Joining us for the Write Despite feature this week is author and actor Angela Wren. Like so many of us, Angela has a nagging critical voice inside her head. Angela calls hers Nemesis. But I'll let Angela tell you about it. Welcome, Angela.
What challenges have you had to overcome or deal with in order to write?
Luckily I'm fit and healthy and have never had any physical challenges to overcome - unless you count being totally left-handed a challenge! My greatest challenge is my greatest fault and that is my uncanny ability to persuade myself of things that cannot be true. Call it inner doubt, insecurity, whatever you wish, but I call the her that I sometimes become, Nemesis. She is my greatest enemy, she is a rival that I have to keep at bay, and she is always there, somewhere in the background as a voice that will never be completely silenced. She appears at trivial moments - for instance when I'm having that discussion with my wardrobe about what to wear for a night out - as well as critical ones, such as when I'm waiting in the wings to make my first entrance. I have ways of dealing with her but, I've never yet found a way to make her disappear altogether and perhaps I never will.
How do you think this challenge has impacted on your writing?
Greatly in some respects, even preventing me from writing at all. I've loved stories from being a child and my very first attempts were as a schoolgirl but I stopped because Nemesis agreed with and reinforced Sister Mary Paul's assessment of my efforts. Much later, in July last year when the email arrived in my inbox from Crooked Cat, Nemesis told me to delete it unread. I didn't of course, but it did sit there for two days before I opened it. And even then, as I read the first few lines offering me the contract to publish Messandrierre, my other self was telling me that it had to be a mistake. 'That email was meant for someone else,' she said. I told her to shut up, read and re-read the email, had an hour or so dancing on the ceiling, and then accepted.
What was your greatest fear when you first started to write?
It's the same with everything I do. Nemesis with her constant nagging question, 'what if nobody likes your production, the character you're currently playing, the story your working on?' She's been asking me that question all my life and I have no doubt that she will continue to do so.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to write, but who is feeling held back by circumstances and/or challenges?
I think there are far more qualified writers than me out there who can provide pithy, sensible and very useful advice. All I can say is that, in dealing with my Nemesis, I've learned that she needs to be challenged and managed. And there are times when she just needs to be told exactly what to do with herself! Perhaps I'll put her in a book. Maybe she'll leave me be then.
Tell us a bit about something you've written that you're really proud of, or something you're writing now.
I'm proud of everything I've done but I suppose my first and most awesome writing experience, thus far, was when I returned from France in 2010 to find a letter from an editor wanting to publish a short story called 'Aunt Maggie'. It took a whole box of tissues to get through that moment! And when the cheque arrived, I was so overwhelmed that somebody was actually paying me for my words that I never cashed it!
It sits there in a frame on my bookshelf in my writing shed. And I know that when I get my print copy of Messandrierre I'll need tissues, lots of them! I'm working on book 2 in the series, so my hero, Jacques, is constantly with me and he makes a very nice change from Nemesis!
Thank you for speaking so openly about your inner critic, Angela! I know you're not alone in your constant fight with negative thoughts. Have you got an inner critic like Angela's Nemesis? Let us know in the comments.
If you'd like to connect with Angela, her links are below, together with her bio.
Until next time!
Anyone wanting to meet Jacques and the other villagers in my murder/mystery, Messandrierre, can find him at :
Website : www.angelawren.co.uk
Blog : www.jamesetmoi.blogspot.com
Facebook : Angela Wren
Goodreads : Angela Wren
Having followed a career in Project and Business Change Management, I now work as an Actor and Director at a local theatre. I’ve been writing, in a serious way, for about 5 years. My work in project management has always involved drafting, so writing, in its various forms, has been a significant feature throughout my adult life.
I particularly enjoy the challenge of plotting and planning different genres of work. My short stories vary between contemporary romance, memoir, mystery and historical. I also write comic flash-fiction and have drafted two one-act plays that have been recorded for local radio. The majority of my stories are set in France where I like to spend as much time as possible each year.
Sacrificing his job in investigation following an incident in Paris, Jacques Forêt has only a matter of weeks to solve a series of mysterious disappearances as a Gendarme in the rural French village of Messandrierre. But, as the number of missing persons rises, his difficult and hectoring boss puts obstacles in his way. Steely and determined, Jacques won't give up and, when a new Investigating Magistrate is appointed, he becomes the go-to local policeman for all the work on the case. Will he find the perpetrators before his lover, Beth, becomes a victim?