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In the Footsteps of Bram Stoker

I spent last weekend with my family in Whitby, up on the Yorkshire coast. It was a birthday present for my husband, who turned 30 this month. We used to visit Whitby in the days before we had children, and it was a wonderful weekend full of nostalgia and unhealthy food.

It was also a weekend full of literary delights. Whitby has an important literary history, more of one than I had even realised, so it turns out!

Whitby, and more specifically, it’s abbey that sits, in ruins, above the town and the sea, is the spot that inspired Bram Stoker to write his famous book Dracula. He spent six years living in Whitby, taking walks each morning, looking over at the abbey, the 199 steps leading up to it, and watching the cargo boats coming in and out of the bay. Enter Dracula. I just had to seek out the sights, walk where he walked.

 

While I was looking for the location of the blue plaque that marked Bram Stoker’s history in Whitby, I stumbled across evidence of another literary visitor to the town. Apparently, before Stoker came here, Lewis Carroll, creator of Alice and Wonderland, was a regular visitor to Whitby. He stayed here six times, in a building that overlooks the same abbey that later inspired Bram Stoker to put pen to paper.

 

And then we found a second plaque for Mr Stoker. Well, I had to sit here and ponder the view for a while. Did it inspire me to write? Frankly, this entire town does. It’s brimming with history, all wrapped up in fascinating little backstreets of crooked houses crammed against one another. I’d quite forgotten how much I love this place.

A bench looking at the view that inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula
Me sat looking at the view that inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula

 

The guesthouse in which Bram Stoker stayed, is actually still a guesthouse today. You can rent his room, which has been restored to Victorian grandeur. Yes, I am planning to stay there. A writing retreat, I think. Watch this space!

When it came time to, sadly, bid farewell to Whitby, we drove onto the historic city of York for the day, where another literary delight awaited us!

A Harry Potter shop called The Shop That Must Not Be Named

Blog Hop, Insecure Writer's Support Group

What the People Want

Insecure Writer's Support GroupSomething I’ve been thinking about a lot, is writing to market. This is when an author either picks up on a current popular trend, or predicts an upcoming trend, and specifically writes for that market, to, hopefully, hit upon a bestseller by simply writing what the people want.

Among authors, it’s actually something of a controversial issue with accusations of writers ‘selling out’, or not being true to their craft. Honestly, I feel conflicted myself. So often, the act of writing books, of creating worlds and characters, of giving flesh to your dreams, so often, that feels completely at odds with the actual business side of selling books. The marketing, the numbers, the accounts. I know many writers for whom, once their hobby became their income source, they lost all joy for the act of writing.

Creativity and business seem to be uncomfortable bedfellows.

But, at the end of the day, it is a business, and it has to be run as a business if it’s going to succeed. Last year, I published a collection of short stories set in a post-apocalyptic world. I largely wrote it just to get it out of my head, where it was like a niggling thorn in my brain. And then I didn’t think much more about it. Until it started selling. And it sells well, and regularly. And my business brain said “You need to take advantage of this.”

So, yes, I’m now writing to market. A full-length post apocalyptic book I’d never intended to write. It’s a different thing for me; both the specific genre (although it’s not that far from dystopian fiction), and writing to market. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all turns out (especially as the story and characters seem to be insistent about taking it in an interesting new direction!)

Do you write to market?

This post was written as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. If you want to visit the other IWSG member blogs, or sign up yourself, you can do so here.

Blog Hop, Got Goals?

Got Goals? I’ve Been Camping

Big Goals BloghopAll of April has been focussed on completing Camp NaNoWriMo, and I’m totally on track to hit my 25k wordcount target. I set my goal there because the first two weeks of the month were taken up with the Easter holidays, and with two young boys to entertain, I wasn’t going to fool myself into thinking I could manage 50k.

But it’s been a good target for me, I haven’t been stressing, or having to push really hard to keep on track, and I haven’t had to let the rest of my life fester in the shadow of my complete abandonment as always happens for NaNoWriMo in November!

I’ve taken a break from my Memory Trader series, while The Sister has been out with beta readers, and so Camp NaNo has focussed on a new book, tentatively titled While We Were Waiting, but that may well change. It was meant to be a post-apocalyptic book, but it’s turned into something of a magical realism piece, so I’m going to let it take me there. At the end of the day, I can clear all of that up in editing.

Have you been doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month? Or have you been working towards other goals? Join the Got Goals? Bloghop here.

Events, Publication

Her Dark Voice

Her Dark Voice volume 2This July, the Her Dark Voice Vol 2 anthology will be unleashed.

A collection of horror shorts all penned by women, the anthology will be raising money for Breast Cancer Research.

The book will be launched at a special event as part of Edge Lit speculative fiction literary festival, held at The Quad in Derby on July 14th. The launch will include a number of readings by several of the book’s authors, and I will be reading from my story Rock-a-Bye.

Her Dark Voice Vol 2 is published by Quantum Corsets and edited by Theresa Derwin.

Blog Hop, Got Goals?

Got Goals? Running Full Pelt

Big Goals BloghopLast month saw the release of The Smudger, The Memory Trader book 1, and March has seen the completion of its sequel, The Sister, the first round of edits completed, and the book sent out to beta readers .

I can’t believe how quickly these books have come about. It was one of my goals for the year, to increase my writing speed, to produce more books, but I’m totally awed by how fast it’s happened.

And I’m not slowing up. I’m already plotting my next book, and I’m signed up to Camp NaNoWriMo with a 25k wordcount goal to make a start on writing it next month.

I love being so busy, so crazy busy, so in the zone. It is tiring, and I need to remind myself to slow down now and again (although the flu forced me to for a couple of weeks earlier this month). But I’m excited, and I’m gonna make the most of that feeling.

How’s your month been? Join the Got Goals? Bloghop here.