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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.


I'VE read most of Alan Hollinghurst's novels; I consider him the Jane Austin of the 21st century. Here are two of my favourites.


THE STRANGER'S CHILD I always notice, when I’m reading a Hollinghurst novel, that, despite the fact that I’m reading with ultimate pleasure, enjoying every word, gripped by the characters and their lives, there will be a moment, about halfway through the book, when I reaIize that nothing much has happened yet...

 This certainly happened to me with The Stranger’s Child. It’s a glorious novel filled with the colour of the last century and characters I took away from the novel and thought about in my quiet moments. But I was waiting for a clear denouement - a twist, a shock...towards the end I was praying for it. But I should know by now, this is Hollinghurst; his is a comedy of manners, and as such he doesn’t go for big shocks. He has always reminded me of the 21C Jane Austin, writing with a fine brush (although I don’t know what Jane would have made of his subjects and themes; no doubt taken them in her booted stride). He rightly wins all the prizes, and now seems to be edging ahead of Ian McEwan in the ‘best British Novelist’ stakes. I do wish they’d stop doing that, as such things are all so subjective. ‘One of the best...’ would be sufficient for me


THE LINE OF BEAUTY Alan Hollignhurst only just tips my admiration for his earlier work FALLEN STAR, with this much vaster and heavier novel. Both are filled with wit and sparkle, and both have graphic scenes of gay sex. The former is perhaps a little more acidic in the earlier book, the latter better handled in Beauty, where a hedonistic life style is well described. I think of him as the Jane Austin of gay fiction.(UK 2004)