writing? I’m not good enough!” We all say it! Local happiness mentor and fellow writer, Trina Stacey, will be available for optional one-to-one conversations about how to believe in your abilities, and convince you that you are allowed to do what makes you happy.

9                    Let’s face it – Monday to Friday in a beautiful Victorian Manor, with time to write, all food provided, plus three optional workshops, a chance to meet Kate Griffin, and the opportunity to share writing ideas over a glass of wine (or two) – for only £450 (10% less if you book before 31st October) is a BARGAIN.

10               IT WILL BE A LOT OF FUN!

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Full details are available at https://www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk/writing-retreats 

If you have any queries please email Alison or myself at imaginecreativewritng@gmail.com

PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THE EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT ENDS ON 31ST OCTOBER

Now is the time to drop heavy hints about wanting a writing retreat for Christmas… 

Happy writing everyone,

Jenny xx


Guest post from Marie Gameson: The Giddy Career of Mr Gadd (deceased)

I’m delighted to welcome Marie Gameson to my blog today to talk a little about her fascinating new book, The Giddy Career of Mr Gadd (deceased).

Over to you Marie…

 

“Winifred is exasperated by her Catholic mother’s inability to accept her conversion to Buddhism, and by her family’s determination to drag her back to her former life. But when an elderly stranger – haunted by his dead father – turns up on Winnie’s doorstep, insisting that stories she wrote as a teenager hold the key to his supernatural problems, Winnie is forced to renew acquaintance with her younger self.

Why did she write about a Mr Gadd, who died years before she was born?”

The Giddy Career of Mr Gadd (deceased) does have lots of humour, but the main theme is grief – not so much grief for the dead as for the living. The main character, Winnie Rigby, is exasperated that her conversion to Buddhism and attachment to the Orient are strongly resisted by her Catholic family, who make persistent attempts to remind her of the person she used to be.

I wrote this book to explore an issue which has long bothered me, and more so recently:  how do you cope when someone close to you has substantially changed? The reason could be because they have had some physical or mental trauma, joined a cult, become an addict, or simply because they have adopted a new political or spiritual belief system. Of course, in the case of the latter, the grieved-for person can be annoyingly positive about the change; most of us have come across a new zealot, and have good reason to avoid ‘born-again Christians’, or ‘born-again anythings’. But whatever the reason for someone changing, that person is still alive, still looks pretty much the same, and yet is no longer the person you remember.

In the case of Winnie Rigby, after practising Zen Buddhism for some years, she had an enlightening experience whilst on a mountain in Taiwan, which increased her resolve to further her practice. Since being forced back to the UK by her family, she feels alienated and out of touch with her old life; in fact neither her old neighbourhood nor her old acquaintances seem familiar, which is inconvenient, as people who insist they know her turn up with irritating frequency.

Consequently, her only objective is to get back to Taiwan just as soon as she can figure out how to replace the funds that have mysteriously disappeared from her account – (on her instructions according to the Bank) – but which seem to have gone to a cause that sounds suspiciously close to her mother’s heart.

Winnie’s refusal to return to her former persona or to traipse through pointless memories is challenged when an elderly man turns up on her doorstep, haunted by his dead father’s restless spirit, and insisting that the younger Winnie knew something about this late Mr Gadd. Although Winnie has no time for ghosts or superstition, when she is given proof that she did indeed write about Mr Gadd, she reluctantly agrees to try and find out why she wrote about a man who not only died years before she was born, but whose afterlife she seems to have recorded.

But the more she remembers, the more the answers seem to lie in the East. In her search for the elusive Mr Gadd, Winnie may fulfil her wish to return to the Orient – but unravelling the mystery of Gadd is bringing another unexpected revelation.

 

Taroko Gorge, Taiwan (where Winnie ‘saw the light’)

 

Although the book took a year to write, the preparation included a few months in Taiwan, two trips to China, an MA in Translation, a dissertation about Chinese ancestor worship, and frankly – countless fags and glasses of wine. It’s really nice that some people have said that they loved the book, but it is possible that I have reacted a little negatively when they have gone on to ask when the next one is coming out…

But with that little whinge out the way, the book has been a wonderful journey for me in terms of trying to reconcile East and West. Whether they are truly reconcilable or not, I will finish with a photograph I took some years back in Taipei of a Buddhist nun begging for alms. I rather like it.

Bio-

Marie Gameson is half of the mother and daughter writing team who published The Turtle Run as ‘Marie Evelyn’. Her latest book, The Giddy Career of Mr Gadd (deceased) was published by Salt this summer and is available on Amazon. You can find out more about her and her books at her website, www.marie-gameson.com 

You can buy The Giddy Career of Mr Gadd (deceased) from-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Giddy-Career-Mr-Gadd-deceased/dp/1784631183/

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Many thanks for visiting today Marie. This sounds like a fantastic read.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx


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