Reviews, more writing and the next books

Ruth Hartley Storytelling, Dust and RainLeave a Comment

Chipo meets a strange and sad woman.

Writing a series: What happens after Chipo and Chibwe save their green valley?

I started writing a story about the importance of trees for my grandson, Stephen Kupakwesu, in 1993 and that book evolved into Dust and Rain, but it hasn’t ended there.

I planned a series of children’s books and experimented with various formats from one huge book to several short ones. They exist and all need some work, but I’ve decided to follow Trinity’s good advice (see my second-last blog post) about writing a series of Chipo and Chibwe books.

The sequel I am working on now tells how Chipo and Chibwe are sent to a Museum by the Spirits of their Ancestors on a quest to find and bring back the ritual mask essential for the Green Valley Rain Ceremony.

Here are some drawings from the second book to whet your appetite.

What have I been writing this year?

Collage by Ruth Hartley titled ‘Emotional Landscapes’ and shown at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge

I spent the last year completing another novel. It grew out of a story called The Colourless Kid about a child with albinism that joined up with another long-planned novel called Hannah’s Housekeeping. That book is about dirt both moral and physical and a death!

After good advice from editor and beta-reader Nikki Ashley, it is being turned back into two separate books, both planned as thrillers. So I will also be writing a series here!

I’m excited about how much better the books will be when they are better targeted and more concentrated. I think this is a good illustration of how books have a life of their own once the process of writing begins.

I’ve done a lot of work on these as well as on the Chipo and Chibwe stories, so I’m going to be pretty busy for the next year! Perhaps I’ll end up with four more stories by the time I am eighty years old!

Hartley’s Orange Jelly from the Hartleys website

What have I still got to write about?

Another memoir perhaps? (My family may breathe a sigh of relief as I won’t be dishing that piece of biography up too soon, though it exists right now as notes, drawings, and poems.)

It’s more likely I will be writing up those important years working with artists long ago in Zambia.

Here, however, is a photo of Hartley’s Jelly which will serve to tell you that there may one day be a Hartley’s Jellyby Blog, a literary reference that will be part of this projected memoir.

What events are still to come?

This month I’ll be taking part in the Salon du Livre at Vic en Bigorre – a good opportunity to talk to other poets and writers.

Attendees will be Authors, Editors and book lovers, all seeking new experiences in a range of different types of books: novels, stories for young people, history, crime, etc.

I’ll be promoting Dust and Rain as I did at the Women Writers event in June.

What am I doing to find readers for Dust and Rain?

I write stories for readers to enjoy, and I know that they love Dust and Rain – it’s a good story about climate change and that’s very important to young people. Marketing a book published in Africa is harder work than marketing one in Europe, so I do need the help of you all, please.

Grateful thanks to all my readers who have posted reviews – they are a tremendous help in getting the book noticed! Writers are locked into selling through Amazon.com and I know some readers would rather not use Amazon at all.

If you prefer, you can find Dust and Rain on the African Books Collective and on Gadsden Publishers’ Facebook page and you can review it right here.

Amazon doesn’t let people post reviews who don’t buy books through them, so that’s not helpful anyway!

I’m indebted to readers who give me ideas about how to improve the accessibility of this site – thank you Ellen! It gets easier to use all the time and I’ve made certain it’s a secure site and safe for children to use – thank you Trinity!

I do look forward to hearing from you all.

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