On today, the final day of 2012, it’s my turn to review my year.
2012 has been a changeable year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?
I have a couple of professional moments that stand out for me this year. In August, I was given the job of official blogger at the Whitley Bay Film Festival. It’s a local project that’s in its third year and I was just thrilled to be involved. Whitley Bay is a seaside town that’s much beloved by people all over the UK, it was a popular holiday destination in the times when overseas packages were the things of dreams. The film festival holds showings in iconic buildings all over Whitley – including the old Spanish City Dome and the Lighthouse. The Film Festival is run completely by volunteers and I have got so much respect for the people involved. Not only do they set up the timetable, secure venues and get them ready for public viewings, they also make every screening unique as well as getting members of the community involved in a range of activities. I ate a lot of popcorn over those two weeks and I loved every second of it.
The other moment is when I found out that my short story, The Piano, had won first prize in North Tyneside council’s Story Tyne competition. I received a letter informing me I was a winner but to find out which position I was in, I’d need to attend an awards ceremony on 29th November. I was pretty sure I’d come third, and was really just happy to be in the top three out of the hundreds that entered.
The lovely Mari Hannah judged the stories blindly and gave awards out in the children’s category, giving a brief synopsis of each story before announcing the title and name of the author. After that, came the adult category. When Mari read out the story in third place’s synopsis, I realised it wasn’t mine. Second, I thought, that’s pretty great. And then the synopsis for second place story was read out – and it wasn’t mine. A small tear slid down my face and The Boy Wonder squeezed my hand. My parents, my brother and his girlfriend had come to support me and I was really chuffed to win. Writing can be lonely and I often doubt myself and my writing so to get feedback from anyone is always helpful but winning an award made me realise I must be doing something right.
And how about a favourite moment from 2012 generally?
I was so relieved when President Obama got re-elected as I was petrified what America might come to if Romney had won.
However, the surprise of 2012 for me was the Olympics. I sat watching the opening ceremony, moaning about the waste of money and the farce that had been G4S but by Day 2, I was absolutely enthralled. My dad was an Olympic Ambassador while Newcastle hosted some of the football heats and he loved every moment of it. I remember visiting the city centre on the day of one of the matches and the atmosphere in town was absolutely wonderful. Everyone was smiling and I think the games in general really lifted the country. For me, though, the Paralympics was absolutely amazing. The stories of the athletes, from people who were born with disabilities to others who had been injured during childhood or in later life, were massively inspiring.
Favourite book in 2012?
I recently read ‘The Casual Vacancy’ by JK Rowling and it is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I’ve never read any of her ‘Harry Potter’ books but the depth and intelligence she’s written in ‘The Casual Vacancy’ is absolutely immense. It’s a real tour de force. As an author, I found it absolutely incredible and ever so slightly intimidating!
Favourite film of 2012?
Loved ‘The Woman in Black’ – absolute fright-fest.
I’d waited four years for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and, although there were some things I was disappointed with, it was still totally one of the best films I’ve seen in ages.
Having not read ‘The Hunger Games’, I was really impressed with the movie. Like ‘Dark Knight Rises’, it had plenty of action which looked great on the big screen plus the costumes and sets are wonderful.
Favourite song of the year?
‘Paris’ by Jay-Z and Kanye West has been a massive favourite for me. My brother and I went to see them in Birmingham and, although I’d loved it before, seeing them do it live was ace.
Latterly, I have been obsessed with ‘Candy’ by Robbie Williams. It’s a real return to form for him and every time I hear it, I can’t help smiling and singing along.
Any downsides for you in 2012?
My health is a real struggle, it makes everything so much harder. I’m still undergoing investigations to give it an official name but it appear my immune system is attacking my body which means day-to-day is difficult and if I get an infection, I’m really knocked for six. But I remain really hopeful that I will get better or at least manage to keep myself on a more even keel.
Are you making resolutions for 2013?
I’d like to be more disciplined about my writing but I also know I have to be realistic and not run myself into the ground. That said, I promised myself 2013 would be the year I finished writing my novel so that’s my main aim.
What are you hoping for from 2013?
I’ve been so lucky that I’ve released two e-books this year and been featured in a couple of anthologies but in 2013, I’d love to complete my novel and get a publishing deal (a girl can dream, can’t she?).
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for reading this blog and for getting involved. From reblogs to retweets, interviews to short stories and everything in between, this blog wouldn’t be the same without the readers and contributors. I had hoped to have 20,000 views by the end of 2012 which may seem modest to many people but this blog has been going for just over a year and a half so 20,000 seemed pretty impressive. However, on 16th December, the blog reached the magic number. It gets views from so many different countries every day, it amazes me. So thank you for reading and supporting this blog.
I wish you all a very happy 2013!