Friday, February 9, 2018

Waking the Dead

I’ve decided it’s time to bring back my poor neglected blog. The last two years have been a welter of flash fiction writing and novel revisions so Midatlantic’s definitely had to take a back seat, but I’ve really missed it. I still get emails from people around the world about my Tahiti research, which is another task I’ve been neglecting. But then there’s just so much one gal can do in 24 hours and earn a living too!

Anyway, enough guilt. My intention is to check in via Midatlantic more often from now on to share the latest news about what I’ve been reading and writing with you all. In the meantime, here’s an update on what’s been going on since my last post over a year ago.

2017 started with a bang for me when I had a short story, Interstate, longlisted for the Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize. The quality of the other longlisted stories was very high so I was thrilled and gobsmacked to be alongside them. You can read it here.

I had an additional nine flashes published over the course of the year. I am proud to say one of them, The Shape of Things to Come, has been nominated by The Nottingham Review for The Best Small Fictions anthology for 2017. It probably doesn’t stand a chance of making the final cut, but it really is true what they say – it’s an honor just to be nominated! You can read it here. And some of my other published flashes from last year can be read here, here, and here.

My total of publications for 2017 wasn’t as high as in 2016 because I was getting to grips with the revision of this neverending novel of mine, The Virgins of Salem. I had some good news on that front as well when the first chapter of the novel was shortlisted for the Retreat West First Chapter Competition in July. The judge, literary agent Laura Williams, praised the scene setting and vivid description of early 20th century India, which was very encouraging. In historical fiction, it’s always tricky to maintain the necessary accuracy without sounding stilted or cliched. I have struggled to avoid making my protagonist, Celia Mapperley, sound like a plucky young Edwardian girl straight out of Mary Poppins. I see her as much more complex – a young woman trapped in a life where the only escape seems to be marriage to a man she is ambivalent about, while her depressed state makes her passive and too easily influenced by the stronger characters around her. If I can do justice to her complexity, then I think the rest of the novel will work. All 21 chapters are in place and I am slowly working my way through them, with major rewrites where necessary. As God is my witness, it’ll be done by the end of the year. Watch this space!

Thanks for reading - it’s good to be back!     

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