Category Archives: Review of 2013

I review my 2013.

So, today is the final day of 2013. How was it for you? Here’s how it was for me. 

Wishing you all the best for 2014.

Vic x

Vic

2013 has been a great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?

2013 really has been a good year for me. Although I haven’t done a great deal of writing, I set up my own business, Elementary V Watson, and it has got off to a great start. I’m running a couple of writing groups a week and arranged two performance evenings as well.

Completing the first year of my teaching degree and being rated ‘outstanding’ was pretty special.

I did my first ever public reading in April 2013 at the Literary & Philosophical Society in Newcastle. That was nerve-wracking but seemed to go well.

The blog post I wrote about Sjogren’s Syndrome was well-received, too. Oh, and I was invited back to blog for Whitley Bay Film Festival.

EVW

And how about a favourite moment from 2013 generally?

On the whole, 2013 has been a really good year for me. I’m managing to stay relatively healthy (most of the time) and I got a diagnosis of Sjogren’s Syndrome after all these years of wondering. Although that’s not a great thing to have, it means I am now supported by a confidence-inspiring medical team and I know that I’m not being fobbed off. My health is improving which is great and I started going to the gym which helps. I was lucky enough to be bridesmaid for my best friend in June which was wonderful. When I look back on 2013, it is with happiness.

Favourite book in 2013?

‘And the Mountains Echoed’ by Khaled Hosseini. Followed by ‘The Lollipop Shoes’ by Joanne Harris.

Favourite film of 2013?

That’s a tough question to answer. I loved ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, ‘Django Unchained’ and I thought ‘Stoker’ was very good indeed. That said, I went to see ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ twice at the cinema and I loved it both times, I have a wee girl crush on Katniss.

Favourite song of the year?

‘Blurred Lines’ by Robin Thicke. I know the song and the video caused a lot of controversy but I think too much was read into it. It’s just a great, catchy pop song that makes me think of happy times in the summer. I also love ‘Work Bitch’ by Britney, it’s a great song to listen to in the gym.

Any downsides for you in 2013?

There’s been no Lotto win for me. Other than that, the only disappointment is that I haven’t had time to write very much.

Are you making resolutions for 2014?

Keep thinking positively, keep trying to exercise but know your limits.

What are you hoping for from 2014?

To graduate from my PGCE. I’d like to do more writing and become thinner too. Too much?

If Santa was to bring you any one thing you wanted on Xmas morning, what would it be?

Extreme weight loss or a Lottery win. Or both. Oh, and a cure for all of the world’s ills.

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Allison Davies reviews her 2013.

Allison Davies is one of the best friends a gal can have. I met her – like Michelle – when we did our Masters together and I am so happy to see how her writing career has progressed since we graduated. Now it’s over to Alli to review her 2013.

Vic x

Allison Davies

2013 has been a great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?

2013’s been pretty good so it’s hard to pin down a single favourite, though seeing my debut play Weather to Fly get the full production treatment is definitely up there. OddManOut https://www.facebook.com/oddmanouttheatre?fref=ts and our actors did a brilliant job, we got some lovely reviews and it spurred me on to complete another theatre script which may well get an airing in 2014. There are rustlings in the undergrowth so watch this space. And Weather to Fly is touring again in 2014, in the north east and beyond.

And how about a favourite moment from 2013 generally? 

Can I have 20? No? OK. 19 then. Over the course of the year I met some wonderful people and enjoyed a shedload of special moments, but one in particular stands out. It’s got nothing to do with celebrity twerkers or royal shoe sizes mind.  I travel to Nepal occasionally with Danusha, the ethical jewellery project that I help run along with a couple of friends. Back in April we were in Kathmandu when one of our jewellery makers brought her disabled son to the workshop – 6 year old Hitesh. He was a shy kid with huge brown eyes, and all I really wanted to do was get him to crack a smile. He had a battered old toy car and I started playing with it. It didn’t take long before Hitesh and I were legging it up and down the balcony, doing our best Ferrari engine noises, and giggling like, well, 6 year olds. It was pretty special.

As adults I think we often discount the power of play, of letting go and just being, and of seeing what comes. Hitesh is my 2013 hero for reminding me about the things that really matter – relationship, humanity, connection, finding joy in the moment.

I do need to give a special mention to Meerkat TC too. Kats, you are outstanding! Your creative company has been a source of energy and laughter throughout the year and I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings.

Weather

Favourite book in 2013?

It wasn’t published in 2013, but on my birthday a family member took the trouble to send me a copy of When Marnie Was There by Joan G Robinson, which has been on my wish list for years. It was a childhood favourite for reasons I won’t bore you with here. Suffice to say I have very few keepsakes from the first 20 years of my life, so when this arrived in the post I was bowled over, especially as it was the edition my Dad gave me on my 7th birthday.

Favourite film of 2013?

Hmmmm. If you’re talking about films released this year it’s a toss-up between The Invisible Lighthouse http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_vGHqIvoHg  and Silver Linings Playbook. I loved the cinematography in Life of Pi too. But the best film I saw in 2013 was Lee Chang-Dong’s Poetry. A moving, powerful, thoughtful story and 100% superb!

Favourite song of the year?

If you’d asked me a couple of months ago I’d have said Take These Bones http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8bJu5HEnH0   by Fran Smith. I love belting it out at full bore when I drive the Military Road to Cumbria to visit my Mum. But then November came and Pharrell Williams released this understated groove http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM which makes me grin every time I hear it. And then there’s Arcade Fire http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7E0fVfectDo and Alt-J and Nick Cave and London Grammar and Daughter and Thundercat and… Well, you get the picture.

Any downsides for you in 2013?

Nothing major. A few health niggles, and a few people behaving like knackas at times. Grrrrr!  (knacka: Geordie term of mild abuse, meaning idiot, dipstick, plonker. Also testicle. Make of that what you will.)

Are you making resolutions for 2014?

In common with many of your reviewers I don’t really do resolutions, though I’ve come up with a few simple rules for living. Eat more cake. Don’t forget to play. Learn something new. Try not to be a knacka. When, inevitably, you behave like a knacka, apologise. Forgive other people when they behave like knackas, even if it costs you to do it, or alternatively, bop ‘em on the nose with a frozen kipper.

What are you hoping for from 2014?

It would be wonderful if people took a bit more responsibility for their consumption of resources, cared for each other and the planet and lobbied for fair working conditions for those who manufacture the stuff we wear, eat etc. (I’m looking in the mirror here.) We could all do with being more open, and less mean spirited, and I get really angry at some of the things I hear people say about their fellow human beings. Oh, don’t get me started or we’ll be hear all day.

Oh yeah, this is meant to be about writing, isn’t it? Well then, I’d like to get better at it as there’s always something new to learn. I’m interested in working collaboratively so am open to opportunities for that. The magic gets turned all the way up to 11 when there’s more than one person in the room. Otherwise it’s just me at my desk, talking to the people in my head. Cue chicken noises.

I often find it hard to concentrate on one thing at a time, so in 2014 I’d like to be a bit more focussed about life in general. I’ve been practicing meditation (mindfulness, breath) for a while now and I find it incredibly helpful.


If Santa was to bring you any one thing you wanted on Xmas morning, what would it be?

I’m spending Christmas and New Year in India which is fab, but I do miss my friends back home, not to mention long walks on bright, cold beaches. So if you’re reading this Mr Santa and if your tuk tuk does late deliveries, please deliver the sound of the North Sea at Druridge Bay when the wind’s blowing easterly and the waves tear up the beach, along with a massive hug from my friends.

I guess what I’m really asking for is a little soul warmth to end the year.

Callum Gibson reviews his 2013.

During my Masters, I met lots of great writers. One of those people was Callum Gibson. Here’s Callum to chat about his highs ‘n’ lows of 2013.

Vic x

Callum Gibson

2013 has been a great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?

2013’s been a funny year for me, writing-wise as my projects have flitted around all over the place. First off I published a psych-horror novel – ‘House!’ with Good Guy Publishing. It was a book that had been giving me a little trouble, and took so much longer to finish than I first thought it would, and getting it done and out there was a pretty big deal for me.

Second up, after the grueling task that writing ‘House!’ had become (don’t worry, I’m assured that reading it is a lot less miserably ponderous) I took a change of pace and wrote a novel called ‘The Rubber Spider’. It’s a kids book – first love, best holiday, witnessing the breakdown of an adult relationship, nightmares, yaddah yaddah – and it’s also the first time that I’ve ever written about my Grandma and Granddad. I’m not normally one to rap about my own scribblings, but I think it’s kind of wonderful in its own little way. It needs a polish, but that’s what 2014’s for.

And third up I rewrote the novel that got me through my MA in Creative Writing, ‘Knowin’ Jack’. When I first wrote it a couple of years ago, I thought – in all my ignorant arrogance – that it was done, but going back to it was really kind of groovy as I totally pulled it to bits, put it back together, and I think it’s all the stronger for it… and hopefully the agents, publishers, Hollywood, and everybody else in the world will agree.

Amongst all this I published a collection of all my works for Good Guy entitled ‘The Black Cover Books’, which involved reworking the previously published works and writing a new short which I totally dug doing, even though some of the older stuff was a little angrier and scrappy than I remember.

And then, after all that, to cap off the year, I’m taking part in two anthologies of shorts. One is called ‘The Tempting Providence Collection’ and I appear there with a strange little tale named ‘Dear Michelle’, and then a second one where Good Guy is reforming my graduating class and we each have a punt at telling a uni-related tale.

So my favorite moment of 2013? I’m not sure. I just got a PS4 for Christmas… that was really cool.

How about a favourite memory from 2013 in general?

This year I managed to land the lady of my dreams (stop laughing at the back), so the whole year’s been more awesome than I have the skill to say. We did go to New York City for a week which was thoroughly bitching, so yeah, I think I’ll say that. But that was only seven days in a year when the other 358 have been just as magical (Hey, I said stop laughing!).

 

Favourite book in 2013?

I’ve written a lot this year, so my reading’s taken a bit of a hit, but I’ve started wrestling with ‘Game of Thrones’ (I like it but… I don’t know), and it’s pretty cool, if not a little rambling. I loved ‘Doctor Sleep’ because it was by the master and who didn’t want to find out what happened to Danny Torrance? I got a huge kick out of ‘Spud: Exit Pursued by a Bear’, which rounds off Van De Ruit’s chronicles of a young boy’s time at a South African boarding school. But I have to say that my favourite book this year has to be ‘Joyland’ by Stephen King. I read it in two afternoons in the sun lying in my garden, and boy is it a work of art. Small and personal, hilarious and terrifying, ‘Joyland’ shows King at his best since maybe ‘From a Buick 8’, and it was a joy to sup Buds, smoke butts, and  try and hang on to the ride.

 

Favourite film of 2013?

2013’s been a funny old year for movies in that there’s been a bunch of cool looking stuff come out, but most of it’s sucked. ‘Iron Man 3’ was pretty awesome, but I was going to like that even if it was as terrible as, say, ‘Iron man 2’, because it was written and directed by Shane Black and I have the biggest dude-crush on that guy and his wittily written banter (Seriously, go watch ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’… you’re welcome). ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’ achieved the impossible and was crappier than its infinitely crappy title would suggest. I liked the ‘Evil Dead’ remake (it was groovy, nooch). But you know the flick that really got me going? It was a small release called ‘Side Effects’. Not only did it blow me away, it also made me not hate Jude Law as much as I always have. No mean feat, I tells ya.

 

Favourite song of the year?

Any of y’all ever play a videogame called ‘The Last of Us?’ developed by Naughty Dog (the cats who knocked ‘Crash Bandicoot’, ‘Jak & Daxter’, and most recently ‘Uncharted’ out of the park) and released in the summer, ‘The Last of Us’ is a game like no other in that it takes great pleasure of emotionally walloping you in your heaving guts as it breaks your heart, pulls it from your yelping mouth, spits on it, and then feeds it back into your mewling maw… Anyway, the game was amazing and the soundtrack kicked ass too. So I want to say that, though I don’t know if it counts. If it doesn’t then we’ll go with that tune by AWOL Nation that played over ‘The Councilor’ (a flick so cold that even the snowman’s junk shrunk in the theatre) trailer. It didn’t come out this year, but 2013 is the year it came to my attention. And if that doesn’t count then I’ll say ‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus… the chick’s all naked and such in the video. Oh, ‘True Love’ by P!nk and what’sherface. That reminds me of my lady. I like that.

 

Any downsides for you in 2013?

Yeah, I suppose. I still consider myself a struggling writer who has the same job as I did when I was at school. And I hate that. Jessica tells me not to be silly but sometimes… (I know I’m not allowed to swear hear so if you could just imagine me sighing whilst saying a word that begins with ‘fu’ and ends in ‘ck’ that would be grand). Yeah, that gets me down. But we’ll see. And, like I said, 2013 has literally been the best life of my life… and I mean that. Completely and utterly.

 

Are you making resolutions for 2014?

Yeah, probably. Will I stick to them? I’m not sure. I’m a big fan of cigarettes and whisky, and I’ve thought about quitting the former a few times but… I just love ‘em so much. I don’t want to sound like a church-fete tea-towel but I also want to really go for stuff, y’know? Like, regardless if it’s out of my comfort zone and such… but, y’know, losing a little weight and firming up the moobs would be good enough.

 

What are you hoping for from 2014?

Me and my lady are buying a house and I can’t wait for that. We’re also going to Rhodes for a holiday in May. I’m also going to read ‘The Divine Comedy’… and probably ‘It’ for the hundredth time. I have the afore-mentioned uni-short to finish, and I also have an idea for a novel which, when I’m not rocking the new box of tricks from Sony, I’m hopefully going to write. I’d also like to rewrite ‘The Rubber Spider’ and sell it. I need the money (who doesn’t?) but I think it’s a good enough tale to be told, and that it has a little something to say that might be worth listening to. I’m also going to rewrite ‘Knowin’ Jack: Older! Wiser? and finally I’d like to get on the PGCE course for teaching primary school kids. So y’all keep your fingers crossed for me, y’hear?

If you’re interested in reading a few dark tales that are both horrifying and humorous then peep the link before. You’ll also see a picture of my face, which is just as horrifying and hideous as my work. I apologise for that, but Amazon like an Author Pic like you read about. Anyway, here’s the link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Callum-Gibson/e/B007VBJ3VS/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1388113960&sr=8-2

Or you can follow me on Twitter at @CGibsonWrites.

Or you can hit me up on Facebook (I’m the Callum Gibson with his head superimposed on a Die Hard 4.0 poster).

Luca Veste reviews his 2013.

Another one of my friends, Luca Veste, has had a  smashing 2013 (I’m hoping to become successful just by being mates with all of these clever people), here he is to tell us about it. 
Vic x
Luca Veste
2013 has been a great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?
The moment I signed the contract with Avon/HarperCollins for a two book deal. It was the first of many moments when I thought “Crikey…I’m going to have a book out!”
Dead Gone
And how about a favourite moment from 2013 generally? 
It’s a draw between Mo Farah winning the 5000 and 10000 metre finals at the World Championships, and Andy Murray winning Wimbledon. Murray arguably just wins for individual achievement, with the pressure that was on him. Both outstanding personal sporting achievements though.
Favourite book in 2013?
It’s been a really great year for books, with so many that could have made up a top 5 or 10. One book is head and shoulders above the rest though, and that’s The Cry by Helen FitzGerald. An incredible novel.
Favourite film of 2013?
Again, as with every year, I’ve barely watched anything newly released. I think I’ve been to see one new release in the picturehouse this year and that was the disappointing ‘At World’s End’. I’ll go with the film I watched for the first time this year (and cheat) which was The Dark Knight. Five years after everyone else saw it!
Favourite song of the year?
I very rarely listen to new music, but one song I love from this year is Roar by Katy Perry. Given my musical taste ranges from Pink Floyd to Gary Moore usually, this is a bit out of left-field, but I love the track. No idea why.
Any downsides for you in 2013?
I still haven’t invented a device which gives you more hours in a day. Very annoyed with myself. In reality, I did have surgery which left me being unable to do much for over a month. Other than that, no. It’s been a pretty incredible year for me.
Are you making resolutions for 2014?
I never make resolutions. They’re just things to break. I’d like to be playing footy every week by the end of Jan. And keep on keeping on.
What are you hoping for from 2014?
A continuation of the good feeling which has been prevailing in 2013. Oh, and certain politicians to have a change of heart, Scrooge style, over Christmas and stop targeting the most vulnerable in society.
If Santa was to bring you any one thing you wanted on Xmas morning, what would it be?
Football Manager 2014. I need a new thing to use as procrastination.

Allen Miles reviews his 2013.

Here’s another great writer to chat about his 2013. I give you the fab Allen Miles.

Vic x

Allen Miles

2013 has been a great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?

I wouldn’t say it’s been a great year really because due to my obsessiveness and ludicrously high-standards my second book, This Is How You Disappear, isn’t quite finished yet. However, the success of the website I run with my bosom buddy Martyn has been a real point of optimism. We’ve just gone over the 20,000 hit mark. Not bad for nine months. It’s brought me a huge feeling of satisfaction to have been able to give people with untapped talent a platform to get noticed. Two of our writers have been on the BBC this year.

This is How You Disappear

And how about a favourite moment from 2013 generally? 

My friend Andrew and I met Will Self in February at a reading he gave in the Orchard Centre in North Hull. We spoke briefly over a cigarette after his show. He seemed like an extremely pleasant chap. Other than that, it was a real highlight to hear my daughter say “Daddy, I want to dance to ‘Show Me The Wonder’.”

Favourite book in 2013?

It didn’t come out in 2013 but ‘Collected Stories’ by Peter Carey is one that I’ve enjoyed thoroughly. I’m also thoroughly looking forward to Morrissey’s ‘Autobiography’, which I shall expect for Christmas.

Favourite film of 2013?

Again, not one from this year but ‘The Parallax View’ was one that I watched for the first time and thought was fantastic. It’s a really subversive conspiracy-thriller from the 70’s starring Warren Beatty.

Favourite song of the year?

There’s been some great albums released this year. I’ve enjoyed the My Bloody Valentine album, the new David Bowie, Queens Of The Stone Age, Suede and Nick Cave. The Nick Cave album in particular is superb, but I think the song I’ve listened to most this year is probably Sabotage by Suede so I’ll say that.

18 Days

Any downsides for you in 2013?

Jessie J is still getting on the telly. She’s ghastly isn’t she? I’m going to start writing letters…

Are you making resolutions for 2014?

Yes! I will finish my book, then we’ll be pushing forward with On The Swings Publications, which will be hopefully publishing at least two e-books in 2014. One will get immense critical acclaim, outrage from Daily Mail readers and very little sales. The other will sell loads if the writer in question ever finishes it!

What are you hoping for from 2014?

I’d like to start making a bit of money from what I’m doing, I’m well aware that there isn’t a great deal to be made if you’re in an awkward market but I have a very expensive taste in clothes and most of my trousers are falling to bits.

If Santa was to bring you any one thing you wanted on Xmas morning, what would it be?

Some new trousers.

I hope Santa sent Allen some new trousers! You can download Allen’s first book, 18 Days, now and he assures his next book ‘This is How You Disappear’ will be out in the next few weeks. He and his friends can be found ranting at http://www.sittingontheswings.com

Kevin Bufton reviews his 2013.

By the power of the mighty Facebook, I’ve been introduced to lots more lovely people this year. Kevin Bufton is one of those people. I’ve invited him to review his 2013. So, sit back, eat some leftover turkey and sweets (not together, obviously) and see how 2013 has been for Kevin.

Vic x

Kevin Bufton

2013 has been a great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?

Without question, seeing the first reviews roll in for my debut novella ‘Cake‘, and my first short story collection, ‘Six of the Best: A Hellish Half-Dozen‘. It was great to have the books released, but to find out that people read them, and actually enjoyed them, well – it makes the long and lonely nights in front of the laptop worth it.

Cake

And how about a favourite moment from 2013 generally? 

I think it’s safe to say that the Royal baby was barely a blip on my personal radar. That meteor exploding over Chelyabinsk in Russia was certainly an impressive spectacle, mostly because it looked like something out of a science fiction movie. I feel bad calling it a favourite moment when so many people were injured as a result, but it was a remarkable thing to see.

Favourite book in 2013?

This may seem like nepotism, as I’ve been pimping this one a lot on my blog, and on Facebook, but ‘Spirit Houses‘ by my good buddy Die Booth is easily my favourite read of 2013. It’s so unlike anything I’ve read before – it’s part Gothic, part fantasy, part weird fiction and part something else. It’s almost like a novel of a bygone age, and I mean that in the best possible sense. There’s something refreshing, yet wonderfully familiar in Die’s telling of the tale and, while I may have read books that were technically better written, none of them excited me the way ‘Spirit Houses’ did.

Favourite film of 2013?

You’re kidding, right? I’ve got two small kids – I don’t get to see films anymore. That said, I did pick up ‘Mama’ on DVD, and that was 2013. It was really good. I like films that try to creep me out, rather than just go for the jump scare. Last year’s ‘The Woman in Black’ was another fine example of that.

Favourite song of the year?

‘Bang Bang’ by will.i.am – not my usual cup of tea, I must admit, but I just haven’t been able to get it out of my head. I love the video too.

Any downsides for you in 2013?

Reluctantly, I had to make the decision to close down my publishing house, Cruentus Libri Press, through whom I had released thirteen themed anthologies over the last eighteen months or so. The place will properly close its doors in February 2014, but the decision was made this year. Let anybody who thinks that publishing is an easy business to get into, in these days of ebooks and Print on Demand services take note, it’s not. It is hard. It takes over your whole life, and for very little financial return. There are perks, of course – I’ve made so many very good friends through the imprint that it more than makes up for the general drain of the work itself. In the end, I wasn’t put on this earth to be a publisher or an editor. I’m here to write – and the sacrifice had to be made.

Six of the best

Are you making resolutions for 2014?

No – I never do. Sure, I could stand to lose some weight, pack in smoking and get more reading done, but I know that if I make a resolution to do any of those things from January 1st, then I’d only end up giving them up again by two weeks into the New Year.

What are you hoping for from 2014?

That my writing career is a bit further along than it is at the end of 2013, just like this year I’m a bit further along than I was in 2012. My plan for the New Year is breathtaking in its simplicity. I am going to finish my first novel ‘Mr Twist’, I’m going to get it professionally proofread and edited, and then I’m going to submit it to an agent and, from there, to a publisher. No strings, no half measures and no fannying about – old school, baby.

If Santa was to bring you any one thing you wanted on Xmas morning, what would it be?

World peace… No, wait – a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and ‘Doctor Sleep’ by Stephen King.

Kevin G. Bufton is a father, husband and horror writer, in that approximate order, from Birkenhead on the Wirral. He has been writing short dark fiction since January 2009 and is currently working on his debut novel. He hopes, one day, to be able to scare people for a living. Check out his blog and Amazon Author Page.

Since Christmas is a time for giving, Kevin’s playing the role of Jolly Old St. Nick and giving away his debut novella ‘Cake’ and debut short fiction collection ‘Six of the Best: A Hellish-Half Dozen’ for free on Smashwords. Simply use the links below, copy-and-paste the relevant coupon code when you reach the checkout and BOOM – freebies for all. This offer is only good until New Year’s Day, when Kevin returns to his grumpy, curmudgeonly self (his words, not mine) but, in the meantime – Ho! Ho! Ho! ‘CAKE’ can be downloaded for free, with the following coupon code – ZH74Q https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/328255 ‘SIX OF THE BEST: A HELLISH HALF-DOZEN’ can be downloaded for free, with the following coupon code – TZ97Z https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/3625

Elementary Writers review their 2013.

Merry Christmas! As a special Christmas treat, we have not one but four members of Elementary Writers to share their 2013 memories with us. Thanks to Harry Gallagher, Jade Lambourne, James Tucker and Kay Wilson for getting involved. 

Enjoy!

Vic x

Do you have a favourite memory that’s personal to you from 2013?

Jade: Scuba diving in Fuerteventura.

James: Having coffee and conversation while sat out in a sunny garden with a pretty girl and two cats (most of the conversation was with the girl, in case you’re wondering). OK so the girl in question is more my surrogate sister than a romantic prospect, but it was still very nice.

Kay: Giving my mam my finished book for her 90th birthday (its all about me!)

Harry: Walking with a soaking other half on Tynemouth Longsands in the Summer, after she’d chosen to take a dip fully clothed, laughing my head off and thinking that it really is the small things…

Harry Gallagher

And how about a favourite moment from 2013 generally? 

Harry: The final glorious demise of the Tory witch queen.

Jade: Miley Cyrus’ controversial performance at the VMAs.

Kay: Just the whole lovely hot summer.

James: Typing “The End” on a novel draft and going “You know, I’m quite pleased with that.”

James Tucker

Favourite book in 2013?

Harry: ‘We Need to Talk About Alan’, the Alan Partridge mock autobiog. Strange choice I know but beautifully written with superb attention to detail.

Kay: ‘The Enchanted April’ by Elizabeth Von Arnim.

James: Toss up between ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves’ by Lynn Truss and ‘The Hydrogen Sonata’ by Iain M Banks of blessed memory.

Jade: ‘To the Grave’ – Steve Robinson.

Jade Lambourne

Favourite film of 2013?

Jade: ‘Captain Philips’ or ‘Gravity’… no, ‘Gravity’ definitely.

Harry: ‘Skyfall’. Best Bond film for I don’t know how long and the revelation that Judi Dench’s M is actually a mother figure was brilliantly handled.

Kay: ‘Despicable Me 2’.

James: ‘Wreck-it Ralph’. Seems all the best stuff is nominally for children these days…

Favourite song of the year?

Jade: Haim – ‘Don’t Save Me’.

Harry: Sting – ‘The Last Ship’.

James: As often, my fave music is rediscovered from the past: ‘Robbing Charity’ by Curve.

Kay: ‘When I Was Your Man’, Bruno Mars.

Kay Wilson

Any downsides for you in 2013?

Jade: Turning 22.

Harry: Too many – the continuation of this government, the tabloid press, the continued slide of the general public into mean spirited territory…

James: All the usual ones, there are so many I’ll do an upside instead: actual progress cutting down on smoking and associated badnesses.

Kay: Realising writing was such hard work…

Are you making resolutions for 2014?

Harry: None except Churchill’s favourite – KBO (Keep Buggering On!).

Jade: Nope, just be happy and do things I enjoy a lot more.

James: I have given up resolutions because I break them and they become meaningless. I am taking up hoping instead: to actually start swimming against the tide again.

Kay: No.

What are you hoping for from 2014?

Jade: Further my career, find more hobbies I enjoy.

Harry: To still be here at the end of it.

James: To get a tolerable part-time job, to get onto the route to publication, just possibly to find the right girl.

Kay: Not original but effective, health and happiness.

If Santa was to bring you any one thing you wanted on Xmas morning, what would it be?

Jade: A puppy.

Harry: That my shift at Crisis Newcastle is unneeded and there are no homeless people needing food, help and warmth. Seeing as last Christmas Day we had c.300 through the door and taking into account the massive increase in food parcel usage since, it seems highly likely to be the other way round.

Kay: An ability to write great comedy.

James:  A Culture drone with a connection back to a benevolent mind. We’d sort out tons of stuff, starting with a variety of diseases and afflictions. More realistically: A letter offering a book deal. No really: A bug-free computer and word processor. Come to think of it, maybe getting published is more likely…

Elementary Writers meet at Di Meo’s Delaval Ices in Whitley Bay every Thursday, 4:30-6:30pm. I also run a Creative Writing session at Quilliam Brothers Teahouse in Newcastle every Monday, 7-9pm. If you’d like to come to either session, drop me an email at victoria.watson@elementaryvwatson.com