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Monday, 4 May 2015

Guest Post : My Writing Journey By Tracey Scott-Townsend



Today I'm delighted to welcome Tracey Scott-Townsend, author of ANOTHER REBECCA, to my blog. As you read her post, you'll probably guess what attracted me to her book.


My Writing Journey

By Tracey Scott-Townsend
When I was ten, I wrote my first novel. It was called Bonny, King of the Brumbies. I wrote in the school playground while my classmates played ‘two-balls’ against the wall. I could never catch one ball let alone two. Bonny, King of the Brumbies covered the pages of at least one exercise book, maybe more. It was heavily derivative of Elyne Mitchell’s The Silver Brumby. Just in case you don’t know, brumbies are Australian wild horses. (A little aside here – I used to be requested to draw horses for my classmates around that time. Phil, who is now my husband, organised the queue of hopeful ‘Horse, by Tracey’ acquirers lined up between the school desks.)
Before that, at the age of seven, I wrote a poem about a star I could see from my bedroom window; and another about a duckling owned by a child whose father sent it to market. Not to mention the one about the dinner ladies. I would usually set these works to music.
When I was twelve my teacher put a display of my poems and stories up on the classroom wall. He also got me to record my poems into an old-fashioned tape recorder. I’d love to hear my 12-year-old voice reading them now…
At 15 and 16 I was studying for my English Language O’ Level. I think that was maybe when I began to craft stories more seriously. Writing stories on a given theme or extending a pre-existing paragraph into a fully-fledged tale was the kind of homework I enjoyed most. I took English for A’ Level as well, but chose to study Sociology and Social Anthropology at Hull University.
But I dropped out after a year. To write ‘My Novel’. I began many My Novel’s but never completed any. The next one was always a better idea. And then I got pregnant. It was a mistake, of course, (I forgot to take my pills home at Christmas) but I wanted the baby. My boyfriend and I moved out to a communal house between the Humber estuary and the sea. The place later became the setting for The Last Time We Saw Marion, my first novel.
I lost the baby six months into the pregnancy. Alice. Alice became the lost baby that appears in almost every story...
Some years later, my boyfriend and I had parted and I was two-thirds into a Visual Studies degree. I lived alone in a first-floor flat in Hull and was happy. That’s when I wrote the first draft of The Last Time We Saw Marion; handwritten; spread across the pages of two thick, hard-backed notebooks. I called the story The Drowning Man at the time. The main character, Marianne, had appeared in several half-written novels since I was seventeen. But I’d now finally completed a novel-length story from start to finish. I also wrote a radio play and several short stories, one of which eventually became my second novel, Another Rebecca, and I mean years-and-years later. Meanwhile, I finished my degree, having met my first husband. At my graduation I was seven months’ pregnant.
I gave birth to my first son. With motherhood, my productiveness as a writer dwindled. I had two more sons and then a daughter. All this time I was a practicing artist, exhibiting regularly and taking whichever babe I had in arms along to the studio with me.
Shortly before my marriage broke up I started writing another novel. Computers had taken over from the typewriter by this time and it was the first work I’d composed on a screen. My character, Chloe, had six children and was involved in a marriage break-up. Again, I never finished that novel, but years later the character that had been Chloe reappeared, transformed into Ellie, the mother in The Eliza Doll which will be released in March 2017.
I was a single parent for 10 years.
I worked as a teacher and continued exhibiting as an artist over the ensuing years. My children were growing up. From time to time I would take out the manuscript I found the most compelling and rework it a bit, then put it away again.
My teaching job came to an end. I was married to Phil by this time. We talked about it and decided I should give writing a go.
Of course it was The Drowning Man I turned back to, more than 20 years after first writing it. After several title changes, the book became The Last Time We Saw Marion, published in 2014 by Inspired Quill. Another Rebecca was published in March this year and Of His Bones, sequel to my first novel, will hopefully be published next year.
See, I’m making up for lost time now.




ANOTHER REBECCA



On the cusp of adulthood, Rebecca Grey has no idea where her life is headed. Like many of us, she struggles to build a sustainable identity, a task made even harder by the fact that her mother is engaged in an extended breakdown and her absent father has another family to worry about. Dealing with their problems leaves little time for her own, and pretty soon, something has to give. As she toils under the weight of a tragedy that was never hers to begin with, Rebecca faces the impossible task of carving out a future for herself, all the while shadowed by the mistakes of her parents. Told with an experienced voice through the eyes of three characters.

Another Rebecca tells the story of one family’s moving inability to let go of the past, of love lost and found, and a young woman’s determination to pull herself out of disaster.






Author bio




Tracey spends her writing time in her much-loved shed. It’s a world of her own making, like her stories. She says that stepping inside and closing the door behind her induces a feeling like the one you get in the hushed atmosphere of a church.
She is the mother of four children, three of whom have now left home: one of them particularly far away. Still, she’s sure that Australia will provide as much inspiration for her writing as Iceland has done, (another place she was introduced to by her son). She’s really hoping to witness a full show of the Northern Lights next time she is there.
Closer to home, Tracey enjoys travelling in the bus-with-a-woodstove with her husband and their Labrador, Riley. They are always on the lookout for a scenic layby in which to sleep. Last year they spent time all over the British Isles, including the Outer Hebrides, which will be the setting for a future novel. In a few years they plan to set off on the road (by way of the sea) for an extended period of time: after all, writing can be done anywhere.






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