Friday, 25 November 2016

Revisiting the Triskele Lit Fest 3/5: Crime and Thrillers

The third panel at the Triskele Lit Fest on 17th December was Crime and Thrillers.

Here you can watch Ben Cameron in conversation with Kate Hamer, Adam Croft and Chris Longmuir. Ever heard of Grip Lit? Know what Devil's Porridge is? Find out here!

The conspicuous empty chair on the right belongs to Nigerian author, Leye Adenle, who at the last minute was prevented from joining us. Catriona Troth caught up with him a little later, and you can read her interview with him here.

Next week: Historical Fiction. And you can also watch our Sci Fi and Fantasy  and Romance panels.

Adam Croft is a British author, principally of crime fiction, best known for the Kempston Hardwick mysteries and Knight & Culverhouse thrillers as well as his 2015 worldwide bestselling psychological thriller, Her Last Tomorrow, which became one of the biggest selling books of the year with over 150,000 copies sold in the first five months.

His books have sold more than half a million copies around the world, and in 2016 he was featured by The Guardian as one of the biggest selling authors of the year, and regularly takes part in discussions and panels on publishing and the future of books.

Chris Longmuir is an award winning novelist. She is best known for her Dundee Crime Series, featuring DS Bill Murphy. Night Watcher, the first book in the series, won the SAW (Scottish Association of Writers) Pitlochry Award, and the sequel, Dead Wood, won the Dundee International Book Prize, as well as the Pitlochry Award. 

Kate Hamer grew up in Pembrokeshire. She did a Creative Writing MA at Aberystwyth University and the Curtis Brown Creative novel-writing course.
She won the Rhys Davies short story award in 2011 and her winning story was read out on Radio 4. She has recently been awarded a Literature Wales bursary. She lives in Cardiff with her husband and two children.
Her debut novel, The Girl in the Red Coat, was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller. Her second novel, The Doll Funeral is out in 2017. You can read our review of it on BookMuseUK.

The Crime and Thrillers panel was chaired by Ben Cameron. Ben is the Founder and Managing Director of Cameron Publicity and Marketing. He has over 20 years experience in book publishing, promotion and sales with both traditional publishers and self-published authors. Ben is also a well-regarded speaker and writer on publishing and contributes to The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, Writing Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Self-publishing Magazine and others.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Revisiting the Triskele Lit Fest 2/5: Romance Panel

On the second panel from the Triskele Lit Fest 2016, four very different authors discussed Romance writing with Triskele Books member Liza Perrat. What classifies a book as 'Romance'? Can men write Romance, and what happens when they do? And what are the secrets of their writing craft?

Watch the whole panel here!

With Carol Cooper, Sareeta Domingo, Charlie Maclean and Isabel Wolff.*
(With apologies for the poor quality of sound for the questions from the audience)

This time next week: Crime and Thrillers. And you can watch our Sci Fi and Fantasy panel here.

Carol Cooper is a doctor, journalist, and novelist. She writes for The Sun newspaper and teaches medical students at Imperial College.
After a string of trade-published non-fiction books and an award-winning medical text, she chose self-publishing for her fiction debut Night at the Jacaranda. Her latest novel, Hampstead Fever, came out in June. Her novels are all about Londoners looking for love, and they’re laced with inside medical knowledge.

 Sareeta Domingo was born in Camberwell, South East London but spent her formative years in Bahrain, when her family moved there for her father's job. She currently works as a senior editor at a creative book packager by day, and squeezes writing into her mornings, evenings and weekends. She writes reviews of contemporary romance titles on her blog, The Palate Cleanser.
The Nearness of You is her debut novel.

Unforgettable, Charlie Maclean’s sparkling debut novel, is a captivating contemporary romance set in present-day London with an irresistible Sliding Doors concept. National press coverage, rave reviews and an award-shortlisted cover looks set to make it one of the breakout books of 2016. This literary-romantic drama is Charlie Maclean’s first full-length novel. He studied English Literature and Law before working in public relations and business. Charlie is currently writing the screenplay for Unforgettable and working on his next novel, another romance, this time set in the seaside city of Brighton and Hove.

Isabel Wolff is a former BBC radio reporter whose ten bestselling novels include Rescuing Rose, Behaving Badly, A Vintage Affair',and Ghostwritten, all published by HarperCollins. Isabel lives in London with her family.

The Romance Panel was chaired by Liza Perrat, A Triskele Books member, Liza grew up in Australia, where she worked as a nurse and midwife. She has now been living in France for 20 years, and writes historical novels set in France and Australia, and reviews books for Bookmuse.

(*With apologies for the poor quality of sound for the questions from the audience.)

Friday, 11 November 2016

Revisiting the Triskele Lit Fest (1/5): Sci Fi and Fantasy

On 17th September, 2016, the Triskele Lit Fest kicked off with five authors talking about Sci Fi and Fantasy. Chairman Jack Wedgbury explored their love for the genre, their inspirations, the secrets of their writing practices and more with Felicia Yap, CS Wilde, Jeff Norton, Eliza Green and Yen Ooi.

If you weren't able to join us on the day, here is your chance to watch the full panel!

Come back this time next week to see discussion with Romance authors Sareeta Domingo, Carol Cooper, Isabel Wolff and Charlie Maclean!

The Authors

C.S. Wilde wrote her first Fantasy novel when she was eight. That book was absolutely terrible, but her mother told her it was awesome, so she kept writing.
Now a grown-up (though many will beg to differ), C. S. Wilde writes about fantastic worlds, love stories larger than life and epic battles. She also, quite obviously, sucks at writing an author bio. She finds it awkward that she must write this in the third person and hopes you won’t notice.

Eliza Green tried her hand at fashion designing, massage, painting, and even ghost hunting, before finding her love of writing. After earning her degree in marketing, she went on to work in everything but marketing, but swears she uses it in everyday life, or so she tells her bank manager.
Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Eliza lives there with her sci-fi loving, evil genius boyfriend. When not working on her next amazing science fiction adventure, you can find her reading, indulging in new food at an amazing restaurant or simply singing along to something with a half decent beat.

Felicia Yap grew up in Kuala Lumpur. She read biochemistry at Imperial College London, followed by a doctorate in history (and a half-blue in competitive ballroom dancing) at Cambridge University. She has written for The Economist and the Business Times. She has also been a radioactive-cell biologist, a war historian, a Cambridge lecturer, a technology journalist, a theatre critic, a flea-market trader and a catwalk model.
Felicia lives in London and is a recent graduate of the Faber Academy's novel-writing programme. Her debut novel The Day After Tomorrow, a high-concept thriller, will be published by Headline in 2017.
Jeff Norton is an award-winning author, writer-producer, and founder of AWESOME. His books include the high-tech ‘MetaWars,’ the comedic ‘Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie,’ and the best-selling ‘Princess Ponies.’ He is an Executive Producer on the hit pre-school show ‘Trucktown’ and has shows in development with DHX, Amazon, and Nickelodeon.
Previously, Jeff worked at Chorion Ltd where he acquired and developed new projects and ran the Enid Blyton literary estate. Before moving to the UK, he produced the award-winning ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ movie featuring William H. Macy and FrankieMuniz.

Yen Ooi is a reader and author, and a publishing consultant. She holds postgraduate degrees in English Literature and International Business. Having enjoyed a vibrant career in music touring, education, and management, Yen started writing in 2008. She has had various publications since then: a novel, Sun: Queens of Earth; a collection of short stories, poems and illustrations, A Suspicious Collection; and short stories and poems published in other collections. She hopes to explore further the role of fiction in understanding humanity, inspecting what it is that drives us forward in our lives.

Chair of the Panel

The Sci Fi panel was chaired by Jack Wedgbury of Troubador. Jack Wedgbury is a Production Controller for Matador. Jack graduated from De Montfort University in 2015 with a first class degree in Creative Writing and English Literature. He was awarded the Creative Writing Portfolio Prize for his final year project. In his spare time he enjoys reading, writing and travelling.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Winner of our Big 5 Competition!

We're super delighted and hugely excited to announce the winner of our Big 5 mentoring competition today!

Drumroll please ....

The winner is SOPHIE WELLSTOOD for her novel

Congratulations, Sophie! Sophie now gets to enjoy a whole year's mentoring with Triskele Books, starting with a full-on structural edit in the capable hands of Catriona Troth. We're excited to have Sophie on board and look forward to working with her on this project to see her book blossom and mature towards full publication.

Your first thoughts, Sophie?

"Competitions are an integral part of my work as a writer. They provide structure, deadlines, purpose, and disappointment. My focus for years has been short stories and poetry, and this year I finally made the longlist of the Bath Short Story Award, and cried. But I want to write novels too, and started drafting the seeds of this story five or six years ago. I finished it in its current form last year - six full re-writes, 30k words chopped. Another 30k added then chopped again, and so on. Then I began the grind of subbing to agents. How competitive is it out there? Unbelievable. Everyone who wants to write commercially knows how important it is get that one breakthrough, that one ‘yes’ that might get them a toehold into the mainstream. Winning this competition is a real validation that all those hundreds of hours obsessing over words, and that the special kind of madness writers have, to be honest, is worth it. I’m so, so happy - and relieved - that all my imaginary friends are at last going to be set out in the world. I hope people like them. There are many more to come. Thank you all so much. Sophie."

Chapter 1

Valentine’s day. A bitter, sunless day; the sort of London day when the sickly light does not change from dawn to dusk, a day when abandoned foil balloons float across sleet-sodden clouds, when collars are turned up and heads bent down, a day when even the pigeons shiver and shrug and retreat beneath railway arches and guttering. 

I stood in our hallway.

Chris held onto the front door, bare feet tippy-toeing on the tiles. ‘So look after yourself, yeah?’ she said. ‘Take care. I’m -’
‘Sorry, I know.’ I leaned in for a final kiss. She offered me her cheek. ‘The keys. Come on, I need the keys.’ She put her hand out. ‘Look. If it all goes tits up you can always - well, there’s the sofa - .’
‘Gosh, thanks.’
She put the keys in her back pocket, folded her arms. ‘Babe. You’ll be fine. All that cash - the world’s your oyster. The sky’s the limit.’ 

I heard a car horn, a couple of thuds of a bass line, a door slamming. I turned to see a bespectacled young woman opening the back of a jeep and lifting out a rucksack. Then a plant. Then a guitar. 

 ‘Perfect,’ I said. ‘Out with the old, in with the new.'

JUDGE'S REPORT by Sheila Bugler

(inc a mention of second place runner-up White Stock by Gill Thompson.)

Judging a writing competition is pleasure and stress in equal measures. Pleasure because it’s such a treat to read a range of good writing and discover new voices. Stress because how on earth do I choose just one winner?

I really enjoyed all the entries for the Big Five competition. The short-listed entries were really well-written and engaging. In each case, I genuinely wanted to read on and find out what happened next. Every story was unique and the mix of characters and settings kept me thoroughly entertained.

Choosing a winner is never easy. The final decision is always subjective and I hope everyone who made it this far in the competition remembers that. It is a real challenge to get the opening section of your novel just right - to find that fine balance between interesting characters and a plot that draws you in and makes you want to keep on reading. Every writer short-listed for this competition has found the right way to start their story. Every one of you should feel rightly proud of how well you have done this.

But, as always, there can be only one winner. I read each entry several times and made my choice on the simple basis of which one I enjoyed the most, which story and characters stayed with me the longest. In the end, that choice wasn’t too difficult. Although I genuinely enjoyed every piece of writing, the one that stood out for me – and, therefore, the winning entry - is The Sky is a Blue Bowl.

Written in the first person, the story centres on Blodwyn (Wyn) Parry-Jones. Wyn’s life is a mess. She’s lost her job, her girlfriend has just dumped her and ‘a glistening millionaire’ has taken over running the country. With nothing to lose, Wyn decides to leave her old life behind and fly to the other side of the world to visit Edith Flowers, an old friend of Wyn’s grandparents.

The contrast between Wyn’s old life in North London and this new world of hot summer grass, insects and bird song is vividly portrayed. Edith Flowers – a plain-speaking, booze-drinking, ‘silver-haired Amazon’ – is an utter delight. I wanted to be out there in New Zealand with these two marvellous women, drinking Edith’s wine, eating her food and watching the moths ‘batter themselves against the light.’

In short, I loved the opening pages of this novel. The writing is light and effortless. The characters are brimming with life; the description of place, the atmosphere that’s created and the smells and sounds and sights of New Zealand are all pitch-perfect. More than anything, the distinctive voice of Wyn Parry-Jones is a delight. I cannot wait to see the finished version of this novel and find out how Wyn’s and Edith’s stories play out.

Before finishing, I’d also like to mention White Stock, which was a very close second. The opening section begins with two (non-fiction) quotes from Gordon Brown and Kevin Rudd, both apologising for the devastating impact on the lives of children sent from the UK to Australia as part of the UK’s Child Migrant Programme. After that, the plot focuses on the lives of two characters: Molly and Kathleen. Molly and her son Jack are living in Croydon in 1940, their lives increasingly torn apart by the bombs falling over London and the south-east. We then meet Kathleen a year later in Perth, Western Australia. She is stuck in a loveless marriage and yearning for children she can’t have. This is a very strong novel and I hope to read it in full sometime very soon.

My heart-felt thanks to every short-listed writer for sharing your unique story with me. Writing a novel is a very difficult thing to do. It takes hard work, dedication and a lot of self-belief. Most of all, you need talent and this is something you all have. Please keep on writing and don’t give up until you get to where you deserve to be.