Today sees the beginning of a hat trick of 2015 Reviews by members of my writing groups. The lovely Jennifer C Wilson starts us off and I’m thrilled that she’s on the blog today to review her rather special 2015.
It has to be the 6th June. In August this year, I ran my first writing workshop, and had been over to Arbeia, the planned location, to scope things out, so I was already in a very ‘writerly’ place. On the Metro home, I got the email from Crooked Cat Publishing, saying that they had enjoyed the manuscript I’d sent them, and would like to sign me up for my debut novel, ‘Kindred Spirits: Tower of London‘. I think I’d go so far as to say that it is the best thing that has happened to me as a writer in any year so far, let alone just 2015! I’ve wanted to have a novel published since I was a child, so I was just delirious when it happened. I went straight out and bought Prosecco and pizza to celebrate…
And how about a favourite moment from 2015 generally?
I think it has to be linked to the novel really – my whole year has been based around ‘Kindred Spirits’ since I submitted it, to be honest.
Crooked Cat held a day for their authors back in July, and as a brand new member of the team, I was invited along. It was such a fantastic day, spending the whole day in the company of my new publishing colleagues, hearing about the editing process in detail, and being given an insight into how best to use social media as a writer. It really made me feel a part of the writing world, and made me realise just how much I love that world.
Favourite book in 2015?
I really enjoyed reading ‘Macbeth: A True Story‘, but Fiona Watson, published in 2010. I bought it ages ago, but finally got around to reading it, and am so glad I did. Obviously, I’ve always known that Shakespeare’s version of ‘Macbeth‘ bore very little similarly to the real man, but to read his biography (granted, still a bit hazy, due to the mists of time), and put him in the context of the developing notion of ‘Scotland’ was really interesting.
Favourite film of 2015?
I’m not really a film person, and am definitely not a cinema person (last film I went to see in an actual cinema was ‘Johnny English Reborn‘ in 2011). So I’ll have to go for the same logic as above, and pick a film I’ve seen, rather than one which came out. Last Christmas, I sat down to watch ‘Skyfall‘, and really enjoyed it, so I think I’ll go for that one (only a couple of years late to the party!). I have to be honest and say I’ve not seen any of Daniel Craig’s other Bond films, as they seem to have taken a darker turn, and I prefer my Timothy Dalton era, but I thought it was fast-paced, not too gory, and had a great plot to it. Nice to see the Scottish highlands featuring too, albeit as the location for a very sad event.
Favourite song of the year?
‘Love is a Drug‘, by Markus Feehily. I’m a massive boyband fan, with Boyzone and Westlife being top of that list, so when Markus released his first single earlier this year, I was really chuffed to have more of his music to listen to.
Any downsides for you in 2015?
A few genuinely sad events did happen in 2015, but those who know me, know what they’ve been, so I’ll focus on a stupid sad event, from July. My friend Karen and I went up to Edinburgh for a Boyzone concert at the Castle, which was fantastic (obviously). Afterwards, we hovered around, as we always do, and suddenly, there’s Ronan Keating, literally 10 metres away from us. And we let him walk past. After 22 years of being fans, we just stood there. Happily, Shane Lynch was a few steps behind, and he was very lovely, but still. Ridiculous.
I am! I am going to try and finish NaPoWriMo again this year, and in general, just keep trying new things and be a bit adventurous. From a non-writing perspective, I need to cook more, as I’ve drifted into ‘heating things up’ instead, and I miss using my kitchen properly.
What are you hoping for from 2016?
An extension of 2015… I’ve had some great experiences this year, and am already planning for next year. I’m hoping to go to Swanwick Writers’ School next summer, and spend some time on my own abroad, so I’m hoping there’ll be a lot of writing taking place.
You can read more about Jennifer on her blog.