Cheryl’s In The Garden This Year

Todays’ visitor is Cheryl Holland, one of the School’s IT team, who usually spends the week tweeting about what’s going on in The Hayes. This week, she’s making use of technology to participate in Virtual Swanwick, and is responsible for the daily writing prompts we’re all working hard on (aren’t we?)

Hello Cheryl and thanks for dropping by. Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself and your writing.

Like many Swanwickers, I’ve written since I was small. I started out making up bedtime stories for my little brother, and used to make up stories using the words in my spelling tests at school. These days I write science fiction and fantasy as CL Holland, and poetry as Lucy Gabriel.

What’s your link to Swanwick? Have you been attending for many years?

2020 would have been my tenth year, so missing this and last years’ schools has been doubly sad for me. It’s been interesting to see how the school – and the Hayes – has developed over the years. Back in 2011 the school didn’t really have much of a web presence – I found it by chance after Googling for writing events I could attend and decided to take a risk on going. There was an excursion on the Tuesday instead of workshops, and no wifi on site. You could only check your emails by getting the code to the computer room and logging on on one of their clunky PCs. These days you can check your emails wherever and stream movies in your room!

After dinner speakers are a highlight of the week at Swanwick. Given an unlimited budget and access to any writer, living or dead, who would you invite to speak?

I was lucky enough to go the year Iain Banks was a speaker, who was one of my dream speakers. But if I could have anyone I’d probably pick Neil Gaiman (who I note is “speaking” at VS this year) and Terry Pratchett. I think Sir Terry would have some biting things to say about the state of the world these days.

Indeed he would, Cheryl. Finally, give us a picture that represents VS2021 to you, and tell us why.

These are Peabody and Linguine, my usual Swanwick companions. Swanwick is when I usually charge my writing batteries – it always seems like the start of the year to me – and the last 12 months have been quite hard without that boost to my motivation. VS is a reminder that I can have a DIY Swanwick at home, in the company of other people who are also missing out.

That’s a great message for us all to take away from this week, Cheryl. Enjoy the rest of Virtual Swanwick 2021.

Folks, a reminder of today’s programme at Virtual Swanwick: Lift Up Your Pens (Facebook from 9am); a live Q&A session on Indie Publishing with me and my audio book expert guest (Zoom 11.30am); Worldbuilding with Mark (Facebook sometime during the day); Evening speaker: Margaret Atwood (YouTube whenever you like). And as an addition to the programme, Zana will be running a mini Unwind Your Mind (Zoom, 7.30pm).

By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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