Those who know me will know that I started learning Welsh because I had a mid-life crisis and decided it was time I wrote the novel I had always intended to write. The novel had Welsh characters (my mum is Welsh) so I checked out a local Welsh class. I only ever planned to do two or three terms, enough to get a feel for the language. The thing is, I enjoyed learning so much I didn’t want to stop.
So, now the mid-life crisis involved writing a novel and learning Welsh.
Then disaster struck. Our youngest daughter went seriously off the rails - running away, living on the streets, shop lifting, drugs, suicide attempts. Every parent’s nightmare! The days were long and dark. The writing ground to a halt. I was in a pretty bad shape. So bad, that my husband suggested I needed to get away for a while. He often went overseas for work but for me there was no escape.
I decided to use his frequent flyer points and go to Wales. A friend suggested I do SSiW in preparation. To be honest, I wasn’t keen. I felt like a complete failure at the time and couldn’t imagine how SSiW would improve the situation. It did however, on a number of levels. The most important of which was that it made me believe again. In every lesson, Aran told me how well I was doing. Every lesson. Without fail. His praise and encouragement were like rain on parched earth. I took them personally. Did a lesson every day. Sometimes twice a day. I was seriously hooked. I now tell people I walked through those difficult days clinging to the tail of an ancient language.
Why, am I telling you this? Because, I eventually recovered. With recovery came the ability to write again. Though, by now, my Aussie emigrant novel featured a Welsh storyteller and magic and snippets of the the old language. It took forever but, eventually, I finished the manuscript. And, today, I am signing a publishing contract. It is with a small Aussie press. So I will never be rich or famous. But it has never been about that for me. Through writing this novel, I have been reborn as a Welsh speaker - and SSiW was the key to that success.
Which is why I wanted to share the news here, first, on the forum.
Well done! You have used all the negative things in your life to create something very positive. And who knows, your novel may well be a best seller once all the SSiWers in the world buy a copy! Pob lwc!
Hah! Wouldn’t that be funny. I had a number of rejections on the basis of publishers ‘not knowing how to market the book.’
In fact, I know authors who have been told not to write about Wales because it ‘isn’t very marketable.’ Which is just prejudice, pure and simple.
Da iawn ti Elizabeth, a llongyfarchiadau mawrion mawr! That is a tremendous achievement.
I’d love to buy a copy of your new book! Can you post details on how to go about that please?
Llongyfarchiadau! I’m sorry you had to go through such a difficult experience, but what a wonderful story. Congratulations on getting your book published. I hope there is a way I can get a copy over here in the US!
It will be published November 2017 and available in all territories. I’ll keep you posted (if it is okay to hijack the forum for my own purposes?)
Llongyfarchiadau mawr, Liz!
I started reading having tears in my eyes and I’m glad the tears were able to dry off while reading towards “happy ending”.
You @elizabeth_jane are one of those persons I always looked up to and I hold it as an honour to be able to have sgwrs gyda ti through Skype.
I’m surely the one joining your mailing list later on, wanting to read your novel when published.
I hope and strongly wish from now on life treats you better. You deserve it.
That is such a wonderful story! Many, many congratulations.
Brilliant. If you;ve written the book in the same style as this posting then I’ll buy a copy.
Huge, huge congratulations - on your writing, and more importantly on your courage. Looking forward enormously to welcoming you on the northern bootcamp…
That happened to me and it wasn’t even wales per se, it was Welsh people in the asteroid belt!! I join all in saying to you - on all counts of what challenges you conquered -
Well, I was going to send you a dancing dragon with Llongyfarchiadau on a banner, but it’s stopped working, so now I set off to try to find out why!!
Amazingly good news. Llongyfarchiadau!
Llongyfargs, Liz! Terrific news!
Wow congratulations Liz, that’s fantastic!!
(And did I hear ‘northern bootcamp’?)
I’ve only just seen this, Liz.
Having said that, it’s hardly a surprise. I’ve seen the kind of thing that happens when you decide that something nees achieving (like kearning Welsh!) - I certainly wouldn’t bet against you!
I’m glad you are not surprised! I am still in shock. It’s a pretty unusual book filled with fairy tales and magical happenings, all set in the steerage compartment of a nineteenth century emigrant vessel, with a liberal sprinkling of Welsh words throughout. I had convinced myself no one would be interested. Let alone an Aussie publisher! But there you go. What would I know?
I am hoping to put a note in the back of the book about how to learn Welsh which, of course, in my book means sign up for SSiW. Hopefully the publisher will be willing.