10 Statements – Sandra Danby


Check out this interview with me by Karen Oberlaender at ‘My Train of Thoughts’.

Originally posted on My train of thoughts on...:

Sandra Danby Author © Simon Cooper

Sandra Danby Author
© Simon Cooper

Since she can first remember, Sandra Danby has loved reading. Hardback, paperback, e-book, new or pre-loved, borrowed from the library and friends, magazines and newspapers, she reads them all. She grew up on a small dairy farm at the bleak edge of East Yorkshire where England meets the North Sea. At the age of four she was making magazines full of her own stories. When missed by her mother, she was usually found in a corner with her nose in a book. She devoured everything from the Famous Five and Secret Seven to Swallows and Amazons, from Little Women to George Orwell and Mary Stewart. All this reading led her first to a degree in English Literature in London, then to journalism. Now she writes fiction full-time… and still reads at every spare moment.

Ignoring Gravity by Sandra DanbyIgnoring Gravity, Sandra’s debut novel, is about two…

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Writers’ BLOCKbusters… grassy

Try this word storm from Writers’ BLOCKbusters to help you put the first word on the page today. wordstorm - grassy yonder children 21-11-13Look at the three words above and, without thinking, write the next words that come into your mind. Write until you can think of no more words, you may have 10 words or 50. Allow the words to come into your mind without prompting, they will seem unrelated to each other.

Now use these words as inspiration to move you onwards. You should find that your mind has taken you way beyond the subject of ‘grassy’ and that you write about a completely different subject.

© ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby

The sunny, Sunshine Award

This is a very pretty award logo, it makes me smile and I think the title is very apt. Thank you so much to Cay at Life of Chi for the nomination. sunshine award - logo 14-4-14Cay is originally from Norway so English is not her mother tongue, she claims her vocabulary is limited and to be a terrible speller, but I would never have guessed she was not English. Her novel, Life of Chi is being published in short instalments on her blog Life of Chi.

In accepting the award I have to answer these questions:-

What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten?
Don’t be daft, I don’t eat weird food: I’m a vegetarian [okay, I do eat fish].

What is your biggest accomplishment?
Finishing Ignoring Gravity and planning a series of novels to follow it, all about Rose Haldane, identity detective. It’s been a long time in the planning.

What is your biggest regret?
Not taking a year out between A’levels and university to travel the world. I started travelling in my mid-20s as a journalist but, on reflection, I think I missed out. I had to wait many years to make it to The Maldives [below] but it was worth the wait.

[photo: visitmaldives.com]

[photo: visitmaldives.com]

Tell me about what you consider to be your best attribute.
Perseverance. I am pretty dogged, stubborn those closest to me may say, and work hard to achieve my goal. My worst attribute is a sister to Perseverance, it is Impatience.

Why do you blog?
I initially started blogging to improve my online profile as a writer, as opposed to a journalist. But now I blog because I can’t not blog.

What is your favourite animal?
Cat, specifically my long-gone beautiful ginger cat Gatsby.

What is your most-worn item in your closet?
Black jersey jacket by Agnes B bought 20 years ago for work, and still going strong.

What is you favourite snack?
Wasabi peas.

If you could live anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?
Spain [below]. NOASV #7 autumn sky, dried grasses 12-10-13If you could do anything over what would it be and how would you do it differently?
Start writing fiction earlier in life.

Now I will nominate five other bloggers to pass this award on to. This award is meant as a gesture of appreciation for your blog, if you don’t do awards that’s fine too.

  1. Include the Sunshine Award icon in your post and/or on your blog
  2. Link to the blogger who nominated you
  3. Answer 10 questions about yourself
  4. Nominate 10 other bloggers to receive the award [10 is rather a lot, so I’ve just done 5]
  5. Link to your nominees and let them know you nominated them
  6. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer [I am going to forward the same questions Cay asked me]

These are my five nominees, please visit their blogs. None of them are about writing, because one of the things I love about blogging is the diversity out there.

Con Jamon Spain is written by a British couple who relocated to Órgiva in Andalucía, Spain. Their blog is a lively mixture of daily life, Spanish history, nature and local walks, combined with great photography.

The Cheergerm and the Silly Yak is a wonderful humorous blog about gluten-free food written by a wife and mother, whose husband was diagnosed as a coeliac. Her blog is full of great everyday recipes and she writes with a touch of humour which always makes me smile.

Wendy Kate at Spanish Scribbles draws beautiful sketches, mostly in pencil, of daily life and places around her in Jimena de la Frontera in Spain.

Izzwizz [below] at Travels with my Son writes an honest, uplifting blog. izzwizz and son 17-4-14She says, “When I reached the age of 40 and I still didn’t have a child, I knew I had a problem. If I’m honest, for the last few years I’d wanted the child more than I’d wanted the boyfriends….. so you won’t be surprised to learn that not only was I childless but I was single too. Adopting was my salvation.”

Sometimes I don’t want to read about books, or cookery, or look at photos of fabulous beaches. I just want something different. And that’s when I read Sparkonit. I am the least technology-competent person around, but I enjoy reading this science and technology blog about lots of stuff I don’t understand. Try it!

Book review: Wolf

Wolf by Mo Hayder 9-3-14I am new to Mo Hayder and her detective Jack Caffrey so didn’t know what to expect. This was a spine-tingling ride from page 1. I read the book over two days, putting it down for a break but unable to resist picking it up again. I do not like being frightened but I do like tension, and Hayder knows her subject her so well that I could feel the depth of her knowledge behind every word. So from the disturbing beginning with five-year-old Amy who gets lost in the woods, I stuck with it. And I am glad I did. I will now go back to the beginning and read her debut novel Birdman, the first in the Jack Caffrey series. Wolf is the seventh.

The story centres on the Anchor-Ferrers family: Oliver who has just had heart surgery, replacing a heart valve with that of a pig; his wife Matilda; and troubled daughter Lucia. Oliver needs to convalesce after his surgery and so the family go to their isolated country house, the location 14 years previously of the murder of two teenagers, one of them Lucia’s boyfriend. The house and the family’s memories of what happened are central to the story of Wolf. We piece together facts about the past and present, as Hayder feeds the reader the information in an expert manner calculated to add to the tension. What exactly did happen to Lucia’s boyfriend, what is Oliver’s mysterious job, has the murderer being released from prison, what is Wolf, and why does Hayder start the story with Amy?

The big question for me: why is this family still living in the isolated house with all its bad memories?

[photo: mohayder.net]

[photo: mohayder.net]

Click here to visit Mo Hayder’s website.
Visit Mo’s Facebook page here.

‘Wolf’ by Mo Hayder [published April 24, 2014, Bantam Press]

Read ‘Sally’s List’ now at Ether Books

“Sally lies in bed in the early-morning limbo of darkness. Unable to snatch more sleep before the alarm rings, her mind drifts and she wonders how life brought her here to this bed. This house. This husband. This life. The me I am now.” the list 14-4-14That’s the first paragraph of my flash fiction ‘Sally’s List’, available to read free now online at Ether Books. Sally's List - Ether front cover 14-4-14Ether is an app for your mobile which enables you to read stories by new and best-selling authors while you are on the move. Many stories are free. As well as short stories and flash fiction, you can choose from poetry, biography, essays, travel, sport and recipes. Featured writers include Hilary Mantel, Louis de Bernières, and Sir Paul McCartney.

To read ‘Sally’s List’ and my other stories, click here. Ether badge 21-2-14If you are new to Ether Books, first download the Ether app [on Apple or Android] by clicking here

Applying the rules of art to writing: learn to speak about your work

“This not only helps those who are looking at your work to understand what you are trying to achieve but also is critical to your own understanding of what you are doing. Avoid trying to interpret your own motivations or what may lie behind your work. This is an invitation to mislead yourself or read into the work something that is not there. The work is the starting point, and ending point, of its content.”
Excerpt from ‘101 Things to Learn in Art School’ by Kit White

We writers are good at being on our own, developing our ideas in isolation, so it does not come naturally to talk freely about our work. But we must, in order to get it published and to promote it. “What’s it about,” is the first question an interviewer will ask. “What inspired you?” is the next question. If we don’t know the answers, we will feel stupid and look stupid and the overall impression will be that we and our work is stupid. Kit White’s advice to artists holds true too for writers.

[photo: zimbio.com]

[photo: zimbio.com]

Thankfully as an editor I had to do a fair bit of public speaking, at conferences, at training groups, radio interviews and a few television interviews. The biggest gig I ever did was on stage in front of 1000 guests as co-host of the annual Furniture Industry Awards in the 1990s. Pretty nerve-wracking, working with a full audio-visual presentation, to auto-cue. But I did get to co-host with actress Maureen Lipman [many times, an absolute brick] and once with comedian Jonathan Ross [a gentleman, despite his blue jokes].

[photo: zimbio.com]

[photo: zimbio.com]

I learned to prepare, prepare, prepare; not to gabble; not to fiddle with my dress or my hair; and to focus on someone in the front row and pretend I was talking to them.

Click here to watch the book trailer for my novel Ignoring Gravity

To pre-order Ignoring Gravity now and take advantage of the pre-publication discount, please click here [please note: your card details will be verified but no money debited until the book is published]

101 Things to learn in art school by kit white 24-9-13

‘101 Things to Learn in Art School’ by Kit White

Choosing music for the book trailer

The one element of making Ignoring Gravity‘s book trailer which I thought would be easy turned out to be the most time-consuming. Music.

[photo: all-free-download.com]

[photo: all-free-download.com]

Simple, I thought, something thoughtful, a modern take on classical. This was just before the Oscars and I read an article in the newspaper about the composer who was nominated for the soundtrack to Gravity, Stephen Price who happens to live a few miles from me. So I looked him up on Linked In which immediately informed me that one of my friends knows Stephen. The wonder of online networking! I’ve nothing to lose, I decided, he might win the Oscar and want to help out a local writer.

An e-mail exchange later confirmed my friend doesn’t know Stephen Price after all, but does know Gavin Greenaway, another local conductor/composer who might be able to help. It turned out that Gavin’s non-assigned tracks were too ‘bombastic’ for my needs, but he kindly gave me some sound advice about sourcing music online. He pointed me towards Audio Network where you can license a track from the hundreds available for £95 plus VAT. Another friend recommended Sound Cloud.

[photo: chicagomusicstore.com]

[photo: chicagomusicstore.com]

I spent one weekend listening to tracks on both websites and wrote a playlist for my production team. I considered how the rhythm of the piece follows the build-up of story tension in Ignoring Gravity, how it would work with the actress voiceover overlaid, and if the mood of the music matched the novel. I had technical queries and passed those over to Simon Cooper, the film producer for the trailer, such as the possibility of blending a) gentle music to set the tone at the beginning, but which then fades softly to play as background music; b) the voiceover by the actress, telling the story of Ignoring Gravity; and c) a couple of key outdoor sounds I wanted to include [the sound of a door knocker, and the creaking of a child’s swing].

Like all best laid plans, my weekend of music listening came to naught. A simple solution presented itself to us and was perfect: Ich Mowatt, sound director who works with Simon Cooper, is also a composer. After the day’s filming, Ich suggested we listen to a couple of his tracks which he believed, having spent the day talking about Ignoring Gravity, would suit the tone of the book. And he was right. So the music you can hear on the book trailer, and also the author interview, is a composition by Ich Mowatt of Sounding Post.

To watch the book trailer for Ignoring Gravity, click here
To read more about composer Gavin Greenaway, click here
Click here to check out Audio Network
Click here for more about Sound Cloud
To check out other work by Simon Cooper Media Production, click here
To pre-order Ignoring Gravity now and take advantage of the pre-publication discount, please click here [please note: your card details will be verified but no money debited until the book is published]