Highs, Lows and Hingin Lums

After our busy day yesterday, we take a short walk into the village to take a look at Dochart Falls. Then we drive up to the nearby Ben Lawers nature reserve. There is a car park but no visitors’ centre. Do we pay to park? No. Do we turn round and retrace our steps? Again no. Do we press upwards and onwards along a single-track road with a precipitous drop on the passenger side; a road that we are not convinced actually leads anywhere? Yep. That would be the one. Ben Lawers is 1214 metres above sea level and the tenth highest Munro in Scotland. We drive pretty near to the top and I can tell it is higher than I should be venturing, as I experience some of the effects of altitude that curtailed our Peru trip. Fortunately, this time we can get ourselves back down to lower levels without too much trouble. Well eventually we can. All the sat-nav can offer is ‘turn round where possible’. Turning around on a road barely wider than the car is not going to work. I take a look at our not very detailed map. Reassuringly, this does indicate that there is a way out and indeed, eventually, this proves to be so. The scenery is ruggedly spectacular and we are certainly seeing parts of Scotland other holidays might not reach.

On the way back we take a look at the outside of the Moirlanich Longhouse, which is very close to the site and which we have failed to investigate on previous visits. It is open twice a week but not today, so we shall just have to pay a return visit to Killin, no hardship there then. An interpretation board tells me that the longhouse was inhabited by the Robertson family. Were we able to get inside, we would be able to see a  hanging lum, also knows as a hingin lum, which is, the board says, a paper lined wooden canopy to funnel smoke away from fireplace. This sounds a bit of a fire hazard to me but here is some more about them from a website that I use and recommend often.

077 21 May 2019 Moirlanich Longhouse, Killin

 

It is time for us to return to England and we pass the Kelpies at Falkirk, 30 metre high, steel horse-head sculptures. Or possibly 60 metres high, if some websites are to be believed – big anyway. They are very impressive but difficult to detour with a caravan on the back and I was not ready with the camera.

We wend our way to one of our favourite sites near Alnwick via a supermarket stop. A quick walk round the site’s nature trail and then a lazy afternoon.

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Elusive Ferries and other adventures

Today we were meant to be going to Inchcolm island. The clue is in the name really; ‘island’ involves a boat. I thought I had correctly identified the location of the ferry boarding point but lack of time to prepare for this trip meant that I didn’t have my usual beautifully printed out itinerary. We set off. I plug the postcode into the sat-nav. It doesn’t seem to exist. Instead of returning to the van and firing up the computer to check the proper address, I try to remember it. We try Queensferry. The sat-nav insists this is in Wales.  Even we know we don’t need to go 288 miles. I know, I know, we should be able to Google this on the mobile phone that we have that is less than thirteen years old. Phone fine, operator not so. We could have and perhaps should have, made a call on said mobile phone (we can actually accomplish that, or at least one of us can) and summoned assistance. We didn’t. I look at a map (remember those?). Unfortunately, it is a very small-scale map but it does suggest I might need to be looking at North Queensferry. We go to North Queensferry. We get nice views of the Forth Road Bridges (which no one is painting) but no sign of a ferry. I try the postcode again. I’ll own up here, I have scribbled this down and can’t actually quite read my writing; this is not an unusual occurrence. The postcode I put in takes us somewhere called Aberdour. (It turns out this was the correct postcode for the island but not for the ferry). By this time, we have missed the ferry, which doesn’t go from here anyway. (I later discover we needed South Queensferry – ah well, hindsight and all that). Aberdour is a satisfactory plan B and after a wander along the coast path enjoying the wildflowers and bird song, we walk inland to Aberdour Castle.

It is likely that a stone tower was constructed here in the twelfth century by Sir William de Mortimer, making it one of the oldest castles in Scotland. Additions and improvements were made and by the sixteenth century, James Douglas, the Earl of Morton, regent to the under-age James VI, had created a residence with a lavish Renaissance garden on this spot. His doocot, with room for 600 pigeons, was designed as a status symbol. It includes ‘rat courses’, ridges to impede rats trying to get inside. Douglas was beheaded in 1581 when he was accused of murdering Henry, Lord Darnley, the king’s father and husband of Mary Queen of Scots. The property was owned by William Douglas, the 8th Earl of Morton in the seventeenth century and suffered from a severe fire in 1688. Troops were billeted here during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715 and another fire led to the gradual decay of the building, with major collapses in 1844 and 1919. The gardens have now largely been laid to lawns, which is a shame. We can however recommend the café’s produce. Aberdour’s claim to fame is that it featured in Outlander. I have never watched Outlander; is this sacrilege?

028 16 May 2019 Aberdour

We take a look at neighbouring St Fillan’s Church, which dates from 1123, or earlier. In 1790, the Countess of Morton got fed up with the great unwashed attending a church so close to the castle and had the roof removed, forcing the congregation to meet in town instead! It was restored in 1926. The stained glass is beautiful and I am also taken with the leper’s squint, allowing sufferers from leprosy to witness the service whilst limiting the danger of contagion (although leprosy is actually a great deal less easily transmitted than was believed). Allegedly, Robert the Bruce, a leprosy sufferer, used this squint.

On the way home, we see signs to ‘Scotland’s secret bunker’; spot the irony!

Off Again

Well, we are off on our adventures again. Barely had I recovered from Family Tree Live (let us be truthful I hadn’t recovered), when it was two days Swording and Spindling in the seventeenth century at a nearby school. This involved a first. My colleagues are used to coping with fainting students – it may have something to do with the fact that they are amputating limbs and hanging, drawing and quartering folk. Trying on clothes and armour is quite tame by comparison. This week though, I had my first fainting student whilst they were trying on armour. I almost managed to release them before they crumpled to the floor.

Hot on the heels of this was the annual Braund Society reunion, with 39 members and friends gathering together in North Devon. Although the temperatures were a tad on the low side, we did keep dry for our trips to Rosemoor and Coldharbour Mill. The latter was a first for me and it was very interesting, well worth a visit.

Rosemoor 4 May 2019 (1)

I don’t know what possessed me to decide to arrange to go away on the day immediately following the reunion but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Add to this the fact that I had a meeting with our lovely authors’ group on the morning of our departure and I was giving a talk in the afternoon, it all made for a hectic time. Just to make matters worse, on my final night at home, my hot water solar panels decided they would make a worrying noise at an unearthly hour. Despite turning the panels off, the noise persisted for several hours. I attempted to summon assistance from a fisherman of my acquaintance but inevitably his mobile was on charge and I did not want to ring the land line in the middle of the night as he had guests. I debated getting in the car to fetch help but decided against it. Even when the noise stopped, all that going in the loft in the middle of the night meant that sleep eluded me, so I was functioning (just) on two hours’ sleep. Fortunately, all seemed to be well when I left, so my house-sitters should not be disturbed.

In addition, to avoid having to park in town, I am normally dropped off for my authors’ meeting and then ring to be collected when it is over. On this occasion, time was particularly tight because of the talk in the afternoon. By a quirk of fate, both landline and mobile of my trusty assistant were malfunctioning so I had to power-walk the mile up the hill afterwards. My numerous attempts at making a telephonic connection also cost a small fortune as the malfunction mean that the landline went straight to answerphone, so I was charged. My thirteen-year-old pay-as-you-go phone has a flat rate charge of 35p per call. Multiply that by as many calls as I made and it would have been cheaper to get a taxi.

So, what was meant to be a relaxing holiday did not begin in very relaxing manner! We headed towards Tewkesbury for an uneventful overnight stop. The next day and it was off to the frozen north (I am not joking, there is currently snow where we are due to be next week). The weather was truly awful and the driver amongst us (not me) braved storm, tempest and roadworks as we wended our way to Whitely Bay in Northumberland. Our site has a view of the sea – in theory. We can just make it out through the mist and murk.

All about Pandas #Autismawareness #PDA

If you are expecting this post to be about family history, it isn’t. It isn’t about books either. It is however about family. As regular readers will know, my grandson, Edward, has a diagnosis of Autism with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). For more about what this means see my post Of Pokemon and Dinosaurs and being Edward and the website Being Edward, where his mum explains a little of the excitement that is life with Edward. 15th May is PDA awareness day and as a family, we are using the days around that time to spread information about the implications of PDA. Martha is coordinating a panda explosion. (Edit – We’ve discovered that one of the collective nouns for pandas is cupboard – so it will be a Cupboard of Pandas, rather than an explosion). The panda is the logo of the PDA Society, so toy pandas are to be hidden round the country, with explanatory cards attached, explaining a little about PDA. Martha’s blog post explains this more fully.

This started with the idea that close family would hide a few pandas but it is already spreading, with friends and acquaintances rushing in to buy and hide their own pandas, to fund panda purchases, to donate to The PDA Society, who do wonderful work and to spread awareness. If this takes off, we may extend it for a longer time period. If you know anyone who would like to make/buy/hide/name a panda. Do get in touch.

IMG_20190427_123405.jpg

Clock-makers, Vicars, Huguenots and Pirates: some family history excitements

Thank you to the wonderful family history friends who took up the challenge I outlined in my last post, to help me find the parents of my great great grandmother, Mary Cardell. As a result, I have had one of the most exciting weeks in over forty years of tracing my family. Although I have not yet ‘inked-in’ another generation, the people I believe to be Mary’s parents remain the most likely suspects. I have found out more about her sister, who led an ‘interesting’ life, apparently taking a man’s surname, living with him and his wife and eventually having a child by this man before posing as a widow and marrying a man with a criminal record. This pales into insignificance compared to my discoveries about Mary’s putative mother, Mary Ann Gutteridge (other spellings are also available). I must stress that there is still work to do to verify that these people are my relatives but it certainly looks likely. I do know the golden rule – prove each generation in turn before rushing backwards. Let’s just say, do as I say, not as I do. It started as an exercise to see if going backwards a little might confirm the more recent links and then I got carried away.

220px-Thomas_Mudge_-_Uhrmacher

Thomas Mudge wikimedia Commons

Not only is there a connection to Huguenot silk weavers from Spitalfields, exciting enough in itself but I am taken back from London to Devon. It seems I may have Devon ancestry on both sides of my family. I MAY be related to one Thomas Mudge, who was the Royal clockmaker to George III, has a lengthy entry in the Dictionary of National Biography and had his portrait painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds. This is rather different fare from my usual diet of agricultural labourers. There is a book about Thomas, his father and brothers, who had illustrious careers in various fields. Thomas’ father, Zachariah Mudge, was vicar of Abbotsham, just a few miles from where I live and headmaster of Bideford grammar school. Two generations earlier, we find details of a ransom being raised for one Hercules (aka Archelaus) Mudge, who had been captured by pirates in 1666. Wow! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Hercules could be shown to be my 8x great grandfather.

The morals of this story are, never give up. Revisit your genealogical brick walls often. Seek fresh pairs of eyes to re-examine the evidence. So far, I have ordered one death certificate for the wrong Mary Ann Cardale (spellings are many and varied), who I hoped might be Mary’s mother. I am wondering how many more wrong certificates I can afford.  I have contacted DNA matches who have Mudge in their ancestry but their Mudge connections are too far distant to account for the match – we must be related through a different family. I have accessed wills that could have helpfully mentioned married daughters by name, thus confirming the pedigree but no, not a mention of a daughter married to my ancestor or indeed to anyone else. It would have been helpful if gg grandma or her sisters had been baptised but again no, that would just make it too easy. If anyone feels like undertaking a mission of mercy at London Metropolitan Archives, it might put me out of my misery.

A Page from the Genealogical Birthday Book: Catherine’s Story

As promised, back to the family history today. Like most genealogists with UK ancestry, I have spent the last few weeks revisiting various branches of my family tree, making sure that I didn’t feel the need to purchase any more birth marriage and death certificates before the price rise. Inevitably, despite having a pretty comprehensive collection, there were a number that just fell into my virtual basket. I am not prepared to disclose precisely how many I am awaiting. I am consoling myself with how much I have saved, not how much I have spent. You know how it is – oh, I could just find out what that baby died from – click here. Annoyingly, I appear to have ordered at least one that I already have but that’s the fault of my inadequate filing system. Whilst I was compiling my very long modest certificate shopping list, I decided to make a note of all the anniversaries of my children’s direct ancestors in the form of a birthday book. I have only started from 1837 (the period of civil registration) and inevitably, there are far more births than deaths or marriages but it is interesting reading. Not much goes on in April or June. 23rd January looks like a dodgy day for our family, with no fewer than five deaths, including Catherine, who is the subject of this post.

Catherine’s birthday is today. I know that from the birthday book that I have created. Apart from my children and grandchildren, I am her only descendant. From my mother’s stories, she was not the most approachable person in the world, certainly not the archetypal cuddly granny. This is not a beautifully crafted story, it is merely my attempt to record the facts. I wish I had a more rounded picture of her life but this is the best I can do.

Catherine Seear 

Catherine Seear

Catherine Seear c. 1871

My great grandmother, Catherine was born on the 2nd of February 1866 to Frederick and Ann Balls Seear née Bulley. The family called her Katie, or Kate. She was their second child; her elder sister, Annie Ellen, lived just a few weeks in 1864. Catherine also had a half-brother, Frederick Rickard Seear, who was nine years old when Catherine was born. Three older half-sisters had also died in infancy. As the only daughter of five to survive, I wonder how her father treated her. The address that is given on Catherine’s birth certificate is 3 Market Terrace, Bridge Road, Bethnal Green, Middlesex.[1] This address does not appear to have existed and may be 3 Newmarket Terrace, Cambridge Road. Catherine’s family were comfortably off; her father was a master grocer with a shop in Hackney High Street, East London. Catherine’s younger brother, Richard, was born when she was thirteen months old.

Catherine Seear c. 1874

Catherine Seear c. 1876

By 1871, the family were living at 105 Grafton Street in Mile End. Her father’s business had expanded; he was a tea dealer employing eighteen men and there were two live-in domestic servants.[2] The family moved again fairly quickly because when Frederick made his will on the 4th of October 1875, he gave his address as 36 Cawley Road, Hackney.[3] In 1881, Catherine and her family were living at 11 Albany Road, Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, Essex.[4] Nothing is known of her education and she may have had private tuition; she spoke very good French.[5]

On the 22nd of February 1884, Catherine’s father, Frederick, died of angina, presumably a stroke, at 11 Albany Road. Despite imaginative searching, his widow, Anne and children Catherine and Richard cannot be found in the 1891 census.[6] When Catherine married the following year, she gave her address as 24 Eastbank, Stamford Hill, Hackney and this address is occupied only by a servant in 1891,[7] so the family may have been away from home. They apparently did enjoy cruises and pictures survive of someone purporting to be Catherine that were taken in Berlin, so they could have been on an overseas trip.[8]

 

Believed to be Catherine Seear. The right hand photograph was taken in Berlin.

On the 7th of June 1892 Catherine Seear married her first cousin, Herbert Havet Smith at St. Thomas’, Hackney. The witnesses were her brother, Richard and Eliza Smith, who was either Herbert’s mother or sister.[9] Their daughter, Edith Katie was born on the 8th of April 1893 and lived for just three days. The number of short-lived girls in the family might suggest some genetic problem. Edith Katie died from marasmus, which is a failure to thrive, akin to malnutrition.[10] She was buried at Abney Park Cemetery.[11] Their son, Frederick Herbert, my grandfather, was born on the 2nd of December 1894 at 32 Braydon Road, Stamford Hill, Middlesex. At the time, Herbert Havet was described as a corn salesman.[12] Frederick was apparently sickly as a child[13] and was not baptised until the 17th of October 1897.[14] The baptism took place at Stamford Hill Congregational Church[15] so it is likely that the family were still connected with the area at this date. This alliance with non-conformity is unusual in the Smith and Seear families and indeed Catherine Smith née Seear is reported to have become a Catholic in later life.[16]

In 1901, together with their young son, my grandfather Frederick Herbert (Eric) and Catherine’s mother, Anne Seear née Bulley, Catherine and Herbert were living at 159 Osbaldston Road, Hackney.[17] Despite having her mother to live with her, Catherine never spoke of her.[18] Anne was to leave this property to Catherine, along with furniture, plate and jewellery, in her will.[19] Herbert Havet was a cornbroker[20] and is thought to have travelled to India and China on business.[21] Several oriental artefacts remain in family possession. About 1908 Herbert and Catherine moved to ‘Lureka’, Westcliffe-on-Sea, Essex.[22] They later moved to Cambridge Road, Westbourne, Bournemouth, Dorset. Despite the ‘servant problem’ of the 1930s, they kept a butler, Basil and their granddaughter particularly remembered the red tulips in the garden.[23] By 1935 were at ‘St. Ann’s’, Bournemouth; this property had been converted into flats before they lived there.[24]

Catherine Smith nee Seear and Gwen Aug 1925

Catherine Smith née Seear and her granddaughter, Gwen

Catherine was described as being standoffish and undemonstrative, very ‘upper crust’ and a little like Queen Mary. She always sat on an upright dining chair with her crochet or knitting, with its steel needles on her lap. [25] The family were comparatively well off and owned other property in the Bournemouth area,[26] apart from the house in which they lived.[27] Apparently, Herbert put their properties into Catherine’s name to save death duties, thus she was able to give away much of their wealth to the Catholic church. Allegedly, they were left with nothing bit mortgages, an eiderdown, two cushions and an orange box for a table. If this is the case, then Herbert re-couped some of the money before his own death, twelve year’s after Catherine died. [28]

When Catherine died of a heart attack,[29] reportedly whilst replacing a light bulb,[30] on the 23rd of January 1938, they were living at 5 Branksome Gate, Western Road, Bournemouth.[31]

 

[1]    The birth certificate of Catherine Seear, 1866, from the General Register Office.

[2]    1871 census for 105 Grafton Street, Mile End, Middlesex RG10 568 folio 68.

[3]    The will of Frederick Seear proved 1884, held at The Principal Probate Registry.

[4]    1881 census for 11 Albany Road, Leabridge Road, Leyton, Essex RG11 1726 folio 5.

[5]   Information from the late Gwendoline Catherine Braund née Smith, granddaughter of Catherine Smith née Seear.

[6]    Census indexes for England and Wales at http://www.findmypast.co.uk.

[7]    1891 census for 24 Eastbank, Stamford Hill, Hackney, Middlesex RG12 183 folio 46.

[8]    Information from the late Gwendoline Catherine Braund née Smith, granddaughter of Catherine Smith née Seear. Photographs in the possession of the late Alan Seear.

[9]    The marriage certificate of Herbert Havet Smith and Catherine Seear, 1892 in family possession.

[10]  Death certificate of Edith Katie Smith 1893 from the General Register Office.

[11]    Abney Park Cemetery burials index website                           http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~abneypark/abneyy.html

[12]  The birth certificate of Frederick Herbert Smith 1894 from the General Register Office.

[13]   Information from the late Gwendoline Catherine Braund née Smith, granddaughter of Catherine Smith née Seear.

[14]   Baptismal certificate of Frederick Herbert Smith, in family possession.

[15]    Baptismal certificate of Frederick Herbert Smith, in family possession.

[16]    Information from the late Gwendoline Catherine Braund née Smith, granddaughter of Catherine Smith née Seear.

[17]    1901 census for 159 Osbaldston Road, Hackney Middlesex RG13 213 folio 87.

[18]    Information from the late Gwendoline Catherine Braund nee Smith, granddaughter of Catherine Smith née Seear.

[19]    The will of Ann Balls Seear proved 1918, held at the Principal Probate Registry.

[20]    The marriage certificate of Herbert Havet Smith and Catherine Seear 1892, in family possession.

[21]    Information from the late Gwendoline Catherine Braund née Smith, granddaughter of Catherine Smith née Seear.

[22]    Information from the late Gwendoline Catherine Braund née Smith, granddaughter of Catherine Smith née Seear.

[23]    Information from the late Gwendoline Catherine Braund nee Smith, granddaughter of Catherine Smith née Seear.

[24]    Information from the late Gwendoline Catherine Braund née Smith, granddaughter of Catherine Smith née Seear.

[25]    Information from the late Gwendoline Catherine Braund née Smith, granddaughter of Catherine Smith née Seear.

[26]    29 Surrey Road and ‘Hawthorn’ 40 Alumhurst Road.

[27]    Probate account in association with the will of Frederick Herbert Smith, proved 1957, in family possession.

[28]    Information from the late Gwendoline Catherine Braund née Smith, granddaughter of Catherine Smith née  Seear. Probate account in association with the will of Frederick Herbert Smith, proved 1957, in family possession.

[29]    The death certificate of Catherine Smith née Seear 1938, in family possession.

[30]    Information from the late Gwendoline Catherine Braund née Smith, granddaughter of Catherine Smith née Seear.

[31]   The death certificate of Catherine Smith née Seear 1938, in family possession.

A Visit from Chantelle Atkins

Last November, I visited Chantelle on her blog The Glorious Outsiders. Now it is time for her to stop by on my blog. I asked her about her writing life:

966419_520738181296053_718030010_oYour website is called The Glorious Outsider, can you say a little more about why you chose that name?

  • Yes, when I first started a blog it was just named after me, but a few years back someone I know online was sharing a lot of interesting content about building your brand and improving your website. It helped me think about my books and what I want my website to say about them, so I revamped my site accordingly. When thinking about what all my books have in common, I realised that all of my main characters are outsiders in one way or another, and also that none of them are ashamed of this. In fact, they take pride in it. That’s where the title Glorious Outsiders came from, and it just means people who are fine with being a bit different, or on the outside of something. It sums me up and my writing and my characters.

tbwttihs-p3 (1)What have you written that you are most proud of?

  • I would have to say the series I am working on, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side. It’s been such a long and complex journey. All my other novels were dreamed up, written down, published and dealt with. But this one first came to me when I was 12, and I wrote an early version of it at that age, again at 14, 16 and 19. It just wouldn’t go away and the characters have always been totally real to me. They are in my head almost constantly. I finally wrote it and published it in 2013 in two parts, and then went on to publish a sequel, This Is The Day, as the characters were still chatting to me, giving me ideas. I then revised it again a few years later and merged the two parts into one huge book. Since then ideas for a storyline that would slot between that book and the sequel would not leave me alone. To keep them quiet, I started penning a screenplay of this storyline, and this just encouraged it to get louder, so I then turned it into a novel. This led to the decision to revise The Boy With The Thorn In His Side yet again, split it back into two separate books, Part One and Part Two, release the new material as Part Three, revise and release what was the sequel as Part Four, and now inevitably, I’ve gone and written a rough draft of Part Five and plotted Part Six! What was a storyline I dreamt up as a 12-year-old will now be a six-part series I would describe as coming-of-age, suspense, crime and psychological thriller! Parts One and Two, with new covers have already been re-released and Part Three will be released at the start of February, with Part Four close after. I am proud of it, mainly because I wrote it purely for me, and because I still love the storylines and the characters so much, all these years later! I’m also proud of how much work has gone into it.

Would you say that what you write is character driven or plot driven?

  • I’d say it’s character driven in that the characters always come first. I get them first and the background, storylines, back stories and so on always come after. I normally build a plot around the characters that have arrived.

If I was looking at your typical reader, who would I see?

  • I thought about this recently and even blogged about it! I see my typical reader as someone a lot like me. Introverted but friendly, drawn to the dark side but eternally optimistic. I think they like character driven books, something hard-hitting and edgy. They might also be a music fan, and someone who craves nature.

Are there other writers or creative people in your family?

  • Not really, I was always the only one, but two of my four children do enjoy writing. My son prefers drawing, but will write comic books and bits of narrative for this characters, and my eldest daughter writes a lot of crime based stories.

How does your writing fit in with the rest of your life?

  • I make time for it every day. Now that my youngest has started full time school, I have a lot more time to work on writing in the day, but I do still do an hour or two each evening after he’s gone to bed as well. I run my own Community Interest Company which is writing based, so that keeps me busy as well, and I try to split my time equally between working on projects and events for that, and writing my own stuff. Writing is always in my head though. I’m the most distracted person I know, always in a dream, always thinking about the storylines and the characters!

You are in your dream location. Where are you?

  • I would say, just over the road from my house, Sopley Common. It’s a beautiful, wild, untamed landscape of sandy hills, heather and gorse, heathland, woods and streams. Mostly unoccupied I find, meaning I can walk my dogs in peace and think about writing! It’s featured heavily in two of my novels, This Is Nowhere and Elliot Pie’s Guide To Human Nature.

How did you go about getting your first book published?

  • I tried the agent and traditional publisher route for some time, and then decided to go with an indie publishing platform at the time called Autharium. They then went out of business and I put my books with Pronoun, who did a similar job but better. They then also went out of business, so I just self-published. Last year I signed up to an indie collective called Pict Publishing though. It’s still self-publishing but with a supportive network around you and the people running it have a lot of advice about marketing and promotional strategies, so I’m happy with it so far.

What one tip would you give to someone who says that they want to write a book?

  • Stop thinking you don’t have time, you’re not good enough, it won’t sell etc. Just clear your mind of all negatives and just do it. Once you’ve got that first draft you’re halfway there, but you’ve just got to get it done. Get it out.

What are you working on at the moment?

  • A few things! Obviously preparing The Boy With The Thorn In His Side Parts Threeand Four for release. Part Five is really calling to me for a second draft, but I’m trying to hold off at the moment, as I started a YA post-apocalyptic series I’m really passionate about, and it keeps getting side-lined. I’m up to Chapter 12 in book one and really want to get the first draft of book one done this year, so I’m dipping into it when I can. Obviously, the new releases come first and lots of preparation is going into that… Also, I have another YA book ready, A Song For Bill Robinson, and I want to send it out to a few publishers again, just in case. So I’m currently doing a read through on Word and trying to get the word count down, while also putting together a synopsis and a list of possible publishers. If no luck, I will also place it with Pict Publishing and release it towards the end of 2019 I expect. I’m also working on a second short story collection. I tend to accumulate them and released a collection in 2016. I also have some poetry this time around, which is new territory for me, but if I’m feeling really brave they will go into this collection and it will possibly get released this year.

What do you hope to achieve in the next five years?

  • I hope The Boy With The Thorn In His Side six part series is all finished and published. I’d then like to work on screenplays and try submitting them to competitions etc. I hope to have also completed the YA post-apocalyptic series and have published it. The short story and poetry collection will be out. The Ya book A Song For Bill Robinson will be published and it’s sequel, which I’ve also written, Emily’s Baby. If they are all out and done, I hope to be working on either the sequel to The Mess Of me and/or the sequel to The Tree Of Rebels, plus there is another book I have planned, which is sort of a spin-off book from The Boy series. Two characters appear in Part Five and Six and they are going to be getting their own book! I think that will keep me busy!

Chantelle Atkins was born and raised in Dorset, England and still resides there now with her husband, four children and multiple pets. She is addicted to reading, writing and music and writes for both the young adult and adult genres. Her fiction is described as gritty, edgy and compelling. Her debut Young Adult novel The Mess Of Me deals with eating disorders, self-harm, fractured families and first love. Her second novel, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side follows the musical journey of a young boy attempting to escape his brutal home life and has now been developed into a 6 book series. She is also the author of This Is Nowhere and award-winning dystopian, The Tree Of Rebels, plus a collection of short stories related to her novels called Bird People and Other Stories. Her next book Elliot Pie’s Guide To Human Nature was released through Pict Publishing in October 2018. Chantelle has had multiple articles about writing published by Author’s Publish magazine.

Links:

Website/blog : https://chantelleatkins.com/

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