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novels and short stories
Weathervane Press is delighted to announce this collection of short stories from Megan Taylor (The Dawning & The Lives of Ghosts) entitled The Woman Under the Ground, to be published October 20th.
Powerful and beautifully observed, ‘The Woman Under the Ground’ is novelist Megan Taylor’s first collection of short stories. The writing is brooding and mysterious with finely drawn characters, so often the victims of absence and loss: a child taken to a neglected museum by her forsaken father; a woman revisiting the scene of an ended affair; a couple taking a road trip to try to reconcile the death of their daughter…
From dark adult secrets to night visitors to the dangerous passions of small girls, these stories explore fractured relationships and moments of self revelation with an uncanny honesty and insight.
Each story is introduced with an enchanting illustration by artist Nikki Pinder, who also designed the fabulous cover. Nikki designed the cover for Megan’s first novel, How We Were Lost (Flame Books) – www.nikkipinder.co.uk
The launch will take place at Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham on Thursday November 13th at 7pm. More details to follow shortly.
This week my interview with the wonderful Charles Lambert appeared on The View from Here.
I met Charles earlier this year when he was judging the Willesden Herald Short Story Competition 2014 and after being blown away by With a Zero at its Heart, I got in touch to find out more. He responded with amazing generosity (as you can see)
Which got me thinking about generosity and writing…
I am so, SO pleased that this interview has been published by The View from Here – and just before it says goodbye.
Way back, I was incredibly fortunate to be interviewed for the magazine by (the also lovely and talented) Shanta Everington, following the publication of my second novel, The Dawning. I can’t quite remember how I ended up joining their book reviewers, but somehow I did – and I’m very glad that was the case. I read some fascinating novels and stretched myself by tackling my own writing in a non-fiction way, but it certainly wasn’t just that – for years, The View from Here has provided a unique showcase for brilliant writers and writing (just look at their archive!) and it felt great to be a part of that.
So thank you too to editor, Mike French, for all you’ve done and continue to do. Mike is a prolific author and I wish him all the absolute best with his further writing adventures.
Ag! Gushing – apologies!
Nevertheless, and especially in the run-up to the next book launch, I’m feeling massively grateful for all the writing support out there, from brilliant readers and advisors (thank you, especially, my NWS fiction group) to amazing publishers and booksellers, to fabulous tutors and bloggers and friends, and to everyone else who keeps on helping in myriad ways, all the bloody time (you know, or I hope you know, exactly who you are) x
Acknowledgements in the back of a book are never enough.
And of course, you don’t have to be lovely to be a writer, but you know what? A lot of them are.
A little ol’ workshop I’ll be running next Monday. Everyone welcome!
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, 22nd September 2014
Nottingham Writers’ Studio
£5 (£3 unwaged)
How can you create a powerful sense of place in your fiction?
Through a series of practical writing exercises exploring vivid images, emotions and the world around us, this two hour workshop aims to show you how by engaging all of your senses and mining your memories you can make your settings truly sing!
Not exactly a surprise, I’m sure, since I’ve been dropping lines way heavier than hints for more than a while, but I’m overjoyed to announce that my first collection The Woman Under the Ground and Other Stories is due for release from the wondrous Weathervane Press this September!
Despite my excited early blabbering, I still can’t quite believe it’s really happening.
And that the book is to include artwork by the supremely talented Nikki Pinder. She created the gorgeous cover to my first published novel, How We Were Lost (Flame Books, 2007) and it’s incredible to see how she’s currently playing with images to accompany my short stories. Please check out her site to observe her work in progress, and to admire all her other stunning artwork too…
More soon on launch dates and events and loving it all –
I’m one very lucky bunny.
Lowdham Book Festival
Friday 20th – Sunday 29th June 2014
Lowdham Village, Nottinghamshire
Don’t miss this fantastic festival, particularly the last Saturday on June 28th when three Weathervane authors will be reading at 2pm in Marquee A at the Village Hall.
Michael Smith will read from The Deed Room, Roberta Dewa from The Esplanade and Megan Taylor will introduce her forthcoming collection of short stories The Woman Under the Ground, to be published this summer. Entry is free and no ticket is required for this event. The full programme for the festival can be downloaded from the website.
Weathervane authors will also feature at a Lowdham Fringe event on Saturday June 14th at The Old Ship Inn, Lowdham. This is a full day of readings, music and workshops from writers’ groups across the county. We will be on at 5pm as part of the Nottingham Writers’ Studio reading. Full details at the front of the festival programme.
We look forward to seeing you at one (or both) of these events.
(post nabbed directly from Weathervane’s website, more massive thanks to Weathervane Press! And “forthcoming collection!” I hear you cry – or maybe vaguely wonder – more on that to follow…)
I can’t honestly begin to tell you how grateful I am for Nottingham Writers’ Studio.
Nevertheless, here’s my bumbling attempt 🙂
I joined the Studio in 2007, when it lurked in wonky rooms above a curry house in Hockley. I was newly published and a bag of insecurities. As amazing as it was even then, I remember hiding from the ‘real’ authors in the little kitchen there, trying to be in some way useful, in a frenzy of washing up…
How different things are now, both in terms of NWS and with my own writing.
Nottingham Writers’ Studio have grown and grown and will be celebrating the launch of their stunning new premises at 25 Hockley, NG1 1FP from 6pm, this Friday, 16th May – everybody’s welcome!
Despite my self-inflicted washing-up-skulking, NWS made me feel incredibly welcome right from the start – and they’ve done so much more than that too…
At their diverse, fascinating and often funny monthly Socials, I’ve met many talented and interesting people and made some true friends. The fiction group that I joined through NWS has provided invaluable advice, feedback and support – a massive sense of support, all the general warmth and generosity I’ve received through NWS for years, has continually buoyed me up and kept me going.
I’m now the author of three published novels, with another exciting project in the pipeline. The brilliant backing of Nottingham Writers’ Studio has been very much a part of this.
I met my fabulous current publisher through NWS (first signing a contract in a corner at a ‘Word of Mouth’!) and NWS hosted unforgettable launches for ‘The Dawning’ and ‘The Lives of Ghosts’. Aside from NWS championing my own writing, they’ve also provided a range of other excellent opportunities – there have been numerous great readings and workshops. NWS is also the place where I fell in love (although this can’t be guaranteed for every member 🙂 )
So thank you, thank you, thank you, Nottingham Writers’ Studio
And sometimes, I do still do the washing up.
On April 16th, the writers shortlisted for the Willesden Herald Short Story Competition were invited to the launch of ‘Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 8’ at Brent Artists Resource Gallery, NW2, where the winner and two runners-up were announced – massive congratulations to Nick Holdstock, Angela Sherlock and Joan Brennan!
As well as the prize-giving, excerpts from six of the stories were read by the talented actors from Liars’ League – including, to my great surprise, an extract from my ‘Rash’. It was very strange and strangely wonderful to hear my words brought to life by Helen Belbin Corbett and the whole evening was great, bustling and vibrant. It was a huge pleasure to meet some of the other authors and their friends, along with the brilliant judge, Charles Lambert, and Willesden Herald’s inspirational organiser, Stephen Moran.
Since the launch, Steve has announced that he’s retiring from the competition. While this is an enormous loss to the short story world, Steve has obviously worked tirelessly and generously for years out of a genuine love for the genre. He has enabled us to discover so many different startling voices – reading previous anthologies, I was blown away be the quality of the writing, and the current collection contains some truly unforgettable tales; I still can’t fully believe I’ve been a part of this.
So a massive thank you to Steve Moran, for considering my ‘Rash’, but for so much more. For his keen eye and hard work and enthusiasm, for bringing us all those wonderful short stories. I wish him, and all the other excellent writers I met, the very, very best with their next adventures…
Along with Christopher Black, I’ve been invited by the lovely Matt Cresswell to take part in a kind of blog relay race, answering a few questions about writing before handing them on. The race (not so much of a race, but an amble, as Matt quite correctly points out) has already travelled around the blogs of some amazing writers including Kerry Hadley, Anne Jensen, Louise Swingler, Graeme Shimmin and Dr Steve Hollyman
You can read Matt’s blog here
And do please check out the other writers too.
In turn, I’ve asked wonderful writers Pippa Hennessy and Giselle Leeb to carry on j(bl)ogging. Looking forward to reading them!
In the meantime, here’s me…
What am I working on?
For the last year and a half it has been all about short stories, short stories, short stories.
I’ve always been a massive fan – when done well, they’re such a precious art form – but in the past, they’ve been a bit like pulling teeth for me; I’d only write them occasionally between working on novels – but lately, something’s happened. Maybe it’s come from reading and loving so many, but I’ve become addicted to their particular tug and click. I’ve had a lot of fun and (hopefully) learnt a great deal more about the benefits of cutting and refining and generally playing with words.
I’ve had a lucky streak of recognition for my short stories too – ‘Coach Trip’ made the long list in the Manchester Fiction Award and I was runner up in Tin House’s Shirley Jackson competition. More recently, my ‘Bones’ made the shortlist in Synaesthesia Magazine’s first ever short story competition and I’m overjoyed that ‘Rash’ has been placed in the Willesden Herald Competition.
…Having said all that, the ghost of the next novel keeps creeping up on me. And soon, I think, it’ll be time to be getting on with that…
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Genre is a tricky word for me. What do I write? Literary or thriller? A touch, now and then, of horror, suspense? I’m interested in the psychological and emotional journeys of my characters probably above everything else. I also love language, all it sensuous potential, the grab towards a kind of beauty, even if you inevitably end up missing… I suppose there is a dark(ish) streak to a lot of the things I write – I don’t know, this is a very difficult question to answer…
Why do I write what I do?
Ag! Also hard – but mainly, for me, in whatever form, writing is about empathy, about compassion in a way. This is entirely separate from writing ‘likeable’ characters – it isn’t about liking or disliking, but more an understanding. That’s essential for me as a writer and as a reader.
And there are various things, probably tied up with my own psychology, which I can’t escape. My writing often comes back to ideas about mothers and motherhood, about love and loss, about secrets and ghosts – my characters are often haunted, some more literally than others.
How does my writing process work?
Practically, early mornings are best, as many days out of the week as are possible. Wake up, write. Wake up, write. Keep going. Later, edit, edit, edit. Consider feedback. Edit again. Wake up early, write…
So, I’m passing the blog baton on to two incredible writers: poet and prose writer, Pippa Hennessy (who is also Nottingham Writers’ Studio’s brilliant co-ordinator and general great supporter of all good writing things)
and short story genius, Giselle Leeb
Do drop by their blogs next Monday to find out more…
More wonderful short story stuff has been happening!
My ‘Bones’ made Synaesthesia Magazine’s Competition shortlist in February, judged by the brilliant Adam Marek…
I’m overjoyed that my ‘Rash’ has been shortlisted in the wonderful Willesden Herald Competition. ‘Rash’ will be included in their next anthology and there’s an award ceremony to go to in April, with the amazing Charles Lambert judging! I can hardly believe that my story will be a part of this collection, especially among such a formidable gathering of talented writers.
Here’s the blurb:
Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 8
Sensual and atmospheric, embattled and defiant, in the throes of turbulent events and viewing from a distance, these stories are windows that open onto the men, women and children of our twenty-first century world. The people portrayed do not seek our pity nor our love but with each turn of a page, we may feel that we want to reach out to them to say, I know, I know, I know – you are not alone. Short stories by Jo Barker Scott, Joan Brennan, Gina Challen, Nick Holdstock, CG Menon, Dan Powell, Angela Sherlock, Megan Taylor, Medina Tenour Whiteman, Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson.
Publisher: Pretend Genius Press
Publication date: 16 April 2014
RRP: £5.99 (UK) $7.99 (US)
Very, very, very, very, very, very happy!!!!!