Never mind the mechanics – I reckon I have them as sorted as I’m likely to. Let’s do this, WordPress.
For the past nine years I’ve been scribbling on Live Journal. I’ve written thousands of words but LJ is a desert now & with my book coming out next year, I need a more public profile. If you have chosen to read me here, thank you kindly & this is where I’m at.
Writers are always being asked where they get their ideas. The question makes most of us smile because more often than not an idea is ‘a moment’ we can’t necessarily describe. Ideas can come via overheard, snatched conversations, from random names or a glimpse of a strange house on a hill. From a photograph or a line in a poem. They may be carried on bird wings & dropped on our windowsills. Ideas invade our dreams & often, on waking, we are left with little more than a sliver of memory.
People do like to know though, otherwise they wouldn’t ask. This then is how Ghostbird came into being.
I have Irish blood & a Welsh heart & have always been drawn to myth & legend. When I came to live in Wales it was inevitable that I would read The Mabinogion. As I read Math fab Mathonwy – the fourth branch – I found myself irritated by the machinations of the various men involved in the myth of Blodeuwedd. It immediately struck me as a feminist issue! Equally, I was puzzled by the idea that to be turned into a bird was a curse. To be a bird was surely to be able to fly. Blodeuwedd could escape the fate assigned to her! And therein lay the kernel of my story. Meaning no disrespect to the original – which is marvellous – I re-imagined the myth of Blodeuwedd from her point of view – as a positive act of reclaiming. I wrote it as a short piece & from there the first glimmerings of the novel fluttered in my brain.
My decision to have a teenage girl as my main protagonist remains a mystery to me. No way was I planning (nor have I written) a YA story. The book I envisioned began with the idea of transformation – & a witch woman. I honestly don’t recall at what point Cadi appeared. I do know, once she did, I had my story. It’s taken me several years to write this book. Not because I haven’t put in the hours, rather because I was finally learning to write.
As the well-known cliché has it, I’ve always written. All my life – letters, journals & stories including full-length novels. (An earlier self-published one is a story I still love but it suffered from a lack of sound editing & professional production.) Writing Ghostbird has been an unravelling of my subconscious as a writer. Digging up the bones so to speak & discovering that, after all, I could do it.
Not that I haven’t had help.
The path to publication is another cliché. Nevertheless, it is a path. When I submitted the first fifty pages of Ghostbird to Honno – the Welsh Women’s Press – & secured my Meet the Editor slot with Janet Thomas, I had no way of knowing how eventful & winding that road would become.
If a writer is fortunate enough to be gifted sound, professional advice, she is a fool if she ignores it. Janet has accompanied me from the moment she uttered her first, ‘I love it, but…’ As I mentally ticked the boxes (because she was right) I knew I was in good hands. Janet is the mistress of the missed opportunity. Her eye is eagle & nothing escapes it. I have re-written, edited, chivvied & borderline bullied this book to within an inch of its life. The result, I trust, will be pleasing.
I’m currently writing the first daft of my next book The fact that it’s temporarily reduced to bridesmaid status is something I’ve had to accept. Yes, I’m itching to get back to it but for now, while I immerse myself in the excitement & joy of ‘Getting a Publishing Deal’ I’m having the time of my life & enjoying every moment.