Friday, 17 July 2015

Meeting My Readers: A Writer’ Delight

It’s truly refreshing as a writer to meet dedicated readers.
I was lucky enough last Tuesday to meet with Hartlepool writers’ group through the good graces of Jean Collingwood of Hartlepool Library.

Our session took place in the remarkable Hartlepool Art Gallery. It’s always a bit daunting to meet readers. So after my forty minute drive I treated myself to coffee and strawberry tart in the excellent museum café and took a long breath.
This was a serious and interested group of enthusiastic readers had all just read my novel Writing at the Maison Bleue.  Their views on my novel were varied, insightful and inspiring. Their attention to detail was impressive. Writing at the Maison Bleue is an ensemble novel involving eight different writers who meet at writing retreat on the Canal du Midi.
The people in this group had different favourites among the characters in Writing at the Maison Bleue.
One man’s favourite was my character Francine, the veteran writer whose  story reaches right back to her childhood in the South West of France  during WW2. Francine’s  narrative is the spine of the novel. Another reader was attracted to Serge, the husband of Aurèlie,  the wonderful cook who caters for the retreaters. We talked about Mariela the fierce poet who becomes more likeable as the novel proceeds. Another reader liked Joe, the young writer, – a particular favourite of mine. One reader said she felt as though she were there at the Maison Bleue and ended up wanted to go there and be with them.
And then I specially appreciated one reader’s comments on the way the novel – with its eight characters and rather complex structure as well as the way it moved from the present to the past in the characters’ lives. – flowed easily,  taking the reader through the ensemble narrative.
Oh joy! What was wonderful was that here were readers who saw my novel in all its facets and seemed really to have relished reading it. This kind of feedback makes worthwhile all the care, creativity and sheer hard work that goes into writing a novel.
Even more wonderful for me was the fact that these readers had read an edition of the novel that had been sadly under-proofread. I assured them – and you - that the new edition on Amazon and Kindle has been rigorously professionally amended and these irritating typos have been eliminated.
As I said, what a treat of was to  meet readers who have read my novel and showed such thoughtful appreciation.

Paperback Edition

Kindle Edition

Afternote. Some of these readers very kindly said they would add their comments to this novel’s Amazon page. I totally  appreciate this gesture.

I see that  are now two new 5 star Amazon reviews of Writing at the Maison Bleue to add to the existing six  5* star reviews. Here they are.

Writing Addict

By bookworm on 22 Mar. 2015
"Writing at the Maison Bleue" is a novel with a difference.
The setting is the idyllic French town of Agde where the Canal du Midi flows close to the old “Maison Bleue” – a house with a history.
When a well-known author and her friends set up a week-long Writers’ Retreat in that house, seven very different characters arrive to spend those seven days together. All their lives are changed forever.
The story teams with life both past and present holding the reader’s attention from the first page to the last.
I thoroughly recommend this novel.


A Week Away? Just the Tonic 

By Dot on 19 Jun. 2015
Seven writers share their lives, their writings and their time as they spend a week at the wonderful Maison Bleue. The setting is magical and as each of the characters shares their own lives and stories we see them develop and grow both as people and as writers. I loved every minute of my time at Maison Bleue - seriously I really lived that week with each of these people.

Hartlepool's Art Gallery 

in the restored Victorian Christ Church

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