Events: Write By The Shore

2Being held at the Cockenzie House and Gardens, the Write by the Shore Festival is taking place next weekend (1st and 2nd November 2014.)

Over the two days, there will be a variety of events including sessions like, Meeting the authors, historical authors and there is also a session for Crime fiction authors.

There will also be events looking at children’s books and there is also an open mic session for local authors so plenty going on for both writer and reader alike.

Authors appearing over the weekend include Sara Sheridan, Ed James and Michael Pederson.

Tickets are £35 for the weekend, £20 for a day ticket or £10 per session.

For more information on the programme and tickets, click here. 

We had a chat with Sara Sheridan, one of the authors attending Write by the Shore.

Hi Sara, thank you for joining us. How important are events like Write By The Shore? Are they both for writers and readers?

I think one of the wonderful things about the growth of book festivals all over the UK is that it lets readers meet writers and vice versa. I find that fascinating – you never can tell what the audience are going to ask, come question time… It’s also great that books are made more accessible by virtue of these kinds of festivals. I’m a big supporter.

ssheridanCan you tell us a little about your Mirabelle Bevan Mysteries?

Ooh yes! Mirabelle has been called ‘Miss Marple with an edge’ and I think that’s a good description. The books are set in the 1950s mostly in Brighton and London – that post war era is just fascinating. It sits on the cusp between history and nostalgia – within some people’s living memory and out of others. The books are traditional mysteries but they have an edge too – I’m interested in social history, the sexism and the racism of the period, for example, which is quite shocking to modern readers. I also love the fashions – I’m a fan of vintage clothes and accessories and Mirabelle is dressed (almost exclusively) from the V&A’s 1950s collection.

Which fictional character would you like to meet and why?

Ooh that’s difficult. I’d love to meet Miss Marple. That would be fun. I’d be nervous to meet some of my other favourite characters because they are so dangerous – Catherine Earnshaw is a fascinating thing on the page, but I’m not sure I’d like to sit down with her in real life….

Favourite word?

It varies. Velvet. Panalpy. Byzantium. Filched.

What was your route to publication?

I was immensely jammy. It was 20 years ago now. I had a baby and decided I wanted to work from home so I wrote a novel (it took 14 weeks). At the time their were 96 publishers of fiction in the UK (there aren’t anything like that now). So I printed up 96 copies of my first draft and sent them off. 3 weeks later I had my first offer and a few days after that I got an agent. It is ridiculous! It shouldn’t have worked but I’m very glad it did.

How much planning do you do and do you edit as you go?

That depends on the book. For the Mirabelle Bevan Mysteries it’s v important that they don’t become stale or have clues that are obvious so I tend not to plan in detail so I’m writing on the edge of my seat (and hopefully that’s where the reader will be too). I also write novels set in the world of Georgian/Victorian explorers. They are longer and take more planning and research. I edit all the time – no matter what I’m writing. I’m a fiddler… I also never stop researching. I’m a swot that way. Sometimes I still take notes for books that are long published. Once I’m interested, I’m interested!

Do you have any writing rituals?

Not rituals per se. I’m quite flexible. It’s busy and sometimes I just have to write wherever I am – on a train or in a hotel room. My favourite though is tucking up in bed with a laptop and getting down to work. I’m a committed lounger.

Five writing tips for new writers?

1. Persevere

2. Employ a professional editor

3. Take the time to find your voice

4. Read

5. Enjoy yourself – it might be work but it shouldn’t be a chore

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Novel Kicks
About Novel Kicks/Laura...
Novel Kicks was founded in 2009 and is run by Laura who is currently living in Hampshire, and lives with husband, Chris and her cat, Buddy. She would love to be a writer. She’s trying to write the novel she thinks so much about. She’s loved reading and writing since ‘Creative Writing’ classes in primary school. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything she can get her hands on, she loves reading, dancing like a loon, and watching Project Runway and Ugly Betty (her two TV guilty pleasures.) She also has an obsession with chocolate and Jammie Dodgers.

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