Local Author Day 12 May 2012

I can’t believe it’s a year since the last event for local authors at Imagine Books in Weymouth. Finally the fog lifted and we were able to find our way off Portland. Managed to tip-toe past the scary brown caterpillars lurking up here.

http://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/9702598.Brown_tail_moths_causing_problems_for_Portland_residents/

Bournemouth Festival of Words

Julie from Roving Press and I talked yesterday at the Bournemouth Festival of Words. It was a good session and lots of interesting questions were asked. Julie spoke about writing non-fiction and putting together a manuscript for publication. I covered writing fiction, especially for younger readers, and talked about plot structure, character and style/genre. Everyone who came along had a background in writing and there were interesting and diverse backgrounds. I hope all the writers continue to pursue their goal of getting published. Last night I was looking at the new book Dorset Voices – there are some great writers out there. Especially enjoyed the poetry. http://www.bournemouthfestivalofwords.co.uk/

Waterstones, Dorchester, February 2012

A lot of people came by for Portland PiratesThe Portland Sea Dragon and Enchantment of the Black Dog also still selling well. It’s great to meet young people who enjoy the stories. Quite a few books were for grandchildren – some books are being sent to New Zealand! Many youngsters with no connection to Portland are enjoying the stories and the myths and legends of the island.

Doorways and transitions

The darkness of January is finally replaced by February sunshine. Janus was the two faced god in Roman mythology who symbolised doorways and transitions. Now we are in the month of Februa and it’s absolutely freezing today but there is a hint of spring in the air. I’ve nearly completed the first draft of the Portland Giant and it’s great that people are asking me about it, and wondering when it will be finished. I still need to consider holding the story together, as mixing up fact and fiction is quite tricky, especially when you throw in time travel as well. The story reads well but takes some risks!

Portland Pirates at Tophill Library

an article by Harry Walton for View From Portland 1st December 2011

AUTHOR Carol Hunt gave children a reading from her latest book Portland Pirates at Portland Tophill Library.

The event was arranged by library manager Sharon Mitchell to help promote the library to the community.

She said: “We always want to get children in to our library and this was an ideal way because Carol actually lives in Easton.

“Her reading was such a success that we hope to organise similar events in the New Year.”

Carol said: “This was my first reading at the library and it was quite an important one for me because I have done most of my research for my books in here over the last five years, so it was nice to give something back.”

PICTURE: Carol Hunt entertains a group with a reading from her latest book

60 SECOND INTERVIEW:

60 SECOND INTERVIEW: Carol Hunt

at www.viewfromonline.co.uk

 

PORTLAND author Carol Hunt is currently working on her fourth book in her series of stories set on the island. Carol lives in Easton on Portland with her three teenage children. She studied English Literature and History at the University of Chichester and has worked in publishing and as an adviser to young people. She has written three books in her Portland Chronicles series – The Portland Sea Dragon, Enchantment of the Black Dog and Portland Pirates – published by Roving Press, and is currently writing her fourth – The Portland Giant. When not writing, Carol enjoys spending time with her children, driving them to majorettes, ballet and various rock concerts.
WHAT do you like most about West Dorset?
I enjoy living close to the sea and I like the people of West Dorset. The Isle of Portland continues to fascinate me with its windswept cliffs, pirate graves at Church Ope and lighthouse. I am always finding out new things about Portland.
WHAT inspired you to start writing?
My children. I didn’t have to look far for inspiration to start writing about annoying and unreasonable characters. I am also fascinated by local folklore; the Veasta or Chesil Beach Sea Monster, the Mermaid found at Church Ope and the weird legend of the phantom Black Dog at Cave Hole, Portland Bill.
WHAT top three tips would you give to an amateur writer?
Write about who and what you know, ask for feedback from your readers, don’t be afraid to take risks. My stories combine research into 17th century history with contemporary children, surf dudes who are obsessed with the weather, and Gregor, a badly behaved collie. When I ask children who they like best, they almost always say Gregor or Ryder, the super-cool surfer.
WHO is your favourite author and why?
I admire the author Terry Pratchett who writes about the Discworld and the city of Ankh-Morpork. His characters include Rincewind, a hopeless wizard and Death, the hooded Grim Reaper who tries so hard to understand people. Tiffany from A Hat Full of Sky is one of my favourite characters as she is brave and resourceful.
WHAT is your all time favourite book and why?
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis, the first Narnia book. I identify with the children as they explore Narnia. Lucy is very sensible and Edmund betrays his family for Turkish Delight. I am fascinated by the White Witch and think she is a bit misunderstood. It’s okay to want to live in a permanent winter, with ice, snow and beavers, and turn people you don’t like into stone.
WHAT would be your dream job?
I’d like a sleigh, a fur coat, a lot of Turkish Delight and sole charge of Narnia.
WHO would be your three dream guests at a dinner party and why?
Sam Vimes, Commander of the City Watch in Terry Pratchett’s The Fifth Elephant, who is extremely surly and attractive. Lula, a former ’ho from Janet Evanovich’s Seven Up, who tests the limits of lycra in stretchy animal print dresses. And Nigella Lawson, who would make a mess in the kitchen. I would expect a big row at some point.
WHAT was the last book you read?
I read Keith Richards autobiography Life. It’s fantastic, like having Keith pop round for a rock ’n’ roll party without having to go to the supermarket for a crate of whiskey. Or apologise to the neighbours the next morning.
Posted by View Online at 15:41

Latest news from Revive Portland

Portland gets the scare factor

by Harry Hogger, Dorset Echo, 20 October 2011

GHOSTS, ghouls, witches and wizards are being urged to show their support for a free community event on Portland.

Wild about Hallowe’en festivities are taking place on Saturday, October 29, with a 2.30pm start at High Angle Battery.

The ‘Ghost Tunnels’ were cleaned up by volunteers last weekend as part of the annual island clean-up so a treasure hunt can be held.

Event organiser Yvonne Beven said: “This will be a unique opportunity to explore the tunnels, but enter at your own risk, you never know what may be lurking there.”

Wild about Hallowe’en is a joint venture between the Revive Portland community group, Wild about Weymouth and Portland and Synergy Housing.

Spooky family fun will include a falconry display, owls, bats, a junk music activity workshop an open day at Fancys Farm and wandering goats.

The Revive Portland Sea Dragon will make his debut appearance at 2.30pm and at 5pm the dragon will lead a fancy dress procession down the Incline to Osprey Leisure Centre where the main events will take place.

Yvonne said: “There will be loads going on for all the family.

“Not only do we have a fantastic fire show and a new Hallowe’en dance routine performed by GwellC dancers, but the students from Royal Manor Arts College will be organising loads of free fun games and activities for children and adults alike.

“Last year, we had about 3,000 people join the procession, nearly all of whom were in fancy dress and the atmosphere was amazing.”

She added: “Thanks to the generosity and support of Wild about Weymouth and Portland and Synergy Housing and Tesco we are able to put on our third, completely free, Hallowe’en event.

“We would love as many people as possible to join in the fun.”

Highlights will include spooky activities with the Jurassic Coast road show, hot food and a licensed bar.

Portland author Carol Hunt will be launching her new book, Portland Pirates, and Revive members will be dressing as pirates to keep up the theme.

The evening will culminate with a spectacular firework display at 8.30pm from the water.

Mysterious Gravestones

In A View From News, October 5 2011, Harry Walton writes: –

Portland author Carol Hunt has been in touch with me about my interest in discovering skull and crossbones on various graves near Church Ope Cove.
She said: ‘The so-called pirate graves in the ruins of St Andrew’s Church at Church Ope have long since fascinated me and my book Portland Pirates, the third book in the Portland Chronicles, which will be released in mid-October, is inspired by these mysterious gravestones.

‘During my book research, I found out that the skull and crossbones is a mediaeval symbol. Its origins lie with the Knights Templar, for whom it meant death and resurrection.

‘The Templars were once a major international maritime force and flew this symbol on their ships. After the Crusades, many were forced to make a living as pirates.

‘Other Knights Templar were skilled masons, so the skull and crossbones was also adopted by the Freemasons to denote a Master Mason.

‘So although we nowadays associate the symbol with piracy, its origins and possible meanings are more complex. The graves at Church Ope are certainly intriguing.’

Launch of the Big Read at Waterstones, Bridport

Enchantment of the Black Dog has been chosen for the Children’s Big Read, an initiative to encourage reading and discussion for young people linked to the Bridport Literary Festival. Children across Bridport will be reading Enchantment of the Black Dog and will share their experiences of reading, taking part in debates and discussions. The Big Read was launched on 3rd October 2011 at Waterstones Bookshop, Bridport . I was assisted by some lovely children from a local primary school, who kept the dragon and mermaid under control and listened to me reading the first chapter. They asked some great questions and we discussed the folklore that underlies the story, the phantom Black Dog, as well as debating Portland’s answer to the Loch Ness Monster, the weird Veasta. We talked about the map at the front of the book and how it helps to imagine Isabel’s journey through the story. I am looking forward to visiting Bridport primary schools to talk to children about the book and their experience of reading the story.