Some time ago, I wrote rather sadly about the trials of being a Writer of a Certain Age, and suggested we older authors might gather together to provide mutual support and encouragement. Well, lo and behold – a new and vigorous, deliberately small group of novelists of a somewhat advanced age, all with new books just out or just about to be, and all delighted to encourage and support each other.
Meet the AUTHORS OF A CERTAIN ERA, aka ACE. We have all published extensively, but fiction is a relatively new venture, so I shall concentrate on that. After all, that is why we have gathered together…
Barbara Lorna Hudson calls herself ‘Academic reinvented as fiction writer‘, for she is Emeritus Fellow of Green Templeton College, Oxford, where she had a distinguished career as lecturer in psychiatric social work until retirement. She has published many short stories, and co-edited two collections. Her first novel TIMED OUT will be published by Driven Press in April (more about that later!).
Pam Nixon has published a delightful coming-of-age novel BUT I’LL REMEMBER THIS with 3-score publishing, Oxford, a book that entertained all of our new group as we, too, grew up in the fifties, and knew just how right she had got the era. She studied English at St Hilda’s in Oxford, and taught English in different parts of the world, so has material for lots more novels to come.
Heather Rosser headlines her website Novelist, Memoirist and Educational Author, and taught in Nigeria and Botswana for some years. Her moving first novel IN THE LINE OF DUTY, published by New Generation Publishing in 2014, is set during the First World War, and draws on family memoir, historical fact as well as her own imagination. She also has short stories in two collections with the Oxford Writers’Group. Writing from life and its attendant difficulties and need for delicacy are of special interest to her.
And then there is me, Elizabeth Mapstone, former academic psychologist and practising psychotherapist: I too, have published short stories in various small publications and on-line (see website), and my first novel THE AMAZON’S GIRDLE is being relaunched next month. Meanwhile, I have a second novel THE PORCUPINE’S DILEMMA which I hope will be published later this year.
So we are four published novelists, who have got together for moral support and encouragement. Why should we need it? you may be wondering.
The truth is that writing fiction is a lonely occupation. You can’t actually create anything worth reading unless you put your whole heart and soul into the making. But when you’re done, and it’s actually out there – a concrete reality that others can see and judge – then the nerves take charge and your courage may seep away. You want the world to love your work – and you are terrified they will not.
To have friends who write, who understand exactly where you are coming from and where you hope to go, friends who know that ‘kind words’ are not kind at all when it comes to creativity, friends you can trust to judge you as you would be judged: there can be little in the world better than that.
Moral support has allowed us to send out our manuscripts into the world, find a publisher, see them appear on that world-wide bookshelf known as amazon. And there we depend on our readers. Who all seem to think we are as good as we’d like to be! All of us have mainly five star reviews, on Amazon and on Goodreads. Barbara’s novel is still to appear, but we are all pretty certain it will garner starry reviews too. (Just read some of her witty stories on her webpage! link above)
But the agonising is never over, and we shall support each other as continuing to publish gets ever harder, and set-backs abound. For we are ACE – Authors of a Certain Era and Always Critically Encouraging to our friends! That’s a promise.