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Sabbie Dare and Friends

I have been writing fiction since my reception teacher, Mrs Marsden, put a paper and pencil in front of me. I can remember thinking; What? Do real people write these lovely books? I want to do that! I gained an MA in creating writing and sold my first books for children; Sweet’n’Sour, (HarperCollins) and Tough Luck, (Thornberry Publishing), both from Amazon. I also love writing short stories and they regularly appear in British anthologies. I now write crime fiction, published by Midnight Ink. The idea for In the Moors , my first Shaman Mystery came to me one day, in the guise of Sabbbie Dare. She came to me fully formed and said; “I'm a young therapist, a shaman, and sometimes I do get very strange people walking into my therapy room. Honestly, I could write a book about some of them...” I am a druid; a pagan path which takes me close to the earth and into the deep recesses of my mind. Shamanic techniques help me in my life - in fact they changed my life - although, unlike Sabbie, I’ve never set up a therapeutic practice...I’m too busy writing and teaching creative writing with the Open College of the Arts. I’m a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Although I was born, educated and raised my two children in the West Country, I now live in west Wales with my husband James. IN THE MOORS, the first Shaman Mystery starring SABBIE DARE was released in the US in 2013 and UNRAVELLING VISIONS will be out this autumn, but you can already reserve your copy on Amazon. Join me on my vibrant blogsite, http://www.kitchentablewriters.blogspot.com where I offer students and other writers some hard-gained advice on how to write fiction.

Notes from an Exhibition and A Perfectly Good Man by Patrick Gale

  • NOTES FROM AN EXHIBITION was my first Patrick Gale; it wasn't my last.
  • I love novels that are 'about something' that inform as well as entertain, and the setting of Cornwall, and the theme of contemporary art was enticing. I also love unusual structures of narrative, and Gale uses  changing viewpoints that dot around in time and place, like  pieces of a jigsaw, but he's confident about showing the reader the way through the story.      While engaged on a groundbreaking new series of paintings, Rachel Kelly dies of a heart attack in her loft-studio was an artist. Her son can remember giving her six stones collected from a Cornish beach and believes they were her inspiration for the paintings. Gale has a great writer's skill; he allows the reader intimate acquaintance with the inner lives of characters. Rachel is bipolar and this is a convincing device which demonstrates the upside of her condition; the mystery of creative inspiration. When free of medication she soars towards a high, producing great work. Her suicidal lows are considered by her family to be the punishment for so many things.

A Perfectly Good Man,  thenext book I read by Patrick Gale, is engrossing. The story examines events from various character viewpoints, moving around in time seemingly randomly to create a rich canvas. The characters are finely drawn, and the theme is deeply mined. I'm steadily becoming a fan of Patrick Gale's work and  their fairly constant themes of Cornwall)  dysfunctional families,and his continual theme of religion and Man's struggle within the confines of its boundaries of morality. The perfectly good man of the title is destined to fail - not precisely become a bad man, but indeed a flawed one. He did this in gloriously with horrendous consequences for him, his family and the wider community.