Friday, 27 April 2012

Novels, Kindles and Authors.

April 23rd was World Book Night; a fact that would have escaped me had I not come across Kathleen Jones' blog and read her post.
The Book Night coincided with Shakespeare's birthday and in London thousands of books were to be given away free.  Many libraries held special events and on television, ITV produced a programme called "The Genius of Dahl" with David Walliams exploring his story-telling and talking to illustrator, Quentin Blake. On Woman's Hour Doris Lessing was to be interviewed, but unfortunately I didn't manage to catch either of these.
However, Kathleen's blog mentioned the fact that Kindle were offering free books to download on that night and I got one!  Apologies to Kathleen, I didn't choose her "Life of Christina Rossetti" but a thriller that seemed like an easy-read, before I tackle Tove Jansson's "Summer Book" and "Suite Francaise" by Irene Nemirovsky - both for the  reading group Room to Write and Read that meets at Whitworth Hall on May 21st.


Sunday, 22 April 2012

11 Year Olds and Writing

At our Writers Group last week we were presented with the unusual task of imagining ourselves as eleven year old children, sitting the SATS examination in English and to write a story in one hour.
We were given a sheet for planning the story; a long list of instructions about grammar and punctuation that should be used and another with details of the story to be written.
At first glance it seemed an onerous task for children, but somebody pointed out that eleven-year-olds had always been expected to reach this stage and she remembered learning all these things at her village school, which surprised some of the writers there.  However, I agreed with her.
Amongst the treasures at the back of my cupboard, I have an exercise book that I used when I was working towards the 11+ examination and hoping to win a place at the local Girls' Grammar school, so I rummaged in the back of that cupboard and unearthed the exercise book and sure enough, the English exercises were very similar to those required in today's SATS paper.
My writing was clear; the adjectives imaginative; the sentences rather formal but correct for that era and I'd learnt about punctuation. So really, little has changed.  And of course the 11+ was a very stressful examination taken in two parts with many children eliminated after the first one. Of those who progressed to the second, few reached the required standard.
The results were published in the Northern Echo on a specific date in August, often before the postman had delivered the official letter to the house, so imagine the nerve-racking search amongst the lists of names and the disappointment if yours was missing, but the triumph if it was there.
Mine was - the single success from my school that year.
I could look forward to bottle green uniforms; hockey sticks; violin lessons; latin and lots and lots of books. I would mix with girls travelling by bus from surrounding areas and those coming by train from Barnard Castle and even Middleton-in-Teesdale. During one extreme winter those girls still arrived and we were all given cups of hot cocoa, spoilt by the skin on the top of it. We ate our lunch at tables on the balcony overlooking the hall; that big space with a stage where the Headmistress stood in her black gown to address us all in Assemblies. At other times the hall was transformed into a gymnasium with punishing ropes that we were meant to climb and parrallell bars as well as wall bars - not my favourite lesson! The school was a new world and seemed so big to me at eleven, but at a re-union last year I saw that it was really quite small and compact compared to the huge Comprehensive scools that have developed now.
I realise how hard I must have worked and how fortunate I was to pass that 11+ examination that opened the doors to a whole new life.
Good luck to all the 11 year olds who will sit that SATS examination in a few weeks time.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Same Author;Different Genres

My novels were written in quick succession but are very different genres.
"The Smile of Deceit" is a murder-mystery set in a quiet hotel on the edge of the Lake District, while "The Bridge to the Moon" is a Family Saga, emotional and heart-warming.  And yet they are linked by the fact that they are both character driven and readers say that the people in them live on in their minds long after they've finished the books.     

A Lake District Garden
In "Smile of Deceit," Paul Hutchinson, a guest at the Ascot Hotel appeals to everybody because of his artificial leg and his unusual hobby of knitting, using wool in all the colours of the Lake District scenery. Then there is Donna who cleans the hotel and sees good in everybody; even her two-timing husband, Mark who is involved with Helen, wife of the hotel manager. Her innocent view of the situation is at odds with what is really happening amongst the staff and guests at this busy hotel.

"Bridge to the Moon" is a lively story that concentrates on Billy-Boy and Felicity, two young people from the same town, but totally opposing environments. Brought together by loneliness, an unlikely friendship develops and they struggle to support each other as the story moves from a Care Home in the north to  a hostel in London; from a prison cell to a flat in a castle. They battle to build a life together and when baby Marguerita is born they feel they have created a family that will last forever.
However, in a neighbouring town, another very respectable family is waiting to adopt!
In spite of all their trials, this story produces a determination and a will to succeed against all the odds.


 Relevant information about my novels published in 2010 and 2011.

"The Smile of Deceit." by Eileen R Elgey ISBN 978184923503700799
"Bridge to the Moon" by Eileen R Elgey. ISBN 978190860386990000

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

April Fools' Day

April 1st has always been a significant date for me, but this year it was far from being a fool's day.
My second novel “Bridge to the Moon,” published at the end of 2011, was featured on local radio in Wendy Robertson’s programme www.bishopfm/ This is a unique programme for writers by writers, chaired by Wendy and broadcast on Bishop FM.
On April 1st it featured my novel and one by David Williams, “Mr Stephenson’s Regret.”  The two stories were linked by London scenes; mine the South Bank with its colourful mixture of tourists and beggars, museums and book stalls and with a particular archway that always attracts skateboarders.  And Billy-Boy is a champion skateboarder.
A North Country boy seeking his fortune in the city, he’s grown up in Care, but at 17 he has to go out into the world alone.  His ambition is to have a home of his own and a family to fill it, but he thinks he’s wishing for the moon until he meets Felicity, who just might form the bridge to that moon.

Readers said: -   The story was riveting and kept me wanting to read the next bit.

It will be popular with women everywhere.

Billy-Boy and Felicity were both incredibly well-drawn.  I really loved them.
I could see this as a brilliant made-in-Britain film.

The programme can be heard on

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The Flu Bug

I sometimes think that the Flu Bug must have a personality of its own - a very perverse personality.
I imagine it choosing its victim and then watching and waiting; waiting and watching until that victim has some really important arrangement, perhaps a special meeting or an interview, or in my case, a holiday.
Yes, on Monday of last week I should have been in the East Coast Express thundering towards London.   My seat was booked, the hotel organised and the sun was shining. Instead I was left at home, aching and miserable; cursing that wretched Flu Bug and wondering why it had to pick on me.


We all know that correct punctuation is vital to any piece of writing, whether it's a whole novel or the prices on a greengrocer's stall.
So I had to chuckle today when I spotted this typing error in a church newsletter.

Holy Communion
With Easter e.g. hunt for children in
the churchyard.

I hope they find some!