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NinaMilton

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.

ORANGES ARE NOT THE ONLY FRUITby Jeanette Winterson

Reading ORANGES ARE NOT THE ONLY FRUITby Jeanette Winterson led me to SEXING THE CHERRY, and through her work to WHY BE HAPPY WHEN YOU COULD BE NORMAL, one of her most recent books. This tells the 'other story' told as fiction in Oranges; the search for happiness.  I have heard reviewers say that Winterson is not so much a novelist as an essayist; I'd agree with this. Her first book was autobiography; since then her novels have been only a hair away from being essays. This new book seems to be a bit of all of these; I'll report back when I've read it through!THE TIGER’S WIFE has been feted as a stunningly original novel. Tea Obreht is the youngest winner of the Orange Prize, and it is clear she had a fantastic imagination and can weave incredible tales. I did love the story, but there were times when the reading became difficult, not because it is a dense read or literary read, but because the writer, still only 24, doesn’t yet know how to take several short stories ( previously published) and  pull them into a cohesive story. We meet innumerable incredible characters but these never glue the novel into one, heart-thumping piece. Emotion seems to be painted on, and I’m sure that is because Obreht tried to plait her short stories together without remembering the one piece of advice I always give to my students...be sure you know your own Core Emotional Truth.