Peregrin Wildoak – Author Profile

Today I’m delighted to be able to introduce Peregrin Wildoak an author whose book By Names and Images is published by Skylight Press, who are due to publish my novel Song of the Sea God in October this year. Thanks very much to Peregrin for a fascinating insight into his life and his work as a writer.

Tell me a little bit about yourself as a person?

I was born in Warwickshire in the mid 60s and emigrated with my family to Western Australia when I was 12. I have always been affected by the spirit of place, history and ancestors, so that even now I feel I am both English and Australian, moved by the people and land of both countries.

Early in my life I entered the practice of esoteric spirituality, seeking to understand and serve the universe, the One (God) and myself. This has been my motivating force ever since, expanded and refined by the birth and parenting of my now nearly-adult son.

I see a seamless thread existing between all aspects of life, personal, political and spiritual – each sphere informs the other in my life, and I try to live with as much integrity as possible among the manifold distractions within and without.

Professionally I work providing information to counsellors and others assisting refugees who have experienced torture and trauma.

Tell me about your journey as a writer – how you started and how you have developed?

It is funny, when I was a kid I wanted to be a writer – just the idea you know, and I enjoyed and excelled in it at school. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but have never developed my craft or discipline enough to produce quality fiction writing or poetry. This writing is just for myself at present 🙂

I chose to write the book I did because there was a glaring need for it – there was simply a gap in the available knowledge which I experienced as a young man, and I did not want anyone else to experience. So, I learnt and developed my skills for many years before even thinking of starting on a writing project, though the intention was always there. The motivation for sharing the knowledge, to fill the gap, was strong enough to help me find the discipline to write and craft my book. If I had the same motivation for my fiction and poetry I would (hopefully) be published in those genres as well. My partner is a published and awarded novelist and poet and I have learnt much from her and her writing community.

How would you describe your work – it‘s themes and the important things about it?

My work, written and oral teaching centres on the inner dimensions of life. Writers, artists and poets know exactly what I mean when I talk about this, but the esoteric traditions work with the concept as an objective, as well as a subjective reality. So my work is about how our inner, subjective worlds are influenced by and also inform the greater inner world of the spirit – spirit of time, spirit of place, spirit of country and spirit of people.

The importance of this inner dimension seems to me more and more crucial as our western culture develops the cult of the outer, the appearance and the superficial to a greater and greater degree.

Tell me about your current book – what is it about and what makes it a great read?

‘By Names and Images’ is about a particular kind of ritual spiritual magic, that of the Golden Dawn, originally a group in Victorian England inspired by the mythical Rosicrucian brotherhood, a 17th century group of Christian-Hermetic mystics.

The Golden Dawn tradition included as members many significant and important people, including the poet WB Yeats, the novelists E. Nesbit and Charles Williams as well spiritual pioneers like Pixie Colman Smith the artist of the most popular Tarot deck in the world.

‘Magic’ is an odd word, with many meanings that have changed over the centuries. It was once seen as a divine science with nothing but the highest spiritual connotations, far removed from today’s association of disrepute and outdated, psychologically dubious modes of thought. However, the best definition of magic I feel comes from Golden Dawn adept Florence Farr when she wrote, a century ago, that magic “unlimits” us. It takes us beyond regular everyday existence into the presence of the sacred, the numinous and the unknowable.

My book describes exactly how to do this, by providing the hitherto unpublished keys to the inner dimensions of the Golden Dawn, the inward visualisations, methods of meditation and breath control and prayer that makes the magic work. So, it’s a very good read – giving something alive and real on each page! I am glad to say all the experts in the field seem to like it, even though it’s written for a wide audience; if you have no previous exposure to the subject you’ll be able to work through it easily.

Where can I buy a copy of your book?

Well, it’s on all the usual online sites, and in a few esoteric and general bookshops around the place. So, have a look at Book Depository or Amazon – or you can get it from my wonderful publishers, Skylight Press. You can find links to all of these sites, previews and reviews at http://www.bynamesandimages.com. Thanks 🙂

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Why I don’t like the theatre and why I’m a camel

I’ve been asked now and again why I don’t write scripts – plays and what have you. I’ve never tried for the simple reason that I don’t really like the theatre. Never have much.

I will go now and again – mostly when my beloved drags me to god-awful musical theatre productions when we visit That London for romantic weekend breaks. I feel a mounting sense of dread as we approach the West End and then I sit through interminable hours of boredom and annoyance as people mug and grimace and moon about on stage.

The last time I went we were up in the gods, my legs lost all feeling after five minutes, I got bored and frustrated after ten and at the interval I made my excuses and left – telling my Mrs I’d meet her in the pub at the end. As an aside, it’s strange how the character of Soho changes when you are a bloke on your own – within five minutes after I poked my nose out of the door of the theatre unchaperoned by my other half I’d been offered two lots of hard drugs and the opportunity to come upstairs to meet some ‘lovely young girls’. Crikey.

Of course – that’s musical theatre – lots of men dislike that right? It’s not really aimed at us. But I dislike other types of theatre too – I can sit through a serious play by a serious author if I have to and if it doesn’t go on too long – but the only types of theatre I’ve watched with any degree of enjoyment over the last few years are Shakespeare and pantomimes.

Why do I dislike theatre so much? It is after all a harmless thing, a pillar of the arts and aimed only at bringing people joy. I think basically it’s because I find it embarrassing. When I watch people on stage I feel embarrassed not only for them – but for me as well. I squirm. What are they doing up there – pretending to be other people, right in front of us? It’s not natural.

Film’s ok, and TV – those people aren’t really there. I expect I like Shakespeare and panto because they are the least ‘real’ types of theatre, their artificiality reduces the squirm factor for me so I feel comfortable watching them. Also, Shakespeare’s the boss isn’t he? Never trust a writer who doesn’t like him.

So that’s why I don’t do scripts, which is a pity really as it might open up that whole world of writing for television and so on which might actually make some money. The truth is though, if your heart’s not in it you are better off not doing it. The only honest reason to write fiction is because you feel you have to – that’s the reason you start and the reason you continue. The opportunity to make significant money doing it doesn’t come along for most of us, and even if it does you have to weigh things up and decide if you are being sent in a direction you really want to travel.

I know a writer for example who has written serious plays, very successfully. As a result she became attached to an agent, and that agent immediately set about offering her work writing scripts for Eastenders and other similar television soap operas. She said no. It wasn’t what she wanted, not where her interests lay. Economically that was probably an unwise decision but I really respect it.

In my own small way I’ve also tried to be true to what I am about as a writer. From time to time agents have shown an interest in me – on their own terms, not mine. What they tend to say is: “Write us a thriller – a conventional one, obeying all the rules – give us something we can easily sell.”

What I say to them is this: ‘You’re looking for a horse to enter in the Grand National – and I am a camel.”

The way I see it, rather than trying to become the race-horse they want I’m better off trying to be the best camel I can be.

Carol Hedges – Author Profile

Today I’d like to introduce author Carol Hedges to my blog to tell us about her work as a writer and about her latest book – welcome Carol.

 

First, I’d like to thank Chris for his generosity in letting me invade his blog site to share some of my writing journey with you.

So. Here we are. It is April 2012. I am waiting for an email from my agent telling me she’s read my new novel, liked it, and is sending it straight out to publishers. I check my inbox.

There is an email from my agent. She has read my new novel, liked it, but is not sending it out to publishers because nobody is interested in ‘mid-list’ writers like me any more.

This is the fifth time in as many years that I have been here. Five separate novels have done the rounds and been rejected. Previously, I have had 11 YA crime thrillers published. I have been nominated for many awards – including the Carnegie. I have had stories broadcast on the BBC. I think: I am 61, it is too late to start building my writing career from scratch all over again. I put my head down on the desk, and cry.

Fast forward to August 2012. I have an ebook, Jigsaw Pieces, out on Amazon Kindle. I have a blog. I have a Facebook page. I have a Twitter account. I contribute to an American writing-site. How have I accomplished this in such a short space of time? Pigheaded determination to ‘beat’ the system, a lot of very hard work, and the support and friendship of the online writing community.

Jigsaw Pieces is an ebook rewrite of a novel published by OUP in 1998. Based on my experiences as a teacher, and my love of World War 1 poetry, it is a coming of age story about 18 year old Norwegian student Annie Skaerstad. Like all my heroines, Annie is strong minded, feisty and a trenchant observer of life around her.

The book touches, in part, upon some difficult areas – teenage suicide and the exploitation of vulnerable young people. I decided to revisit the plot in the light of the various cases that have been in the press recently. And I wanted to write more about Annie, a teenage mix of Sarah Lund and Lizbeth Salander. She narrates the story, and her wonderfully wry personality stops it from being a totally tragic read.

The response to the ebook has been brilliant: I already have a 5 star review on Goodreads. Right now, I’m working on my next ebook, a ‘Victorian-lite’ crime thriller called Diamond Girl, which will be available to download in the Autumn. My advice? Never, ever give up on yourself. I am living proof that even in the latter stages of decrepitude (sic), marvellous things can still happen.

Blog: http://carolhedges.blogspot.com; Twitter @carolJhedges; http://www.Facebook Carol Hedges;

www. Shewrites.com (American).

You can buy Jigsaw Pieces on Amazon here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jigsaw-Pieces-ebook/dp/B008SB9TB4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1344939265&sr=1-1

What’s in a name?

The naming of a book or story is a curious thing. Once it’s done, there it is, set in stone – but getting there can be as much of a process as any other type of writing.

Take Catch 22 for example. Joseph Heller thought long and hard about what to call his darkly comic magnum opus about the Second World War, until he finally came up with the perfect title – Catch 18.

Only trouble was, there was another book coming out that year with 18 in the title, one by a more famous author (this was Heller’s first book don’t forget). So the publisher wasn’t feeling the love for the whole Catch 18 thing.

It was back to the drawing board and Heller ummed and arred over various possible numbers before settling on 22 on the grounds that it was more amusing than other numbers. And who are we to dispute the great man on that?

Anyway, the point is that something which seems so set and intractable now – so much a part of the book, and indeed part of our culture, could so easily have been something else.

For my own part, I often start with one title, as a kind of place marker, then change it for something more exciting later on. This early title tends to be quite a basic label – one which describes what the story is or does. Sometimes this title survives into print – other times it gets replaced.

Song of the Sea God for example, spent a lot of its early days being called The Longing. It was even short listed in a couple of awards for unpublished novels under that name. It was only when my publisher suggested I change the title for something more evocative that I came up with Song of the Sea God, which I think is a lot more attractive title have on its cover as it sits in the bookshop window hoping for buyers.

I expect it was the first time I properly considered a title in terms of something which might entice people to read my work – rather than as just a tag. Previously when I’ve had stories published in anthologies and so on they’d been ‘paid for’ in terms of competition prizes – the title had not been there to attract readers or buyers – just to indicate what the story was about or convey a feel for what it contained. At that stage it never entered my head that, essentially, what you call your story or book is an exercise in marketing.

Perhaps the writers out there could comment on how you find your titles – and how important, or otherwise, you think they are in the finished work?

Yvonne McEvaddy – Author Profile

Today I’m delighted to introduce Yvonne McEvaddy whose new book Passion Killer is out now. Thanks for a fascinating insight into your life and writing Yvonne.

Tell me a little bit about yourself as a person?

I am a mum of two young children, and a child-minder as well as a writer. I am generally a happy-go-lucky optimist who loves to travel, loves chocolate too much and finds all of life an inspiration, even the rain, which we receive in bucket loads here in the West of Ireland.

Tell me about your journey as a writer – how you started and how you have developed?

When I was five I read my first book all by myself, Enid Blyton’s Stories for Five-year-olds and Older. I was very proud of myself, and also thrilled at the idea that someone could write something that magically transported me into another world. I decided then that was what I wanted to do when I grew up.
I spent my summer holidays writing the start of novels in leftover pages of my copybooks. However, I never got very far with them. The holidays ended and I would go back to school and concentrate my efforts instead on my English essays.
English was my favourite subject in school. I would often rewrite my essays after the teacher corrected them and hand them in again. I’m sure I drove the teachers mad – their workload was surely enough as it was.
When I was seventeen I saw a Western Health Board poster advertising a competition called Write a Natural High. I entered the competition and my essay was published in the anthology called 100 Natural Highs.
I developed eyestrain when studying for my final exams and I turned to poetry, as I needed some form of creative outlet. I was no longer able to read anything except poetry for pleasure. Anything longer than a few pages gave me a headache. In college I joined the Mystic Poets’ Society and published two poems in our anthology, Mystic Spirits.
Then, after eight years, a magical thing happened. I found a great optician who gave me eye exercises to do. Six weeks later I could read again. Then I gave up poetry in favour of novels.
One night, as I was about to go to sleep, the idea for Passion Killer started forming in my head. After a few years of procrastination I wrote the first draft. Then I went to creative writing classes and redrafted it again and again.

 
How would you describe your work – its themes and the important things about it?

I write what I love to read. When living I enjoy the lighter side of life, but when reading and writing I love to explore the darker side.

Tell me about your current book – what is it about and what makes it a great read?

Passion Killer is a murder mystery, a story of how unrequited love, jealousy and obsession become dangerous, turning passion to murder. It revolves around a group of friends in a small town in Ireland. Sylvia arrives home one evening to find her boyfriend, Rick, in a pool of blood. In the course of their investigation, Detectives Barbara Molloy and Mick Naughton question the group of friends and uncover a web of deception. A party the night before the murder left many fingerprints at the scene of the crime. In the tangle of love triangles there are plenty of motives to choose from and few alibis, casting the net of suspicion wide. As the story unfolds, the friends discover secrets and lies that test their relationships to the point of breaking. In order to cast suspicion away from one of their best friends, Alex, the group start to suspect a myriad of acquaintances.
As for what makes it a great read, I’ve been told that it keeps readers guessing until the end and that it is unputdownable. Each reader’s experience will be different and I look forward to hearing more feedback and receiving more reviews.

Where can I buy a copy of your book?

It is available as both ebook and in print.

http://www.amazon.com/Passion-Killer-ebook/dp/B007AGMHFI,
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Passion-Killer-ebook/dp/B007AGMHFI
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/130921
As well as ordering the print version on-line it is available in some local Galway shops.


I love to connect with my readers, and for this purpose
I can be followed on twitter:
https://twitter.com/yvonnemcevaddy
You can like my author facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Yvonne-McEvaddy/255759494518831
You can visit my website:
https://sites.google.com/site/yvonnemcevaddy/home
You can stop by my blogsite:
http://yvonnemcevaddy.wordpress.com/