Even though I should still be posting up my character blogs for the A-Z challenge, I'm afraid it is over for me. As much as I was enjoying writing them, I got distracted by arranging writing retreats for my new venture, Retreat West, which I started late last year after moving to Exmoor.
The one-day writing retreats in Exeter are how it all began, then came the short story competition, now there are workshops and residential retreats/writing holidays planned. The last two weeks have been consumed with planning a series of three Walk & Write events. These will offer retreat space and time for writers to immerse themselves in their writing with no distractions but will also feature workshops on using landscape and setting in fiction, and walking tours with more writing exercises. Although I suppose the name might have given that away already!
I'm very excited to have some great authors lined up for these events. The first is going to be held in October this year in a lighthouse cottage on the cliffs not far from where I live and will have, Alison Moore, whose debut novel, The Lighthouse, was shortlisted for the Booker prize last year, doing a half day workshop about place in fiction. The guided tour will be by local author, Melanie Hudson, who has the Exmoor landscape as a big part of her debut novel, The Wedding Cake Tree.
The second one will be in March 2014 in a beach house on West Wittering beach in Sussex, which is the setting for Jane Rusbridge's novels, The Devil's Music and Rook. She will be doing a workshop and a walking tour of the beach and village that inspired her work.
Event three is still in very early planning stages but will be in London and look at using urban landscapes in fiction.
Hopefully these will just be the start of an ongoing series of Walk & Write events, and there will also be Just Write retreats and Cook & Write retreats with workshops on using food in fiction. Where would you like to see them happen and what authors would make these events exciting for you?