Saturday, July 7, 2012

Be Inspired Award

Thank you to Patsy Collins for awarding me 'Be Inspired' and for her challenge to be creative - as my book is non-fiction.  I'll do my best to impress!  Patsy's ten questions were as follows:-
1. What gave you the idea for your book?
2. Overall how long did it take to write the book?
3. What kept you going half way through?
4. Are any of your characters based on real people even though you must say they're not?
5. Did you ever wonder if you'd have the work published?
6. When you've had one book published do you feel pressure with the next?
7. Would you write in a different genre - or do you always stick to what you know?
8. Do you prefer writing novels to short stories?
9. Do you use everyday happenings in your book?
10. If your book was to be on TV who would play lead male/female roles.

My answers:-
1. My parents journey in life and my love of their work and the garden I inherited. They transformed a scrubby field bought in the 1930s to a woodland gem, which I inherited in 1978.  My father Arthur worked until a few months before his death in 1993 - still informing and advising and sharing his extensive knowledge of plants and gardens. I felt their story should be told, not only did they plant a market garden within an ornamental garden garden full of fine trees and shrubs but they built the house in which we lived.

2. The book has been in the writing since 2002 - when I was recovering from major surgery. 'A gentle plea for chaos' by Mirabel Osler and 'Four Hedges' by Clare Leighton were my inspiration. The serious writing began some years later when I worked with Writers' News tutor Sue Johnson.

3. The support and encouragement from Sue Johnson and my lovely husband Philip.

4. The characters are real of course.  The extensive research undertaken on Arthur gave me a better understanding of the 'man' as opposed to my father. Not until his death did I realise his true worth in the world of horticulture - not only in the UK but around the world. My research on Gay was heartwarming.  The students she inspired in the early fifties still remembered her with grateful affection. Other characters that were part of my life have been omitted.  The book is about two main characters in Part One and two main characters in Part Two and Three and the most important theme - the garden is in each part of the story.

5. Yes and No. I was doubtful of my capabilities until I worked with Sue Johnson and then positive.  She sent me on the conventional route but after several rejections and a couple of yeses from Vanity Publishers - one of which would have entailed taking out a mortgage to pay for the book - I read as much as I could about self-publishing.  I took the plunge with FeedaRead after reading an advert in Writer's Magazine.

6. No. Not when you self-publish.  I've already finished the 1st draft of a Novel - written during NaNoWriMo last November.  And of a children's picture book. I've lots of other ideas too.  The only 'pressure' maybe from Philip - who enjoys my writing and his observation that it gives me pleasure - not quite as much as my beautiful x garden but it is another way to express myself.

7. I am already writing in different genre but I would like to write a fictional biography/memoir about one of Philip's notorious relatives way back in history - but that would have to include a trip to Australia.

8. I don't mind which genre I work in as I long as enjoy what I've written. I wouldn't write scary of crime novels - these would bring back too many bad memories.

9. Obviously for The Haphazard Gardener I did - and my novel Alice is based loosely on my experiences - though also well fictionalised.  I don't know how you can't be influenced by the people or experiences you've had in your life.

10. I can't answer this - all four main characters were such unique people!

To take part and to place the award on your website - you must thank the person who nominated you - choose five nominees and set them ten questions. My nominees are:-

Jane Risdon - for making me laugh with her posts and her support.
Joanne Phillips - for her instructive website and support and encouragement.
Jerry Fresia - much of the above won't apply to you - though you are the author of books - but you are an inspirational person.
Joanna Cannon - for her beautiful stories - so full of poignancy and a deep understanding of life. - filled with beautiful poetry.


  1. Sorry, only just seen this (was very busy with wedding planning, the day itself and the honeymoon)

    Great answers. I agree that we must be influenced by real people and happenings even when we don't use them directly in our writing.

  2. No need to apologize - at least you left a comment! Maybe some advice on your blog about drawing interest from other people, would be helpful!