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Keep on the sunny side of life

by on January 15, 2014

This week I am rather pleased (I would have said ‘I were reet chuffed’, but I get an international audience who are not always familiar with English as it is spoken in the favoured Northern part of the UK) to welcome a guest blog from my friend Kath Middleton.

Kath is well known across the internet writing community as book-blogger and uber reviewer ‘Ignite’: a top Amazon reviewer, her opinion is highly rated and a 5* review from Kath considered a big enough accolade for writers to put an actual badge on their websites or blogs when they reach those dizzy heights!* Perhaps less well known is that Kath is also a great help to many indie published or self published writers starting out – her advice and encouragement are freely given and greatly appreciated.

So, in her own words, here’s Kath:
Keep on the Sunny Side of Life

This old song, revisited in the film ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ is one that gets my foot tapping and my face crinkling – a smile, not merely further age-related deterioration!

Much of my early writing was poetry, where I found I’d end on a positive note, no matter how dark the subject. Recent writing has been largely drabbles – those addictive little stories of exactly 100 words. I do have a nasty streak and several of those ended with sudden homicides! However, I also enjoyed using them as a means to tell a joke. I do love a laugh!

I have been a reader all my life but never really considered turning my hand to writing longer stories until very recently. I wrote a 500 word story for a competition, in response to a picture. I sent it to a friend to look over and he told me, ‘You’re constrained by the word limit. This wants to be a longer story.’ I looked at it again and finally agreed with him. In a very quick brain-storming session I had the outline of my first book and over the next day or two, as I began to write, I filled in a question or two that I’d left hanging.

What interests me is what ordinary people do when the unthinkable happens. Before I had any ideas of writing a book myself, I asked an author friend why he was so cruel to his characters and here I am, doing just the same! I wonder, ‘What would you do if…?’ and the story is built around that.

I love the story of Pandora’s Box. I am, at heart, a hopeful person. I don’t give saccharine answers in my stories. People don’t all live happily ever after. The dead stay dead and the living grieve – but they pick up the threads of their lives and they make something positive, something different, but still beautiful, out of the destruction of their earlier happiness. The interest for me is how they get there.

Friends sometimes tell me I cheer them up. I’ve even been called ‘Tigger’ – that annoyingly bouncy character from Winnie the Pooh! You would imagine on the basis of this that I’d write comedy or at least something cheerful where everyone wins at the end. If I spend my time writing a story, I can’t see any point in taking a pleasant subject and adding a layer of gold leaf and a neatly tied-up happy ending. I want to say that even when awful things happen to people, we survive – and not only that, we can be happy again. I’m an upbeat person who is continually amazed at the inner strength of my fellow human beings.

Of course, the other possibility is that I’m too shallow to realise how bad things are! Keep on the Sunny Side!

Now, Kath is far too modest and unassuming to tell you this herself,(that will change soon enough, don’t worry, if she keeps on hanging out with the rest of us authors) but she is a writer of no mean skill. Her first full novel has now been released to excellent reviews. A second is in editing, and a third underway. Kath once told me that she felt she could not write more than one book: we as readers are pleased to see that for once, she was wrong!!

And guess what? Here’s the link to her blog if you would like to see books that carry the desired Ignite Seal Of Approval.

*If you want to see one of those badges, go and look at my website. Not that I’m boasting or anything. Oh, and the badge is clearly shown on Kath’s book blog. Which you must check out.


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  1. Keep up the good work Kath 🙂

  2. I love the idea of ‘what would x do if…’ I tend to leave my characters to get on with it. They know what they want and then I let them squabble and bicker with one another until something happens and they get there.



  3. I’m afraid I’ve entered you for one of these blog awards things. Mainly because it means I get to post a link to your blog. You do get to talk about cake though. The link’s here, participation is optional! 😉



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