Thursday 26 August 2021

Support Networks - for Writers

The phrase 'support networks' has become about as overused as the terrible 'unprecedented', which has long set my teeth on edge. But we all need a group, or groups, of people who will give us support, when we need it.

When I first became a journalist, my editor insisted I join Facebook and Twitter, and there I found some amazing online support groups, some of which I still use today. I know there are increasing numbers of malicious people on social media, but there are also like minded people, many of which can give valuable support and advice.

My writing support network tend to consist, in the real world, of a collection of individuals rather than groups - at least, there are Cornish groups but trying to find a convenient time and place for us all to meet seems to be incredibly difficult. But I am fortunate in having several very talented writer friends I can ring up and ask for help or advice. And of course it works both ways.

In my personal life, I am fortunate in having some fabulous friends who I know I can rely on - and I am there for them, too. And of course, I count books as my support group as well. For what can be better, when we're feeling tired and need a pick up? Or fed up and need to escape? In need of instruction, and finding wise words...

Who or what are your support networks? I real life, on paper, or on screen?

Wednesday 18 August 2021

Mini break and Editor

A close friend suggested that we should have a campervan picnic - two of them - which then led to the Where Shall We Go, given that Cornwall is overrun with visitors, and the vans are both quite big. Then my friends were probably leaving earlier so I'd have to go in my van and meet them there. Then we decided to stay the night, which further compounded the problem of where to go.

Eventually we found a very small campsite which had pitches for us both, by some miracle, and so we arrived there independently on Monday. The problem I was worried about was not whether myself and M would get on - we know that we do - but the dogs. Lainy had a squabble with M's dog the week before and I was very concerned that this shouldn't escalate, particularly given that we were going to be living in close quarters.

So I did a lot of preparation, talking to Lainy's foster mums - we have a Whatsapp group as we all have rescue dogs, and can compare notes on any problems we encounter with our respective canine charges. In fact, I'm glad to report there were no squabbles, though poor M's dog had evidently had enough by yesterday afternoon, and went and sat in the car park in protest. I felt terrible - after all, we were the guests - even if Lainy had been on her best behaviour - but hopefully we can focus on the positives, of which there were many. Even if Twig might not have thought so.

It was really lovely to have just 24 hours away - we explored new walks, had a fabulous barbecue with our dear friends, enjoyed a few glasses of wine and all in all, I felt as if I'd been away for several days rather than just one. And we're going to plan the next break very soon.

The other cheery thing was that I got in touch with a freelance editor, who was highly recommended, to give me some advice on Sixth Scent, my most recent novel, and she came emailed back to say she thought it was great. Unique and quirky. So we're going to start work on that at the beginning of October. So that's another positive.

I'm also going to Devon and seeing my mum at the end of September. I know it's not possible to get away, or at least go very far, but as we found yesterday, even going six miles away makes a difference, and it's very important to have things to look forward to, isn't it?

Friday 13 August 2021

More of me and Fern

Well, this was one of my moments of glory from last week's show, Fern Britton's My Cornwall.

I was all a-quiver beforehand because I didnt know how much, if any, of the two hours of filming would be used. fern and I talked a lot about Daphne du Maurier, Winston Graham, Rosamunde Pilcher, writing, inspirations - lots of stuff and I rather feared none would be used, but it was!

Three of my closest friends came round with a bottle of Prosecco, to watch it, and nerves mounted as the programme went on - and on - and still no me, though I knew I'd be at the end, if at all. And then, there I was! Jacqui had lent me the jacket that I was wearing to go riding, and her gloves (essential as my tiny hands were frozen), and another friend lent me the jodhpurs and boots, so I might have looked the part but that was entirely due to my dear mates' wardrobes.

We were so excited I don't think any of us took much of it in, but two of them took pictures off the screen, so I can use some for writer publicity stuff which is good. The above picture is from TwoFour Productions so that's the best quality.

As the programme ended, my phone rang and it was James, my neighbour, who I'd completely forgotten to tell. "Why didn't you SAY?" he said. "We're just sitting here watching telly, and then we saw Fern, and then - you! And we said, 'That's our Sue!'"

So that's my piece of fame for this year. The Tooth Fairy is convinced that the phone will ring with offers of TV programmes but so far it's remained decidedly quiet..... Another friend suggested this could be the start of my new career as a TV equestrian journalist.... The thing about life is that you just never know. Meanwhile, on with the day job and editing....

Monday 2 August 2021

TV appearance

The above picture has nothing to do with my TV appearance, but I have no stills or pictures because any photography was forbidden during filming.

In April I was contacted by a TV production company to ask if I’d like to take part in a programme featuring Fern Britton in Cornwall. Would I?!!

To cut a very long story short, it involved me filming with Fern on horseback for several hours on Bodmin Moor and I loved it! This, despite the fact that I hadn’t ridden for 30 years, and then it was only for an hour - otherwise it was nearer 50 years. I did have a trial ride before hand and found that, to my relief, my muscles hadn’t entirely forgotten how to hang on or what to do

… I’m not at liberty to say any more until the programme has aired which will be this Thursday at 8pm on Channel 5. It’s entirely possible that my part will have been edited out completely, but will probably be reduced to a minute, if that.

But the producer was most complimentary about my knowledge of Cornwall, and its writers - I had, mind you, written books on the topics, but it’s amazing how quickly you can forget things.

Still, we will be sitting in front of the telly with baited breath on Thursday evening. As an optimistic friend said, “Who knows what this will lead to?” Probably nothing, but the experience was brilliant and I found something else I really enjoyed. If it does lead to anything, that’s even better.

Rather like Helen Glover said, on her recent experience at the Olympics, “it’s the trying that counts”. And like her, I’m not afraid to try.