Since last September, I’ve been (mostly) in the UK. I’ve visited three of the four UK countries, and along the way, one of best things that’s happened to me is making connections. I’ve attended writing groups and book clubs. I’ve made friends in the American Expat community in Edinburgh, and I’ve met up with three fellow authors.
First, I met up with Hannah Byrnes of Manchester, England. Hannah and I had “met” virtually in an online writing group. In person, we spent an afternoon, wandering around Manchester, discussing the ups and downs of writing and promotion.
A barrister turned author, Hannah writes Young Adult fantasy novels, including The Dragon Children: The Prophecy, in which heroes Kai and Bridget must succeed in their quests to save the dragon kingdom.
Hannah also has compiled and edited Book of the Boggart: A Collection of Dark Fairy-Tales and Magical Poems, stories written by school children about their favorite magical creatures. All royalties from this title are donated to Make-A-Wish® Foundation UK.
In the same writing group where I had met Hannah, I met Helen MacKinven of Kilsyth, Scotland.
One evening last autumn, I took the train from Edinburgh to Glasgow to attend the book launch of Helen’s debut novel, Talk of the Toun.
No, that’s not a misspelling. “Toun” is the Scottish word for “town.” In this coming-of-age novel, Helen’s characters speak in Scottish dialect. Writing a novel in dialect was a bold decision by Helen, but it works well in this book.
Described as a “black comedy, irreverent and bittersweet,” it’s easy to follow the story of teenaged Angela and her best friend, Loraine, growing up in rural 1980’s Scotland.
Helen is currently hard at work on her next novel, to be entitled Buy, Buy Baby. This book is about two Scottish women who desperately want a baby and how far they’re willing to go to get one.
In Belfast, Northern Ireland, I had a third encounter of the close kind with author CJ. We had “met” in a different online writing group, and we’ve stayed in touch ever since.
CJ is currently writing a work of fiction whose title is “The Way I See It…” The book is a unique perspective on health and healing, based on personal experience.
During our afternoon together, we took a Black Cab tour of Belfast and enjoyed an early dinner while we gabbed away several hours.
It’s been great fun to meet my UK author friends in person. Nothing can compare to spending time with kindred spirits and writing sisters.