Chichester author Isabel Ashdown is delighted to be speaking at the Fishbourne Literary Festival this year, the new name for the expanded Fishbourne Loves Books (March 24).
“It will be a pleasure. It is great to be speaking at the local festival.”
It is also great, of course, to meet readers.
“I always think that people that come along to these events are there 99 per cent of the time because of their love of reading and because they are fascinated by the process of writing. I always assume it will be a very friendly crowd! They want to know what inspires you and also what your schedule is, do you write so many words a day, do you always write between certain hours. It is that process of writing that interests them.
“I think a lot of people that come are avid readers, but a lot of them are perhaps in the early stages of writing themselves and are looking to pick up some tips.
“I did it slightly differently myself. I went through a university route and a creative writing course. I was very lucky in that the writers were brought to us, and I attended every talk that I possibly could.”
Getting published is the major step: “Whatever you write, your publisher is looking for that spark that really turns them on. You are looking for that little moment when your idea and their idea collide, and that’s really exciting when it happens.
“With publishers I went from Myriad, who I really loved, to Orion, and when I met my fiction editor at Orion, I just knew that it was going to work. I suppose it is a bit like dating in a way! If you went on a speed-dating evening, you would not expect to find the right person for you straightaway.
“I had plenty of rejections at the pre-novel stage. But I was advised that you should be getting articles and short stories and poetry into print. For every one of those, you will get maybe ten or 20 rejections, but you are getting somewhere. You have also got to be fairly resilient. When something is rejected, you need to be looking at it and thinking why, thinking if you can improve it. It is important to be able to develop that critical eye when it comes to looking at your own work.
“Writing is tough. It is not an easy choice. My first book came out in 2009 and got some great reviews, but it is only now, nearly ten years later, that I am at the stage where I can make a living from writing books.”
The Fishbourne Literary Festival takes place in St Peter’s Place (the church hall) and in the Church.
The highlights will be:
10.30-11.30am: Escapes into Fiction. Bestselling author Isabel talks about the theme of escape in her novels and chats about her recent move into the genre of psychological thriller. With readings from her latest novels Little Sister and Beautiful Liars, followed by Q&A.
11.45am-12.45pm: Having the Last Word. What are the ethics of writing about family history, particularly when your subjects are dead and can’t answer back? Adam Mars-Jones.
2-3pm: The true story of a life-changing Trek on the Great Wall of China. Béatrice Crawford will take you with her on the awe-inspiring Great Wall of China climb, thousands of steps in the grandiose scenery of the Yanshan Mountains.
3.15-4.15pm: Instead of a Memoir. Margaret Drabble talks about writing late in life.
Day tickets are £20 and include all four talks. For tickets, contact Liz Grant on 01243 530639 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
For other stories by Phil, see: https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2
See also: https://www.chichester.co.uk/whats-on/arts/the-secrets-of-travelling-safely-1-8417899