Sunday, 16 April 2017

Guest post from Julie McGowan on her writing talk to the Women's Institute

Julie McGowan is a popular and top-selling author at Sunpenny Publishing. Two of her three novels are set in Wales where she lives, so it makes sense for her to give talks locally whenever she can. Just recently, she has been a sought after guest speaker for various Women's Institutes in her area, so this guest post is Julie's account of her most recent talk for the Usk Women's institute.

About Julie

Julie's writing career covers a range of genres. She has written short stories for national magazines, pantomimes and children's plays. Her first novel, 'The Mountains Between' was inspired by her rich Welsh heritage and quickly became a regional bestseller. This was followed by 'Just One More Summer', set in London and Cornwall. Her third novel, 'Don't Pass Me By' has sold extremely well, with excellent reviews and finally, a short story collection, 'Close To You' was published in 2015.

About her recent Women's Institute writing talk
Julie says: "I love giving talks to groups about writing and have now developed a bit of a ‘circuit’ where groups pass me on to other groups, or they very kindly invite me back when I have a new book to talk about.

I’ve given three such talks in the past month, the latest to our local W.I. As I’m well-known in the town for the panto group and drama group I run, I thought that either the audience would be saying, ‘Oh no, not her again,’ or would know all about me and my books by now. Fortunately, there were a number of new members who weren’t as used to my face popping up all the time, and, of course, with the innate good manners of the WI, those who did already know me were willing to listen to what I had to say.

My talks to new groups usually follow the same pattern, in that I explain how I ended up becoming a writer when that had never been my intention. As most of my talks are in Wales, I tell them about my own upbringing in the Welsh valleys, and how returning to Wales and listening to the memories of my parents led me to write ‘The Mountains Between.’

I try to inject lots of humour into the talks, (‘make ‘em laugh, make’em laugh’ as the old song says) usually about the vagaries of the Welsh, or the self-deprecating type, which always goes down well.

If there is time, I read some short extracts from my Welsh-based novels, and there is always time for some very welcome questions. There is usually amazement when they hear the answer to the question, ‘How much does a writer make from each book?’!!

Julie with her books on display

My local WI didn’t disappoint. They laughed in the right places, no-one fell asleep and they asked lots of questions at the end. Even better, I still managed to sell some books, even though many in the audience had already bought/read them. One lady, Dora, now aged 95, bright as a button but with failing eyesight, was delighted when I told the audience that an anecdote she’d told me some years ago about trying to get rid of a sofa, that had then got stuck in her hallway, had inspired one of my short stories.

I always finish with a poem I wrote  a while back about being a writer, which the audience has to join in with, panto-style, with lots of ‘Hurray’s and groans, and ‘Ooh’s at the given signals, which helps the evening to end on a high note and laughter.

Usk WI were lovely to talk to, and, as it was one lady’s birthday, there was even tea and cake afterwards!"

Julie, thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. The Women's Institute ladies sound like a wonderful audience and your talk must have been great fun. 

For those interested in buying or browsing through any of Julie's books, the link to her author page on Amazon is HERE

1 comment:

Vallypee said...

I'd love to be at one of your workshops, Julie. They sound great fun!