OK, I shall come out of the closet. I am a veteran of writing courses with the Arvon Foundation and Ty Newydd in Wales (former home of Lloyd George): three with the former and one with the latter, both highly recommended (although it heavily depends on who is tutoring). I once wanted to write a novel and gave it 100% for quite some time, but the earnest urgency eventually evaporated and I learnt that I prefer to write small pieces. Factual stuff. Hence the blog, I suppose.
But I did meet a few along the way who have realised their dreams. In the crime fiction world this includes Elena Forbes and Linda Regan. Today, I was pleasantly surprised to hear again from Ben Kane, who will have his second novel published by Preface at the start of June. His first, The Forgotten Legion was published about a year ago and his second, The Silver Eagle is what's coming next in June. Both novels might be described as Roman epics and all things Roman make an obsession for Ben. (I have invited Ben to guest blog here near the time of publication of his second novel.)
I have strong recollections of a week spent at The Hurst in Shropshire, former home of John Osbourne now owned by the Arvon Foundation. What struck me most about Ben was his sheer determination to get his stories into the public domain and his love of writing. Proof in the pudding can be seen by the fact that novel number two is out a year after the first and that the first garnered 4.5 stars across 21 reviews on Amazon UK.
For such output, it should be noted that Ben is not a full time writer: he also works as a vet in the west country.
How great it is to have rubbed shoulders – or, more likely perhaps, shared Arvon kitchen duties – with such folk. I truly admire their successes and wish them well.