Monday, December 30, 2013

As the sun sets on 2013...

            During the longer winter nights, curling up on the sofa under blankets, it’s easy to lapse into quiet contemplation. Nearing the winter solstice, I thought about where my life had led me over the last twelve months, in particular my writing life. Waiting for the slow lengthening of days seems akin to watching an egg-timer; with each grain of sand that falls from top to bottom, a moment has passed. I thought about all the moments I could remember from the year and decided to share some of them.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Knock, knock. Who's there?

Bards of a feather?
Wall Village Hall: time to talk!

On Saturday 2nd November 2013 I did a Winter Talk in the village hall at Wall in Staffordshire; home to the Roman museum of Letocetum with its inn, bath house and mansio, under the shared responsibility of the National Trust and English Heritage. When I arrived, the cosy hall was bustling with the happy chatter of an audience in eager anticipation. Like meeting old friends, the reception was warm and welcoming. The organisers and I had time for informal photographs and a moment to catch up, since our last meeting at their Summer Event in August.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

From Script to Screen - 'Deception'

When I approached Birmingham-based film company Lightweaver Productions with a treatment for a film noir, little did I know how it would feel to see the results on-screen. That moment, however, would be a while coming. First of all, I worked with Lightweaver Productions to produce a script. We had to ensure dialogue felt natural and memorable for the actors, delivering information that viewers needed to know. It was also necessary to have actor and camera directions that were both effective and achievable in the lapse of film available, which could fit within the budget constraints. Eventually, ‘Deception’ was born; a Grime-Noir thriller in which characters, and hopefully viewers, would be deceived by the turn of events.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

In whose footsteps do we follow?

Last Sunday 4th August 2013 I gave a talk and reading from my first novel at Letocetum Roman Museum, Wall, near Lichfield, Staffordshire. This site saves itself from you until the last moment, as you climb the steps and enter between tall hedgerows; you are deceived very briefly as your eyes scan a green field and then you see it; sunken in the ground, the low ruins of a ‘mansio’, bathhouse and inn. You can imagine these buildings in their hey-day, nestled into the ground atop this hill, with uninterrupted views of the surrounding Staffordshire countryside. I wondered about travellers arriving down Watling Street, wind-beaten and weary and glad of a bath, a drink and a night’s comfortable sleep.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Walking with Romans

Letocetum (Wall, Nr Lichfield, Staffs) is run predominantly by the National Trust, with a bathhouse under separate guardianship of English Heritage. Near to the junction of Ryknild/Icknield Street and Watling Street, it is not far from the discovered location of the Staffordshire Hoard (now in the combined care of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke-On-Trent). This Roman staging post was built in the 1st Century over an earlier Brythonic settlement known as ‘Letoceton’ (leto – grey, ceton – wooded area). Initially inhabited by the 14th Legion until 130AD, the town was afterwards run by the civitas of Cornovii from their capital in Viroconium (Wroxeter). The bathhouse served travellers, while the wattle and daub mansion provided lodging for official couriers to the Roman Empire. There was possibly an amphitheatre, basilica and a temple to Minerva, Goddess of wisdom and sponsor of arts, trade and defence.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Mentoring: Honing my inner Hawk

            For the last three months I have been under the gentle wing of a mentor. As a hawk on the hunt, I have been learning to focus. My initial instincts were to flee in fear of my first meeting, to hide under the table in the coffee shop and pretend I wasn’t there. Having had my work scrutinised by a knowledgeable editor and finding myself waist-high in a rewrite of grand proportions, I was uncertain how helpful the mentoring would be. I was following the editor’s instructions and juggling with new ideas bred from that process. I found my bravery and embraced the experience.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tied in Knots

           Since childhood I have been fascinated by the Saxons and Vikings. I took every opportunity to explore their lives, either through re-enactment events at carnivals, reading at the library, or visiting historical sites with my family. At fancy dress parties I am always drawn to elaborate gowns worn by medieval ladies, later finding myself wishing I had gone as a warrior in chain mail. A former art student, I am intrigued by patterns and textures, shapes and dyes, a passion I share with my mother who studied textiles. Writing historical novels set during these periods has renewed my interest in art, inspiring me in new ways. It was writing about chain mail that first set my mind off on an artistic exploration of links and knots.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Kindred Spirits

Recently I have heard many conflicting views concerning the effectiveness of twitter and all it has (or doesn't have) to offer. Personally, I was hesitant to join and feared it. I did not know it, however, and so forced myself to. I am so happy I did. I have discovered opportunities, gained knowledge and experience and met so many good people. This weekend was one such meeting of good people that I am so grateful to have found.

Friday, January 4, 2013

A New Leaf...

For all the portent and mystery 2012 brought with it, the year seems to have been a melange of strife and success for many; as though counter-balancing itself day by day.  As we approached and passed the winter solstice, our futures balancing on the horizon; that precipice of opportunity and creative expression, how many of us wondered where our journeys would take us?  I, for one, was grateful to have found more time to write and complete the rewrite my editor recommended.  The next exciting venture is to finally have office space to dedicate solely to my writing, rather than hot-desking around the house!