Friday, May 31, 2013

OVERHEARD wins its category at the Saboteur Awards

My contribution to OVERHEARD is a short story called THE CELL.
A while back I wrote a short story exploring the tortured mindscape of an Egyptian female hermit from the third century. It's called THE CELL and is published in a short story anthology from Salt Publishing entitled Overheard: Stories To Be Read Aloud edited by Jonathan Taylor (De Montfort University).

Overheard was nominated for a Saboteur Award this year, and I've just heard that it's won its category. So major congratulations to everyone involved!

What the Saboteur reviewer said about my story:
"Religious devotion is taken to a more disturbing extreme by the narrator in Jane Holland‘s ‘The Cell’, which beautifully evokes the isolation of a nun’s cell and her gradual descent into either madness or anther spiritual plane. Rather beautifully, Holland lets the reader see this as both a loss of health and also an outcome to be desired and welcomed."
 Review by Richard T. Watson

Contributors include: Salman Rushdie, Hanif Kureishi, Ian McEwan, Blake Morrison, Louis De Bernières, Adele Parks, Kate Pullinger, Adam Roberts, Michelene Wandor, Vanessa Gebbie, Judith Allnatt, Jo Baker, David Belbin, Panos Karnezis, Jane Holland, Gemma Seltzer, Ailsa Cox and Will Buckingham.

You can read more about OVERHEARD here on Amazon UK. 

The book is also available to buy from the Salt Publishing website.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

The Writing Rollercoaster

So I've finished another novel, the 90,000 word book I was working on for a new publisher, and have to start work on another next week, probably the third book in my Tudor Witch trilogy with Corgi. Though there is another project in the wings, waiting for a green light. If the light comes, that one will take precedence, as the Tudor Witch finale is not due until the autumn.

There's such an emotional and mental high about finishing a novel, a real burst of energy towards the end to get you over that final bump in the road. It's addictive, makes you want to start a new one immediately. Well, that's the effect it has on me. The issue is that you suddenly hit a wall a few days after the book is done, a wall of total exhaustion that forces you into a coma-like rest from writing. So it's important to wait a beat, and not let the high fool you into thinking it was easy.

Of course, finishing a book is not the same as it being ready to send. I have to fiddle with it first. My spelling is superlative, so that's never been an issue for me. However, beyond the inevitable typos, there will be continuity errors, forgotten plot threads, character screw-ups, and possibly a gaping hole at the centre of the book.

Well, the gaping hole theory is unlikely in this case, as it's a fairly straightforward love story, no aliens or quantum physics or mysterious locked room murder to account for. But the rest? Definitely possible.

So over the next week I will be administering mouth-to-mouth to my finished manuscript so that when it appears, as if by magic, on the editor's computer screen next week, it will be as clean and watertight as I can get it.

Then she will smile, point out all the issues I missed, and make me fix them.

By then, of course, I shall be up to my waist in my next novel. And hopefully loving it as much as I loved this one, which almost seemed to write itself. Let's hope it knew what it was doing.