Tag Archives: author

H.G.WELLS … in and out of time

H.G.WELLS … in and out of time

Herbert George Wells (1866-1946), usually referred to as H. G. Wells, was an English writer. He is best remembered for his science fiction novels and is often called a “father of science fiction”, along with Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback. He has also been referred to as the “Shakespeare of science fiction”.

Wells was arguably the most prolific and successful writer of his age. Books and articles poured out of him: political theory, history, popular science, and a series of stories that collided mind-bending ideas with brilliantly matter-of-fact prose, starting with The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds. Reputations have been made on fewer and lesser works, but for Wells the books just kept on coming. For him, writing was like scratching an endless itch.

He published his first novel, The Time Machine, in 1895. Wells was paid £100 (equal to about £11,000 today) on its publication by Heinemann in 1895, which first published the story in serial form in the January to May numbers of The New Review.

First edition cover

If you have a spare half-hour you may care to view this splendid BBC documentary called Future Tense about his life and works.

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Forget the books you want to write …

Forget the books you want to write …

Saul Bellow …

Saul Bellow

Saul Bellow (1915-2005) was a Jewish Canadian-American writer and teacher. For his literary work, Bellow was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the National Medal of Arts. He is the only writer to win the National Book Award for Fiction three times and he received the National Book Foundation’s lifetime Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 1990. His best-known works include The Adventures of Augie MarchHenderson the Rain King, HerzogMr. Sammler’s PlanetSeize the DayHumboldt’s Gift and Ravelstein.  He is widely regarded as one of the 20th century’s greatest authors.

Picture taken in his office at the University of Chicago in 1992.

He was never one to talk about his writing routine. Nor did he wish to discuss what he considered his personal writing habits, whether he used a pen or typewriter, how hard he pressed on the page. For the artist to give such loving attention to his own shoelaces was dangerous, even immoral. 

Bellow wrote every day, beginning early in the morning and breaking off around lunchtime. In a letter written in 1968 he said … “I simply get up in the morning and go to work.”

He was interviewed by the Paris Review over a period of a few weeks during 1965 in his office at the University of Chicago where he was a professor. This is a lovely description of his working environment …

The office, though large, is fairly typical of those on the main quadrangles: much of it rather dark with one brightly lighted area, occupied by his desk, immediately before a set of three dormer windows; dark-green metal bookcases line the walls, casually used as storage for a miscellany of books, magazines, and correspondence. A set of The Complete Works of Rudyard Kipling (“it was given to me”) shares space with examination copies of new novels and with a few of Bellow’s own books, including recent French and Italian translations of Herzog. A table, a couple of typing stands, and various decrepit and mismatched chairs are scattered in apparently haphazard fashion throughout the room. A wall rack just inside the door holds his jaunty black felt hat and his walking cane. There is a general sense of disarray, with stacks of papers, books, and letters lying everywhere. When one comes to the door, Bellow is frequently at his typing stand, rapidly pounding out on a portable machine responses to some of the many letters he gets daily. 

Saul Bellow working at home during his later years.

Beth Revis … when perseverance pays off.

Beth Revis … when perseverance pays off.

Beth Revis is a bestselling science fiction and fantasy author, writing mainly for the young adult audience She is best known for the Across the Universe trilogy, which consists of the novels Across the Universe (2011), A Million Suns (2012) and Shades of Earth (2013). 

She is also the author of The Body Electric, numerous short stories, and the nonfiction Paper Hearts series, which aids aspiring writers. Her latest title, A World Without You, is a semi-autobiographical story blending the supernatural with mental illness. She currently resides in rural North Carolina with her family.

Beth wrote ten novels before the eleventh novel she wrote sold. That novel was Across the Universe. It took her a decade and more than a thousand agent rejections before she had any success in publishing.

I recently contacted Beth and she told me a little about her writing life.

I tend to just write wherever I can. I don’t have a dedicated office; I just use my laptop. I work from home and have a two-year-old now, so I write whenever, however. I never worked well with schedules. I’m much more likely to write until my fingers hurt one day, then take the next day off. The closer to deadline, the more obsessive I am, but I still tend to go in big bursts followed by nothing for a bit.

I use, Keyboard for drafting, pen and paper for brainstorming and working out problems. Do I have any strange work habits ?
I don’t think so, but then again I don’t think anything I do is strange 🙂 That said, I’ve recently really come to embrace that every book is written differently. My first books, I didn’t outline. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with different processes. Each book comes out in a different manner. 

http://bethrevis.com

 

Literati Pulp …

LITERATI PULP …

I have recently discover an absolute gem of a website going by the name of Literati Pulp.  

The main contributors are a group of book lovers who create content around Literature and Poetry. It is intended for bookworms, browsers and bibliophiles.

The site is divided into several sections. My favourite is the one featuring Weird Literature Facts. It also has links to Facebook and Twitter, plus a monthly newsletter.

And here’s another nice James Bond connection for you – I was watching an episode of Have I Got News For You last night and one of the guests was the journalist and broadcaster Henry Blofeld. Henry’s father (Thomas Robert Calthorpe Blofeld, 1903–1986) was at Eton with Ian Fleming and his name is believed to have been the inspiration for the name of James Bond supervillain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

George Eliot …

George Eliot …

Mary Anne Evans (1819-1880); alternatively “Mary Ann” or “Marian”), known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, poet, journalist, translator and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She is the author of seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss(1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of which are set in provincial England and known for their realism and psychological insight.

She was born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. In 1850 she moved to London with the intent of becoming a writer. She took a job at a left-wing journal The Westminster Review, and became its assistant editor in 1851, a position she held until 1854. While continuing to contribute pieces to the Westminster Review, Evans resolved to become a novelist. She also adopted a nom-de-plume, the one for which she would become known: George Eliot. 

She used a male pen name, she said, to ensure that her works would be taken seriously. Female authors were published under their own names during Eliot’s life, but she wanted to escape the stereotype of women’s writing only lighthearted romances. She also wished to have her fiction judged separately from her already extensive and widely known work as an editor and critic. 

George Eliot’s writing desk

In 1857, when she was 37, “The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton”, the first of the Scenes of Clerical Life, was published in Blackwood’s Magazine and, along with the other Scenes, it was well received (it was published in book form early in 1858). Her first complete novel, published in 1859, was Adam Bede; it was an instant success, but it prompted intense interest in who this new author might be. 

Few people knew of George Eliot’s true identity – although Charles Dickens, leading author of the day, detected that “no man ever before had the art of making himself, mentally, so like a woman.”

Her portable writing desk

In the end, the real George Eliot stepped forward and admitted she was the author. After the success of Adam Bede, Eliot continued to write popular novels for the next fifteen years. 

Her journals record that George Eliot generally wrote in the morning. After lunch she and her partner would usually go for walks. Evenings would be for reading. When Eliot was coming towards the end of a novel then all routines would go and she would write feverishly until it was finished- often with headaches & sore eyes along the way. 

George Eliot Fellowship

Nicely done, Mr Dahl …

Nicely done, Mr Dahl …