Monday, 25 April 2016

Writing from Life - and some news at the end!

If you are new to my blog and have found me through Surrey Life you might like to take a look here: Surrey village people

'Writing from Life' was a title suggested to me once as a theme for a writing workshop and it got me thinking about how much I use real life in fiction.

Real life setting ...
For my first two novels I am rooted in my local area, but before I could begin to write Gypsies Stop tHere and No Gypsies Served, I needed to do a lot of research and groundwork relating to the culture and history of a particular group of people. I invented Appley Green, but it is very much based on real Surrey and Hampshire villages – as it straddles the county boundaries. Now I am writing about real village people both for LoveaHappyEnding Lifestyle magazine and Surrey Life.

With Shades of Appley Green, I used real life experience as a Community/Information Support Worker, firstly supporting teenage single Mums who needed information and emotional support; and secondly people with Parkinson’s. Both these jobs involved going out to see people in their own homes and it was rewarding, satisfying work that gave me an unusual insight into people’s private lives.

Be assured I do not use real people in my novels, at least never a whole one! But any fiction writer will tell you, I think, that they observe and pick up their struggles, attitudes, mannerisms and other character traits. These are stored away either in some brain compartment or a notebook and present themselves as you compose your story.

But the way Steph works is very much derived from my experience of working in the community and I could not have written it without this direct knowledge. Also my upbringing in the small town (some would say large village) of Tetbury inspired the whole community theme running through my novels and magazine columns.

As for Secrets in Appley Green, set in the Sixties, I have memories of being a teenager in that decade, and newly married in the Seventies. However, I had to study the so-called Swinging Sixties, reading fiction, factual books and magazines; browsing numerous websites and listening to music. It was great fun piecing together real-life memories, current affairs, fashion, pop music and the rest. I also read through my page-a day diary kept as an 11-going-on-12-year-old – sometimes squirming with embarrassment.

Coming up is something new and yet not new! Rings on Our Fingers, available to pre-order on Kindle now but not to download until 5 May, is a compilation of love stories I had published in magazines in the Eighties.

They are romantic, having appeared in Romance, My Story, True Story - and Christian Herald! But they also reflect real, everyday life of young people. More about this later, but if you’d like to take a look here is the link:   Rings on our Fingers on Amazon  A snip at £2.08 / $2.99 !  Another volume will follow in a few weeks’ time.  

Happy reading!