Friday 17 December 2010

A New Journey for The Romancer – she’s now available Online

They say learning new things keep you young. If that’s the case then I’m getting younger every day. On the inside anyway.

The latest is that after something of a journey of discovery i have created a way in which you can from from me in a collector’s  edition through Amazon. Click on One new 7.99 This means it will be available for friends at home and abroad so hooray for that. I’m dying now for someone to give it a try to see if it works, If it does I will do the same for all my books.

I’m just looking round now for something else I need to learn…


Monday 13 December 2010

First Reader for The Romancer

I was touched to hear from Anne Ousby, who brought a real smile to my face this morning. She’s just reading The Romancer.

‘I've started The Romancer and am finding it gripping. Obviously it's autobiographical but also written as a story - much like your other novels and it seems to me that there's enough distance between the you and 'the girl' to almost forget it's about you. I love the way you've introduced true stories that inspired your novels and woven them into the narrative…’ 

Anne is a playwright, short story writer and now a novelist. A member of our Room To Write conference, she has just brought out her intriguing novel Patterson’s Curse. Anne Ousby  RtW loved her novel and encouraged her in getting it out there, where it’s now selling well.

It’s so heartening for me to get a perceptive reader’s comment on my much loved  hybrid literary creation.

I hope other people out there are reading and enjoying it and would love to hear from them.

Friday 10 December 2010

Stop Press

I see copies of The Romancer have not yet arrived at Amazon. (Can’t think why …) If you are in a hurry to get one for ChristmasWendy with rings for your writer buddies you can get one directly from me (  Email me with an address and I’ll invoice you and despatch it directly. I’m very keen for people to read it sooner rather than later . wxx

Friday 3 December 2010

Books In The Snow

by Wendy on December 3rd, 2010

Nine days since the launch of The Romancer and the snow is still unremitting.  It closes in and fogs up the brain. I thought concentration would be easier confined as I am to the house. But no it’s curiously harder.

Still, today I’ve laid down the tracks for the 6th December Writing Game for Bishop FM. It features the inimitable Pat Barker and a choice of Christmas books from friends of the programme.  (James suggests that Bishop FM may apply to put The Writing Game on itunes. A fine thought, just about compensating for the wall of snow – picturesque but imprisoning.)



Christmas Books on Bishop FM

Recommended by, among others, Pat Barker, Kathleen Jones, Debora, Pat Kidd.  Wendy,and of course, our official reviewers Glynn and Gillian

Frank: The Making of a Legend – Hardcover (4 Nov 2010) by James Kaplan:  Frank Sinatra Lissten to what Glynn says on the programme

Howards End is on the Landing: A year of reading from home by Susan Hill (Paperback - 8 Jul 2010)  ­ Listen to Gillian’s recommendation on the programme

The Singapore Grip – Paperback (1 July 1996) by J.G. Farrell. Listen to lynn’s recommendation on the programme.

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont (Virago Modern Classics) – Paperback (6 April 2006) by Elizabeth Taylor. Listen to Gillian’s recommendations on the programme.

Recommended separately by Debora in London  and Pat from Morpeth

Wait For Me: Memoirs of the Youngest Mitford Sister by Deborah Devonshire (Hardcover - 7 Sep 2010) The Duchess of Devonshire must be one of the last people alive who met both Adolf  Hitler and J.F.Kennedy. As the youngest of the legendary Mitford sisters, she has witnessed much of the history of the twentieth century from a ringside seat. Her humour shows here, as does her steely stickability; here is a unique patrician voice echiong down to us from the 20th Century.

Chosen by Biographer Kathleen Jones’  who was featured in our November program. She would like to give:  The Still Point – Paperback (4 Feb 2010) by Amy Sackville  Kathleen  tells us  this  is a marvellous novel.  It’s the writer’s  first and … ‘ so beautifully written I’m in awe.  The way it’s narrated, the reader is like a ghost, haunting the characters, eavesdropping on their lives.  The story concerns a young woman, Julia, in a troubled marriage, whose ancestor was part of an ill-fated expedition to the North Pole leaving his very new wife behind.  The common factor between these two women, separated by time, is the house, which Julia has just inherited, full of artefacts, curiosities, diaries and letters and family history.  The narrative moves from the past to the present, weaving the stories of both relationships together until you come to a surprising, but very satisfactory conclusion.  It’s a marvellous blend of fact and fiction  and it deserved to be short-listed for Orange and Booker prizes, though it didn’t win.  I’m sure she will one day…’

And – to receive – Kathleen chooses -  ‘I would most like to receive Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson (Hardcover - 19 Aug 2010)    Kathleen says, ‘Detective fiction is one of my addictions.  Most of it is quite badly written, relying on the strength of the plot to carry the story forward and you read it to solve the puzzles rather than for the beauty of the prose.  But Kate Atkinson is a seriously good writer and prize winner of fiction, so when she began to write detective novels I was in bliss!  The books are such a good read I am always sorry to get to the end.  A new one is a celebration.  So, yes, please, this is one for my Christmas stocking!

Pat Barker – from today’s programme – chooses  Heartstone (Matthew Shardlake 5) by C. J. Sansom (Hardcover - 2 Sep 2010) ‘ The most recent in a crime series set in the reign of Henry 8Th centring on a hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake The others are Dissolution, Dark Fire, Sovereign and Revelation. I can recommend all five books – to give and to get – with great enthusiasm. The in depth research never gets in the way of character and plot. Both the historical and invented characters are brilliantly drawn and the narrative pace never lets up. Even if you think you don’t like crime fiction or don’t like historical crime fiction please give this great series a try.

My own choice of  a book to receive is  Kathleen Jones’ Katherine Mansfield: The Story-Teller – Hardcover (30 Nov 2010) . If you remember Kathleen and I talked about this new book in the November Programme. Katherine Mansfield is a tragic and exciting figure – one of the three best ahort story writes of the first half of the 20th century, As I am studying the short story for the March Room To Write Conference.  I am so  looking forward to reading this.

The book I’d like to give someone is  My Name is Mina by David Almond (Hardcover - 2 Sep 2010). Listeners will remember that David and I  discussed it at length on and early Writing Game. I am such a fan of good writing , in fact, that I would recommend any book by David Almond. Each one is a treasure in it own right. David’s books are marketed as children’s books but they read well at every level of age, sensibility and literary awareness.

And finally  – for Christmand cheer Debora in London Chooses to receive : Comfort and Joy by India Knight (Hardcover - 25 Nov 2010) The good, the bad and the funny sit alongside each other in this wonderful book about love family and Christmas.  This is a laugh out loud book –  enormous fun and perfect escape from  Christmas preparation. One reviewer says, ‘Yes there are stereotypes but they can be funny and comforting – I loved the characters such as Sophie – the mother who makes her own yoghurt, I loved Clara, I loved her funny rants about family, about Christmas, about stuffing the turkey and the ridiculous attempts we all go to to create ‘the perfect Christmas. It all rang horribly true, was laugh out loud funny, warm and somehow kind of glamorous.’ 

As you read through the joy and pain of her Christmas you can see elements of your own family Christmas.

I have to say that the range of books here demonstrate  just how much enjoyment, escapism and delight on offer from Books at Christmas. Even in the snow…


Wednesday 1 December 2010

Snow Follies

I can't play bridge. I don't play tennis. All those things that people learn, and I admire, there hasn't seemed time for. But what there is time for is looking out the window. Alice Munro


Gilly says she’ll close the cafe when we go.

The snow cranks itself up into a blizzard. People pass by - head down against the white onslaught, conscious of their hero-status. Girl sporting flat blonde hair and leopard spotted fur bustles by.

My  friend wraps up and braves the blizzard to plough her way to the park. Her mission is to take photos of trees  that have strutted their brilliant stuff in the snow for two hundred winters.

I – frightened of slipping - opt to stay by the window, drink a glass of chilled white wine and think about  my new novel which, thank the Lord, is set in sunny France. Nice to contemplate.

Gilly’s friend -  carrying a shovel, wearing work cap and fluorescent jacket  – makes his way to the door. ‘I’ll see youse!’ he says to Gilly.

I follow him through the door  and think of Gilly, clearing the tables and closing the cafe behind me.wendy[1] (2)

Saturday 27 November 2010

Romancer One, Snow Nil

Me holding forth


My heart sank when it snowed in the night and some roads became un-driveable, but still, out of eighty expected,  thirty five great, adventurous people joined me in the theatre to celebrate the launch of The Romancer.30920_Romancer, page 1 @ Preflight ( 30920_Romancer Cover_30920_Romancer Cover )


IMG_6045Bishop Auckland Town Hall still put on a good show for me. We still had our silver stars and our air of celebration; I  still had my whole collection of books on show including photos of the very first launch, with the cake iced with the illustration from the cover of Riches Of The Earth.

The books

Books in a timeline




I still had my timeline of books stretching from 1972 to 20010’

G with portrait on Tom's easel


My friend Gillian Wales still managed the proceedings with her usual elan, standing beside the writer’s portrait painted by Fiona Naughton which rested  on the massive, black ,paint-splashed easel of the late Tom McGuinness, the wonderful artist whose biographies Gillian  has co-written.

Avril reading



My friend, writer Avril Joy, still read passages from The Romancer in her usual restrained, nuanced  fashion which lets the drama speak for itself.

The Romancer

There were still lots of copies of The Romancer to share and sign.

And still people talking, always talking. And people listening with focus and asking really good questions.

And Bishop FM’s Terry Ferdinand,  invisible behind his camera, was still taking these pictures.

Bryan etcCrowd

Lots of writers to talk to…  some of them not quite on camera

Anne and me best

IMG_6038Writers talking




And we still drafted in the boy who loves chocolate to flaunt the balloons and hand around Anton’s wonderful canapes.  And we still got to relish Anton’s Romancer Cocktails.           


Heather with book and cocktail


So we drank a toast to absent friends who had not managed to get there  but were with us in spirit. And after all dratted the snow didn’t win.

And on Friday The brilliant Northern Echo published  my article about the personal significance of  writing The Romancer on its Leader page.

I called the piece ROMANCING THE NORTH   which seemed appropriate.


If you fancy  seeing what all the fuss was about you can buy The Romancer direct from me - signed if you wish ( email :

Or order it from good bookshops

Or from Amazon online

Or order it from your local library…




Monday 22 November 2010

The hand-made book – a game of Consequences?

by Wendy on November 22nd, 2010

The launch of The Romancer,  it has been decided,  will be in the theatre. Images of all twenty three- or is it twenty four? – novels will be hanging from purple ribbon. Anton, who caters in the cafe at the Town Hall,  is creating our signature Romancer cocktail and inventing intricate canapes.  I am looking for silver balloons.

In these pessimistic times in publishing I am determined to demonstrate optimism to the degree that I have designed and developed this book myself. I have commandeered Fiona Naughton’s portrait for the cover and have worked alongside Steve Tolson on the design of the outside and the inside of the book.

Gulp! With the launch of The Romancer ever nearer, I am now contemplating the consequences of my actions. For many years I have wanted to write a book about writing – well, my particular approach to being a writer. But I have not until now found the form that  would best express my peculiar approach.

But for now here, in an extract  from the book itself, is how it happened…

(Extract from The Romancer)

Setting the Scene

I am a lifelong admirer of the art of the biographer, who lives in the halfway house between history and personality. Returning from lunch with biographer Kathleen Jones one day, my head full of her new work on Katherine Mansfield and its connections with her biography of Catherine Cookson, I was suddenly inspired to make a ‘valid connection’ between my own life and my writing: a kind of creative memoir.   So I embarked on The Romancer – not a conventional memoir, but a kaleidoscope with all the elements of my life and experience as glittering fragments in the drum. Every time I shake this kaleidoscope a complex pattern emerges: each new pattern is a novel or story unique in itself.

             The Romancer is made up of three parts. First comes Inspirations, an account of elements – people, experiences, places, insights and feelings – from my own life that have, whether or not I was conscious of it, inspired my wide range of novels and stories. Inevitably this is the largest part of this book. Without such inspirations would there be anything to write? These elements are the glittering fragments in the drum of the kaleidoscope.

            Then Onto The Page celebrates many things – the poetic charm of getting the right words in the right place, the development of character, the evocation of place, the organisation of ideas, the architectural skills of  building a novel and the joys of editing and shaping one’s own prose. It involves seeing one’s work into print and the surreal, occasionally comical, vagaries of the world of publication….

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Romancer : Don Quixote, anecdotist, daydreamer, dreamer of dreams, enthusiast, escapist, fabulist, fictionist


So busy this month. Last Saturday was  the fab Room To Write Conference, which went very well. Super, dedicated writers full of hard work and good humour – a great deal achieved in a day. Three novels completed and published and several more on the way. The day was fine and the Whitworth Hall setting was superb. Blowing off the cobwebs ar lunchtime with a walk in the grounds was just the ticket. Hard but rewarding work for the participants and the leaders. Everyone learns something.

fresh air[1] Geri

breaktime[1]Gerisweet baby[1]Deer  Ger 


Wonderful day – wonderful writers….


Now -   Down to planning the launch of my new baby – The Romancer - which is a kind of hybrid memoir. Readers of Lifetwicetasted have read some extracts from this book – which is really about the process of writing counterpointed with aspects of a life in relation to the novels it inspired. I have copied below for you the press release details of the launch and an invitation to you, should you be around. Otherwise,  events on this blog on the next few days will act as a virtual launch – complete with extracts!


Bishop Auckland Town Hall Book Launch Thursday 25th November 7.30pm

Celebrating The Romancer

Romancer : Don Quixote, anecdotist, daydreamer,30920_Romancer, page 1 @ Preflight ( 30920_Romancer Cover_30920_Romancer Cover )
dreamer of dreams, enthusiast, escapist, fabulist, fictionist,…

Bishop Auckland writer Wendy Robertson is celebrating her twenty five years in the writing game by publishing The Romancer, a unique mixture of memoir, original writing and novel extracts mapping her life in writing from early
beginnings in a family struggling to survive, to the challenges and delights of
making her living as a writer.

After an early career in education Wendy Robertson became a full time writer and
has written twenty four novels, a book of short stories, an occasional article and
was a Northern Echo columnist. She has been Writer in Residence in a woman’s
prison. She mentors new writers and gives writing workshops across the North.
Based in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, she now has her own Community
Radio Show The Writing Game where she is building an archive of writers talking.

Writing The Romancer,’ she says, ‘has truly been a labour of love.’

On reading The Romancer ;
‘…truth and fiction like two hands clasping…’ – a rare glimpse of what it’s like to be
inside the process of writing.’ Kathleen Jones Biographer
‘A moving and compelling exploration of the links between a writer’s life and her work.’
Pat Barker Booker Prizewinning Author
‘More than just a memoir… a master class in the writing process.’ Sharon Griffiths
Northern Echo Columnist & Novelist


The Town Hall invites all readers and writers to
join  Wendy in her Romancer celebration of
books and a writer’s life here on 25th November

To make sure of your  Romancer Cocktail -

RSVP to 01388 602 610 or Wendy at


NB If you cannot make the launch  The Romancer ;

will be available from 25th November

from good book shops, libraries, Amazon, or

Wendy at or Gillian at

Visit Wendy’s website at


30920_Romancer, page 1 @ Preflight ( 30920_Romancer Cover_30920_Romancer Cover )

Thursday 4 November 2010

Not being a poet…

Not being a poet I can’t call this a poem. It’s really more

A writer’s list…

Rain slicks the blue van to a shine

Water lies in pools on the market square

The market stalls have left their spoor -

Vague shadow of a bad day’s takings

Raindrops weigh down cyclamen

On the last flower stall.

A woman crouches like a dealer

In her hoodie: pillar box red.

Another woman, her bleached hair

Hanging like snakes, hauls

Her boy from school,

Both unwilling.

I have to say there’s something rakish

About a raised blue umbrella.


(PS This hosta is called a Blue Umbrella)

Wednesday 3 November 2010

November Writing Game: a Sense of Place

Original air date: Tuesday, 2nd November.

No player? Right click, Save Target As - The Writing Game - Episode 7

On The Programme:
  • Prolific and well loved author Elizabeth Gill (who hails from Crook)
  • We also hear from David Williams whose territory is the streets of Newcastle and areas North of the Tyne
  • Avril Joy reads from her new crime novel Blood Tide which begins with detective Danny beck watching a woman throw herself off the Tyne Bridge on a dark and threatening night
  • And we hear again from Norma Neal who read her touching story Washing Lettuce on the October programme. This time she talks about beginning to write. Very inspirational.

Next month Books for Christmas. What you would like to receive and what you would like to give?

Have you any thoughts about this? I'll mention them on the December Programme.


Tuesday 2 November 2010

The Artist

I was re-editing some short stories for my new website and I thought you might  this short-short story.

The Artist

The artist showed a great deal of promise. He was known as the Valasquez of his generation. His treatment of light and his handling of symbolism was unmatched in his century. Even as a young man he astounded his mentors and his teachers. After his training, (which he passed with flying colours and without the humiliation of an examination), he hid himself in a peeling house at the end of a long beach and set up his easels. Using his phenomenal  eidetic memory he painted pictures of the teaming city which were somehow drenched with the light and the movement of the ocean. Tao’ Kombo Travel Lodge, Gili Meno

All he would accept for his paintings was a small pension for food and paint from the national museum. He thought to sell the paintings would chip off parts his own soul so he would no longer be able to paint.

For ten years he painted in the beach house, his work becoming more distilled, more distinctively abstract. But there was this curious thing. No matter how abstract his painting became, even the most humble and unlettered person could understand his meaning and feel connected with the cosmos. Such people returned to their homes from the national museum and were kind to their spouses and children, knowing now that this was the only way to live. Some of them planted trees and flowers in their streets and alleyways to make their own personal contribution to the beauty of the world.

So, the painter was considered by all to be a national treasure.

One day he fell in love with a plumber who came to install a bath in the house on the beach. The plumber, a fine man with slender shoulders and a seeing gaze, had three children whom he brought to live at the beach house, The presence of the children inspired the painter to return to a more realistic style, He painted pictures of the children - in glowing shades of green and purple, aquamarine and ochre - jumping the waves and scaling the rocks. People who looked at these pictures became full of hope and knew things would be better in the new millennium.

But then there was a great storm of water and the beach house was demolished. The plumber, having rescued the painter and his own children, died of a waterborne disease. In his will he left his tools and his children to his friend the painter. Now for the first time in his life the painter had to be responsible for more than the quality of his painting and the purity of his message. In these new days the well-being of his foster children became his highest priority.

Just at that time a very rich man from Russia offered to build the painter a new house on the beach and as well he promised lifelong protection and security for the children. This was offered on the single condition: that the artist should paint a picture of Russian’s daughter, to be exhibited on the day of her wedding. Of course up to this point the painter had only painted out of his own soul, and had never taken commissions, But because he was looking to the security of the children he took on this special task.

While the beach house was being rebuilt the children lived with a fisherman whose wife played bowls with them every day and let them win. During this time the painter lived in the house of the rich man, so he could concentrate on the painting of the future bride,. The bride lent him her wedding dress, which he hung from a rafter in his painting room, a sky-lit attic with a vast roof window. He placed the dress in a corner, where it could glow like a moth in the shadowy eaves.

The bride herself posed for him seven times, lolling back in an exquisite Louis Quinze chair the painter had spotted in the music room. The girl had a dark, limpid beauty. The painter’s skin prickled in reaction to her sexuality and his senses melted as she made her availability clear. She told him she would do anything … anything … to make sure the painting was perfect, She had to please her father after all. That was paramount. In some desperation the painter told her that what she must - must! - do, was to sit in the chair and stay there. Otherwise the painting would disintegrate and her father would be annoyed.

All the time the painter worked he would allow no one to see the painting. When the beach house was finished he had the painting taken there to add the final, finishing touches.

So the nature of the painting was an unknown quantity as, on the afternoon of the event, the wedding guests - led by the father, his daughter and her groom, all arm in arm - came tripping merrily down the great staircase towards the portrait draped in black venvet, Standing to one side of the easel, dressed in their best, were the artist and his three foster children. The children were glowing with health, nut brown from the sea breezes,

The shouting and the laughter stilled as the bride and her guests gathered round. Then, at last, the rich man pulled a tassel and the velvet shroud fell from the picture. The groom gasped. The bride fainted.

People crowded in to see a canvas covered with a dense black- so dark that its depths took on a green mould. In the foreground the artist had rendered a perfect vision of an empty Louis Quinze chair.

© Wendy Robertson,

Friday 29 October 2010

Balloons and Birds

One pleasure recently - having gained some time as The Romancer is now proofed and ready for its print run - has been reading original materiel in the excellent reference library of the Bowes Museum.

I have been reading letters written to Josephine, the French wife of John Bowes. She was in safety in England but very popular with her her friends in France who continued to write to her as they experienced the worst of the Franco Prussian war and the siege of Paris.

The gossipy, urgent tone of these letters of the French demi-monde is redolent of its time in late 1860s France. Preoccupation with siege and safety mixes with social niceties and conventions being flouted. Thanks to Josephine for the use of her box at the opera sit there alongside concerns for the loss of a box of game, (shot in England by John) sent by Josephine as a gift to help the ousted soldiers and the poor in Calais.

What caught my eye yesterday was a reference in a letter (1870) to aeronauts who has landed in a balloon which had floated over the hated besieging Prussians and landed near Calais. The letter tells of aeronauts emerging with four pigeons. There were four birds because apparently the dastardly Prussians had birds of prey trained to attack and kill these winged messengers. So they attached the message to four birds hoping one would get through…

It occurred to me that these birds of prey were an innocent metaphor for the ultimately brutal occupying Prussians.

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Podcast now here: Biographer and Poet Kathleen Jones


The October Bishop FM podcast now available!


If you remember  Avril and I talked with Kathleen Jones in her mill home just over the border in Cumbria. You can hear the clatter of knives and forks as we talked over lunch. Kathleen talked about her early commitments as a writer, her vivid experience as a mature student, her views on her own and others’ poetry. These will all feature in later programmes. This programme, however, we will focus on her unique views on the art and craft of storyteller Catherine Cookson a very popular and –as will emerge – a much underrated writer whose worldly success is sometimes mistakenly seen as a sign of her lack of artistic virtue.

We will also hear our own reviewer Chartered Librarian Gillian Wales who runs Room To Write with Avril and me - as she talks about the impact of the work of Catherine Cookson on the book borrowing public in the 1980s and 90s – and also reflects on the best of Cookson’s novels.

And listen to Avril Joy’s story of publishing her father’s account of his experiences of London during the war, and hear an extract from Sedgefield writer Norma Niel’s touching novel, rooted in her own family memoir.


Tuesday 12 October 2010

Vikings and Ghosts

In an attempt to relax after finishing The Romancer I watched a fascinating Time Team special on television, (typical pedant relaxation…) on the fact and the myth of Vikings in Britain and the world.
It seemed these Vikings were everywhere, as Tony Robinson eventually said, a bit like the Americans - over armed, over-sexed and over here. And here. And here.
I learned that part of their great success both in invading and carving out trading and farming space for themselves is that they had metal technology that was centuries ahead of their time, Their swords were very superior slicers, and secured their dominance, just as the repeating rifle secured the dominance of settlers over indigenous Native Americans in America. And the Atom Bomb ended the Second World War.
One way we know of this proliferation of the Vikings is the ubiquitous presence of their words in the language called English and of place names which reach deep into the British countryside.
Viking settlements are marked for example with place names ending in –by which means homestead, or farm. Think of Whitby, Derby, Rugby, Whitby, Selby, Grimsby. They are also marked by place names ending in –thorpe (or -thorp, -throp or –trop) which also means farm. And toft which means the site site of a house or a plot of land. And then there is holm which means a dry place in an area of marsh.
Names like this proliferate even deep inland in my part of the country. Only a mile or so away, for instance, is a village called Toft Hill.
Then, sitting back with my cup of tea, I had this thought that the genetic Viking heritage of many modern people could show itself now in the revels of the hard men (and women) round here on a Saturday night; in their desire not just to drink but get plastered (arguably a sign of manhood in the old Viking culture); also in their historic bravery in twentieth century wars and their stoicism in enduring hard conditions at work.
Then I had this idea that I could write a novel that illuminated these parallels between a bunch of Vikings then and a bunch if these guys now. Maybe a kind of ghost story.
Or not.
Maybe I should sleep on it.

Monday 11 October 2010

Spinning Plates

Just emerging from the fog of final editing of The Romancer, where I’ve had to retain in my brain the whole of the book that I’ve written in such loving parts. It’s like those people in the circus who have to keep plates spinning on sticks and dash across and across to keep them spinning. Deb's flowers

At times the brain has ached and the simple joy of blogging has had to be put to one side. But I have missed it. Ironically it was carving out the artless pieces about writing and my life on my Life Twice Tasted blog that inspired me to write The Romancer. No Life Twice Tasted  -  no Romancer.

Twice I thought I had finished the book and twice I dived back to insert another section so the balance was right and that plate kept spinning.

But now it’s gone and out of my hands and out of my mind for a while. Endings are about new resolutions. I have awarded myself a bunch of flowers and - apart from sorting out the sock drawer and the jumper drawer - I intend to write a short blog every day for a while, to get back into the rhythm.

So, if you’re still there, thank you for caring. See you tomorrow,


Friday 24 September 2010

Kathleen Jones on Catherine Cookson on The Writing Game


Kathleen Jones on Catherine Cookson

Great Working Class Fiction &

commentary by Gillian Wales

on Bishop FM 105.

October 5 7pm on Bishop FM

On Wendy Robertson’s

Writing Game

Join me on The Writing Game at 7pm October 5th when we feature an interview with Kathleen Jones who, as well as writing of the lives of Christina Rosetti and Katherine Mansfield, is the esteemed biographer of our own Catherine Cookson.

’Kathleen Jones biography displays all the Cookson virtues. Her narrative is uncluttered and direct, her analysis complex and sometimes surprising. Most importantly she never condescends to her subject' Kathryn Hughes, Daily Telegraph

"This is such a bravura exercise in biography, I would suggest Kathleen Jones not only wins her case but should be awarded costs."Charlotte Cory, times Literary Supplement

Avril and I talked with Kathleen Jones in her mill home just over the border in Cumbria. You can hear the clatter of knives and forks as we talked over lunch. Kathleen talked about her early commitments as a writer, her vivid experience as a mature student, her views on her own and others’ poetry. These will all feature in later programmes. This month, however, we will focus on her unique views on the art and craft of storyteller Catherine Cookson a very popular and –as will emerge – a much underrated writer whose worldly success is sometimes mistakenly seen as a sign of her lack of artistic virtue.

We will also hear from our own reviewer Chartered Librarian Gillian Wales - who runs Room To Write with Avril and me - as she talks about the impact of the work of Catherine Cookson on the book borrowing public in the 1980s and 90s – and also reflects on the best of Cookson’s novels.

We also feature Avril Joy’s story of publishing her father’s account of his experiences of London during the war, and hear an extract from Sedgefield writer Norma Neil’s emerging novel rooted in her own family memoir.


Tune into 105.9 at 7pm on October 5th

Join me on The Writing Game at

and see blog and podcasts at

Wendy R

Further Contacts for you…

Thursday 16 September 2010

Holy Island and The Advent Of Writing

I was invited by a friend to visit Holy Island to have lunch with another friend in a tower a hundred yards across the dunes from the sea. Dunes at Holy Island 008

The last time I was on Holy Island was when I was sixteen, two generations and a universe ago. I have a photo somewhere of me sitting on a beach in a red anorak, the harsh wind blowing my hair into greater tangles.

I was there on a ‘pilgrimage’ from my church. Not that we walked the eighty or so miles. There was a church bus, if I remember rightly. But we did walk across the Causeway, which is only accessible if the tide is right. I think I loved it. but really I was too full of my own adolescent concerns properly to  appreciate this extraordinary place.

This time it was different. The day was bright and the wind was soft; the isolation was healing. We sat for a while in the top of the round tower which has small square windows cut into three foot thick walls at all the points of the compass – towards the Causeway in one direction, towards the sea in another.

Three of us – all writers – considered the possibilities of writing about this separDunes at Holy Island 006ate, isolated uniquely spiritual place, this  meeting place of wild nature and the spiritual universe.  The island landscape has inspired films, poetry,  historical and more meditative writing but not, we thought, fiction. Somehow the spiritual depth of the place, did not lend itself to the rough trade of  contrived narrative. I thought that perhaps it might lend itself to fable, to a fabulous weaving of inspiration and vision  -- like the ancient magical tales that thrived here before  advent of writing.

I sat for a while and drew the marram grass in the dunes that holds the island together just as the stories of saints, their writings and their journeys, hold together the myth of Lindisfarne in our imaginations.

I think I have to go again and stay. And write.


Friday 10 September 2010

The Ommms and the Ahhhs

In an effort to calm myself down and stop the world spinning. I’ve been trying out some meditation tapes. Six so far and they all work in that it has to be very good for you, to sit very still striving towards a serene mind. It’s an improvement on thinking about the first thing in the queue of things to think about, with something always waiting in the wings. (My late brother was a time and motions study engineer. I sometimes think I might be imbued with his spirit. Not a minute wasted.

I suspect the best of the tapes is the most serious – Meditation Heavy, you might call it. The dark-velvet male voice talks about universal God a lot and the voice through the earphones is dark velvet with rapier penetration, The downside is that it requires you to vocalise a lot. AAHH for the morning meditations, OOHMM for the evening trips. I could certainly feel the slowing down, the return to slow contemplative sanity. But the downside is the vocalisation. Although the door to the little room is firmly shut, embarrassment stops me vocalising freely. This, of course, demonstrate my latent inability to let go: my tendency not only to watch myself do something, but empathise with other people’s reaction to my doing it. All copy. The writer’s curse.

On the other end of the scale is what you might call Meditation Lite – a soothing chirrupy female voice backed by syrup-y film soundtrack music.She asks me to visualise a film on a screen where I a the star who wins out against all odds and ends up believing in herself. Despite being slightly gloopy this works as well as Meditation . Afterwards I am transformed - fresh and motivated. I am more effective in my day.

In between these two extremes are the more La Guinguette 041 Boat reach, balding grass, riverstorytelling, visualisation tapes where I have to imagine myself in a place. So I can put myself on the moors in Weardale or beside a river in the   Languedoc, where I can drop into a hypnotic trance and assure myself I am what I am; that I have no fear; that I am a worthwhile person; that I have the power to make myself happy; that I can make myself achieve my dreams.

While I enjoy the visualisations most,  the effect of these very different meditation experiences  is the same: I emerge transformed – fresh and motivated. I am more effective in my day.

Of course the common denominator of these experiences is just sitting still, slowing down and relaxing, for thirty  whole minutes, twice a day.  This is what does the trick. Real meditaters can do it without the crutch of tapes or resonant voices in the ear. It is rightly called a discipline and has someone who applies discipline to various other parts of my life I find this impossible. I need a voice to guide me, to pace me. Otherwise I think too much.

So I’m telling my stressed friends now, ‘Feeling stressed? Get a tape – any tape – and go meditate!’


Monday 6 September 2010

Terry Deary on The Writing Game

On Tuesday 7th at 7pm on The Writing Game 

The amazing Terry Deary 

On this programme  my  focus is history. fact and fiction.

In factual history we can learn that - no matter in what age we live – there are constant features – the human instinct to survive, even to thrive , in adverse circumstance, to make cure, to kill, to cure, to make love, to develop ideas, to nurture, to celebrate, to rule and be ruled, - all these are constant.

But some of us  turn to historical fiction to receive our historical fix,filtered and shaped through the writer’s imagination.  So we see the Tudors through Phillipa Gregory’s eyes, We see the times of Thomas Cromwell through the eyes of Hilary Mantel, We see ancient Rome through Lindsey Davies’s detective fiction. We e 17th Century Holland through Tracey Chevalier’s Girl With the Pearl Earring. e see eighteenth century war at sea through the eyes of Patrick O’Brian

But now there is a generation of readers who see history as a joke - one long laugh. Perhaps, clip_image001like much these days, this started on the screen with the hilarious excesses of Blackadder, the TV series. But the most successful writer promoting the funny side of history has to be the creator of the Horrible History genre of books - Terry Deary, who knows the Bishop Auckland very well. And who comes from Sunderland but lives  near Durham.

A former actor, theatre-director and drama teacher, Terry is the author of over 200 books for young people with a total sales of 25 million in many countries. A great bulk of these are his Horrible History series although there are other longer, equally interesting works

Terry’s books  and his stance are anti-establishment and anarchic  He does not see himself as an historian. ‘My agenda is not so much history as human behaviour,” he says. “Why do people behave the way they do? That is what I try to answer through non-fiction and fiction. When you understand that, then the world becomes a better place. Because people look at each other and try to understand one another.”

And now this month on Bishop FM Terry will talk about his new Longer Novel called PUT

OUT THE LIGHT - set in Sheffield in World War Two during the Blitz. There are typical Terry Deary jokes here but this is a serious – very readable - story about the wartime experiences of two English and three German children.

Being so much in demand and choosy about his company Terry’s a hard man to get hold of . He turned down the BBC’s Desert Island Discs but on Tuesday 7th at 7  he’s on Bishop FM’s Writing Game.

Hear also  on this programme historian Glynn Wales’ take on factual history.

If you can’t tune in,  the podcast of this programme will be available from Bishop FM from 8th September.


    • Terry's new full-length novel Put out the Light will be published by A & C Black on 9 September 2010. Terry will be taking part in a signing tour to launch the book.  (A&C Black ISBN 9781 4081 3054 4)

Bishop FM 105.9

Friday 20 August 2010

Glynn’s Compelling Case For History

‘Not to know what took place before you were born is to remain a child.’ Cicero.

One half of our review team on The Writing Game (see sidebar here) is Glynn, teacher of history for over thirty years, now a trainer of teachers at Durham University and Senior Examiner of A level History for the EdExcel board.

A bit of a renaissance man, Glyn reviews all kinds of books for the programme. For relaxation, he reads crime. However the theme for the the September programme is History - Fact and Fiction so we were right in his territory. Wonderfully, Terry Deary had agreed to be interviewed for this show, talking about his WW2 novel PUT OUT THE LIGHT, and of course his anarchic, very best selling ‘Horrible History’ series.

So Glynn’s review brief for September was Historical Fact. I asked him to review great history books now available. So he came to my smallest room - which is now giving service as a studio – to record his segment. However, before he gave his book recommendations, I asked him for his view on history and its teaching in schools. Glynn’s combination of vision, scholarship and enduring ideals inspired me to include an excerpt from his talk here.


I thought you’d be interested in Glynn’s compelling case for history:

Glynn ‘ ….(learning history) allows children to see the present, it transforms the world about them and it gives them more of a sense of identity than they had without it – a sense of national identity. regional identity, in fact local identity as well. It shows them what man has done and therefore what they are capable of doing, whatever they want to become. And it tells them an awful lot about themselves

‘Not to know what took place before you were born is to remain a child.’ I go along with Cicero on that.

History helps to de-centre them, to show they’re not the centre of the universe. It promotes critical thinking, tells them to weigh evidence, to look at the pros and cons, to make judgements based on evidence … Also it should be a good read. History is a literary subject; good history is well written, it’s exciting stories that can fire the imagination.

How it should be taught? Children learn in a variety of ways and should be taught in a variety of ways There’s certainly a central role within that for a a teacher – a teacher, not a facilitator. The teacher should be the centre of the classroom: stories such as the great fire of London, the Gunpowder Plot again fire the imagination.

Children learn by doing, so things like role play, playing the role of the detective, examining evidence , artefacts, paintings, building, photographs – all these and written evidence at its highest helps them to make judgements.

In the big debate about knowledge and skills, I suppose I’m on the knowledge side . They should leave school with a body of knowledge which helps them to do the things that I have outlined. To apply critical thinking to their actions and attitudes. Armed with this they can look at cause, consequence and change in their own wider experience . …

Wendy: The teacher as the great storyteller as well as the purveyor of knowledge, judgement and experience. That all sounds to me like history should be at the centre of the curriculum,

Glynn: Indeed it should be. Everything has its history, its historical link. It could be seen as the most important…

Wendy: I’ll vote put it at the centre of the curriculum.

Glynn: (laughs) Thank you Wendy

Wendy: So what about your books this month…?

Glynn: Well, never have so many works of history or of such quality been produced than at present, nor has history been so well taught. According to OFSTED it’s the best taught subject on the secondary school curriculum – a far cry from the state of history on which Terry Deary took revenge by producing his Horrible Histories .

I even venture to say that never has (a populariser) like Terry been more important then at the present. History as a subject has suffered terribly at the hands of the outgoing Labour Government to the point where it’s marginalised in many schools, subsumed within general humanities courses ( so the critical discipline is lost. W.) and even discontinued as a GCSE option.

Remarkably in the whole of Europe, only in Britain and Albania is History not a compulsory subject for 14-16year olds … Had there been more historians in the Labour government then (the study of history) would not be in such a parlous state, nor might Britain have such a dubious foreign policy reputation as it has in the world in the moment.

Wendy: (Taking a breath…) And so the the books?

Glynn’s Choice:

I offer then, some BIG history books which I’ve enjoyed reading in the last year and which continue Terry’s and Wendy’s theme of wars in the 20th Century.

THE STORM OF WAR by Andrew Roberts – a well researched narrative history of the Second World War

THE WAR OF THE WORLD, Niall Ferguson’s radical re-interpretation of both Twentieth Century world wars. Like all my books here this book is beautifully written and combines broad brushstrokes of judgement with fascinating detail and anecdote .

HUGH TREVOR ROPER, Adam Sisman’s biography of the historian, son of an Alnwick GP who rose to be England’s top historian, As a young don and army historian Trevor Roper’s detective work produced The Last Days of Hitler which proved that Hitler had indeed died in the bunker and made the historian’s name. He was involved as a writer, scholar an consultant to so many events of the latter twentieth century. (Glyn goes on to outline how the book revealed critical flaws, tragedy and even farce which compromised but did not destroy the genius of this iconic historian.)


Glynn said so much more about these books. but to hear him you will have to wait until after 7pm on September 7th if you are in the area or get the podcast from Bishop FM afterwards. (Earlier Podcasts are there too)

Of course you will also get to hear Terry Deary which is another treat. I’ll put a post on the blog her about Terry and his contribution nearer the time.

It was great to listen to Glynn. I’m certainly inspired to read all of these books , but will make a start with the Nial Ferguson’s War Of The World …

Thursday 12 August 2010

Women and Their Family Ties

From ‘The Romancer’. my memoir in progress:

The close, passionate and sometimes difficult relationship between mothers and daughters features in many of my stories through different faces, different characters and different narratives. One prime example of this is Family Ties. In this novel we have an old mother with a middle-aged daughter who has a daughter in her thirties who has a seventeen year old daughter herself. This novel - a kind of Four Ages of Woman - probably has the most fictional truth deriving from my life. I have plucked elements from my own life for the second, third and fourth generations of the women in this story. But the oldest woman – Kate, perverse, independent, intelligent, secretive, charismatic – most clearly emerges from my deep experience of my mother Barbara. I realise this now, though I have to say I wasn’t conscious of this when I wrote Family Ties.

Excerpt from Family Ties -

Elderly Kate has had an accident and stays with her middle aged daughter Rosa, her thirty something granddaughter Bronwen and Bronwen’s teenage daughter Lily -

- … When she came here from hospital Kate was quiet. The hospital had shocked her more than she would admit. That and the accident. The next morning she was up at her usual time and in the kitchen before I could get there. The table was set. The cereals were standing to attention and she was stirring porridge in the pan.

I remembered my father in Coventry stirring porridge in a pan. And how happy I was then. Before she came back from her nightshift at the hospital. I remembered how, in the bad times at Butler Street, there was no breakfast because she was depressed and anyway she had to be at the factory by seven thirty. And how I fainted in Assembly.

Anyway on the first morning of Kate’s stay I fled upstairs without any breakfast, mumbling something about getting on with my work. I sat here at my desk and told myself that at my age I really shouldn’t be running away from my mother.

Since then I’ve managed to eat the porridge before I flee back upstairs to my study. But here I am, still disturbed by the sound of Kate talking to Bronwen and young Lily, what with the click and clatter as she moves my things here and there and the sputter and sweep of the Hoover. When I go downstairs the place will be tidy and shaved clean and all the ornaments will be slightly out of place. There’s no doubt about it – with Kate here I am slightly out of place.

… Of course she started this herself, by letting Bronwen have the bag of papers with the Tick Book in it. She knew what she was doing. Tick Book*, ticking bomb! Here I am, sailing along, quite content, then Boom! It floods back. Those years are on my mind again: hiding in the house like an injured rabbit; dancing behind closed curtains; writing in the Tick Book about how Brock came; battling with secrets. I weep for the child that was me….

*Shop credit ledger, given to Rosa as a child, in which she kept a diary.

Sunday 8 August 2010

‘Theft’ – The Very First Novel Adventure

How ‘Theft’ came to be published is a story in itself. At that time I was at home with two small children. I loved this time, letting the dust build up somewhat and writing when they were asleep. That was when I wrote Theft. It seemed a time of such freedom.

At that time I was a member of an association called The Federation of Children’s Book Groups which aimed to get more books into the hands of more children. This nationwide forum was lead by a very charismatic young woman called Anne Wood who lived in London but came from my home town and had been to my grammar school, although I’d never met her. One day she came North to visit her father and we had a little meeting in my house,  with other like minded people.  Towards the end of the meeting I mentioned that I’d just finished writing this children’s story called Theft. She asked if she could read it. I handed it to her, apologizing for the rather scruffy copy, as this was my only spare. I was pleased that anyone at all would take the trouble to read this, my first full length novel.

The next morning she rang me to tell me how much she liked it. I was so pleased, as Anne was so informed, so savvy in the field of children’s fiction. Then she continued. ‘So I think we’ll take it.’

We?’ I was puzzled.

‘Corgi Carousel. That’s Transworld.’ That was when she told me she’d just been appointed the first editor for Transworld’s new children’s imprint and had the power, there and then, to say ‘Yes.’ Magic.

Even more interesting than that, this was the Anne Wood who went on to set up an independent TV production company, ‘Ragdoll’ which produced, among other excellent programmes, Rosie and Jim, Tots TV, Teletubbies, and In the Night Garden. This was the Anne Wood who was listed as the third richest person in British broadcasting in 2001, with the value of her business estimated by Broadcast magazine to be £130m. Her charity, The Ragdoll Foundation went on to lead the field in imaginative philanthropy aimed towards children.

I met Anne when she was on the cusp of all this. I sometimes wonder if, like me, she ever got  ‘lines’ at school for reading at the dinner table.‘

This is an extract from ‘The Romancer’

an attempt to mesh together my life and my books.

* After Theft  there was a three year  novel haitus while I pursued my academic career. Still writing, though, I went on to write three more ‘young adult novels (for Hodder & Stoughton) before embarking on full time writing and long adult novels.

Posted by Wendy R at 11:10

Labels: Anne Wood, Theft, writing

Avril said...

The Romancer promises to be an extraordinary and fascinating book.
What a coup getting your first novel published in that way and how modest you were about your talent - great story Wendy.
A x

8 August 2010 12:18

Thursday 5 August 2010

Writing Before Writing


I could write before I could read or write.

Picture this. A little girl less than three years old, playing outside a house in Lancaster. With her head of Shirley Temple curls she is winsome, prettier than she will ever be in the many years to come. She is chalking on the sill of the big bay window vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

She stands back. That looks right. Just like she’s seen her mother do. But then she frowns her characteristic frown. Is it all in one, or are there breaks in the line of squiggles? She runs inside the house and climbs onto the mantelpiece where she knows there are letters behind the clock.

Letters are big in her house these days. There are letters from Daddy who’s making aero engines in another city. Mammy reads these out to them all. They always end love Bill. There are letters from Cy, the Canadian soldier who stayed once and carried the little girl on his shoulders. Her mother smiles as she reads them. Then there’s the letter that made her mother cry, about Jimmy, whose plane crashed in America. There’s a photo of Jimmy on the mantelpiece in uniform: a sharp face with smiling eyes.

The little girl takes one of her Daddy’s letters and looks carefully at its neat loops. Ah yes. There are gaps between the squiggles. So she goes outside and with the corner of her cardigan – knitted in Fair Isle by her Auntie Louie – she rubs the sill so there are now spaces between some of the squiggles. Now she has done some real writing.

Vvv vvvvvv vv vvv vvvvvv vvvvvv v vvvv vvv


Wednesday 4 August 2010

Radio Gremlins!

As you know here, I am enjoying the work for The Writing Game, my community radio programme all about writing. It is hard work but good on all kinds of levels.* I’ve had good personal response and the people I work with from the station are so kind and clever.

But if you managed to get to hear Tuesday’s programme you will think I’m crazy.

I have to admit that I myself listened with increasing consternation. Gremlins were dancing around in the works. The very good reading by writer Geri Auton was cut altogether; the beginning was cut; the book sequence was cut so that one crucial title was missed. Adverts blasted into the centre of the programme and at one point screeching music from some other line intruded. I have to say I cringed. 

It honestly was a case of crossed wires and probably really nobody’s fault. However, James, the Programme Director is on the problem and he and I are going to re-edit the programme this week and it will go out next Tuesday at seven in its proper form. That version will be on the podcast. He tells me all the podcasts should be available, The previous programmes should be podcasted soon. I’ll let you know here when that happens.

Certainly my learning curve is climbing! Things can only get better from this.


For example, I had the enormous pleasure yesterday of recording a long interview with the extraordinary , iconoclastic Terry Deary, writer of the worldwide best sellers, The Horrible History series. He was talking about his new -  longer-  World War Two children’s novel. Put Out The Light. We have so much to learn from Terry about the Writing Game. This marvellous conversation will go out on The Writing Game the first Tuesday in September.

Friday 30 July 2010

The Romancer

Nice to see you again. Lifetwicetasted has been a bit of a no-go area for me in recent weeks – in fact since I came back from France. I know I’ve blasted off here before, about how I don’t believe in writer’s block, but somehow my writer’s mind has a been like a ticking engine turning over but not ready to go.

Study Window 004Of course I’ve been doing some bits of writing, and I’ve been working on the Radio Programme (see sidebar) but this great surging desire to charge into the next BIG THING has been waiting in the wings, not centre stage.

I have not been unhappy but felt I’d somehow turned to a column of wax, unable to melt back into the writer I am.

But if you wait, what’s meant to happen, will happen.

The other day, for my radio programme, I had a conversation with gifted literary biographer and great blogger Kathleen Jones (see my sidebar…). We talked about her new biography of Katherine Mansfield and many aspects of the writing game but I was most intrigued by her typically erudite analysis of the academic and literary disciplines of the biographer - the symbiosis between the writer’s life and the writer’s work.

My dears, the wax started to melt! In between putting the new programme together with James at the radio station, trying to get the house back together after the big paint job and talking with A. about the meaning of life and the balance between nature and nurture, the big idea emerged.

I began to think it’s time I carried out an audit on my work. After all, I’ve been writing all sorts of things for publication for the last twenty five years. It finally dawned on me that I should write an autobiographical monograph outlining my own symbiosis - my non-parochial life here in South Durham and and the novels and stories that have been inspired by it.

Don’t get me wrong – this is not an act of pride, it’s a matter of intellectual organisation and rationalisation. It will be fun to write - in part it has been inspired By how much I love writing posts for my blogs - and will allow me properly to reflect on my life as a writer.

It will be short. I see it as fourteen essays incorporating true elements of my life and the stories that were inspired by them. The quality of the writing will be paramount. As with this blog, there will be pictures. I will publish it myself as an exercise in private publishing, to make the whole book just as I want it to be.

What a treat! Enough to melt any candle.

But first, the title!

There is this saying in County Durham. ‘Oh, him, he’s a proper romancer!’. meaning someone who lives on the borderline between truth, fantasy and lies. I wanted to call my novel about the (alleged) County Durham serial killer Mary Ann Cotton, ‘The Romancer’. My editor didn’t like it. (It became A Woman Scorned’ – a much lesser title for what was a great story.)

Now I know why it was saved. My autobiographical monograph will be my called The Romancer. Perfect! It will be launched on November 24th in the art Gallery at Bishop Auckland Town Hall, alongside an exhibition of all twenty four of my books, a timeline with all the books in and of their times, a collage of some of my articles.

They’re calling it ‘ A Retrospective’. Well, if artists can have then so can writers.

PS After all this excitement I looked up the word ‘Romancer’ (see below) and was moved to see what I came up with. So many of these words fit the way I think I am. I was called dreamer in my family from when I was very young….WX


Romancer’ :Don Quixote, Quixote, anecdotist, daydreamer, dreamer, dreamer of dreams, enthusiast, escapist, fableist, fabler, fabulist, fictionist, idealist, lotus-eater, mythmaker, mythopoet, narrator, novelettist, novelist, prophet, raconteur, reciter recounter, relator, rhapsodist, romancist, romantic, romanticist,sagaman, seer, short-story writer, spinner of yarns, storier, storyteller, taleteller, teller of tales, utopian, utopianist, ustopianizer, visionary, wishful thinker, word painter, yarn spinner reamer of dreams, enthusiast, escapist, fableist, fabler, fabulist, fictionist, idealist, lotus-eater, mythmaker, mythopoet,narrator, novelettist, novelist, prophet, raconteur, reciter, recounter, relator, rhapsodist, romancist, romantic, romanticist, sagaman, seer, short-story writer, spinner of yarns, storier,storyteller, taleteller, teller of tales, utopian, utopianist, topianizer, visionary, wishful thinker, word painter, yarn spinner

Romancer’ A mysterious or fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous, heroic, or strangely beautiful: "These fine old guns often have a romance clinging to them" (Richard Jeffries).


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