Friday, February 22, 2008

Caroline's smart idea ...

However much we whinge about it, the life of a writer is not a hard one. The lives of our characters, however, often is, as evidenced in Debi's Trading Tatiana, see the post below. It's like the old creative writing adage, we put our characters up a tree and then throw sticks at them. Every aspiring writer is always being told that the more difficult we make it for our heroes and heroines, the better the readers will like it.

Not quite sure where I'm going here, except that recently I've been really happy to come across several incidences of writers giving generously back - almost to compensate their characters. One memoir writer I've just spoken to is even trying to negotiate with her publisher to fund a help-line for children who are undergoing similar experiences to the one she suffered as a child, and to have the telephone number largely visible on the cover. This can only be good, but then I would say that - a share of my advance for Tell Me Everything went to The Kids COmpany, as did all the profits from Your Messages. I think that every writer who has done something similar - and there are LOTS of us - will say it's nothing to do with polishing our halo or wanting validation, but more about enjoying the great privilege of actually making our work mean something even more than the book itself. Yet another life for it, maybe? Contrary to popular opinion, we don't all just want to win awards.

Now Caroline Smailes is taking it one step further. Here is the press release for her smart plan:

When Caroline Smailes’ critically-acclaimed debut novel In Search of Adam was published she was overwhelmed by the response of her readers. Exploring themes of sexual abuse and self-harm, the book prompted many people to contact her to tell her of their own experiences.

Smailes said “when I realised what a chord had been struck with so many people I knew I wanted to find a way to give something back to those whose lives have been touched by abuse.”

A talented author, Caroline began to craft a novella that she could publish as an ebook, asking only for donations to charity ‘One in Four’ in return. The charity offers support for people who have experienced sexual abuse and sexual violence and as a small organization, desperately needs funds to continue its work.

Dianne Ludlow from One in Four said “We are delighted that Caroline is doing this for us and as a small charity any funds raised will make a real difference.”

The novella is called Disraeli Avenue (the street in which In Search of Adam was set) and is a collection of short insights into the lives of the people living there.

Caroline’s publisher, The Friday Project is in full support. MD and Publishing Director Clare Christian said “This is a fantastic idea which will raise money for a very important cause and give fans of Caroline’s writing much pleasure at the same time.”

“I lived in Disraeli Avenue, in between Gladstone Street and Campbell-Bannerman Road. The neighbours all said it dizz- rah- el-lee (four chunks) Avenue. My mother’s house was a semi-detached on a street with 31 similar-looking houses. They looked identical but I knew that they weren’t. There were differences.”

You can donate (and buy) Disraeli Avenue here. Caroline's fundraising total was originally £500, but she's already over the £1,000, and the joy is that you get a good book too!


Claudia Boers said...

Hi Sarah,

Not quite sure where to post this - it's a response to the 21st Feb prompt 'I Like to Touch' - hope I'm not mucking up the order of your blog!?


I like to touch the Modernist table in my living room. I stand with dreamily tilted head and trail my fingertips across it so lightly they’re like a breath against the cool marble. The luxurious movement is so incongruous with the hurly-burly of my life that I must look momentarily like a wistful film star in some old classic pining for her leading man. I can almost hear the violins and see my cinched-waist ball gown and starry eyes - in the next scene I will clasp my hands in speechless delight as he strides through the double doors into the room.

As my fingers glide over the surface I enter a dim white, cotton wool sort of world where sound becomes muffled and the things around me melt away. It’s a purely tactile place where all I am aware of is the marble’s unyielding silkiness beneath my touch.

I can’t help myself. I must touch the table every time I walk past it. It’s something similar to not stepping on the cracks as a child or touch-your-nose, touch-your-toes every time you see an ambulance, something irrationally irresistible, but solidly satisfying. It’s so smooth it’s barely there, it’s like stroking the still surface of a pond. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear a few drips plip-plipping as I pull my fingers away, a tiny demur at my going which echoes my reluctance to stop daydreaming and crack on with things.

Terry Finley said...

Giving back is a blessing for those who are blessed to be able to write in the first place. I am not sure who gets the best blessing.

Terry Finley