Friday, 15 February 2013

Kit Berry - Stonewylde

Been thinking of what to write for ages and just this minute I finally thought of something, hurrah!

Lately, University has been a major downer. Every lecturer seems to be telling us that writing is impossible, difficult, and a waste of time, so what other job are you going to do? Just what you want to hear after three years of doing a degree! But yesterday in my Sci-Fi and Fantasy module we had a guest talk from Kit Berry. I admit I had never heard of her before and really wasn't in the mood for a guest talk (it was too early!) but it turned out to be well worth getting out of bed. She has written a fantasy series set in the fictional place of Stonewylde, based on places in and around Dorset. Funnily enough, one of the places she mentions is a place I've wanted to write about too. This stag gate in Dorset.

Anyway, her talk was amazing. Sure, she had difficulties like my lecturers have mentioned - she was rejected by agents and then publishers. In fact, she was rejected by 13 publishers, which I think is freaky because she believed a lot in superstitions and fate, and 13 is like the most superstitious number ever. However, this didn't stop her, it actually spurred her on to self-publishing and making her own publishing label, Moongazy Publishing. I think what really got to me was when she talked about how she had a weekend where all her readers met up in Devon (woo!) and did quizzes and workshops and just generally had a great time. It was then she realised how big a following she had and that it was crazy that she wasn't properly published because she should be. And in the end she tried the publishers again and was finally picked up by Orion Publishing, with an envious contract.

It's my dream to have a book series published and then made into a great movie. My lecturers would probably tell me that's a pipe dream and the best I could hope for is to be a journalist on my local paper, while also working as a waitress or something. How fun. And yes, even though Kit Berry has had lots of different jobs she did live the dream and is now a full-time writer.

She said that being a writer is still hard because of all the marketing, promoting and publicity but I think I would really enjoy that. At one point in my life I really wanted to be a PR. Besides, I'm always on Twitter anyway plugging this blog, it would be better with a book because I'd actually get paid for it!

She also did a little book signing and it's the first signed book I've ever owned! Although on hearing my name she said: 'Oh there's a girl in this called Holly, and I'm afraid to say she's a bitch.' Surprisingly, I hear this a lot. That other Holly's are bitches, not me.

Her story of becoming an author was really moving and I haven't done it justice. But she was a fantastic woman, really inspirational! If I can write anything like her, and be half as successful, I'll be happy. I would love to prove my lecturers wrong!

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