Building A Book Workshop – Author Interview: Gill James

Image Credits:-
All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated with many created in Book Brush. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing. Screenshots taken by me, Allison Symes, as was the photo of Gill James at a Bridge House Publishing event.
For those who celebrate/commemorate, may I wish you a Happy Easter. It is lovely to have the sunny weather to go with it! A busy week again this week. I hope you enjoy a fabulous interview with Gill James on Chandler’s Ford Today this week. Really great idea here. Check it out below.

BookBrushImage-2023-4-7-20-1515Facebook – General and Chandler’s Ford Today

Am thrilled to welcome back Gill James to Chandler’s Ford Today to discuss her Build a Book Workshop. Doesn’t that sound intriguing? Find out all about it here.

Author Interview: Gill James – Build A Book Workshop

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Another good day for Lady – she got to play with her pal Coco today.

Will be sharing a wonderful interview with Gill James on Chandler’s Ford Today soon. We’ll be discussing Build a Book Workshop which is a fabulous idea. More tomorrow. See above.

Don’t forget the April issue of Mom’s Favorite Reads is out. Do check it out – it’s a great read and free!


Lady had a ball with her best mate, the lovely Rhodesian Ridgeback, today. Good time had by both.

Looking forward to sharing a fabulous interview with Gill James about Build a Book Workshop for Chandler’s Ford Today. Interesting premise. Great answers to questions, what’s not to like? Link up on Friday. Again see above and yes I am really excited about this interview. The premise here is a superb one. Do check out the interview.

Talking of questions, don’t forget you can use these to quiz your potential characters, I often do and will also use the random question generators to help me come up with “left field” questions, which can be a great way of truly finding out what your character is made of! They also stop you using the same old questions over and over again.

I will often use questions to give me ideas for themes for stories and again often they make for good titles too. I find they help me dig that big deeper and that in turn benefits my story and characterisation.

May be a cartoon of text that says "Questions make for good themes τσσ. What questions DO bother your characters and why?"

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Pleased to be on Friday Flash Fiction this week with my story Which Way? Hope you enjoy it. This story was prompted by the throw of a story dice and, aptly, a picture of a dice came up!

Screenshot 2023-04-07 at 09-12-58 Which Way by Allison SymesIf you do get Writing Magazine the last issue had their competition guide in it. Bear in mind a lot of the short story competitions either have categories for flash as well or their word count requirements fall within flash territory. Well worth checking out.

Don’t forget to check out the Ts and Cs of the competitions too (and that should be easily done by going to the competition’s website where you should be able to see these). You can sign up to Writing Magazine on line – their website says you could get access to their archive here, which would include the last edition with the guide, I would have thought!
Screenshot 2023-04-07 at 20-29-10 Writers Online Membership - Writers OnlineEntering competitions is also good practice for writing to deadlines

I was talking about using questions to help me with my fiction writing over on my author page earlier. Of course, because I am coming up with stories and characters all the time for my flash fiction and short stories, I need to ensure I have a constant supply of idea generators.

This is where the random generators are a blessing. It is also why I mix up the type I use frequently. Doing all of that makes me think outside the box more. That in turn helps fuel creativity and I am always all for that! (Story cubes, the old game of bits of paper in a hat with different words, adjectives on etc and then you pick out pieces at random – these all work too).

Also don’t forget the prompts books (and I will admit to bias here given I’ve contributed to some). Talking of which, I am also in The Big Book of Prompts, and many of the writers who regularly contribute to CafeLit, Bridge House Publishing etc are in there too. Why not see what we’ve come up with for ideas and see what you can make of them? Have fun!


Fairytales with Bite – Light and Dark

I’m writing this after what seems to have been the dullest, wettest March on record. Even the recent clock change where the clocks went forward did not appear to make much of a difference. And then the sunshine turned up and now we can believe spring has got here after all! Light makes all the difference.

In your setting, what kind of light would be considered natural? Are your characters affected by light levels the way we can be? What would they have in the way of artificial light for the winter season? Does your setting have a long dark period or a long light one? How would that make your characters behave?#

If you live in a setting where there isn’t a lot of natural light for most of the time, behaviour will be different compared to those who have nigh on perpetual natural light. (Those living in the latter can more obviously get out and about that much more easily. Sleep patterns will differ here too. How would that affect your characters?).

Is dark feared or welcomed? How do your characters manage to do the everyday tasks of life when dark is a way of life for them? Is crime more prevalent in a “dark” world?

You can also explore the issues of light and dark for each of your characters too. What would be their light attributes, which their dark etc? That alone could give you a good character outline ahead of writing your story up.


This World and Others – Nature

Light and dark are natural phenomenons of course but in your setting what is the natural world like? Is it comparable with ours? How do your creatures (human like or otherwise) cope with light and dark? What are their natural tendencies? Is there prey and predator, for example, and who would be considered to be the “top of the tree” here?

Have your main creations changed the natural world and, if so, how? Are there benefits to what they’ve done? What are the disadvantages and has your natural setting found a way of fighting back against what it hates? There are stories to be had in climate disasters and their aftermath, for example, but a more positive outcome here would be a tale where your characters learn from their mistakes, put them right, and the natural world responds to that. Redemption stories are always welcome! (If only to cheer us up as readers because there is so much gloom out there. We see natural disasters all the time, yes?).

How broad is your natural world? Is there a range of geographical settings? That directly affects what can live in your setting naturally so what kind of varieties of plant/insect/animal life, do you have here? How do these affect how the others can live?
It pays to take time to work this kind of thing out. Setting can so often act like a character in its own right. Think of The Shire, Mordor, Gondor etc in The Lord of the Rings. Each distinct. Each memorable. Each with their own “natures”.





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