Category Archives: Novel

Have you ever met one of your heroes? – I did!

 Meeting Marian Keyes
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It’s not every day you get the chance to meet a hero or heroine in the flesh. One of my favourite writers and a writing role model for me is the wonderful Marian Keyes and, on a dark and rainy evening, I headed for the bright lights and warmth of our local Waterstone to meet her- actually hear  her speak.

It was lovely to mingle with other fans, have a glass of wine and  and buy my copy of her latest book, ‘The Break’. We were all glad that she was generous enough to travel to the far North to chat to her readers in Newcastle.

It’s a risky business, meeting some one you have admired for a long imagetime. Would she live up to my expectations? You can all breathe a sigh of relief – she did not disappoint. Not one bit. She was as small and sparkly as I imagined and the Irish lilt was as strong as you hear on her vlogs and TV.  She talked about everything, from nail ‘farnish’, to boots to Peppa pig sweets, as well as her new book and she was lovely. She even brought Himself along with her and other fans of Marian will know how important he is to Marian’s life.

But Marian is more than all that lovely stuff I have mentioned. She also talks about the tough things  in life like bereavement and depression and how young women can’t have abortions in Ireland because of the eight amendment of the Irish constitution. She stood up to this and became part of the  ‘Artists’ Campaign to repeal the eighth amendment’. Marian Keyes  picks her battles and this is a worthy one.

imageHer new book ‘The Break’ touches on these topics and, during the evening, she didn’t  shy away from any questions. Her new book also has a rather attractive Geordie (male) in it . Her Newcastle readers are in for a treat! I reviewed The Break for net galley and gave it 5 stars on Amazon but if there were 6 it would have got them. It’s a brilliant read. You can read a full review on my book review page.

You’ll already see why she is a good role model for a new writer like me but my main reason for aspiring to be like her is her determination, she’s back on form after crippling depression, and her delightful unique voice. You know Marian’s work because of that Irish voice that tells a good tale and broaches the subjects we all worry ourselves about yet can still be laugh out loud funny at times..

I want to write books that allow readers to escape and laugh then cry with the characters. Isn’t that far easier to say than to do? I found that out when a wrote  ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’. That’s why Marian is my role model and I’m so glad I met her. If Marian Keyes can recover from alcoholism, face up to depression, write wonderful novels and travel all around the country to meet her readers, she can be one of my role models for life not just for writing.

I hope I’ve got you thinking about a special meeting with a hero that you’ve had or, if not, I hope I’ve tempted you to plan one. I’d love to hear who you admire and why.

You can reveal all on here or I chat on Facebook Chrissie Bradshaw Author and tweet @ChrissieBeee

What is the Story behind that 99p Read?

It’s hard to believe that A Jarful of Moondreams is one year old and on sale for 99p. What a year! It’s been full of highs and lows and lots of learning. Would I do it again? Yes. Would I do it differently? Of course! I made mistakes in publishing and promoting and learned from them. If I didn’t think I could do it all differently and more successfully the second time around I wouldn’t be writing this blog.

imageWriting and publishing a novel is like carrying and giving birth to an infant. It’s full of anxiety as well as joy and producing the finished novel can be a long and painful process that other writers and imaginative readers can appreciate.

Immediately after you write The End there is a niggling worry. Will another follow swiftly or will it be an only novel for years and years like Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird?’ Like a parent, a writer just doesn’t know for sure.

I think the most exciting time is when you finally present your months of hard labour to the reading world with a fanfare of tweets, blogs and giveaways. You want everyone to say kind things and most people do. The relief!

Gradually, the initial buzz of interest lulls and leaves you feeling unsure and full of questions. Will your newbie grow legs and run? Will it be a crawler that sells oh so slowly? You help it along and continue to post proud parent pics and news as you start on book 2.

Book 2 ( title to be revealed soon!) grabs your attention and you’re immersed in that until you look up and your published novel is a year old. If you’re lucky, the second is now ready to be delivered to the reading world and some readers are eagerly waiting for it. How can you cope with more than one leaving the nest?image

This is exactly where I am now and of course I’ll cope. I have so many role models who have a shelf crammed with books in their name and if they can let go time and time again then I’ll certainly try.

imageCan I pause first though? Before I excitedly push book 2 put into the world, I just want to take a moment to enjoy my first book. I’d like to bask in the pleasure of knowing that readers enjoyed my novel and told others about it and it got great reviews.    I need to let my debut know that it’s not forgotten.

‘A Jarful of Moondreams’ hasn’t been a great earner but it has brought me a wealth of knowledge and I’m proud of how it’s still selling for 99p this summer. I’m keeping my faith in its storytelling power and sending it on its way for another year.

I hope that, one day, I’ll be able to fill a shelf with my books but there will always be a special place in my heart for novel number one striving to find its place on your e-book shelf for 99p

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jarful-Moondreams-Chrissie-Bradshaw-ebook/dp/B01HRZ1HAW/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1502802298&sr=8-1

 

Frustration, Focus and Fun- That’s what my writing brings me.

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In the hands of a reader


Let’s look at frustration – Does expectation feed frustration? 

I want to write brilliant novels that readers want to read and I want someone, an expert, to take the publishing  part out of my hands. It’s a big ask, I know but I’m asking.

The writing frustration comes and goes and, when the writing goes well, it’s a feeling like no other.  After the hard work that went into publishing ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’ I can’t imagine how I’ll feel when someone tells me that they will do the publishing part. Frustration be gone!

I’ve read that the best way to deal with frustration is to focus on the outcome I want instead of the obstacles in my way and that makes sense to me. I’m in this for the long haul and the success of publishing of my novels will seem even sweeter after scaling a series of obstacles. Those obstacles? They are just stepping stones to my goal.

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Rocking Romance at the Tyne Book Festival

I try to focus on the right things – the possibilities rather than the problems. Whoever observed that if you chase two rabbits, you’ll lose both didn’t know the tenacity of an author.   Only two?  Writing involves taking time to promote book one and my writing , to complete re -writes on book two and to plan book three. Believe me, having my  head in three different novels takes focus and I’m not letting any of them get away.

Playing with words is fun and, as a writer, I do this every day. The other fun part of my writing life is talking about my writing journey to readers who might just buy my novel  and using social media to network to readers and fellow authors. I’ve learnt that 4 and 5 star reviews from readers who have paid for your book and enjoyed it are the best reward for sharing your work with readers and that’s a good thing because new writers rarely make a living from their novels. The fabulous leg photo I used above was sent to me via Facebook by a reader who was reading this on holiday. It made my day.

Making my novel better is fun.  Novel two has had an excellent critique full of great advice from the wonderful RNA new writers’ scheme. I’m enjoying a final redraft and revision of the novel before pitching it to agents and publishers this summer.

Winning awards is fun! OK only one award so far. The highlight of my writing year was to receive the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy at the Romantic Novelists’ Association gala dinner last July. I’ll be sad to return it from its pride of place on my sideboard but there is a future winner who will give it loving care next year.

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Eileen Ramsay presents me with the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy 2016

 

My first pitches for novel two will be at the Romantic Novelists’ Conference  this July.  Wish me luck!????

 

 

 

What’s the title? How did the pitches go?  I’m looking forward to writing about this in my next blog . It will be all about the book and its reception. (Note that I don’t say it’s rejection????)


Welcome to my World

I spend a lot of the year in my make believe village of Dunleith and it is as familiar to me as my home town. I like to travel and visit other countries and bustling cities but it’s always a pleasure to revisit Dunleith and see what’s going on or what could go on if I stayed there a while.IMG_2389

Dunleith first appeared in my debut novel, ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’. Lots of the action in my second novel, ‘It Only Takes a Minute, Girl’, is set there, as well as in Newcastle and London’s theatre land. While novel two is being critiqued by its first reader, I’m taking a short break from the village but I am looking forward to getting back shortly because there is enough trouble brewing in one household to start novel three.

So where is Dunleith? I have the only map and can see it sitting in the Northumbrian borders; a tranquil beauty spot near to rivers, hills and dales as well as golden beaches. It is a perfect place to bring up children or visit for a countryside break. Most of its younger inhabitants can’t wait to move away to the bright city lights of Newcastle or Edinburgh or further afield but they make their way home to relax and recharge or to lick their wounds and to see familiar faces and places.    

An overnight stay here would have to include a bracing walk, because there is always a breeze, followed by a few drinks at the Bridge Inn. The pub is full of locals who will be happy to include you in their craic. Elsie would expect you to call in at The Singin’ Hinnie at some point for a plate of her  scones singing fresh from the griddle and smothered in butter served with a pot of tea. She has a jar of instant but her coffee making skills have never improved so tea is the safer bet.

If you’re pushing the boat out, Whych Elm Hall has a spa and fabulous rooms but there are plenty of farmhouse B and Bs in the area. Whych Elm is well worth a visit for Saturday dinner or Sunday lunch but you will have to book well ahead because  the French and Geordie chef partnership has made this a popular eatery for the city folk. There are fresh Geordie stotties and mufflers alongside pain baguette and pain brioche and there will be pease pudding and clooty dumplings featured as often as chateaubriand and casoulet.

Sunday morning at Weddell’s shop in the square is where all the local news is shared along with buying the Sunday papers. The shop is a treasure trove and, if you get lucky with the weather, Dot Weddell sells Doddington Dairy ice cream. Their local flavours, once tried, are never forgotten. Sit in the square with your ices and watch Sunday unfold until it’s time to head back to your real world.

great ice cream
great ice cream

Haven’t the time? Haven’t the money for a break in the borders? I can transport you to Dunleith for £2.99 on Amazon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jarful-Moondreams-Chrissie-Bradshaw-ebook/dp/B01HRZ1HAW

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