How local writer Linda Jones became a publish children’s author…
Words: Linda Jones.
Born and brought up in Newport South Wales I struggled at school to begin with. I couldn’t read until I was 9, but, once the school gave me additional support my world opened up.
During my early teenage years I wrote avidly — anything and everything. In my early twenties I trained as a Psychiatric nurse and had a career in the mental health field. The most rewarding part of my career was working to enable folk to move away from institutional care back into the community.I’m married with two children. My son is dyslexic which meant approaching his schooling, education in a very different way, a steep learning curve! It was at this point I re-discovered a love of writing (and reading out loud we did a lot of that!) — I’ve always loved fantasy and adventure novels. Tolkien, Ursula le-Guin, as well as science fiction.
My son, fortunately, loved a good story, and JK Rowling had just come on the scene… as did Philip Pullman Michael Morpungo.
Unfortunately, ill health meant I had to leave a career I loved. I’d always been around people, now I had become trapped – at least that’s how it felt – Writing became my escape route.
It took a while to find my voice and my confidence but in 2012 I joined a writing group that met just once a month (at the time that was all I could manage). With the support of the group and Ray Hearne, the group’s leader, I began to take my work seriously and early in 2014 I had a breakthrough. I won a ‘Free Read’ from the Northern Arts Council and received some invaluable feedback. In March of the same year, a short play I’d written was selected out of sixty entrants and performed as one of the winners, for the script slam, at Doncaster’s new theatre, ‘Cast’. My prize was a series of mentoring evenings with Richard Cameron.
The following Christmas I had the pleasure of performing two of my short stories, as part of a shadow puppet theatre. I’ve also written and performed several ghost stories for Cusworth Hall, which is a grade 1 listed house run by Doncaster council.
Being a regular member of a writing group has been an essential part of my development as a writer. Without their constant critique, support and humour I doubt I would have ever submitted anything to anyone.
In 2016 I had my first novel, A Fistful of Feathers, published. It’s for anyone aged 9 years and upward, and what a rush that was. Writing for young people is a fascinating, if at times extremely difficult ‘sport’ but it has taught me the value of keeping it real and most importantly… keeping it tight. The first draft of the second book in the series is also completed and I’m about to send it away to be edited.
Most recently in 2017 I’ve had a short story published in two anthologies. GRIT and Pomfret Short Stories.
Interested in buying A Fistful Of Feathers? Click HERE to go to the shop.