So on Friday, it was the start of the Oswestry Lit Festival. Every year, a whole bunch of book and play etc writers get together and dedicate their time to their fan base.
Since I class myself as a writer, I thought I’d do the intelligent thing and actually attend one of the author’s evenings. (It’s got nothing to do with the fact that it sounds fancy… )
Out of all, I chose to go and listen to Carole Matthews – a best selling romantic comedy writer ( I know it’s predictable considering I’m writing one of that genre too!) I mainly wanted to go because I have been a bit lapse with my own book, and thought listening to someone else who’s done it would thus inspire me. And it did!
It was interesting to find out that Carole grew up in Merseyside, much like myself in my teen years. And had done everything from being a shop assistant, ice cream lady, and even a beauty therapist. Very much like myself! I love these kinds of writers. Rather than the traditional Oxford / Cambridge bread who write a lot of ‘consequently’ and quote Shakespeare far too often. She was a down to earth lady who used her life experiences to influence her, and a lady that you could very much identify with.
She had a wicked sense of humour and made the audience laugh a lot! She went on to talk about how her books had so many chances of being made into films yet Hollywood ‘was like a jigsaw – one piece didn’t fit and it all fell away.’ I could sense her frustration, as I would be if my book would have got so close to Hollywood. Although the thing about giving your work to someone else is that, it becomes theirs, and its original roots detach. I’m not too sure how I’d feel about that.
A few other stories that stood out were how she went over to the U.S to go on LIVE national TV, and found it far different to how the UK operate things. Although starting off in beauty and health programs for UK TV, she was used to scripts. Then it was on to no scripts and the producer or someone like him, letting slip that she was going to be live to how many millions of Americans that were watching and she was like a dear in headlights. She said after finishing, she needed to get out of there. And just like most Brits, ended up at the pub! (Rightly so.) Turns out, she’d missed Dustin Hoffman one her favourite actors I think.
Another one was about how in LA she walked to a meeting (during a camping holiday – where she’d brought a lycra fold up suit on a just in case basis) that was miles away and when she arrived was told that if she wanted to walk, that’s what gyms were for.
Also she commented about how she would try to keep her face straight during meetings with the film people in Hollywood, so that those with catalog faces (plastic surgery) couldn’t see the bump on her nose thanks to her dad. Like I say, lots of laughter and you can see why she writes what she does.
It was a wonderful evening (and not because of the free chocolate and wine.) It left me with a buzz purely because it’s inspiring to see someone who’s done it, stuck with it, and wrote something like 24 novels. I’ve to admit, I’ve never heard of her before, but that just goes to show you that the world is so vast, and you don’t have to be known by every Jack, Jill and Juicy Lucy to be ‘a great writer’ or even so called famous
I have yet to pick up my book, but I’m hoping to put some time away in the week to begin. What really made my evening (well there was two things excluding the chocolate) the first one was, having my question answered by Carole. I asked her – what advice would you give to aspiring writers? She said to write every day, other wise you loose the plot (quite literally too!) I think it’s such a valid point, and that’s what I did at the start. I also loved how she said that there are a whole host of avenues to go down nowadays like self publishing and blogging. It’s lovely to hear a traditionally published writer in favour of self publishing
The second point that made my night, was when I got to meet one of the organisers of the Oswestry Lit Fest. When I told him about my plans for publishing my book – he said ‘I’ll see you here next year then..’
Coming to thinking about it, I think I may just pick up my pen now. If that won’t encourage me – what will?
Thanks for reading!
P.S. I will admit I got that feeling when listening to her read an extract from her latest book of ‘that will be me someday soon’ – it was emotional. 😉