Displaying items by tag: rosie garland

Tuesday, 28 October 2014 10:42

26.10.2014 - Gothic Manchester Festival 2014

A stellar day in the neo-gothic pomp and circumstance of John Rylands Library's magnificent Historic Reading Room. It's been a dream of mine to read there... and dreams come true.
A delicious highlight of the event was the specially designed (and rather foxy) cake by the talented Annabel de Vetten of Conjuror's Kitchen.
Click to go to Manchester Gothic Festival page

Published in News
Vixen is longlisted for The Green Carnation prize 2014!

The thirteen strong longlist of titles celebrating LGBT writing have been announced after several days of debates between the judges over an exceptional list of submissions, the most the prize has seen in its history to date. This list takes us from fairytale lands to the call centres of Scotland, from Calcutta to Russia and includes fiction, memoir, essays, short stories, non-fiction and the graphic novel.

Chair of the judges for 2014, journalist Kaite Welsh said of the longlist "The judging panel for this year's prize were in luck – some of the most dynamic and exciting books from the past twelve months have been from LGBT authors. Out of those, we've compiled an amazing longlist that should be on everyone's to-read list. The 2014 Green Carnation Prize has coincided with a bumper year for LGBT writing from established authors to new voices. Whittling the list down to 13 was difficult and enjoyable, and we're confident that picking the shortlist from such a great collection will be just as challenging."

Click to go to Green Carnation Prize site

 

Published in News

Thank you to Write-Track for featuring me on their blog for a second time!
Here is the text in full, with the link at the end.

On the Write Track - Adventures with writing habits
Rosie Garland – the bonus interview: channelling characters and living a creative life

In our first interview with Rosie Garland we found out how she kept going using rituals to support her writing and overcome the fear of the blank page. She spoke about having to "hack out time for writing" amongst work and grown up responsibilities. Here we find out how she took steps to adjust the balance of her working and creative life, and get an insight into how she writes such amazing characters.

The work-writing balance

Rosie made the decision to go part time in her job, not to write novels specifically, but to shift the balance of her work life and creative life, which she felt was out of kilter. She describes her life as being a process of getting off the career ladder: decreasing the amount of time given over to conventional work and increasing opportunities for creativity.

"When I was a kid I was always writing and had time to draw pictures, write poems, and create alternative universes. Then at the age of 18 'real' life happened. Time to get a sensible job and put creative self-indulgence away. It may only have been a handful of years, yet it felt like a long sojourn away from what I really wanted to do. I realised that all that creativity I had as a kid was a vital part of my existence, not an add-on. What I was doing was moving away from it and denying its importance. Since my late 20s my life has been a slow process of going back to it, partly by taking part-time jobs that gave me time to think."

Despite day jobs taking Rosie away from herself, she didn't resent it: "I got gifts from work and I am very grateful for the things it has given me. I don't think I would have been right being a full time writer back then. I needed to go and engage with the outside world and not stare at my navel."

Writing is the process not the end

Like many writers, Rosie says she writes because she has to. She describes writing as being a process and uses a Zen proverb to illustrate. "If you meet the Buddha on the road – kill him." I must admit to being rather puzzled by the idea of killing the Buddha, so Rosie explains.

"Rather than being literal, the proverb symbolises the creative 'road' I travel as a writer. The 'Buddha' could stand for some idealised faultless novel and therefore the end of needing to strive, grow, create... you get the picture. This deceptive Buddha suggests that I'll reach some magical, perfect endpoint. That a magical endpoint exists. No it doesn't. So I need to throw out that illusion and keep writing. There is no retiring from being writer."

Character: it all starts with a question

The rituals Rosie previously talked about help open her up to ideas and characters. She said "Part of the process is to find ways to put myself in the way of characters, to make it easier for them to come to talk to me." I was fascinated about this approach to developing character and asked her to tell me more.

"When I'm at the absolute beginning of developing a character it will often start as a question that niggles me. So for Abel [the central character in The Palace of Curiosities] the question in my head was – 'what would it be really be like to live forever?' I began to daydream and found that a particular character was answering. He – and his answers – developed into the voice of Abel. He's one example. It happens with the others in a similar way. Often, inconveniently, at 3am..."

"I write pages and pages of conversations with these characters in notebooks, longhand. I might fill six or seven notebooks with rabbiting, unedited scribble. When I've done that I start typing up to see what I've got, where all the gaps are, whether there is a story in the mess. And if, out of all the whatever-thousand words, I see the root of a story then I will start writing."

Right character wrong novel

Rosie says that her characters have very insistent voices and they can stay with her for a long time. Abel began in "awful novel two which was woefully in search of a plot" and couldn't tell his story. Rosie carried him around in her head until she introduced him to Eve in The Palace of Curiosities who enabled him to grow and develop. "He just needed to meet the right people at the right time."

Abel has left Rosie alone. She explains. "He has told his story now. It's like closure. He gets the last line in Palace, 'I am joy, complete, forever'. And that's it. Abel has told his story and has left me alone."

Don't get it right – get it written

Tom Clancy summed it up when he said "just tell the damn story". Rosie believes that you don't have to get it right but get it written. It's very easy to get carried away with research, especially when writing novels set in the past. Because Vixen is set in 1349, it's important the historical details were correct, but they mustn't get in the way of the story. She explains,

"I did some research about mediaeval laundry and some of the awful stuff they used to bleach it, but none of it is in the story – what's important is that Thomas makes Anne do the laundry far more often than necessary and it drives her nuts having to waste all her time. That's the important thing, the interaction between them, not about what paddle she uses. Just tell the damn story."

If you get stuck over a detail Rosie advises putting it in brackets for checking later and carrying on with the storyline. She says "No one cares whether the arrow is tipped with pigeon feather, eagle feather or goshawk feather, what's important is who the hell does he shoot with the arrow."

Read our first interview with Rosie Garland. Find out what she's been up to by following her on Twitter @rosieauthor and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/rosielugosi. Or better still read her excellent novels Vixen and The Palace of Curiosities.

Click to go to Write-Track blog page

Published in News

Thank you to Write-Track for featuring me on their blog!
Here is the text in full, with the link at the end.

On the Write Track - Adventures with writing habits
Keeping going – novelist Rosie Garland on persistence and creative rituals

Three years ago Rosie Garland had pretty much given up all hope of getting her novels published. Her agent wasn't taking her calls, rejections were coming thick and fast, and she'd been diagnosed with cancer. She had spent 12 years writing four and a half novels – perhaps it was time to call it a day? As her second novel is published to great acclaim she shares her experience of keeping going through the tough times.

Overcoming creative self-harm

Rosie had an early taste of fame as a singer in post-punk band the March Violets. Grown up responsibilities soon got in the way and full time work as a teacher pushed her creative projects to the side. She wrote short stories and poetry, and performed her cabaret act Rosie Lugosi, then at the turn of the millennium she got an idea "that was too big to be a poem or short story." Rosie made the decision to work part time to shift the balance of her work and creative life, she landed an agent, and dedicated more of her time to writing novels.

However, after 12 years Rosie had pretty much given up all hope of being published. She said:
"My agent wasn't getting back to me and I felt I had to stop continually putting myself through the self-cruelty of writing and having it rejected. It felt like a bizarre form of creative self-harm."

She needed to protect herself and go to "the places that weren't harming me. That was the poetry and singing and performance. So I made a decision to do that and that was when I entered the Mslexia competition as a last ditch attempt."

Mslexia ran its inaugural competition for unpublished novelists in 2011. Rosie not only bagged the top spot with The Palace of Curiosities, but got a place on the shortlist with another (as yet unpublished) novel. From this came a bidding war between publishers and a six-figure two-book deal with Harper Collins. Her second novel Vixen has just been published to rave reviews.

The apprentice novelist

Rosie believes if success had come earlier she might not be where she is now. "I might have sunk without a trace – become one of those people who has one book." She refers to the years of writing as her apprenticeship, and doesn't resent the time spent refining her writing skills. "The amount of time I have had to work to become a novelist has paid off. I have learnt my craft, I have done my apprenticeship."
She learned from her mistakes, referring to the second novel she wrote as "awful". She said, "it's going to stay under the bed forever. I will keep it as a reminder to never get above myself. The second novel was a process of writing something really badly – I can point to it, as an example of how not to write."

Keeping going: habits and rituals to support creativity

Over the years Rosie developed tactics to support her writing. The first is being open to feedback. She told me:
"I try to give myself as much input as possible. That might be going on a writing course, or Arvon retreat, getting full, frank feedback from tutors, my agent or editors. I don't want to write in a vacuum – 'bring it on' is my mantra! Part of being a writer is always wanting to grow, always wanting to learn, never taking for granted that I am a writer. Because I think the day that happens is a really bad day for me."

Her other support mechanism has been creative rituals. This is vital to someone who admits to being terrified of the blank page and needs a routine each day to get words on the page and the creative juices flowing. Rosie starts the day with three pages of journaling – she says this isn't creative writing but "rubbing the crust out of my eyes" and getting out of the way all the 'what I did yesterday' stuff.

She continues:

"The next thing I do is write six images. What a snail looks like climbing up a leaf, what it felt like to stub your toe. I do it every morning without fail, if miss one I do a catch up session later. Coming out of the six images I write a haiku. Then I do the classic three pages of morning pages – free writing coming out of the six images or using a writing prompt."

These rituals sound like a lot of work, but taken individually they are small tasks and quick to perform, and that's the secret for Rosie. "For me it's all about small commitments. Don't set yourself up to fail. If had to write a full chapter I wouldn't be able to do it."

Dealing with an inner critic – silencing Mavis

Morning can be a special time for writers and artists, and for Rosie it's when she's open to more playful non-linear writing, but also because her internal critic hasn't got out of bed yet.

Throughout her writing life Rosie has battled with a vicious internal critic. A few years ago she gave this critic a name: Mavis. She found that naming her was a release; separating the cruelty from herself made it easier to deal with the criticism.

Rosie says "My rituals are there to nurture and support me. They enable my writing; provide nourishment, support and food for my writing. Yet Mavis will say to me, 'call yourself an artist when you enjoy rituals so much.' That's Mavis telling me an artist flounces around in clothes pulled together from a bunch of headscarves."

A weekly reflection inspired by Julia Cameron

The rituals are the foundations of Rosie's writing, a way of keeping in touch with her creativity. She's a big fan of Julia Cameron, though admits it took nearly a year to complete one 12-week programme and felt it "nearly killed me!"

Her final ritual was inspired by Julia Cameron from her creativity bibles The Artist's Way and Walking in the World. Rosie takes time each week to reflect on four things:

How have my morning pages been going this week?
Have given myself an artist date?
Have I gone on an artist's walk?
Other issues – what else has been going on?

Keep going

For most of her life Rosie has worked while writing. "I haven't had the luxury of being a writer as my full time job. I have had to hack out time for my writing in around all the things that put bread on the table and keep the rent man from chucking you out the time at the end of week."

Getting cancer made Rosie realise that life is too short. She told herself, "I'm not doing this any longer. I don't care what's in the future, I'll just trust." Rosie's advice to others struggling to find their creative balance is to just "keep going". It might take a long time, but it will happen.

I'm going to give the last line to one of Rosie's characters, Anne from Vixen who says "I shall live that life like the gift it is, and waste neither it nor myself. I am my own woman. I like her. She has stories to tell and all of them are interesting."

Vixen was published in July in hardback, and The Palace of Curiosities is available in paperback. You can find out what Rosie has been up to by following her on Twitter @rosieauthor and Facebook Click to go to Rosie's Facebook page

Click here to go to Write-Track blog page

 

Published in News

I was delighted to be asked by Waterstones Bookshop to be a guest contributor to their blog- and here it is. Strange things have been happening since I embarked on my second novel, Vixen... read on!

Coincidence and synchronicity

Was Rosie Garland really being stalked by foxes because she'd just finished writing a book called Vixen- or was something else going on?

When Alex Allden, designer at HarperCollins, showed me Lindsey Carr's remarkable painting of a fox in a tree and suggested it as a cover for my forthcoming novel Vixen, I knew it was perfect.

That's when it started. Since then I've noticed foxes wherever I go – appearing in cathedrals, airports, pubs and museums; on ink cartridges, matchboxes and dashing across supermarket carparks.

I have no idea what's happening, if indeed anything is. I am not superstitious. My grandmother was so bitten by its bug she could barely walk up a flight of stairs without hanging on to a rabbit's foot, which put me off at an early age.

But there is so much foxiness going on. Logically or not, it feels like more than coincidence. As Auric Goldfinger remarked to James Bond, "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action".

Maybe coincidence is different to superstition. After all, Albert Einstein said "coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous" (The World As I See It) and he knew a thing or two about how the universe works. Conversely, Vladimir Nabokov remarked how "a certain man once lost a diamond cuff-link in the wide blue sea, and twenty years later, on the exact day, a Friday apparently, he was eating a large fish - but there was no diamond inside. That's what I like about coincidence" (Laughter in the Dark).

I noticed the first outside the post office (sending a copy of my first novel The Palace of Curiosities to the USA). Browsing a craft stall, I was presented with a woodcut of a fox on a village green. How pretty, I thought, buying a set of vulpine greetings cards. What a coincidence when I've just finished a book called Vixen.

It escalated. After performing in York with my band The March Violets, I took a detour to visit Beverley Minster. On the north wall was a medieval carving of a fox disguised as a pilgrim. Standing on its hind legs, flashing its fangs in a broad smile and brandishing a hefty staff (for self-defence of course).

I needn't have gone as far afield. Manchester Cathedral boasts two wonderful fifteenth-century carvings of foxes: one teaching its cubs to read and the other poring over a book. After 28 years of living in this fair city I didn't know they existed (call myself a medievalist? I should hang my head in shame).

It's not just up north. A Hampshire pub surprised me with a Victorian etching of foxes dressed in pink hunting jackets, seated at a table groaning with roast pheasant and grinning slyly as they toast each other, joking about huntsmen tumbling into ditches.

It occurs to me that I'm not tripping over 'straight' representations. All my sightings (and these are a tiny selection) are of trickster foxes, camouflaged and hoodwinking foolish humans. None of them are what they ought to be. Which, 'coincidentally', are some of the themes of Vixen.

Are sly foxes really dogging my footsteps? Is it all a load of old cobblers or is it connected in some way to the imminent publication of my novel? Carl Gustav Jung would have said yes. In the 1920s he coined the word synchronicity to describe what he called "temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events." To put it in (slightly) simpler words: synchronicity is the experience of two or more events as meaningfully related, where they are unlikely to be causally related.

Hmm. Perhaps I should call my next novel 'Finding Viking Treasure in the Garden'. Sadly, I don't think it works that way.

They aren't done with me yet. A couple of weeks ago I landed in Seattle and headed for the information stand to grab a city map. Amongst the brochures was a museum guide with a cover image of Jenny Andersen's enchanting 'Fox Spirit Travelling with the Human Soul'. So - if I am being followed by foxes, they are the most benign of guardians. Even if I don't believe in coincidence, maybe it believes in me. I have decided to enjoy their benevolent appearances.

As for synchronicity, I'll leave the last words to The Red Queen; my favourite character in that under-rated book on quantum physics, Alice Through The Looking Glass.
'I don't understand you,' said Alice. 'It's dreadfully confusing!'
'That's the effect of living backwards,' the Queen said kindly: 'it always makes one a little giddy at first -'
'Living backwards!' Alice repeated in great astonishment. 'I never heard of such a thing!'
'— but there's one great advantage in it, that one's memory works both ways.'
'I'm sure MINE only works one way,' Alice remarked. 'I can't remember things before they happen.'
'It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,' the Queen remarked.

Rosie Garland, for Waterstones.com/blog

Click to go to Carl Jung site

Click for Lindsay Carr's artwork, Morpheus

Click to see Jenny Andersen's Fox Spirit artwork

Click to go to Waterstones blog

Published in News
Diva magazine has given 'Vixen' a great review!

'A compelling story about love and devotion set against the backdrop of superstition, pestilence and hardship that dominate the muddy 14th century landscape. Poetic, surprising and ultimately deeply moving, Vixen will have you hooked faster than it takes to drink a jug of ale and – unlike ale – it will stay with you long after you've reached the final page.'

Diva august 2014

Published in News
Friday, 01 August 2014 09:56

17.7.2014 - VIXEN HARDBACK LAUNCH

My second novel, Vixen, launches today – 17th July 2014!

It has already featured as Grazia magazine's Best Historical fiction pick for summer 2014. Plus, this wonderful review is in the August 2014 issue of Diva magazine.

'A compelling story about love and devotion set against the backdrop of superstition, pestilence and hardship that dominate the muddy 14th century landscape. Poetic, surprising and ultimately deeply moving, Vixen will have you hooked faster than it takes to drink a jug of ale and – unlike ale – it will stay with you long after you've reached the final page.'

 

Published in News

Vixen has been dubbed 'Best for Historical Fiction fans' in Grazia's Summer reading list!

Published in News
The March Violets are doing a little West Coast Tour this June!

First up: June 21 - Seattle – El Corazon.

June 22 - Portland - The Hive @ Star Theater.

June 25 - San Francisco - Death Guild @ DNA Lounge.

June 27 - Vegas - Scarlet @ LVCS.

June 28 - San Diego @ The Soda Bar.

June 29 - Los Angeles - Part Time Punks @ The Echo

Please see the Gig List page for full details!

Published in News
Authors Writing on Books
The Palace of Curiosities – reviewed by Max Scratchmann

Much as I want to like all of these books, there are, I'm afraid, a lot of fairly dull bodice-rippers and penny-dreadfuls lurking beneath the stunning cover art on the slew of mock-Victorian novels currently on the market, so it was with great joy that I discovered Rosie Garland's noir tale of life in a nineteenth-century freak show – The Palace of Curiosities.

Enticed by the gothic delicacy of cover art and then seduced by the Angela Carter comparison from Jenny Murray on the flyleaf, I delved into this novel with a mixture of anticipation and cautious scepticism – treating the alluring enticements to enter as nothing more than the world-weary siren call of an over zealous marketing man. But, miraculously, I was not disappointed this time, and though the wonderful Ms Garland, in fact, bears little resemblance to Angela Carter – she's far too original a voice to be a copy of anybody – The Palace of Curiosities is a dark and evocative exploration of the underbelly of Victorian society and a magic-realist journey through the fair grounds and freak shows that so fascinate this reviewer as a visual artist.

The novel follows the converging path of two outsiders, Eve the Lion Girl and Abel the Flayed Man – also known as Mr Lazarus – and takes us on an atmospheric journey that veers in and out of the (believable) supernatural and even manages a happy ending without ever once delving into sentimentality or sugary cliché. The writing is rich and verging on the poetic, and the characters are well-rounded and believable – Eve's story being particularly strong with a heady erotic undercurrent running throughout.

I very seldom resort to overblown kill-to-obtain-this-book soundbites, but this novel is a definite must-read. Highly recommended.

Max Scratchmann

Book: THE PALACE OF CURIOSITIES

Author: Rosie Garland

Publisher: HarperCollins

Click to go to Steve Savage's review site

Published in News

News and Events

  • Cover reveal for 'What Girls Do In The Dark' (Nine Arches Press)
    Cover reveal for 'What Girls Do In The Dark' (Nine Arches Press)

    I thought it wasn't possible to feel any more thrilled about joining Nine Arches Press
    - then I see the stunning cover of my new poetry collection, 'What Girls Do In The Dark'.
    Out October 2020
    https://www.ninearchespress.com/publications/poetry-collections/what-girls-do-in-the-dark.html

    Written on Tuesday, 14 July 2020 13:31
  • April 2020 - The Night Brother, Must-Read Manchester
    April 2020 - The Night Brother, Must-Read Manchester
    Manchester Confidential chooses The Night Brother as a must-read Manchester novel!

    Dystopian classics to modern crime - Nine must-read Manchester novels

    “Fantasy, romance, sci-fi, comedy…we’ve got a genre for everyone
    There’s a very good reason Manchester is a UNESCO City of Literature, as we highlighted before its bid to join the prestigious network in 2017. Innovative publishers, diverse bookshops and a lively events scene make it an unrivalled literary melting pot.

    Rosie Garland’s The Night Brother is our historical highlight
    Ever the entertainer, Rosie Garland sung in post-punk band The March Violets and now performs ‘twisted cabaret’ as Rosie Lugosi the Vampire Queen. But she’s also a literary maverick with an array of essays, short stories and poetry to her name (much of which she also reads at spoken words events citywide) and three acclaimed novels. Her latest, The Night Brother, navigates themes of gender and identity through two siblings in Victorian Manchester. Rich and Gothic, it’s a must for fans of Angela Carter.”

    https://confidentials.com/manchester/dystopian-classics-to-modern-crime-nine-must-read-manchester-novels

    Written on Thursday, 16 April 2020 18:18
  • April 2020 - The Night Brother - Best Northern Read
    April 2020 - The Night Brother - Best Northern Read

    An unexpected & encouraging piece of news!
    Northern Soul has selected 'The Night Brother' as a Best Northern Read

    Desmond Bullen, Northern Soul writer
    “In days that can seem desolate and uncertain, there’s a lot to be said for windows into a better world and, ultimately, joyfully, that is exactly the view that The Night Brother by Rosie Garland affords. Not that its window seat is cheaply achieved. Far from it.
    Rooted with disbelief-suspending specificity in Manchester at the end of the 19th century, Garland’s novel blossoms compellingly from the exquisite simplicity of its central conceit, one which owes the tiniest debt to the 1971 horror film Dr. Jekyll And Sister Hyde. Edie and her brother Gnome are joined in a very particular symbiosis, so that their singular sibling rivalry threatens to be the undoing of both. Themes that could be leaden in other hands emerge from the premise with a beautiful lightness of touch, developing into a persuasive fable of inclusivity and self-acceptance. This is a book that sings a rainbow at its end.”


    https://www.northernsoul.me.uk/books-best-northern-reads-part-one/

    Written on Thursday, 09 April 2020 15:26
  • 'What Girls Do In The Dark' - new poetry collection with Nine Arches Press
    'What Girls Do In The Dark' - new poetry collection with Nine Arches Press
    New collection forthcoming in October 2020 from Nine Arches Press

    I’m thrilled to be on the 2020 list of Nine Arches Press!
    I’m in the company of a fantastic group of poets. I couldn’t be happier.

    https://www.ninearchespress.com/about-us/news.html

    “Midlands-based independent poetry publisher Nine Arches Press, which achieved Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation status in 2018, will publish eleven new books of poetry in 2020, from a mix of established and emerging poets from across the UK and across the world…

    Acclaimed novelist Rosie Garland will also join the 2020 list in October with her third full collection of poems What Girls Do in the Dark, a book alive with galactic, glimmering energy. Rosie’s award-winning short and long fiction, poems and essays have been widely anthologised and in 2019 she was selected by Val McDermid as one of the 10 most compelling LGBTQI+ writers working in the UK.”

    Image: Poets confirmed for the Nine Arches Press 2020 list
    Top: l-r: Jennifer Wong, Rishi Dastidar, Abegail Morley, Geraldine Clarkson, Nina Mingya Powles.
    Bottom: l-r: Peter Kahn, Maria Taylor, Gregory Leadbetter, Rosie Garland, Kate Fox

    Written on Saturday, 08 February 2020 14:20
  • 11th & 12th January 2020 - Bhubaneswar Literary Meet & Mumbai Spoken Fest
    11th & 12th January 2020 - Bhubaneswar Literary Meet & Mumbai Spoken Fest

    I’m deeply honoured!
    The British Council has invited me to read, perform, and present workshops in India…
    I’ve been invited to TWO exciting literary events: Bhubaneswar Literary Meet (11th January 2020) AND Mumbai Spoken Fest by Kommune (12th January 2020).

    I can’t wait – not only for the opportunity to share my work in India for the first time… but to meet so many inspiring writers!

    Written on Monday, 23 December 2019 14:19