I started writing poetry as a teenager. It was a way of expressing the tumult of emotions I was experiencing during a sexually and emotionally abusive relationship while my family was falling apart at the seams. I wrote mainly poetry, with the occasional attempt at a short story until my early 20s. Then, while studying a BA in English Studies and Art History at Oxford Brookes University, I joined a band and started writing song lyrics. Over the last 20 years I have written over 50 songs and have a passion for rhythm and rhyme.
My journey into music side-stepped me away from my original love of literature and the time has come to rejoin the path that I first trod. I joined Hastings Writers Group in November 2015 after making the decision to change career, become self-employed as a reflexologist and create more time to write. I was shocked and delighted when my first short story for HWG, a fictionalised account of my experiences as a teenager, was placed third.
I have written a children’s book, ‘The Keepers of Hearts’, which is being illustrated by local illustrator, Claire Fletcher. Set in Hastings Old Town in the 1850s, it is a story about love, loss and sea faeries. I very much hope that one day it will be published and I hope to obtain Arts Council Funding to turn it into a Magic Lantern Show and give local, disadvantaged children the opportunity to learn about the magic of the seashore.
I have had two poems published in anthologies this year, ‘The Last Shipping Forecast’ in HWG’s ‘Seawords’ and an ironic, poetic review of my first band’s, first album in ‘101 Albums you should die before you hear’, edited by music journalist, Everett True.
I love the challenge of trying to write in different genres and different styles and I am grateful that the variety of writing challenges that HWG offers, enables me to test myself and gain valuable, constructive feedback.<< Sandra Daniels Maddie Blake >>