Saturday Spotlight: Are we blagging it to blog it? by Christina Templeton

I’m delighted to welcome Christina Templeton to the blog today for her first ever blog post! She’ll tell you more of her story, but we met Christina in December when she got in touch after the publication of Winter Tales.  Christina’s two gorgeous grandsons have cystic fibrosis and she and her family have been heavily involved in fundraising for CF charities.  Christina is a member of the RNA’s New Writer’s Scheme which is, of course, how the Write Romantics met. I’ll stop talking now and hand you over to Christina (but please be nice to her, she’s new at this…)

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As an author with three novels in the bag you’d think I’d be writing blogs with no trouble at all, but the truth is this is my first attempt. I always thought people only blogged if they did something amazing, like my son-in-law when he ran seven marathons on seven continents in aid of cystic fibrosis. Now his blogs were interesting!

Yes, his chosen charity is close to my heart as two of my grandsons suffer from this disease, but he wrote about his experiences in China, Chile and Antarctica whilst raising over half a million pounds.  But what do I have to blog about? A retired civil servant, blessed with a happy family life and a passion for writing, I’ve never done anything dramatic or heroic, never made a difference to world affairs or even local affairs. Apart from the shock diagnosis of cystic fibrosis in my grandsons, most of the drama in my life comes from my imagination. Which, of course, is why I’m a writer. IMG_3665

My daughter put me straight.  ‘What about our charity?’ she said.  She was referring to a local charity we set up to make life easier for children living with cystic fibrosis in Hampshire.  We provided things like trampolines to keep them active, nebulisers that take one minute instead of twenty to administer medicine and access to laptops to alleviate their boredom during frequent hospital stays.

‘And mum, what about your writing?’  she said ,almost as an accusation.  She’s right, of course.  Whilst I’m still without an agent and yet to have my novels published mainstream, I have completed three, won several short story competitions, been published in local and county magazines, uploaded four children’s stories on to Kindle and published a book of short stories on Amazon.

IMG_3666I’m in the Romantic Novelists New Writer’s Scheme and am encouraged by their feedback. I get really great support at the twice-yearly Dunford Novelists conferences – supported by best-selling authors like Catherine King,  Della Galton and Pam Fudge to name but a few.  Established or beginner, attending authors share their work and offer it up for critique. It’s quite intense but very useful and I’ve met some lovely people, including novelist Julia Bryant, who I’m proud to call my mentor and friend.

Are we blagging it to blog it? I thought so until I recently discovered the Write Romantics.  As well as publishing an anthology to raise funds for The Cystic Fibrosis Trust, they bring together so many things I’m passionate about – love, life and writing. I think what I’ve learned is that whilst authors may be better at fiction than fact, as the protagonists in our own life stories we all have something to say, and we know from our craft that heroes don’t always need to do heroic things to be interesting or win hearts and minds.  Are we wasting precious time blogging when we should be focused on our novels? It’s a valid question, but we novelists know the journey is as important as the end goal.  The life of a novelist can be isolated and blogging helps you feel connected to a wider community – it makes the journey more enjoyable, and let’s face it – what’s the point of writing if you don’t enjoy it?

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Christina Templeton has written three novels and is crafting her fourth.  In between, she keeps her imagination active by writing short stories and as from today, blogs.  She’d love an agent, a publisher or both. You can find out more about her and her work here.

Thank you so much to Christina for joining us today.  If you’d like to leave a comment for her please click on the word ‘comments’ in teeny, tiny type at the bottom of this post.  And as Christina mentioned, Winter Tales our charity short story anthology is available here with all the royalties going to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Teenage Cancer Trust.   Have a great weekend! Alys x

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