Today I’m taking part in the blog tour kicking off the release of Lazy Days, a novella detailing two women’s experience on a holiday together over forty years ago. They kept a notebook of their experiences during the vacation and have talked for many years of writing a book about their trip.
And that book is now a reality! Congratulations to Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie on the release of Lazy Days. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m hoping to get to it before another month has come and gone.
Today on Reade and Write I’m delighted to share two essays–one by each of the authors.
First, from Anita:
“Hi, my name is Anita and although I am 71, I am by no means a ‘silver surfer.’ I have been writing fiction novels for a while now, but never managed to be picked up by any of the mainstream publishers. They all said they loved what I wrote, but found it hard to slot them into a category! It came tantalisingly close, but no cigar, as they say.
I realised I would have to try something else. I saved all of the rejection letters, because most of them had very encouraging comments. If my mother had slapped me as gently when I was a child, it wouldn’t have hurt half as much!
I even wrote to James Herbert once in desperation and he was so kind and supportive, it gave me the inspiration to continue writing.
Now I am retired and with the help of my sister-in-law Jaye, (who has learnt to be a ‘surfer’) we decided to dust off some of my manuscripts and try to achieve the impossible with a second chance to find out if anyone out there likes the kind of books I write…
How do I write?
I am a paper and pencil girl. You could chain me to a computer for years and nothing would happen! Jaye, on the other hand is managing to cope with all the editing and marketing, but then she has far more patience than I do. (And she is as stubborn as a mule which helps a lot!)
They say you are never too old to learn, but in my case never is another word for infinity!
What made me want to write?
I love music, especially country music. It always seems to take me to where my own hurt lives. Songs about heartache help my pen run along the paper, almost as though the pain writes the words.
How do I find my characters?
They tend to find me. I was listening to ‘Ruby, don’t take your love to town’ sung by Kenny Rogers and a few days later the characters for Bad Moon popped into my head and just took over. I seem to have an affinity with West Virginia and the people who live there. Just hearing the way they talk makes a connection in my head, maybe I lived there once in another life.
It was the same with The Scarlet Ribbon. The words of that song put the characters in my head and they pulled me in.
Not so sure where the idea for Simple came from, even though it is a similar story to Bad Moon, but there was a girl at school when I was eleven who had a bad stammer, and I often wonder what became of her.
The books I like to read…
I love the stories of Merlin and Arthur, but my reading list covers a wide range of genres. One of my all-time favourites is River God by Wilbur Smith; the character of Taita really spoke to me.”
And now from Jaye:
“I had no intention of becoming a writer. I loved to read, and for most of my life, that was enough for me. More than enough really, for I am a compulsive reader and will read anything I can lay my hands on. Give me a bookshelf full of books and I will start at one end and read my way to the other.
Then I offered to edit my sister Anita’s books. She hates computers, so I offered to type them up too. Before I knew it, my brain began to explore what other things I could be doing.
I tried to ignore that inner voice, for I was busy enough already. Anita was writing faster than I could format, and there were all my other interests too. Gardening, DIY, dressmaking and a host of craft projects. I love to be busy, but it came to the point where something had to give, never mind add something else to the list.
I considered myself a writer when I held my first paperback copy of my book Nine Lives in my hand for the first time. Up until that magic moment, I doubted I would ever feel like a writer. But holding that paperback copy finally convinced me.
My favourite character didn’t really appear until book two, The Last Life, and his name is Detective Inspector David Snow. The fact that my detective looks a lot like Tom Selleck should indicate how fond I am of him. I just love writing about him.
That was then, and I have now finished writing The Broken Life, the third book in my mystery thriller series. The characters just turned up in my head, one by one, nagged me for weeks until I gave in, and listened. So you can never say never.
This genre came as a surprise, for I lean towards the supernatural, spooky kind of book, so I have no idea where the idea came from. If anything, I should have expected to write medical stories, as I always wanted to be a doctor, and these are some of my favourite television programmes.
My favourite fiction book just happens to be The Scarlet Ribbon, Anita’s supernatural mystery romance. I was the editor for this one and fell in love with it. And no, she didn’t have to pay me to say this!
My life has not been easy by anyone’s standards, and now I am growing old, I sometimes look back and wonder how I managed to get through it all. So, the perfect epitaph for me would be… “She did her best…” Even though I made a pig’s ear out of most of it!”
Here’s a blurb of Lazy Days:
This novella is the true story of our family’s first proper holiday back in the Seventies. Looking back, I wonder what made us think it was a good idea, but despite all the things that could have gone wrong, we had a fantastic time. I was the Skipper most of the time, and for some reason decided to record our adventures in a small notebook. We were young and without husbands, Anita was a widow, and I was glad to be rid of mine. (and that is another story) Money was precious and scarce back then, but all the saving and sacrifice turned out to be worth every single memory we all cherish.
This notebook has been treasured and kept safe, despite numerous house moves and family disasters, as a symbol of our courage and determination. Renting a boat on the Norfolk Broads could so easily have been one of the stupidest things we had ever done, but even after 40 years, we have such good memories of that time.
Over the years, we often thought of making it into a proper book, but along with everything else in our often-complicated family life, it was something we never got around to. Until just recently, when we were looking for some old photographs, found the now fragile notebook and knew it was time.
It wasn’t as easy as we imagined it would be either, for our logbook writing skills leave a lot to be desired, but there was just enough information entered on those pages to get us started.
Where you can find the book and more information from each of the authors:
Anita’s Author Page/Amazon Link : https://Author.to/AnitaLink
Jaye’s Author Page/Amazon Link: https://Author.to/JayeLink
Thank you, ladies, for joining us today on Reade and Write! Good luck with your new book!
Until next time,