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Jem Shaw and crashed Wellington

Make Believe

I spent my entire education wondering if there was anything I was good at. I discovered that I could fake various abilities with reasonable effectiveness, but I never seemed to excel at anything much. I knew I could write, and that was a useful tool to fuel the illusions - I could knock together a decent essay on runrig agriculture in the 16th century without actually needing to learn anything. But it never occurred to me that writing could be an end in itself.

That's a shame, because I wasted most of my life chasing the corporate dream, when I could have been spending time with the far more real lives that I've now discovered how to invent. With two books out there in the world, another simmering nicely and one keeping warm for now on the back burner, I at last realise the pleasure of a jug of wine, a loaf of bread and these phantom people beside me, singing in the wilderness.

I can only hope I've not left it too late.

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Letters Home

Jan Edwards is a talented author who's entrusted me with editing her latest novel, Winter Downs. It's a pretty damn' good crime novel set in Sussex in 1940, so editing it is no chore, though it's...

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