Monday, 14 December 2015

Through the Looking Glass

It wasn't until I logged into Blogger today that I realised it has been nearly two months since I posted on here. This is partly because I sometimes now post short updates on my author website here, but also because I use this blog for more personal introspection, and I feel like this year has flown by at such a break-neck exhilarating speed, that I've not always had much time to just sit and reflect on things...which I miss, as I feel one essential ingredient to achieving creativity and letting your imagination flourish, is to ensure you have time to reflect and daydream.

During the last Christmas holidays and start of 2015 I let my imagination run wild, and got thoroughly lost in daydreams as I composed a secret 'Future Dreams' board on Pinterest. I love the visual worlds you can create on Pinterest and have read a lot about the power of positive visualisation, so instead of writing a list of goals for the new year, I decided to post pictures, relating to things I wanted to achieve. One of the images had the words; 'Achieve your publishing dreams: Ready to make your dreams come true? It's Time!' And four months later that time did indeed arrive! 

I also started to post pictures of nice houses, and things relating to a new home, as I knew I was going to put my flat on the market. I just moved out of my flat last week - it was on the market for most of the year, and even although I've temporarily moved back in with my parents until I find a new place, I've taken a big step in the right direction. I'm going to enjoy adding new images to my board during the holidays and it's an enjoyable way to keep focus. 
Over a year ago I also created a 'mood board' for my book Follow Me, which made the story and characters stay present and real in my head throughout the whole submission process, and it was very useful to be able to transfer some of these images onto a new board for my cover artist to access. I printed out and laminated my 'mood boards' to show pupils during a school workshop  showing them how it can help to build on atmosphere and character when you write. 

So many new, exciting, and sometimes overwhelming, things have happened to me this year that I think it's going to take me some 'downtime' to actually absorb everything. I've called this post Through the Looking Glass because a turning point for me in my writing career was when I went through quite a transformational time in my life, and when I named this blog. I've mentioned this before in a previous post, but the name for this blog came to me when I was on a trip to Vancouver, and was standing looking in the window of a shop with lots of Alice in Wonderland paraphernalia. 

That trip was really important to me because it was the first time I had flown anywhere alone, and as I was visiting a friend who was living and working there, I spent a bit of time travelling around the city solo. It was also the first big holiday I'd taken since the break-up of my longest relationship to date, (even although I was well over it by then, I still felt I was going through a period of re-adjustment and was at the positive stage of viewing life as being a bit of an adventure, full of unwritten possibilities). I had also just turned 30. I returned home from that trip with a sense of determination and focus, and probably entered one of the most fulfilling and creative periods of my life. A lot of people have described my writing in  Follow Me as assured, and when I think back to the frame of my mind I was in when I started to write the book I think I was probably the most centered and creatively free I've ever been, which maybe carried into my writing.

Now I feel I've entered the next stage of my writing journey, and I'm looking through the glass from another perspective.  With every stage of the writing process there are re-adjustments, challenges and learning curves. There is a big part of me that would love to hire a doppelganger to manage my social media, events (and to do my day job for me!), to allow the 'real' writer me to go back to my daydreams and get my next book finished. 

But really, I do love the interaction part too. In my 'day job' as a careers adviser the aspect I enjoy the most is my attempt to motivate and inspire teenagers. So it was very rewarding to step inside a school, this time as an author, and see the enthusiasm from some fourth years at a recent workshop who constructed some very imaginative flash fiction stories. Talking to them about some of my earliest writing attempts when I was at school reminded me of the fire which has always burned inside of me to construct imaginative worlds and attempt to create a little bit of magic. I'm looking forward to hiding away for a little while over the holidays to drift off into an alternative world where the characters from my imagination get to lead my story again for a while. 

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Blog Posts and a 5 * Review

Today I am featured on Patsy Collin's Words about writing and writing about words blog, providing an insiders guide to a book launch night. Thanks for having me on your blog, Patsy! You can read the post here

My friend Rebecca also did a lovely post about my book Follow Me on her creative blog The Magpie Diaries, with reference in particular to Ode on a Grecian Urn, a John Keats poem which is quoted in my novel. You can read her post here

And I was also delighted to see a lovely 5 star review popping up on Amazon yesterday for Follow Me. I really appreciate readers who take the time to leave thoughtful reviews as they can help sales on sites such as Amazon so much.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Launch Night

Hi all,

I'm conscious I haven't posted on here for a while. I had a brilliant time at the launch night for my YA debut Follow Me the other week at Waterstones in Argyle Street in Glasgow. I did a short post about this on my author website which you can see here. One of my work colleagues (and a few friends) took some great photos from the night so I managed to set up a slideshow of these on the homepage of my website. The photo at the top of my blog post was taken by my colleague, Derek Mooney. He put a great 'Pop Art' effect on some of the photos, to link in with the Pop Art/Andy Warhol theme in my book.

I was overwhelmed by all of the encouragement and support I received both on the night, and on the run-up. And some lovely emails and texts are now arriving from readers who have enjoyed the book (which is always a relief!). It's quite a strange feeling knowing Follow Me is now 'out there' in the world being read.

I was also asked to write a guest post on another writer's blog about my experience of having a book launch, with any tips, so I will be linking to that post when it goes live in a few days.

A new print-run was put in for Follow Me after the sell-out success on the launch night, A couple are still in stock on Amazon, so you buy a copy here

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Ready for Take Off

Tomorrow is the big launch for Follow Me and I am putting the final preparations together today for little things I want to take along. I've put together a montage photo (at the top) with some moments from my day yesterday. One big moment was getting to hold my book Follow Me for the first time in my hands - such a great feeling! And I also received a pop art card from one of my work colleagues - that's me, Andy Warhol style, which is just brilliant. All of my work colleagues have been so supportive and excited for me and it makes the whole run up to launch day even more exciting for me!
The coke bottles are a little extra thing I am taking along to my launch, keeping in with the Andy Warhol, pop art theme.

One of my biggest champions since I could read and write was my Mum, the writer Rosemary Gemmell, and I was delighted to be interviewed on her blog yesterday. You can read that here  I couldn't ask for a more inspiring and supportive Mum and it's brilliant being able to share a love of words and writing with her. I was so happy when she got her brilliant book, The Highland Lass published earlier this year (one of many), as I know this was a story close to her heart, and I think this is probably my favourite book of hers.

 I'm really lucky to have been brought up in a creative and supportive family (my Dad and brother were always very encouraging also, and I am lucky to now have an extended family in the form of a literature loving sister-in-law and an already creative little niece).  

And thanks to everyone who reads this who has offered me encouragement along the way!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Author Interview

It is now only two days until the release of my book and I am sitting wondering where the time has gone. Since the meeting where I heard my book was to be published, life has been a bit of a whirlwind. In the run up to my launch night I have been busy preparing essential things, such as buying my dress, ordering cake toppers of my book cover to put on, well, cakes! I have also found the time to answer some interview questions from Fiona, on the Authors Interviews site. You can read my interview here

My author profile is also now live on Amazon here, with my updated cover image on the pre-order link page.

Thanks to everyone for all of the support and encouragement on the lead up to launch day. It means a lot!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Launch Night

So excited to reveal that my book launch event for my YA debut Follow Me, will take place at the Argyle Street branch of Waterstones in Glasgow on Friday 9th October. I love nothing more than browsing the shelves of Waterstones, (and buying books to add to my already over flowing bookshelves), so it feels amazing to know that I will get to launch my own book in one of their stores!

There will be drinks, nibbles and of course book signings on the night so I hope you can join me in celebrating!

For those of you further afield my book will be available to buy from other branches of Waterstones, independent book shops and Amazon from 30th September.

You can read a coming soon blurb on the website of my publisher, Strident, here 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Book Cover Reveal

The cover design for Follow Me went through some last minute, quite dramatic, changes the other week and I am delighted to be able to reveal the final finished version above. The artwork/photography is by artist Ida Henrich, and I am really happy with how it turned out. It makes everything feel very real seeing my name on a book cover!

I was lucky to be consulted about my cover (I wonder how many authors are?). My publisher, Strident, even asked me to write a short brief of any ideas I had before work began. I had always visualised woodland being central to the image as Eddison Woods is a central feature in my story (and leads to the Barn). I love the green light in this too.

The release date is 30 September, so not long to go now. And as any writer knows, this is when the true work just begins :)