It's an exciting day for me featuring the cover reveal of my latest novel and first for Ruby Fiction, The Final Reckoning. I've sometimes included thriller elements in my previous novels, but this one is definitely a full-blooded thriller, featuring a rather horrible murder and its aftermath.
Who knew the peaceful Herefordshire countryside could be so dangerous? Well, actually, in real life it's not, but in my invented village of Hartley Cross there is much to fear.
I sometimes wondered myself if my heroine would get out of the situation alive. Also, what the fallout of a dozen suspicions and revelations might be.
Thank you for visiting my blog to chat about your new book The Circle of Nine, which I understand hits the shelves on Sep 1st in the USA, and shortly afterwards in the UK? Please tell us a little more about it?
'It will be a pleasure. The Circle of Nine describes nine feminine archetypes, and how they relate to our own lives. I first came across "the nine" in the 1980s when I was in the company of other women looking for a new approach to feminine spirituality, but I soon realised it would need to be an approach that tied in with busy lives and modern expectations. I did in fact write an earlier version of the book, but this one really is new, much expanded, and I now get to include my experience as a grandmother, too!
'Our original "Nine Ladies" group was named after a stone circle in Derbyshire, but I’ve now discovered that a ‘circle of nine’ has long been a kind of magical template for women working together, both in myth and in history. It’s all in the first chapter of the book.
'I knew I wanted to be a writer from the age of about four, but I imagined that I’d write wonderful stories for children. During my teenage years I became a contributor to Jackie magazine, and also to the Poetry Review. But I’ve ended up writing mainly what I call "creative non-fiction". As the biographer Michael Holroyd says, non-fiction is such a dismissive term, so I feel we should try to improve its image! Almost everything I write about, in the thirty-plus books published, is personally researched. Since this stretches from Love Begins at 40 to Russian Magic and Grow Your Family Tree, I’ll leave you to imagine how this works! You can find out more at www.cherrygilchrist.co.uk.
'I write in cycles, in waves. When I’m going at full tilt I might work up for up to four or five hours, and then I do something different for the rest of the day, such as walking, browsing charity shops or gardening. Writing a book is like giving birth – when the book’s done I say never again! But then I forget the struggle and pain and start another one.'
It's been a while since I've posted anything on this blog, but my excuse is that I've been busy writing one novel, editing another novel, and co-writing a guide to writing novels with my writing partner, the novelist Cathie Hartigan.
At last, The Novelist's Workbook is up there on Amazon, ready for readers to download for the coming academic year. The link you'll need is below. We hope this new guide will inspire writers who are facing the challenge of starting a first novel or maybe getting going on a new one. Our intention is that anyone who reads this guide will, like the toy astronaut on the front cover, want to reach for the sky!
Planning, sketching out or plunging straight into a novel is a big challenge, but we are confident that with our help you'll get there.
Gosh, it's been a long time since I wrote anything on this blog.
But at last I do have news!
Today was a chilly one in March, but inside the Devon and Exeter Institution it was warm and cosy as Cathie Hartigan, Sophie Duffy and I welcomed the shortlisted entrants for the 2017 Exeter Novel Prize, and also our brilliant final judge, the London literary agent Broo Doherty.
The six shortlisted novels were chosen from an overall entry of almost 300, so to have a novel in the final six means it's definitely a winner. Today, four of our shortlisted entrants were able to come to the awards event. Left to right: Lucy Flannery (runner-up, Wedding Stakes), Louise Farr (runner-up, Thaw), Broo Doherty (final judge), Sarah Hegarty (runner-up, The Leopard's Daughter), and E J Pepper (winner, Mr Whitaker). The two other runners-up, John Kennedy (The Trauma Pool) and Louella Bryant (Cowboy Code), were unable to make it, but I'm sure they were with us in spirit. Everyone in the shortlist received a trophy and a cash prize.
Our poor winner is looking rather stunned, but we can assure you she was delighted to have won. Here she is with her trophy, looking very happy indeed!
The Exeter Novel Prize is organised by Exeter-based company CreativeWritingMatters, whose director Cathie Hartigan leads a team of three, the other members being Sophie Duffy and I. Although the awards for 2017 have been made, we're now gearing up to reading for our annual short story competition and also for the launch of the Exeter Novel Prize 2018. You can find out more about CreativeWritingMatters and all our previous and current competitions here: www.creativewritingmatters.co.uk.
Left to right: Cathie, Margaret, Broo Doherty and Sophie.
The Exeter Novel Prize is a Devon-based initiative, with the first prize of £500 being generously sponsored by our local writing group, Exeter Writers. More information about Exeter Writers can be found here: http://www.exeterwriters.org.uk/
As I've mentioned above, our awards event today was held at the Devon and Exeter Institution: http://devonandexeterinstitution.org/, a historic private library in Exeter's Cathedral Close. The DEI holds regular events which are open to the public and anyone wishing to join the DEI as a member is welcome to apply.