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About Jenny Roman
Love short stories? So does Jenny Roman! Her fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines including Writers’ Forum, Woman’s Weekly, Scribble, The People’s Friend, The Weekly News and Yours. Her stories have also been published online, and in anthologies.
Jenny has been short-listed or placed in a host of writing competitions, and she herself has also acted as reader, short-lister and judge - so she knows what it feels like on both sides of the fence. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University, and blogs about all things short story related at jennyroman.wordpress.com.
Start with "The Camel in the Garden" which you can download free for Kindle now. Then sign up for her newsletter at: http://bit.ly/JennyRomanNewsletter and get another 6-story ebook absolutely free.
To help you get to know her better, Jenny has answered a few questions below:
Q: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
A: The world doesn’t owe you any favours! If you want to be a writer, you simply have to write - just get on with it. There won’t be a time in the future when it magically gets easier. Learn to live with rejection; it’s a fact of writing life. Know your subject matter, and know your audience. Think about who will read your work, and why. But have faith in yourself too - know that as long as you put in the effort, you will succeed. And your mum will be proud of you, even if she won’t live long enough to see most of your writing success - always remember how much you owe her.
Q: Do you have any writing-related regrets?
A: Blimey, where to start! The usual one about not working hard enough on writing when I was younger. Not following up potential leads because I didn’t realise their significance at the time (e.g. a rejection letter I received in my twenties from a leading publisher which, at the bottom, had a scribbled handwritten note telling me that what I’d submitted was good, there just wasn’t enough of it to take it forward. I now can’t believe I didn’t crack on and submit something else to this lovely person who had taken time to make a personal comment, but I simply did not realise at the time how precious this was). I also wish I’d got into eBooks earlier than I did. Oh, and as part of my MA, we had to write an essay about a writer who had inspired/had an impact on our own writing. I wrote about D H Lawrence. Whilst I do think D H Lawrence did have some impact on my writing, it in no way measures up to the impact of Monica Dickens who was one of my favourite childhood authors. Monica’s books made a huge impression on pony-mad me - and I betrayed her because I felt that Lawrence was a more fitting subject for a Master’s level essay. I kind of knew I was making a mistake at the time. It’s a little thing, but it has always bugged me since. Sorry Monica.
Q: What Literary pilgrimages have you been on?
A: I was a massive Bronte fan as a teenager, and was very excited about visiting the Parsonage at Haworth, but to be honest, it was a hugely disappointing experience. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but to my idealistic 16 year old self, it felt as though the house had been renovated and sanitized to the extent that I could no-longer imagine Charlotte or her sisters had ever occupied it, let alone written all those novels within its walls. I suspect the presence of other tourists (who I snobbishly assumed were not true fans as I perceived myself to be) probably spoilt the moment! (I was a pretty horrible teenager!)
Q: Does writing energise or exhaust you?
A: Mostly energise, I’d say. I usually find that even if I’m shattered and the very thought of writing feels me with gloom, once I force myself to get started, I feel much better for it. And of course, when it’s going really well, nothing can beat it! I guess if I’ve pushed myself to achieve a specific high word count for a period of time, I feel pretty shattered at the end of the process, but it’s a good tired, like when you’ve dug over your garden. You feel like you’ve achieved something.
Q: Do you think it is possible to teach someone to write creatively?
A: I think it’s like many other subjects - a teacher can teach tools and techniques, but it’s up to the student to learn them and to practise the craft. As an aspiring writer, you have to put the hours in writing, putting into practice the techniques you’ve heard about. You also need to read widely and extensively. Mostly though, you’ve got to really want to write. This desire will help carry you through when the first flush of enthusiasm has dissipated. No-one can teach desire.
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Jenny Roman writes short stories and articles for a variety of magazines. Her fiction has been published in Writers' Forum, Woman's Weekly, Scribble, The People's Friend, The Weekly News, and Yours. She has had stories published online and as e-downloads, and has been short-listed or placed in a number of writing competitions including, in 2015, winning Writing magazine’s new subscribers’ poetry competition, and the Pens of Erdington creative writing competition. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.
Whether it makes you smile or sigh, each story will invite you to care about the characters for the brief time you are with them, and perhaps to acknowledge that you too have been there.
With insight into what the judges will be looking for, and a range of practical hints and tips, this book will show you how to create and submit an entry which will have the best chance of success.
Beyond Words: Anka wants to improve her English, but there's no-one to help her learn, and she’s always so tired after work. When an event occurs which proves her current life is intolerable, she discovers that sometimes words are no help at all.
Cheque Mate: The young man at the door seems nice enough, and Agnes, all alone after her husband’s death, is quite happy to let him in. But Mr Jenkins from the Neighbourhood Watch would definitely disapprove.
Free Running: Jane, a keen runner, is a bright, humorous, successful woman, with an active social life. At first, Rory seems like the perfect boyfriend, but when his love turns into obsessive control, Jane’s world begins to shrink. Will she ever be free?
Hugo's Return: Everyone has a skeleton in the cupboard. But for Kath, now a learned University Professor, the past is back to haunt her.
Last Rights: Parker is only protecting his land, as is his right. But in the middle of the night, even the familiar can seem oddly unnerving, and Parker is about to realise that some rights are not set in stone.
Out of Her Misery: Of course, it’s wonderful to have Kate home again, except the reality is it means there’s no hope left. As her condition deteriorates still further, Kate’s husband must face the question: what do you do when someone you love asks the impossible?
Lemonade: Floyd is an alcoholic. Whilst in rehab, he meets Marcus, an unlikely fellow inmate, and they have a wager on who will get out first.
Penny for the Guy: It’s coming up to Bonfire Night at the allotment association, but Elaine has more on her mind than double-digging. Husband Gareth has strayed, and it’s only when Elaine begins to suffer headaches and dizziness that she realises the lengths he’ll go to see her out of the picture. It’s time for revenge.
Caveat Emptor: Ben wants a final project before he loses his fight with terminal illness. The tumbledown ferryman’s cottage seems perfect, and he starts work on the renovations. It’s a race against time - but time has a few tricks of its own, and Ben must learn that the cottage comes with a binding covenant.
Bit Part: People are still interested in Edward, even after his death, when half his work is no longer in print, so it falls to his batman to deal with the reporters and fend off the queries about their past. The batman who, to all intents and purposes, has been left with nothing. But wealth can mean any number of things - and there are always the memories, more precious than all.
The Bluebell Wood: After Lizzy abandons boyfriend Aaron and the rest of her family to go and live a new life, sister Sophie can only think of her with bitterness. Sophie certainly never meant to fall in love with Aaron herself and end up living in the same house where Aaron and Lizzy had apparently once been so happy. When Aaron is scheduled to be away for the weekend, Sophie decides to finish work on the garden as a surprise for his return - but Sophie is in for a much more sinister surprise.
No Conferring: Joe is 96, and his long life has shrunk to sitting in front of the telly watching game shows at the residential care home. The Doctor visits regularly, and each time finds himself reflecting on both Joe’s life and his own. What if it’s all just a game? And how do you score full marks?