Video about the project

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Would you like to meet her?

Clara is certainly being wheeled out now. She also appears in The House on Schellberg Street and that is coming out on 11 April.
On 17 April, I’ll be reading from both The House on Schellberg Street and Clara’s Story, along with my two very good friends and talented writers, Sarah Dobbs and Debz-Hobbs-Wyatt, who will also read from their work, at the beautiful International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester.
We’re holding an event called Women’s Writing. We’ll be talking a little about our writing and reading some excerpts. Then we’ll also read from a project we’re working on together. We’ll also discuss what writing within the framework of Higher Education is like, whether studying at university helped our journeys as writers and what our relationship to the academy is like now and whether that helps or hinders our writing process. And we’ll do a Q and A session.

Sunday, 16 February 2014


Last Thursday I attended a special viewing of this exhibition at the John Rylands Library, Deansgate Manchester. I felt my work on Clara Lehrs is very connected with this because:
·         She experiences the Great War.
·         Letters are involved and letters are what inspired the whole Schellberg Cycle
·         Part of the exhibition is about a creative response to war, as is the Schellberg Cycle.
·         Here a voice is given to people who no longer have a voice and that is what my project does for Clara and several other people.  
In addition I was particularly pleased to go along to this as Fine Art students from the University of Salford, where I also work, have been involved in the project.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Is she taking over?

I found myself the other day considering a situation at work and asking myself what Clara would do – and then decided to take that very same action.
Does this mean Clara and I are alike?
Or am I doing as all good writers advise and writing what I know?

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Getting it right for the readers

I’ve put the novel away for a short while. This has partly been enforced because I’ve had edits to do for The House on Schellberg Street and a heap of marking as part of the day job. Actually, though, this has been somewhat of an advantage. It’s given me some distance. Also, some of the issues that have cropped up there are also relevant here.

Who is the reader?

I’m concentrating now on getting this right for the specific readers. For this particular text the reader is quite difficult to define.
·         Is it someone who has read The House on Schellberg Street? Possibly, though that is a arguably a text for younger teen girls. Certainly, younger teens could read Clara’s Story if they’ve read The House on Schellberg Street.
·         Is it for a Transita reader? This is quite likely – except sadly, Transita no longer exists. This may be because middle aged women don’t like reading about middle-aged women. Possibly nobody does. Clara is right at the end of middle-age when her story really begins.
·         Is it for history-lovers? Or more precisely herstory-lovers? Almost certainly. It is after all, a biography, though written using fiction techniques. Her story has to be told, sad as it is, because she was such an extraordinary woman.
In the end, I guess, it’s just a matter of making it as engaging as I can. Thankfully, she is becoming more real. That has to be good.

The Schellberg Cycle

Working with an editor on The House on Schellberg Street has made me realise that I do in fact have another books to write. So, my sabbatical has led to a collection of five texts. I’d like to name this The Schellberg Cycle. The books can actually be read in any order. Three are for younger readers and two for adults though as long as someone has started with something for the right age, all others can be read. So we have:
·         The House on Schellberg Street
·         Clara’s Story
·         The BDM girl ( working title only)
·         The Woman Who Nearly Shot Hitler
·         The Class Letter
Quite exciting, really.