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About ajhsharp

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  1. I download Kindle samples of novels before committing to buy (whether I'm going to buy Kindle or paper copy). If I have the urge to do something else before I get to the end of the sample then I'm suspicious that the book is not for me! I probably miss some gems this way but it does at least give me a good idea of the writing style and so I'm not so dependent on making a decision based on the hyperbole on the back cover.
  2. Phonetic spelling of what she says is fine and so 'me' is fine as that will be how it sounds to the listener. The key thing is: what will it sound like to the listener? Write it as the listener will hear it and if she'd say ain't then write ain't . But you don't necessarily have to maintain phonetic spelling throughout all of that character's dialogue in the whole book, That can be irritating to the reader after a while but if you've given a few phonetic examples when the character is first introduced, so that the reader 'gets' the voice, then they will tend to continue to hear the dialogue in that voice for the rest of the book.
  3. What you seeking to achieve is an authentic voice for your character and this will be impossible to write without the way she speaks coming through in the dialogue. Dialogue is one of the principle ways to achieve a distinctive voice for each of your characters. It's as important as what they do and how they look. So your example is natural and authentic. If the dialogue sounds in-voice for your character when you read it out aloud to yourself then you've achieved what you wanted. Correct grammer inside quotation marks is not necessary - most people's talk is fairly ungrammatical. Having said that, be aware that what your character says must be intelligible to your readers - otherwise they give up. So the trick is to have a balance between intelligibility to the reader and an authentic voice for your character. Hope that helps.
  4. Thanks. Did I mention that I write stream of consciousness fiction with no punctuation? I wish I had the courage ...
  5. Forgive this preamble to announcing my book release and thanks for bearing with me. In 2004 the novelist Tony Saint lamented, in the Telegraph, that he was not even the fifth best novelist in Waverton after his first novel had failed to reach the shortlist of the annual Waverton Good Read Award. Never heard of the WGRA? You are not alone. A little history, then. A family doctor in the village of La Cadière d’Azure, France, decided it might give his patients something to think about beyond their ailments if he got them all reading and voting on the latest novels. So Le Prix De La Cadière d’Azure was born and, although the prize is now discontinued, it inspired enterprising people from the village of Waverton (pop. 2000) in Cheshire to do the same. Publishers are invited to send debut novels by British authors to be read by dozens of villagers who create a long list, then a short list and then – voila – the winner. It’s one of the few literary prizes run by readers and is now in its eleventh year. Previous winners have included Mark Haddon for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Maria Lewycka for A History of Tractors in Ukrainian, and Tom Rob Smith for Child 44. There are also one or two winning authors that you’ve never heard of like … ahem … myself. The Waverton win came (a cheque and a splendid dinner – thank-you, Waverton) and went but then calamity: my publisher ceased trading and my literary agent changed career. I just hope it wasn’t all my fault. Despite the below-the-national-radar win and the collapse of my marketing and publishing support, I was delighted that out there, beyond the baying of the city, the steady readers of rural England had liked my novel. They say that the British comedian Norman Wisdom was big in Albania when he was unknown elsewhere and I like to think that I was once big in Waverton. I had no time in any case to think about the lack of national interest because in the villages of my home patch it was all bouquets and elderflower champagne. Deep in rural Rutland, in mink-and-manure Manton, villagers filled the village hall for my author talk and in Kibworth in Leicestershire the effervescent owner of the Kibworth Bookshop corralled locals into the pub for a book group evening over gin and beer. In tiny Arnesby, where thatch is as rampant as roses, I fielded questions that good family folk really want to know from an author, such as what his mother thinks of the swearing in his novel. In book groups in Knighton, a village long ago swallowed up by Leicester, we drank glass after glass of wine until we’d all forgotten why we were sitting there with a novel on our laps. In Woodhouse Eves, retirement village for philosophers it seemed, I was probably out of my depth. Nevertheless, I was flattered and grateful for those evenings with readers. Which finally leads me to say that my second novel, Fortunate, set in a Midlands town and in Zimbabwe, is now out. I’m conscious of the fact that it is just one of well over 100,000 books to be published this year in the UK but I will be more than happy to be big in a village - any village – once again. Thanks for reading. www.andrewjhsharp.co.uk ‘Unputdownable. An outstanding novel of love, courage and dangerous intrigue.’ Margaret Kaine.
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