Where do stories come from?

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for checking in. Its great to have you.

I spent a long time today thinking about where stories come from. A writer I have loved all my life brought this to mind. He wrote prolifically all his life but in later years, due probably to a combination of ill health and a lack of financial necessity, he did nothing but write. Before that, he was a journalist, a teacher, and also did a few other jobs I believe. The point I want to make is that as he made his life smaller, interacted less on a daily basis with fellow human beings, so too did his stories. Or if not smaller, then less relevant, less real. It was as if he had lost touch with the world and his stories suffered, in my humble opinion, because of it.

I think, for me anyway, stories are all around us. We are interested in each other, that what’s wonderful about us and we are always looking for points of comparison, ways we can identify with each other.

When teaching poetry to Irish teenage boys, I explain that for me at least, literature, in all its forms is the conversation of mankind. I think I heard that phrase somewhere, I didn’t make it up, but its so true. Through stories we can talk to each other, and we can see that we are not alone. If your heart is broken it hurts, no matter if you’re 80 or 18, black or white, rich or poor, live in 2016 or 1916, in Durban or Dublin. Stories connect us and make us feel less of a weirdo, somewhere, someone felt just as you do. And when we can find that connection in a story, then that’s amazing. There are loads of books in the world but every so often a book comes your way that has a character that you need to meet at that exact time in your life, and when that happens, its just magic.

I think it comes from somewhere beyond the writer, for me anyway, it’s true. These people I write about just appear, stay for a while and then move on. Once I write them, they are no longer mine, they then belong to the reader. And if the reader connects with them, them that makes my day.

Until the next time,

Jean x

Blogging, vlogging, flogging…who knows?

I like technology. I muddle through, though I know more about the back end of a John Deere or a Massey Ferguson that I do about the back end of a website, but undaunted, I reckon I can learn. If some little whippersnapper with his cap on backwards and his undergarments on view to the entire world can master it, surely I can right? Errr…yeah…kind of.

We had no computers in our school, they were invented, I’m not that old, but they certainly weren’t in everyday use, so I’m a mature student in this regard and my relationship with technology is stormy sometimes. The thing is though, without it I wouldn’t be a writer at all.

In the bad old days, when you wrote pleading letters to agents and publishing houses and waited for months before getting a standard reply to the effect of, ‘are you nuts? Of course we won’t publish you…you were mad to even think we would,’ you sloped, crestfallen back to the nine to five cursing your own audacity. I mean they know, right? They know what sells and they know what people like so if they don’t pick you then that must mean nobody wants to read your imaginings. They didn’t say you could, so you can’t.

 Well, no actually.

Though I curse computers, cry into my motherboard, scream in frustration when my plugin wont plug in I take a deep breath, go outside for a minute or two, and thank the universe that I can, through the use of that marvelous, incredible, infuriating little computer, realize my dream. I have been writing since 2011, and over these five years, reader’s reviews, emails and messages of support for my work have left me feeling humbled, reassured and uplifted. Thousands of people have bought my books and to them I am so grateful.

I never got the nod of approval, I published myself, and though the learning curve is more vertical than steep, I’ll plough on regardless.

Thanks for coming with me,

Jean x

Free books!! Roll up… Roll up!

As you saw when you landed, I’m offering all visitors to my website a free book to download to your device absolutely gratis and for nothing. It’s a novella so it’s a quick read but it was inspired by a story I heard of a woman who married a man who didn’t love her and who really only wanted a housekeeper. I tried to imagine what would make someone do that, to knowingly enter into a marriage of convenience in this day and age when the world holds so many more possibilities than it did in the past, especially for poor women, and the story Letters of Freedom is what I came up with. It is, like all my stories, firmly rooted in Ireland, but I hope the themes that I explore in my books are universal.

Throughout our lives we face what Frost beautifully describes as ‘two roads diverged’ and we have to decide what path to take and it can, as the poet says ‘make all the difference’. For Carmel, the central character, she is faced with a dilemma and her decisions do make all the difference. It’s a book for anyone who wants to curl up on a couch in front of a fire (if you’re from my neck of the woods) or stretch out on a lounger in the sun (if you’re from somewhere else) and lose yourself in a story. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it

As always, if you get a moment, and you have the inclination to leave a review then that would be lovely and I really would appreciate it.

Bye for a while,

Jean x