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Local Rawcliffe Author...

   ...  launches new novel








Available for at Amazon (left)

or from Robert Hale Publishing  click here





Fifty years after winning 25p in a poetry competition at primary school, Rawcliffe writer Liz Gilbey has just had her first novel published - a story which first had great success as a magazine serial.

The Water Is Wide (Robert Hale hb 18.99) is a family story which combines pop music and painting, West End musicals and the waterways, and is about a wide range of people pursuing their hopes and ambitions.

But Liz did not start her professional writing career as an author - back home in Leicestershire she spent over 30 years as a newspaper journalist, specialising in a range of features from women's page to horse sport, and more than 15 years as a showbiz editor and drama critic working across the country as a freelance for regional newspapers and the theatre press - she even spent time as a professional judge for national theatre awards.

So she drew on all this experience for the novel.

"Writers are always advised to write what they know, so I made use of my theatre background - and growing up close to the lovely little Ashby Canal, which appears in the book as Bleakhall Canal," she explained.

"Writing the magazine serial was great fun, and it seemed to strike a chord in the hearts of so many readers, it was natural to give the story another life as a proper novel - and fortunately Hales agreed with me! In fact on the very day I signed my publishing contract I received an email query all the way from New Zealand from a reader wanting to know if her favourite story was going to be a book; so I've considered that a lucky omen!"

Moving into fiction after a long working career in journalism was the idea of her great friend Peter O'Donnell, creator of action heroine Modesty Blaise, as well as lso being prize winning romantic novelist 'Madeleine Brent.'

"Peter always used to say I had the knack for writing fiction. He had been a hero of mine from teenage, and in the last few years became a great friend and mentor.

"He always encouraged me to write stories, and when my short stories, series and serials became successful I always told him that if one of them ever became a novel, I would dedicate it to him. So that is what has happened with The Water Is Wide. Unfortunately Peter died, aged 90, on Spring Bank Holiday Monday, two days before I was able to present him with his own copy of the book and he could see that dedication to him in the front.

"He was like an honorary dad to me, and I will always miss him - but I'd like to think I can provide just a fraction of the pleasure for readers Peter did."

Now living in Yorkshire - "my daughter had the good sense to marry a Yorkshireman" - Liz keeps writing. Projects in hand include two serials being written now (which should also become novels in  the course of time) many short stories, with the next thing to be published a short story series about the life of a city cinema, called At The Trocadero, to appear in The People's Friend  magazine from August 21. Like the original Showaddywaddy hit song of the Seventies with which it shares a title, it was also inspired by childhood memories of Leicester cinema the Trocadero, which burnt down in the Sixties - the site is now a petrol station, but the name remains.

And several other of her most popular short stories also appear on friend Hull Sue Binns' East Riding and animal charity magazine website

One of Liz's great interests in dog rescue, for not only does she help and dog walk at Jerry Green Dog Rescue's sanctuary in Gilberdyke, she also has two Jerry Green rescued dogs herself, Shetland sheepdogs Jack and Rex. 

"Rex always likes to sit on my feet when I am writing at the keyboard. And dog walking is a great activity to be doing when plotting stories. Jerry Green rescues and rehomes so many dogs with sad stories, they always need as much support as anyone can give. There is too much animal neglect and cruelty about, especially these days. Dogs really are man's best friend, even if many people don't deserve their devotion or are responsible enough animal owners in general."

There is also another local connection she never expected to find.

"I have been a member of the Dorothy L Sayers Society for over twenty years, and it is a little known fact that Dorothy - famous as creator of Golden Age detective Lord Peter Wimsey - started her working career as a teacher in Hull. I never expected when I joined the Society to ever be living within shopping distance of Hull! By a strange coincidence she lived in the very same street (though not at the same time, sadly) as the actor who was to famously portray her character on TV and radio, Ian Carmichael - she lodged in Westbourne Avenue."

"Very little is known about Dorothy's time in Hull, as she hated being a school teacher, and soon moved into the publishing and advertising industries, working on the famous Colman's Mustard Club adverts and the Guinness Is Good For You toucan campaign before establishing herself as a writer by creating the world famous Lord Peter Wimsey."  

"I have long been interested in the Golden Age of detective fiction, and write regularly for CADS (Crime And Dective Story magazine) - it's an ambition to have a thriller I have written published, too. But one book at a time!"







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