Friday, 7 December 2012

Bookengine guest #2: Mandy Ward

Please welcome my second guest blogger on Bookengine, Mandy Ward, author of the Cassy Kindly books, about a witch who decides to stop being mean and start being nice to people. You can follow Mandy's exploits in publishing, marketing and selling her series of ebooks through Amazon Kindle on her blog, here.

My journey as a Writer and what motivates me to write

When I was invited to write my first guest blog, which this is, I wasn’t at first sure what I would write about. I was asked to consider my journey as a writer and what motivates me to write.

Take a look at Mandy's books on Amazon
As I reflected on this a memory popped into my head. It was vivid and never before re-collected.

I don’t so much remember the pictures of the memory, which are in sepia when I recall them, more the tastes, the smell and how it made me feel.

Moving from one level in school to another can be a bit worrying when you are little and I was moving from the infants to the junior school. My elder brother Eddie had told me about the English teacher, Mr Blanc. I can’t remember what he’d said to me but for the first lesson in English, I’d sat very quietly, towards the back of the room and just listened, watched and learned.

Mr Blanc was a little bit terrifying. He had ‘presence’ and an air of authority about him which was instantly recognisable. Some of my new friends were fidgeting, talking, doodling or gazing out of the window and he would give them a look that would make them stop instantly. The ‘death stare’.

The dolls house from Mandy's latest book... stunniing artwork by Jeff Lewis
The feelings that I felt in those first few lessons were a mixture of being scared, nervous, frightened. I was shy and timid. I loved to sing and I’d sing at every opportunity. I used to sing before I went to sleep. I still hum now and don’t know I’m doing it. I do it when I’m stressed and when I’m amused at something. I wanted to sing or hum in that lesson, but knew I couldn’t and it wasn’t because I was amused.

We’d been asked to write a story in that first lesson. I wish that I could remember what I’d written. Maybe it will come back to me. Mr Blanc must be at least 70 by now and probably has grand-children. He might even still live in the village, where those English lessons took place, in a little village in Warwickshire called Water Orton.

Another beautiful illustration by Jeff Lewis from Mandy's stories

Mr Blanc had our little pile of neatly lined blue covered books in front of him. They still looked brand new and I always loved that opening of that first page, which always had my name and my smallest, neatest hand-writing.

I knew that my ‘story’ was on its way back to me, having been read and marked by Mr Blanc with that first score in the margin, out of 10, in red ink. Two of the kids who sat opposite me were kicking each other under the table or something similar. They were aggravated and I was willing them to stop doing whatever they were doing, in case Mr Blanc turned his attention on them and by association, onto me.

Mr Blanc stood up and asked ‘Where is Mandy Ward?’. All eyes were on me. I cringed, whilst turning the deepest crimson. He asked again and I slowly raised my hand. Mr Blanc looked straight at me and said ‘This story is excellent’. I went an even deeper shade of crimson, my heart skipped a beat, my furrowed brow eased off and I smiled a little.

That was when my writing journey started. Mr Blanc’s four little words of praise, planted the seeds.

That was how my writing journey began and I write because secretly, without wanting to shout about it, I know I’m quite good at it.

Thank You Mr Blanc.

Mandy Ward

1 comment:

  1. I just came across this in my Facebook memories.

    Thank you Bookengine for inviting me to do so. Thanks again, Mr Blanc - the love of reading and the writing journey you set me off on, continues.