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EXETER AUTHORS ASSOCIATION

Writing Groups in Devon

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Blog posts : "author"

Inspiration Points!

The start of a story, that moment when an idea begins to form and then explodes into a million different characters, places, and events is one of the most exciting times for an author. 

It arrives naturally and sometimes you have to be patient but when the creative spark hits your life changes forever. You enter a whole new reality and embark on epic adventures.
So where does this creative spark come from?
It could be a memory, gossip whispered by a friend, a daydream or even an image captured in your minds’ eye. Something in these events acts as a catalyst and sends your imagination into overdrive.
For example, one morning I nipped into Costa for a cup of tea and a slice of chocolate tiffin, as I am particularly partial to any food with chocolate in the title and my life changed forever. A story unfolded before my eyes like a movie and I dived into Torcia, the first fantasy world I ever created.
I saw the main character of the story, a warlock sitting in ragged clothes in a dingy, cluttered garret clutching onto the side of a medieval-looking wooden inn. He was sitting quietly on his favourite armchair by the fire, but something was very wrong in Torcia as even from the inside of his lodgings he could feel his people's suffering as the invasion of Torcia accelerated. It was all very exciting as I didn’t know what was going to happen next, I just sat down at my laptop and my fingers typed the images which flashed across my brain. One hundred and twenty words later the land of Torcia and Mivir had been born.
After writing ‘Defiance’ the first instalment of The Torcian Chronicles I was set to write the sequel, which everyone told me was the most logical thing to do. Unfortunately, logic and creativity are distant cousins at best. When Brian, a Gothic poet, told me of how he saw a black cockerel hung upside down from a village signpost swinging in the midnight breezes.
I knew immediately that was going to be my next story. It was going to be based in Witheridge, a village in the moors which I changed to Witherleigh so not to offend the villagers. The first thing I saw in my mind when entering Witherleigh was a young man from London making a new start in the countryside, driving down the twisting country lanes in his ancient car. I later found out he was a church youth leader who no one trusted because of his antisocial habit of witnessing ghosts and demons. Writing this book has been quite challenging because of the research into the Bible, church organisation and services and the voyage into Latin.
So far, the manuscript is at 31,000 words - complete with town map, a glossary of daemons, and a chronological list of missing curates.
All this arrived from one comment about a cockerel!
Therefore, when inspiration hits – grab that spark with both hands and prepare to entire a new, ultra-exciting universe.

Click here to enter the Kingdom of Torcia 

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A Slice of Pi-Life by Jenny Kane

Last night I spent the evening talking to the Exeter branch of the Pi-Society at the Hotel du Vin in Exeter - and my head is literally buzzing.

After a delightful two hours in the company of friendly, intelligent and joyful people, I am riding high on one of the privileges of being a writer. There are few perks in this profession; little money, no days off, no spare time, frequent bouts of insecurity and more disappointments than it would ever be sensible to count- but we do get to meet a wide range of amazing people. For me this is one of the highlights of the job- and after just two hours with the members of the Pi-society - I feel lucky to have met each and every one of the people who’d turned out to see me despite the hail and gales that hit the city last night.

On my arrival to the library in the Hotel du Vin, I joined the group sat around a big round table (wine glasses full and at the ready), and the event began. We broke the ice with a discussion about our favourite books and reads, and then we were off! I answered questions about books, writing, and my rather diverse career- from archaeologist to erotica to romance, to historical crime- for the next two hours. The evening simply flew by.

Before I knew it, the time had come to sell a few copies of my books, and we were preparing to face the elements of the cold and wet winter night once again.

I’d like to thank Nicky Dunn for inviting me alone to the Pi-Society, and the whole group for making me feel so welcome.

Jenny

www.jennykane.co.uk

 

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Coffee Shops and Cornwall - An Evening with Jenny Kane

It is always a privilege to be invited to talk about the books I’ve written, to meet readers and to help spread the joy that comes from both reading and writing.

This week saw the first author talk by members of the Exeter Author’s Association at Bampton’s Learning and Resource Centre (LARCS ). I was delighted to kick off this series of six events with an evening discussing my love of writing about ‘Coffee Shops and Cornwall.’

Every seat in LARCS was taken, and the audience’s smiles were wide and welcoming as I launched, somewhat nervously, into my confession that I ought not to be a writer at all- but should be sitting in a library somewhere translating Medieval Latin.

Clearly surprised that writing hadn’t been my childhood dream- but that I’d desperately wanted to be an archaeologist and historian instead- I think, however, that it was my disclosure that Mars Bar scones were responsible for my diversion into writing fiction which surprised people the most. It seems I need to educate folk in the powers of the ‘super-scone’!

The evening was split into two parts; with forty-five minutes of talk about my writing, my inspiration, coffee shops and Cornwall and two very short reading, followed by a half hour break in which to indulge in some delicious coffee (how could I refuse?), tea and cake. After we were all fortified with welcome calories and beverages, and some books had been sold and signed, part two of the evenings' chatter began we with me explaining how life-writing works- and the reasons behind my Robin Hood obsession.

 

Half an hour of questions followed, and I suspect if it hadn’t been getting so late, the questions would have kept coming from the engaging and kind audience.

It was a truly lovely evening, and I’d like to thank Kelvin and the LARCS team for looking after me so well.

These bi-monthly evenings will continue to take place from 7-9pm on the second Wednesday of the month. After the success of the first event, I am very much looking forward to the subsequent talks in the village’s library/resource centre.

Jenny Kane

www.jennykane.co.uk

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The Bampton Charter Fair Experience

Last weekend the Exeter Authors Association were in action at the Bampton Charter Fair. This was the first time authors have been invited there for over 500 years so we have a lot of history to make up for. We shared a hall with the lovely people from the LARCS and it made for a chaotic, busy day.

The children's authors and entertainment section proved very popular with our special guest Ollie in a toga bringing ancient history to life. K.Y. Eden gave a fascinating insight into the writing of the Redcroft Journals trilogy and into the crazy life of a fantasy author.

Jenny Kane as always delighted her fans and sold out of most of her books. Fortunately, they are still available online. The Circle of Spears drama company gave a thrilling installment of their play WITCH... which completely stopped the tea chatter. John Hall gave a fascinating talk about researching and writing his terrorism based novels and a possible research trip to Oman. Richard Dee read one of his scary short stories and Richard the second or Richard Lappas to his fans regaled everyone with tales of Princess Diana and the Queen. 

P.J. Reed came in her performance poetry guise for this event, leaving her high fantasy and horror writing for more sinister times, and read her new poem regarding 'Colin the nearly new neighbour'.  Brian Willis, another performance poet from Tiverton entertained with his new selection of Gothic poetry.  Jeni Braund sold many copies of her Heartland poetry book in aid of the Anthony Nolan charity. All in all in was a fun-filled. action-packed day! 

If you missed seeing the Exeter authors they will be on display at the CreaTiv Hub, Fore Street, Tiverton, Devon from  Tuesday 28th November to Saturday 2 December with free goodies, cookies, a free draw and an amazing selection of books!

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Choosing A Title and other Author Chat

Today the North Devon ‘Authors in a Café group met in Bideford’s Latte and Lunch to take advantage of their January coffee and cake special offer. Any attempts at dieting were suspended for the duration. The focus for our discussion was titles – how to choose one, what makes a good one? What do particular titles tell us about the content? What kind of audience might a particular title attract? All agreed that the title and the cover image are inextricably linked. We were able to offer helpful suggestions to those amongst the group who are currently searching for a captivating title.

We hope that we will soon be able to announce an exciting ‘writers in residence’ event for our group, in a stunning and inspirational location. All we can say at present is, if you would like to come and chat to us about our work, keep part of 29 April – 1 May free.

Our next meeting will be on Thursday 9 February and amongst other things,  we shall be discussing Susan Hughes’ blog post, which poses the question, how far can historical fiction writers can ‘bend’ the facts to suit their plots? https://www.bragmedallion.com/blog/history-making-susan-hughes/

By Janet Few

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Devon Writers News

The Devon Writers group met in the homely surroundings of the Oak Room, Tiverton. The Oak Room was very welcoming with groups of comfortable settees and tea and coffee delivered to caffeine deprived writers in style. Writers group meetings are always fascinating and this group showed the depth and diversity of writing talent in  Devon. The topics ranged from the writing of successful film scripts to the various sub-genres of erotica!

The next meeting of the Devon Writers is on 11th November 2016 at 10.30-12.00 in the Oak Room.

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