Jenny Kane & Jennifer Ash

Jenny Kane: Coffee, cupcakes, chocolate and contemporary fiction / Jennifer Ash: Medieval crime with hints of Ellis Peters and Robin Hood

Tag: talk

A summer of events

The summer, dare I say it, is almost over – and what a busy couple of months it’s been. From children’s writing workshops, to freezing cold festival fields and a singles club- I’ve encountered them all.

There’s no doubt that summer is my busiest time of the year- and the most rewarding.

This year I was lucky enough to teach three children’s writing workshops for Devon Libraries (Cullompton, South Molton and Crediton), as part of the Summer Reading Scheme for 2018, on the subject of ‘Mischief Makers’. I was heartened and impressed by the range of stories the children created and I’m happy to report that the next generation’s imagination is alive and well. (They also have a much firmer grasp on the stories of Dennis the Menace than I do- my memory of the Beano has certainly slipped with age!)

The children of Barnstaple also proved their imagination is in tiptop shape, when I taught a creative writing class at St Anne’s Community Centre (a 10 week series of writing classes for children begins there in September- email me at imaginecreativewriting.com for details).

In July, I was invited to teach a short story writing workshop at the Chudleigh Literary Festival. A wonderful event; I had a great day surrounded by loads of talented writers, special guests and book lovers. Huge thanks to Elizabeth Ducie for inviting me along.

Last weekend I, along with many of my fellow Exeter Author Association members (PJ Reed, Richard Dee, Tracey Norman, Mark Norman and Susie Williamson), returned to Chilcompton for their annual fringe festival.

In 2017, when we attended Chilcompton, it was so hot that some of us suffered from heat sickness. This year that was never going to be a problem. To say it rained doesn’t really do the persistent and heavy downpour that lasted all day, justice.

Dressed as characters from out books, we all looked the part; from elf, to steampunk man, to medieval lady and beyond…however…as we were freezing cold we rather overdid the layers. Six layers in my case- and you can tell!

Never ones to give up easily, the EAA carried on regardless! Our talk audiences were rather smaller than usual, but the smiles were still wide. I had great fun talking to this little gathering about Robin Hood. Fingers crossed for a mild dry day next year!

As well as my usual workshops, my summer events finished off with an author talk to the Young at Heart singles club in St Sidwells, Exeter. Chatting away about how my writing career began was great fun. It soon became clear that a couple of the ladies in the group had always wanted to write, but had never been brave enough. By the time I left one had written the start of a short children’s story, and another had told a whole story via answering random questions. Fantastic!

Thank you to everyone who has hosted both me and my fellow EAA members this summer.

Now- if you’ll excuse me I’d better go and edit my next novel…

Happy reading,

Jenny

The Hooded Man 3: A different angle

Unusually for me, when it came to writing this round up of the weekend just past, I have been puzzling over a blank page.

The reason for this is clear – I’m still in the ‘coming down from a high’ zone. I’m not alone in this. Facebook this week is full of my fellow Hooded Man Event attendees suffering from post-event blues.

If ever there was a mark of an event’s success, it’s that people feel slightly bereft when it’s over- a bereavement that is undercut with happy hope – and the reassurance that in 2 years time it will all happen again.

Anyone who follows this blog cannot have failed to notice that I am fond of anything and everything to do with Robin Hood. Again, I’m not alone- especially when it comes to folk who are devoted to the 1980’s television show, Robin of Sherwood.

The Hooded Man 3 (HM3), was held in Gloucester this weekend just past. It was a two day celebration of Robin of Sherwood. It doesn’t matter that the show hasn’t aired for over 30 years- the loyalty of the fans is absolute- the friendship between the cast members is clear to see- and the atmosphere that buzzed around the hotel venue was 100% positive and happy.A great deal was going on- autographs were being signed, photos were taken, Bowlore performed incredible shows within their tented medieval stronghold, and talks were held….I however, can’t really tell you about these things. I saw the HM3 from a different perspective.This was my second adventure as a stall holder at a HM event. Last time was fabulous- I only had one book to sell (Romancing Robin Hood), and so had lots of time to wander around, chat to the cast, and meet lots of people.

This time…wow!!

So, let me back track a little.

In 2016 I was lucky enough to be invited to sell Romancing Robin Hood at the HM2 event by the lovely Barnaby Eaton-Jones (organiser and all round hardworking guy). As I mentioned above it was just fantastic. (The blog I wrote after the event is still available here if you want to take a peep) A week after that event I had an even bigger stroke of luck- I was invited to attend the premiere of the very first Robin of Sherwood audio revival- The Knights of the Apocalypse- in London.

I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the moment when Barnaby and fellow audio write, Iain Meadows, began to consider putting together a short series of Robin of Sherwood audio stories, to be narrated by the original cast.  It was also that moment when- again unknown to me- I was being considered as a writer for one of these stories.To cut a long story short- 2 years later, here I am having written three different Robin of Sherwood audios. The Waterford Boy (narrated by Judi Trott a.k.a Maid Marion), Mathilda’s Legacy (narrated by Michael Craig a.k.a Earl of Huntingdon), and the forthcoming The Baron’s Daughter, which will be a full cast read story.

One of the highlights of HM3 was signing this script for a fan of the show, and chatting to Judi about the recording of the audio story. Judi did such a good job of reading my story, I was amazed to discover how nervous she’d been about doing it. As a writer for the show (still in shock about that to be honest) I was allowed to go into the green room with all the cast and crew, I took part in a panel, and had photographs taken with the cast. However, I was so busy on my stall that I never did get into the green room to chat to the cast between events. This is NOT a complaint. I had a ball talking to everyone as they came by my book stall to talk about Robin of Sherwood and the influence it had on my work- especially Romancing Robin Hood- and how that novel has now spun off into The Folville Chronicles series.I sold out of The Winter Outlaw on day one, and by the end of day two, my stall was more of a place to come and say hello, than a place from which to buy things! It was just wonderful.There were plenty of other things to see and buy, including the real Albion from series 2 and 3, Herne himself stood proudly over us, and RoS inspired gifts and DVD’s were available.  An auction of original Robin of Sherwood merchandise made a small fortune for charity- and the banquet and after event disco and bar chatter went onto 3am! On the Sunday- while the world was ever so slightly the worse for drink and lack of sleep- I was privileged enough to take part on a panel about the audio books. In the company of producer, Barnaby Eaton Jones, fellow writer, Tony Lees, the brilliant Alex and Verity who provided the ‘Clannad-ish’ music for the new series, and the amazing Nickolas Grace (a.k.a the Sheriff of Nottingham), we shared our thoughts and experiences of what it is like to write for a show that aired when we were children.

To sit there, in a packed room, looking at the people I was writing for- the very same people I have a horror of letting down with my words- I felt humbled to be part of something so special and so popular. When Nickolas Grace began to speak about how much the show means to the cast, and how he wanted to do as many audios as he could…the lumps in our throats grew as tears formed in the great man’s eyes. A moving moment indeed.The overriding theme for the weekend however, has to be the laughter and the smiles- of which there were many.

On a personal note I’d like to thank Lesley and Michael for being there for me- and to every single person who said kind things about my work.

Roll on HM4 – just give us all a chance to recover first- there are audio stories to make…

Happy reading- and listening!

Jennifer xxx

PS. I’d better crack on with Book 3!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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