(cont from About page)
At first my writing was in the form of short stories most of which still lie, unread by others, in notebooks and files. Finally I took three months off work to live in a remote but glorious Scottish town on the Kintyre Peninsula. With a backdrop of the famous Mull of Kintyre and overlooking the ever (for me) beguiling Isle of Jura (once home to Eric Blair- aka George Orwell) I began contemplating writing the story about the fascinating Antonio Vivaldi.
For years I'd been saying "someone should make a movie about Vivaldi". His dedication to composing music and teaching young girls who'd been abandoned at birth- passed through a hole in the wall, a scarfetta - intrigued me, especially since I'd worked for years with young women who our society had virtually abandoned within the prison system.
When I stumbled across the story of of a flute concerto by Vivaldi, recently uncovered amongst Scottish archives, I was hooked. My hobby became a serious pursuit and my novel was conceived.
I'd love to hear from others about where the ideas for their novels or short stories came from. Use the comments section on the page or via my Facebook/ email.
When it was first proposed that if I wanted to attract an agent or publisher I needed to build my writer's profile by starting a blog I shuddered. No way! I come from a generation where you kept your boring small town business to yourself and hid your light under the nearest salt bush. Surely nobody, certainly not strangers, could be remotely interested in anything I had to say. I did understand however that prospective agents or publishers would use social media to find out more about me. So, having now done some research and looked at the blogs of some of my favourite authors here I am - a blogger!
So what has been keeping me busy.? Well you can see from my home page that I have been frantically learning about the world of agents and publishers. Natasha Lester has been a fantastic teacher online and has taken time, even over the busy festive season, to answer my questions. Patrick Allington also gave me some great feedback on my initial attempts at creating a pitch and a synopsis during a course at the SA Writers Centre.
Creating a web page and blog has been both exciting and challenging. I delayed enrolling in WEA course to learn how to do it and missed out . Lesson learned! So here I am self- taught and using the good old trial and error method.
I'd love to hear other peoples experiences (writers and others) of launching into the world of profile building.
The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier. Once again Chevalier has taken me into a time in history about which I knew very little. Set in a time when the abolitionist movement was gaining ground Chevalier uses her novel to expose the conflicting values faced by many compassionate but law abiding people, especially the peace loving Quakers. In creating a world full of sounds, smells, sights and textures, Chevalier brings alive her characters without once making me feel I am in a history class. Her gently developed and aptly named protagonist, Honor Bright, (for she does have honour and is extremely bright!) is immediately likable. She leaves her Dorset family after the shame of a broken betrothed and heads into an alien world on the other side of the Atlantic. Chevalier explores how being a part of the Quaker community both nurtured and estranged Honor as she wrestled with her ethical and spiritual values to protect the lives of escapee slaves as they make their way to freedom in Canada.
Jennifer is a writer of short stories, novels and a family history.