Friday, 1 January 2016

Writing, Knights, And Chasing Dreams - My 2015

"You always tell us to chase our dreams, when are you going to start chasing yours?"

That is what my daughter said to me 6 month ago when we were talking about what she wanted to do with her life. And as she left the kitchen, I sat, holding a cup of tea, and pondered on what she had just said for a very long time. She was right of course, she usually is, but don't tell her I said that, I would never hear the end of it.

About 12 years ago I had an idea for a book. My dearest friend, Zoe, was in the middle of her degree and one of her units of study was in creative writing and I was so fascinated by what she was telling me, that I told her my idea. I already had a title, The Du Lac Chronicles. She looked at me, handed me one of her books on creative writing and said "Write it."

So I did.

I can remember that butterfly in the tummy feeling when I had finished the first draft. It was, looking back, truly diabolical, but I had completed my first ever manuscript, which I thought was an achievement in itself. But now it was time to learn the craft.

Zoe read my first ever manuscript and I can remember her phoning me up laughing and saying "you write in Somerset, no one will understand what you are going on about"...I had no idea what she was going on about...I got good grades in English at school, I read all the time. English is my first language, of course I can write it. But she was right. In England each county has its own local dialect and the language of Somerset is pretty special. One of my favorite examples of it is this;

"She led on the bed." What we mean by this is "she lay on the bed." We don't lead our beds around, that would just be barmy. 

"And another thing," she said, "you didn't understand what I meant by show and not tell, did you?! Let me explain it again."

I wasn't disheartened by her words, just more determined than ever. So I rewrote the book and rewrote it and rewrote it and so it went on for the next twelve years. The manuscript developed, my writing skills improved, but my daughter was right, I always made excuses as to why I could not chase my dream.

It was time to practice what I preached.

It was time to stop making excuses and look into getting my baby published.

The past six months have been so incredibly enjoyable, I have loved every minute of it...I have learned so much. I had to find an editor, a book cover designer. I have had, and still am, learning about marketing. My kindle is overflowing with 'how to books.' And, oh my days, Amazon...by the time I have finished learning about Amazon I will be able to write a dissertation on the subject!

I decided to start a blog - you know that already because you are reading it! I am no computer expert so my husband set it up for me. Zoe and I found ourselves sitting around the table while she explained how to use it...she has been blogging for years. And to my surprise, I absolutely love blogging and I am so thankful to everyone who takes time out of their day to read my post. I am truly humbled.

I discovered Twitter and threw myself into it, without the first clue as to what I was doing and to be fair I still don't. But Twitter introduced me to this new world of writers and readers and people who are as obsessed with the life and times of King Arthur and his Knights as I am. And I have, through Twitter, met some truly amazing people who are only too willing to offer advice. Authors, Kim Headlee and Tony Riches have been so generous with their time and expertise, I am so thankful.

I was introduced to Triberr - which I am convinced runs on magic, - I still don't know how it works, but somehow it does.

I was contacted by the English Historical Fiction Authors and asked if I would like to write a guest blog. Of course I said yes...several times in fact... it is to be published on the 5th January 2016, so keep an eye out for that. And now I find myself judging for a book competition.

I feel like Alice in Wonderland who has entered into this magical kingdom that I never knew existed. I absolutely love it here and never want to leave.

My family have been fantastic and my husband somehow understands that a big part of my life is devoted to those Du Lac boys and probably always will be.

My closest friends have been as excited about my adventure as I am and they always ask for updates. Poppy, from The History Cupboard, has been so supportive and I want to thank her for going that extra mile for me.

2015 has been the year when I stopped dreaming and started to actually do something about those dreams. 2016 will see the publication of The Du Lac Chronicles, and I can not wait to hold an actual copy of that book in my hands.

I want to thank you all for supporting me on what has been an incredible journey so far and may you all have a peaceful and wonderful 2016. And remember, you can be anything you want to be...chase your dreams.

3 comments:

  1. Lady Mary Anne, Scrivener of Time, all in Camelot await thy Manuscript for "The Du Lac Chronicles". As thou doth instruct the Monks on thy Manuscript, from thy Scriptorium, book clubs in Castles hath begun. We honour thee author, Lady Mary Anne of Camelot!

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  2. Thank you, Lady Sharon, for your kind words!

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  3. Thanks so much, {{{Mary Anne}}}, for the mention with my Amazon profile, and good luck with your books! :)

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Mary xx