Tag Archives: manuscripts

**Running in Circles Blog Tour**

 

Today we welcome to the blog Claire Gray to the blog as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of her new novel ‘Running in Circles‘.


Claire Gray lives in
 the South Lakes with her husband and two small children. She studied Creative Writing at the Cumbria Institute of the Arts. She graduated in 2006 and then went on to complete a journalism course at Darlington College. 


That same year
, Claire won a Northern Promise Award from New Writing North, and her work was featured in their anthology, ‘Ten Years On‘. Claire now works as a freelance copywriter and continues to write short stories, some of which have been published in magazines and online. 


Sapere Books published ‘Running in Circles‘ in 2019 and Claire is really excited to have published her first novel!
My thanks to Claire for sharing her experiences with us.


Vic x

Don’t Quit the Day Job: 
Claire Gray

It’s difficult for novelists to make a living purely through their writing. I’m probably only a Google search away from the official statistics, but I would guess only a tiny percentage of authors are able to sit at their desks every day, working on their latest manuscript, without worrying about paying the heating bill or feeding the kids. 


Many
 novelists supplement their income by working in education, or by editing other people’s work or writing for newspapers and magazines. That’s the tier of professional writing that I aspiring to reach, and it still seems very far away. But I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to be in the position that I, and many other writers, are in. We’re the writers who have day jobs; jobs completely unrelated to the creative work we do. While it can be challenging in terms of time management, and occasionally dispiriting because of how far removed it is from what we really want to be doing, having a day job is valuable. To write you need to have life experience. Working is one of the most natural ways to achieve this. 


I studied Creative Writing at college and then found myself
 working in betting shops across Cumbria and the north-east. What started as a weekend job rapidly became full-time as I realised (and probably should have realised much earlier) that Creative Writing is not a vocational course. But it wasn’t all bad. I met some interesting characters amongst the staff and the customers. There was a period in Newcastle-upon-Tyne where I narrowly missed a number of armed robberies, which was horrible but also great fuel for short stories. One of my co-workers was a published poet, and I still have the signed book he gave me as a leaving present. The writing and gambling industries seem to go well together, somehow. 


Eventually
, I enrolled on a Journalism course at Darlington College. Once all the exams were over I was qualified to work as a junior reporter. For various reasons, this didn’t happen. I’d moved to North Devon with my husband who was in the Royal Marines, and there weren’t many local newspapers or junior reporting jobs around. But I’ve worked as a freelance copywriter and my journalism training was certainly not a waste of time. I discovered the power of an opening sentence, how to firmly grab the reader’s attention, and the importance of editing. The main characters in my novel are journalists, and it is good to have background knowledge about the industry.


Since then I have moved around the country a fair bit, working on my novel, doing the odd piece of copywriting, and working in a succession of NHS administration j
obs. Much like the betting shop period of my life, this is a line of work I fell into accidentally, but somehow it stuck. I like working for the NHS because I feel like I’m doing something worthwhile, and it is inherently unpredictable; things rarely get dull. There are stories everywhere inside hospitals. You hear about, and see, some horrible things and some wonderful things. These polar opposites help to fuel my writing when I find time to switch on my laptop in the evenings. 

 

Running in Circles‘ is available now.

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Review of 2016: Katheryn Womack

Today on the blog is Katheryn Womack, she’s here to review her year. Thanks for being involved, Katheryn. 

Vic x

Do you have a favourite memory professionally from 2016?
The only thing I can think of professionally is that I wrote a short science fiction story.  I have never written science fiction in my life, but I really loved this story.

Unless you count the fact that I have worked here for three and a half years and never taken a vacation, so this May, I took a month off to go to my hometown.  I hadn’t seen anyone for so long, and they hadn’t seen my girls since they were preschoolers.  It was the most wonderful month, maybe of my life.  Every day was packed with visits, parties, get-togethers, events museums, picnics, shopping, you name it.  It was a month of warm, fuzzy, love.

And how about a favourite moment from 2016 generally? 
My favourite moment was when I took my girls to Shanghai Disneyland.  I became a single mother when my youngest was one and half, and my oldest had just turned three.  It was a horrible struggle financially and physically.  I had promised them I would take them to Disneyland when they were out of diapers and didn’t need naps.  It took me a long time to recover from cancer and an even longer time to recover financially, but I finally took them two weeks ago.  It was my proudest mommy moment.   

Favourite book in 2016?
I have read a few good ones, “Everything I Never Told You” By Celeste Ng.  Seems to be sticking out though.

Favourite film in 2016?
I’m about to go see “Dr. Strange” in a week and I’m hoping it will be the one.

Favourite song of the year?
I rarely listen to new music.  I will say, I saw the kids from “Stranger Things” do “Uptown Funk” and I could listen to that over and over.  

Any downsides for you in 2016?
I have two best friends going through horribly distressful times that they are having a very hard time handling, and I can’t be there physically for them.  I hate that I don’t know what to do or how to help them.

Are you making resolutions for 2017?
I will submit more manuscripts to more places.  I need to get more proactive with that part of writing.  Maybe apply for a few jobs in the states.

What are you hoping for from 2017?
I’m hoping to finally get new glasses.  I hope my mom comes out of cancer treatment with flying colours.  I hope I’m able to save money.