Shells Chats with Author Dorothy Davies
What's your background with writing?
I began writing as a child, it continued all through school, with my getting high marks for what was called composition. I wrote a novella which I showed to a teacher, it went right round all the teachers, so I knew I had ‘something’. I wrote extensively for fanzines through my teen years and then the writing stopped for a time, as I went into law as a legal secretary and legalize rather stifled free writing. Then I became a wife and mother and it began again, first with writing for fanzines and then free-wheeling into other work, educational, fiction and endless articles. At one point I had 20 books in an educational reading scheme, which are still being read today. (I get royalties from schools who copy the books.)
Who are your inspirations/influences?
My biggest influence of all is Ray Bradbury. I adore his books and virtually know them off by heart. My early work was modeled on his style until I developed my own. Inspiration these days comes from the spirit authors, who use me to write all sorts of material, from horror to their life stories.
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment as a writer?
Persuading a publisher to take my channelled life of the duke of Clarence seriously enough to publish the book. After some 50 rejections ...
As a writer what is your worst fear?
Being incapable of writing, either because of physical or mental illness.
Has being a spiritual healer influenced your writing at all?
In some ways it has. I know that the people I work with, Guy Fawkes for one, have been ‘released’ from the torment of their life by giving me the story and by accepting my healing as we worked.
Can you tell us more about the "Circle of Light Magazine?"
This is a quarterly magazine devoted to poems, quotations and articles on all aspects of spiritual life. The magazine also contains my photographs, taken in places around this beautiful island where I live, and occasionally by some stunning photographs a well travelled subscriber sends me. The magazine has been likened to a ray of sunshine arriving at someone’s home, which is a great compliment. It is now in its 12th year.
How do you feel writing biographies could help in the fiction side of a character?
Everyone has a story to tell, rich or poor, famous or unknown. By reading the biography of someone, you begin to get an insight into the real thinking of that person, which can in turn reflect on the fiction work that writer does.
Can you tell us a little bit about "Death Be Pardoner To Me?"
This is the life of George, duke of Clarence, 15th century aristocrat, brother to Edward IV and Richard of Gloucester, later Richard III. He was deeply involved with his cousin the Earl of Warwick and became a traitor against his own brother, the king. This was unheard of at that time; allegiance to the crown was everything. He was finally executed, age 28, on the king’s command. The book is told from two aspects, first person as he sits in the Tower, awaiting his execution, and third person as he goes back into his past to relate his childhood, his growing up, his tormented years and his disputes with his brother the King. The two aspects slowly draw together for the sad but inevitable conclusion. Everyone knows of and writes about Richard III and Edward IV, not to mention Elizabeth Woodville, Edward’s Queen, but Clarence is often overlooked or written about as vain, pompous and a traitor. There is a good deal more to that charismatic man than has ever been written about before.
Where did the idea of "Death Be Pardoner To Me" come from?
I had become interested in the 15th century, the Wars of the Roses, without really knowing why. I had already channeled (worked with a spirit author and written his book) but did not think there would be more books to come. One July morning, I realized a spirit person was sitting across the room from me. He said ‘Clarence’ and I said ‘welcome.’ Later that day he was confirmed to me by a medium friend who did not know Clarence had already introduced himself to me. Later he asked if I would write his book for him. I said yes, and we wrote it in six months.
The original title is long gone. We had some, we discussed all sorts, but one day at lunch I was reading my favorite poet, John Drinkwater and looking at a poem called Last Confessional. The line ‘death be pardoner to me’ is in that poem. Clarence and I looked at one another and we both said ‘that’s the title.’ With a few exceptions, all my subsequent books have or will have lines from John Drinkwater poems as their titles. So, it is not really having a historical novel come to mind, it is who comes to me and asks if I will write their story for them.
When Clarence’s book was done, I began work with Charles I. He then stood back quite suddenly and said ‘I am making way for the Tudor to come in.’ Come in he did, Henry VIII, full of life, energy and enthusiasm, was there, asking if he could write his book. This we did, in another six months of intensive work. Guy Fawkes came, so shy, so hesitant, to ask if he could work with me and tell the truth about that time, and so it has gone on ever since.
Books currently awaiting publication are: March 2011, Judas Iskariot, Thirty Pieces of Silver (written in six weeks!) July 2011, Henry VIII, I Diced With God, October 2011, Guy Fawkes, Brief and Bitter Hearts. March 2012, Charles I, Fools And Kings And Fighting Men, July 2012 (I hope) Jacquetta Woodville, Not The Shadow Of A Man, October 2012, Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots Harvest Your Peace With Might. The books for 2013 are already started.
Where or when will "Death Be Pardoner To Me" be available?
Death Be Pardoner To Me is available now, through Smiths Travel outlets and through Amazon.
How do you or have handled marketing your book and what suggestions would you have for others for marketing their work?
I have the services of a PR representative, I work at promotion, I had an invitation to speak at the Eype Literary Festival in October of this year, I hope for more chances to talk and do book signings in the future. Suggestions for others: use a PR person if you can, they know the outlets for your information sheets, they can arrange venues for you to speak (my PR lady got me the speaking engagement at Eype) and promote yourself as much as you can, as I am, by taking the chance to be interviewed here. I also had a piece on my speaking engagement, with photograph, in a writers’ magazine. It is all useful to the publicity machine.
What projects do you have planned for the future?
There are in all I think some sixty authors waiting to talk to me. I need to write at the rate of three books a year to get them all done before my time here is through and I can go home to meet them all properly.
Any events planned for the future?
I hope for a book launch and a chance to speak on Guy Fawkes in York next October, (his birthplace) and put right a lot of the nonsense which has been written about him in the past.
Any advice you would like to give to new writers who may not know how to approach the publishing world?
Be persistent but polite. Send out your work only when it is at its very best, polished and revised and of genuine interest. When that is done, choose your agent/publisher with care, don’t send it to just anyone. Only target those who publish or handle the type of writing you do, ie literary, chick lit, thriller, whatever. Write a sensible query letter, make sure your synopsis is what they want, and make sure it is in the format they want. All this can be found on their website under submission guidelines. Not following them only gets you a bad reputation.
Where can people know more about you?
My two websites give people insights into my life
which is representative of my spiritual beliefs and practices
The second one is devoted mainly to the Woodville family and in particular, Antony Woodville, Lord Scales of Newcelles and the Isle of Wight, 2nd Earl Rivers. He is my medieval hero.
Posted by Shells W