Ahoy there, Faye Sewell!

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Faye Sewell

The next in the occasional series of posts offered to guest authors by Wilfred Books will be presented in the style of an interview, in which she explains how she became an author, with Faye Sewell (right), who is already an established actor, with a wide & varied roster of screen rôles under her belt, but couldn’t resist the urge to write! She has now published three classic ‘Pirate’ novels, which will be detailed below.

Is writing currently your main activity, on a regular basis?

Writing is my secondary occupation, Acting is my primary one. I feel like they’re very complimentary to one another, I have always enjoyed getting inside characters’ heads and building them, whether from clues in a script or a person who walks into my imagination and demands to be written down.

When did you first start writing seriously?

I’ve always written from as far back as I can remember, but all my work would end up being first drafts and incomplete – something I was excited about briefly but had no follow through to complete. Then a few years back I started a book and finished it, realized I just hadn’t been writing about anything that interested me enough in the past – and became so obsessed with my new book that finishing it and going on to complete the trilogy was something that I absolutely had to do.

Which route into publishing did you follow?

I didn’t approach publishers directly as a lot of them seemed closed to unsolicited submissions and while I did write to a few agents, I got tired with stock responses and decided to take matters into my own hands. I was very keen to just get my story out there and having spoken to other writers and hearing how long it could take to find an an agent and from that point on, yet more time to find a publisher, I felt that self-publishing was the way to go for me.

Would you have been open to an offer from a publisher, if one had been forthcoming?

If I had been approached by a publisher and offered a deal, it would have definitely been something that I would have considered – but very dependent on the circumstances. I am very protective of my characters and maintaining their integrity and what I set out to do with my trilogy was and is very important to me. I would of course have been open to feedback, but no major changes and nothing that would compromise creative control to a large extent.

How do you see the future for your writing, from now on?

I’m very lucky in that I do have a lot of time to write and when I’m not acting I can write full-time. I love variety and I think it makes me a better writer, having breaks to work on acting jobs and then returning to what I’m working on with a fresh perspective.

Your Black Feather Trilogy looks very exciting, and deserves to be very successful. The first image below is a link to the Kindle Store on Amazon.co.uk. Thank you very much, Faye, and the best of luck with your writing!

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The third book in this trilogy, Cresting Waves, can be seen in the banner image at the top of this post.

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Hilda Kean

Hilda Kean

Wilfred Books is very pleased to be able to offer a short profile of an author, Hilda Kean (right), who was very helpful with sources and background information that was most useful in the writing of Black Shirt and Smoking Beagles, in the second of an occasional series, in which established authors explain how they undertook the process of writing & publishing their work.

I haven’t quite thought previously about what I have written, since it covers an odd subject including a medieval Carmelite friar, early education in the initial C20th – including assertive suffrage activists in schools, women’s political history, ways of approaching public history, and histories of animals.

The last two topics came about when working at Ruskin College, Oxford, for over twenty years. I was encouraged by the late Raphael Samuel, with whom I worked, to develop the first MA in Public History in the country, including running many open conferences. Raphael also helped me write my first historical essay on anti-vivisection, published in his History Workshop Journal, and I then went on to the Animal Rights book [see below], and many articles including Greyfriars Bobby, squirrels, animal cemeteries, Trim the cat, animal war memorials and unusual animal statues.

My latest book The Great Cat and Dog Massacre. The Real Story of World War II’s Unknown Tragedy came out last year, and there is a new paperback in the next few weeks. I try to write material on a range of topics on my website, where you can pick up various writing, and welcome comments from readers: http://hildakean.com.

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Hilda Kean’s book, Animal Rights, was published by Reaktion Books.

Chris Dolley

Wilfred Books is very pleased to showcase the prolific and highly successful author, Chris Dolley, in the first of an occasional series of blogs from established authors, at whatever stage in their writing careers. Chris’s background is in technology, but this post is something of a privileged exclusive, because it is, in visual terms, an ‘out-take’ from one of his books, which details a rather traumatic episode in his life; so read on and share vicariously in his adventure!

1916734_326706036129_648735_nChris Dolley is a New York Times bestselling author. French Fried is about his move to France – which culminated in his identity being stolen and life savings disappearing. Abandoned by the police forces of four countries who all insisted the crime belonged in someone else’s jurisdiction, he had to solve the case himself. Which he did, but unlike fictional detectives, he had an 80 year-old mother-in-law and an excitable puppy who insisted they came along if he was going anywhere interesting – like a stakeout. Here’s Chris:

When writing a book you often have difficult decisions to make when it comes to the final edits. So it was when I wrote French Fried: One man’s move to France with too many animals and an identity thief. Reading though the book, I felt that it took too long to get to the identity theft part of the book and decided to cut one of the chapters – which was a shame as it contained some of my favourite scenes. Here’s one of them: The Optician, the Receptionist, and the Skirting Board.

In the month before we moved to France we decided to have a thorough check up – opticians, dentists, doctors, the lot. It seemed a sensible course of action when exchanging a largely free health service for something entirely unknown.

Unfortunately we caught the optician on a bad day.

I thought the receptionist’s behaviour somewhat strange. Asking the customer if they really wanted to go through with their appointment is not normal front desk procedure.

“He is a locum,” the receptionist pressed. “Not the usual optician. You can re-book if you want.”

She did everything but beg us to run for our lives. But we were not to be swayed, our eyes needed checking and God knows when we’d be able to master enough of the French alphabet to risk an examination in France.

Shelagh went in first – half expecting to see a Transylvanian hunchback – but instead was met by a perfectly normal optician in his mid-thirties. A perception that persisted for several minutes – that is until she let slip the reason for her appointment – our imminent emigration to France.

“France!” he spluttered. “Don’t talk to me about France!”

There then followed a potted life history of an optician’s sorry slip down life’s ladder. And very sorry it was. He’d had his own practice – a thriving one – and then exchanged it all for an even larger one in France. He’d had several shops, a new life, boundless possibilities.

And then lost it all.

Cheated by banks and business partners and I think half of the French population during the final stages, he’d sunk into a morass of debt and had to sell up and come home. Not that there’d been much left to sell. He’d even lost money on his house. His purchasers and the notaire added to the long list of French nationals who’d cheated, connived and generally done him wrong.

This was not a happy optician.

And now he was home again trying to rebuild a shattered life. Filling in for opticians who could afford to go off on holiday – probably to France.

Shelagh thought it best to steer the conversation as far away from France as possible at that point. Having your eyes probed by a man muttering to himself about Gallic conspiracies is not generally seen as a good thing.

Neither it appeared was asking for a sight test for glasses while wearing contact lenses.

“Don’t you want a test for contact lenses?” he asked.

“Well, I did. But the receptionist said you only did glasses.”

“She what!”

And then he was off again. Half of Devon added to the Gallic conspiracy.

“I can do contact lenses!” he exclaimed in a mixture of disbelief and rising indignation. Was the whole world against him? “I do contacts! I do glasses. I do the lot! I’m an optician!”

And then a lot of muttering. Luckily he hadn’t been in France long enough to pick up the spitting and ritual grinding of the spittle into the carpet.

But he wasn’t far off.

“Why did she say that?” he continued to no-one in particular, walking off into the far corner of the consulting room, pushing his hands through his hair and looking one step away from curling up into a ball against the skirting board.

Never a good sign for an optician.

It was about at this point that the phone rang in reception. I was sitting nearby and the caller had a loud voice, so I heard most of what followed.

“Is he all right?” a woman’s voice began worriedly.

“I think so. So far, anyway,” came the reply in hushed conspiratorial tones and nervous looks towards the consulting room door.

“He hasn’t…” The voice hung in an open question mark, unable to frame the terrible conclusion to the question. What hadn’t he? I inclined an ear closer to the conversation, shuffled to the edge of the chair. What was happening behind that door?

“No,” said the receptionist, shaking her head. “Well, not yet anyway.”

We both cast anxious looks towards the door.

“I’m sure he’ll be all right,” continued the receptionist in a voice that underlined the fact that she was convinced of the exact opposite.

Back inside the consulting room a depressed locum fought his way back from the siren call of the skirting board and cast a veneer of professionalism over his sinking spirits. He would continue with the sight test. He was a professional. Whatever anyone else said.

When it was my turn, I walked in, settled down in the chair, smiled a lot and cast beams of well being and general bonhomie in all directions. I was taking no chances.

“And what can I do for you?” he started brightly.

“Well, I’m about to move to France…”

French Fried is available from Amazon at the following link:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/French-Fried-France-animals-identity-ebook/dp/B003UBTVSI/.