There is a difference – a big one – between mimicking another writer’s style and plagiarism. Copyright is precious and people who infringe copyright by taking your written work and publishing it as their own, are stealing. But like everything bad that you can imaging, it happens.
If you have read my first novel PRETENDING you will know that the book is about a touring theatre based in a rural community. It’s not autobiographical even though I spent 14 years running just such a theatre company. Of course, I touched on some of my experiences as all writers do, but my company was very different to the one portrayed in my book. I worked with committed and hard-working actors. There were one or two who had ‘issues’ (a nice way of saying they could be a pain in the a****) but then, where would you find any workplace that doesn’t have its share of idiots and narcissists?
My childhood, saturated with music, theatre and opera had a profound impact on my development. Dad was a professional musician, as was my brother. I had an elder sister who trained as an opera singer, toured with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company and appeared in a raft of musical shows playing in London in the 1950’s. School holidays were often spent sitting on a chair in the wings, watching a matinée of ‘The King and I’ or ‘Carousel’ at Drury Lane. My sister would take me along to give our Mum a break! Other days, I might be watching my brother conduct an orchestra at Abbey Lane studios where the Beatles would record their hit records. My childhood was so seeped in the creative arts that it never occurred to me that there were other jobs out there.
Everything was on hold while I had my children, but then the opportunity presented itself for me to start a small theatre company: Turning Point (www.lynferrand.com)
I went on to co-found Buzzword Films, writing and directing short film dramas on health and social issues commissioned from a variety of statutory organisations across the UK. I worked with filmmaker Greg Browning and Producer/Actor Mike Berenger, both extremely talented and committed to all the projects we did together.
Having won several awards for my work and recognising that funding for the arts was in a downward spiral, I decided it was time to take a break and focus on writing novels. I wanted to continue to support live theatre and independent films and I still do, in whatever way I can. At the present time, small theatre companies still struggle to survive. There is a website: www.mytheatrematters.com set up by the actor Hugh Bonneville. If you care about theatre, please add your name to the list on the website.
It took me a long time to get started as a novelist. Nothing I put on paper seemed good enough. My self-doubt escalated. I felt horribly guilty for spending all day alone in my study, staring at a screen, waiting for inspiration. Learning the craft of writing novels takes time and a lot of effort and like anything new you are trying to master, you make mistakes but that’s the only way to learn. When the publisher Feedaread gave me the chance to publish my first book, I anguished for weeks over the manuscript. Pushed by my husband to ‘go for it’ I published PRETENDING and had sleepless nights for months.
My second novel RURAL CUT has taken a long time to complete. Torn between finding my voice as a writer and struggling to understand structure and plot development, every page glared at me, every word became menacingly WRONG, every sentence BAD grammar. I had something to say and although grammar and spelling and punctuation are vitally important, I found that I was spending all my time worrying about those three demons and forgetting that I was trying to create a story that had merit. In the end, I just went for it.
Of course, if I could afford it, I would apply to university (as a very mature student) to read Creative Writing. Three years study would help me banish those thoughts that I’m a rubbish writer and should take up embroidery. However, something forces me on and I have convinced myself that my next book WILL be better, will have a more structured plot, better editing, no spelling or grammar hiccups and might be my best work, ever.
If you want to read the work of a new author, here’s how you can buy my first two books:
RURAL CUT By Lyn Ferrand Filmmaker Steve Firenze responds to a plea for help from Harry, his daughter’s godfather, who has relocated from London to a small town in the West Country. Caught up in Harry’s desperate claim that an unscrupulous property developer is financially exploiting him, Steve inadvertently exposes the dark side of the rural idyll and comes face to face with corruption and murder. While attempting to solve Harry’s issues, Steve befriends Eloise and becomes involved in a series of malevolent events that threaten her sanity. They are forced to reassess their values, the way they perceive the changing countryside and the people who live there. Black humour is ever present in this tale of unfulfilled expectations surrounding the myth of rural life. With a tongue-in-cheek look at the criminal activities of a local politician, his associates and a quartet of elderly incomers who have purchased houses on a gated community for the retired, Rural Cut explores how financial greed and the repercussions of indiscriminate development can ruin lives and change rural places for ever. This is Lyn Ferrand’s second novel. ISBN: 9781784076207 Total Pages: 497 Published: 18 April 2014 Buy your copy from www.feedaread.com
PRETENDING By Lyn Ferrand. This is the story of six actors and a director convinced that theatre will change the world. Based at a converted chapel in rural Devon, the theatre company struggles with a lack of funding and local prejudice. Invited to tour a new play about global warming to small town America, they succeed in upsetting their benefactors and audiences. They return to Devon and an uncertain future, where they are forced to confront reality and their own relationships, including inconvenient pregnancies, gender issues and fraud. In this parallel universe of fantasy and truth, the actors search for a way to compromise, without losing the thrill of pretending. Life, they discover, can be as ephemeral as theatre, unless they accept responsibility for their actions. Humorous, with a serious undertone, the book takes a sideways look at how these theatre practitioners think, behave and interact with each other and the community, on and off stage. Events change everyone, though strangely, pretending prevails… ISBN: 9781781765623 Total Pages: 380 Published: 18 July 2012