Category Archives: BOOKS
*Here lies Nepotism*
Whether you’re a fan of the rise of e-readers and e-books or not, one thing you have to concede is that it’s never been easier for emerging writers to get their stuff out there.
There is a sea of books out there, each with an author behind them who would love you to take a chance.
My cousin, A. B. Wells, is one of those authors. Her debut novel, Housewife with a Half-Life, is out today and is well worth a look.
What is a housewife to do when she becomes 42? Write a book about life, the universe and everything….
Susan Strong is a suburban housewife who is literally disintegrating. When, Fairly Dave, a biker jacket & kilt wielding spaceman arrives through the shower head to warn her, she knows things are serious. When she and her precocious 4 year twins Pluto and Rufus get sucked through Frozen Peas into another universe it gets even messier. In a world where household appliances are more alive and dangerous than they seem, where the Geezers have Entropy Hoovers and the Spinner’s Cataclysmic convertor could tear the world apart, Susan Strong is the only thing holding the world together.
Through this madcap, funny and feel-good adventure, Susan Strong and Fairly Dave travel the alternate universes where Susan has to find her many selves, dodge the Geezers and defeat the evil memory bankers. From dystopian landscapes and chicken dinners, to the surreal world of Las Vegas and bubble universes, can Susan Strong reintegrate her bits and will it be enough to save us all?
The Author, in her own words
I’m Alison Wells, writer of flash fiction, short stories and novels, and mother of four from Bray, Co. Wicklow. I’ve worked as a technical writer and studied Psychology and Communication Studies. I’m part of the #fridayflash Twitter community and am resident blogger for writing.ie. I admire the beautiful and clever prose of writers such as Nabakov, Urquart, A.S. Byatt, Bradbury and Steinbeck and the quirky wordweaving of Ali Smith. This year I’m lucky enough to have been awarded a writing residency in Cill Rialaig, Co. Kerry to work on my second literary novel The Exhibit of Held Breaths.
I’m going to be published for the first time. One of my short stories (you can read it here) was accepted by a local literary journal and will be hitting shops (that’s just about a plural) in April. Discounting the time a horribly embarrassing agony aunt letter appeared in Mizz Magazine and the time a 6-year old me self-published (stapled some pages together) my first book, my words have never appeared in such a tangible, public form.
It’s exciting. If you’re a writer, you’ll know that validation isn’t essential but that it does feel quite nice. It’s a boost.
This was one of the first short stories I’d ever written (I wouldn’t consider it my most comfortable form) and was the first time I’d submitted something for publishing consideration. Having it accepted has encouraged me to submit more stuff, take more chances. It’s made me realise that publication isn’t necessarily for “others”, it can be something achievable for me too.
Script Frenzy, the little brother of NanoWriMo, is fast approaching and I’ve decided to attempt it for the first time. Despite being a NanoWriMo veteran at this stage (I’m a masochist), I had never considered trying screenwriting. Again, it was “other”. Something other people did.
I think one of the most important things you can do as a writer is force yourself outside of your comfort zone. Never wrote poetry before? Why not try it? You could be the next Yeats. Try a genre you’re uncomfortable with (for me, it would be sci-fi) and give it a go. So what if it’s bad? It might inspire you in other ways.
To sum things up, I think writing is a vocation for some people. They couldn’t stop if they wanted to. For others, it’s just a job. (And it shows). Good writing is extremely subjective.One of the saddest things people say is “I would love to write a book one day…but I could never do it”. I’ve even had these people come to me with their ideas and ask me to write their books for them. I could never do it as much justice as they would; it’s their story.
Keep writing. Celebrate the victories. Improve on the losses. Don’t force yourself to write like someone else, be the person so unique that people want to imitate you.
A fun little website to find out who you write like is I Write Like, where you copy and paste a sample of your work and it’s compared to famous writers. (Don’t worry, it doesn’t store or save your work).
I write most like Cory Doctorow, British-Canadian blogger, journalist, copyright liberalisation activist and sci-fi author (the irony is strong in this one).
In a bid to keep up my French ability, I decided to buy some books en francais this week. None excited me as much as this one: “Star Wars- Le Menace Fantome.
The only hitch in the plan is that my learning will be interrupted every now and again with bouts of laughter. I didn’t even make it to the first chapter before cracking up.
“Il y a un bien longtemps dans une galaxie lointaine, trés lointaine…”
(It just strikes me as funnier in French for some reason).
What are some little things you do to stay practised in languages that you speak? Do you wish you could get back the standard you used to have? Well, it doesn’t have to be boring. Do something you’re interested in while practising a language and you will be more likely to keep it up.