Sunday, September 18, 2011

Guest Blog - The View from Across the Pond

Morgen Bailey is an extremely talented writer.  I also am quite fond of her as a person, so I asked her to do a guest blog.  After some witty banter (which she excels at), we decided it would be interesting to have a reflection (no pun intended) on what it is like to be a writer in the UK (across the pond).  I recently did a guest blog for Morgen about writing music vs. prose, and she has been kind enough to interview me and critique two of my short shorts.  You can find all these things at her blog below.  Heck, here's a few links, too:‘four-tracks-and-typewriters’-by-author-jd-mader/

Without further ado, here is the piece Morgen wrote:

The View from Across the Pond

When JD asked me to write about this topic my clichéd heart sank. Apart from the obvious language differences (colour vs color, bonnet vs hood), nothing popped into my rather-overused-lately brain. Until I started thinking about it.

Most of my interviewees are from the US (others from Australia, Europe etc and here in old blighty) so when we ‘meet’ on the likes of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, it’s then that the differences become more apparent. When I go to my computer first thing in the morning I’m bombarded by email replications of LinkedIn thread comments (invariably off-topic, but usually still writing-related) with a hub of ‘usual suspects’. As I’m jumping in the shower, I imagine American and Canadian writers jumping into bed (presumably their own but who knows?), Europeans jumping into their cars to go to their wish-I-could-give-it-all-up-and-write-full-time jobs and Australians jumping up and down as they realise that the casserole they’ve cooked for tea is searing through the too-thin tea towel.

They now have become a virtual family to me, most having taken part in my interviews and some, like JD, have asked me to partake in their sites (I’m always delighted to say “yes”) and the world just gets a little smaller each time.

One question I ask in my interviews is “In which country are you based and do you find this a help or hindrance with letting people know about your work?” and it’s pretty much the only answer that remains almost static. The country varies, sure, but it’s the second part that has surprised me, with almost all the 120+ interviewees saying something along the lines of “we have the internet, there are no borders” and it’s true. We may be individual souls hunched over our computers, eyes growing redder and sky darker, but inside that electronic box is a world of hearts all beating about the same thing: writing. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction (sorry non-fiction but I prefer the former) we all have one thing in common: we want people to read what we produce and want to know how to reach as many readers as possible; the latter being the hot topic wherever you go.

Yes, like JD, we’d all love a second house (mine would definitely have a sea view) but, bar the exceptional few, we’re not in it for the money, we’re in it for the one thing that Rosanne Dingli (one of our beloved Australian kin) asked in her recent interview of me, how I get so much done (blog posting twice a day et al) when I have a semi-day job, dog, house etc. I said it was a little-known liquid that I’d happily bottle for her… something which goes by the name of ‘passion’. If we want to write, and be writers, we all have it.

There are so many obstacles on the journey (many of those removed thanks to the advice of fellow writers) that we have to have skin thicker than Zola Bud’s feet (, to go off at a tangent – which is not like me! :) – is really interesting) and, in my experience anyway, it’s the rejections that determine how passionate a writer you are (I am).

But, at the end of the clichéd day, it doesn’t matter where you live, if you’ve got it, you just need to go out there and… well, get it!

Morgen Bailey

Me again, I would like to thank Morgen for taking the time to write this and for all the wonderful things she has done for me and other scatterbrained writers like me who don't thank her sufficiently.  :)  Check out her blog.  Shout her name from the rooftops.  In a world full of selfish weirdos, she is a rare commodity indeed.  


  1. You're very kind. :) Everything I do do (do do ron ron) is because (a) I enjoy it (b) it makes me realise how many of us there are out there who need a leg up / helping hand (and other limb-related affiliations) and ultimately (c) that someone swinging by may like to buy one of my eBooks when they're ready (hopefully early October). Thanks again JD. x

  2. Oh my, this was interesting. Morgen has a way of spinning out a sentence you just HAVE to read to the end. And she mention me! What can I say? I like making that kind of an impression on people - no matter where I'm from, where I live, or what I write (or how I hold my saucepans!).
    And that's the rub, isn't it - we are all trying to please an audience that is rapidly losing our ability to describe it adequately. The world of readers used to be chopped up into discrete audiences defined by language, region, genre, category, location, culture and custom - not to mention language, idiom, spelling and other verbal gymnastics. Now, we try to please as large a slice as we can, pretending there are no boundaries or borders, or trying to eliminate them with a piece of fiction that does not use the words colour or favour!
    Ah! It is an amazing time to be a writer - but has there been any time when anything in this industry was predictable?
    Thank you for this, Dan - I really enjoyed it.

  3. You're quite welcome, Morgen. And thanks for checking it out, Rosanne. I agree...things are interesting right now. AND it is becoming rarer and rare to see someone on a train or plain reading. It's like we're painters and the whole world is going blind.

    I think that may change, though...