Saturday, 22 March 2014

Changing direction

I've sometimes been asked, when I give talks about writing, which were the most exciting moments of my writing career. So far it's been quite easy to answer. There was the day in the early 1990s when I went to a posh event in London to receive an award and very nice cheque for being the 'Winner of Winners' in a national short story competition. Then, of course, the day in 2002 when I got the email from a publisher telling me that there was a contract in the post to me: my first novel had been accepted. That was the best moment of all!  It was exciting, too, when my editor suggested, on accepting my sixth novel, that she'd like me to take on a pseudonym (Olivia Ryan) for a series of three books. And it was also exciting (if a little nerve-racking) when I decided to start self-publishing.

Now I'm approaching another of those moments! In less than four weeks I'll be publishing another new book on Amazon (as a Kindle ebook) - and for the first time it's NOT contemporary fiction, NOT a RomCom - in fact it's something so different from all my previous books, it's almost like I'm starting a brand new career!

YESTERDAY is set in the 1960s - one of the most exciting and socially interesting periods of recent history, and the heroine of the story, Cathy Ferguson, is an ordinary teenager growing up during the years of the Beatles and the Mods and Rockers.

Cover image for YESTERDAY  - publication 17 April

The publication date will be 17 April - this Easter - to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first violent clashes between the Mods and the Rockers at Clacton-on-Sea, which took place at Easter 1964 - and there will be more information about the book on this blog over the next few weeks.

But why did I choose to change genres - and why choose the 1960s?  Well, I was given a piece of advice a few years back my an ex-editor of mine - that I should try writing historical fiction. I laughed. I've got so much respect for my author friends who write historical novels - they love what they do, and the amount of research needed is unbelievable. But history has never been my 'thing' and I couldn't imagine doing it.

- 'Only if the 1960s ever became history!' I replied to the editor at the time.
- 'It is, already,' she said.
I was quite taken aback. I was a teenager during the Sixties and it doesn't feel like history to me!

Me during the 1960s

But the conversation kept coming back to me, and the idea of writing a novel set in the Sixties became more and more attractive until I couldn't resist it any longer!

I've been very lucky that my contemporary books have been popular and I have many loyal readers who might be surprised by my change of direction. So, at the same time as promoting the new book, I'm letting everyone know: it's going to be different! And I really, really hope my readers will enjoy the change as much as I have!

Watch this space for more info about YESTERDAY.


  1. Sounds brilliant! I'll be buying that one when its out. I think a change of genre can feel like a breath of fresh air. I've been writing historical and timeslip for the last 3 years, but have a thriller in mind which I might write next...

  2. Thanks Kath. Yes, the change of genre has really got me inspired again. Definitely go for your thriller! I love thrillers, as a reader, but not sure if I could write one ... but who knows till you try?

  3. My kids have been trying to get me to write a book set in the 60s for years. They think I had a really interesting time...

  4. Sounds good -my period as well. Look forward to reading it.

  5. Lesley, I think a lot of people believe the Sixties were all about Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll. Admittedly I was in love with the Beatles but there wasn't too much of any of the rest of it going on round my way!

    Fenella, I hope you'll enjoy it. I had a lot of fun writing it.

  6. Wow, Sheila I look forward to reading it. Also I would like to thank you for letting me know I'm writing a historical crime novel as my new novel is set between 1944 through to 1971. I'm writing about the art scene of the 60's with artist like Hockney etc

  7. Hi Paula. Yes - even the 1970s are now considered history, in literature, apparently! It makes me feel quite old ....

  8. I will be very interested to to read this when it comes out, Sheila. I don't like reading on a kindle as much as a real book but I look forward to reading it all the same.

  9. Hi Wendy. I may bring this book out in paperback eventually but if so, it will be a lot more expensive so please do buy the Kindle version! Kindle reading is just different - I actually love it, and I seem to read a lot more since I've been reading on a Kindle. It's so easy to carry everywhere you go!

  10. Sheila, I liked your blog and why not have a change, we have all kinds of inspirations come to us, so why not take them up and the sixties were an interesting period, that not everybody experienced. I got married in the sixties and that day at brighton with the mods and rockers - well - i was there. Yesterday,
    It sounds as if it will be a good book Sheila, all the best with it. from Angela welford

  11. Thank you Angela. You're right - I did fancy a change, and I'm hoping my readers will enjoy it. You were there at Brighton? I wasn't allowed to go ... Mum would've grounded me! I got married in 1970, and by then the mods & rockers were not such a big thing.