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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > August 2017 > SUBSCRIBER SPOTLIGHT


Share your writing success stories. If you subscribe to Writing Magazine and would like to feature here, email Tina Jackson,

Its all history now

‘When I decided, five years ago, that I really needed a creative outlet from my rather dry IT career, historical fiction was a natural fit,’ writes subscriber Richard Buxton.

‘I was a solid Bernard Cornwell fan and already a bit of a swot on the American Civil War. I signed for a local evening class in Worthing, my home town. As I wandered into my first lesson, I don’t think I really had any idea how it might change my life. I recall being terrified reading out my work for the first time.

‘But little successes build confidence and for me to succeed there needed to be lots of baby steps to start with. My tutor introduced me to the local West Sussex writing club and I won a couple of club competitions as well as one on the internet. It was enough to encourage me in deeper. I applied to do a Masters in Creative Writing at Chichester University and was rather shocked to be accepted. By now I was writing my first novel, Whirligig, more as a learning exercise than anything else, I told myself.

‘I was introduced to America as a student in upstate New York when I was much younger. There’s far more to American history than most people know and it’s always fascinated me. Whirligig tells the story of a young Englishman, Shire, arriving wide-eyed in New York as I did. I just had to get a degree; Shire gets swept into the Civil War.

‘The degree was a joy and in the eighteen months that followed I won the Exeter Story Prize, The Bedford International Writing Competition and the Nivalis Award run by Fabula Press. I had to face the fact that I really could write. The wins gave me the selfassurance to work hard on the novel. I had wonderful support from The Literary Consultancy and earlier this year was confident enough to take the plunge and published Whirligig in all its glory with the expert help of Head and Heart Book Design. Opening the package with the very first copy was like being a five-yearold at Christmas.

‘The sequel is well underway and the third book more than a twinkle in my eye. It’s all history now, or rather historical fiction.’


Making sense of adult Aspergers

‘When I was diagnosed with autism at the age of 28, having only heard of Asperger’s Syndrome and highfunctioning autism a year previously, I was sent away without so much as a leaflet to explain what it was, why I had it, how it would affect my life, and why it had taken so long to identify,’ writes subscriber Gillan Drew.

‘I had nobody to talk to – nobody knowledgeable, at least – who could help me come to terms with this life-changing news.

‘Like anybody, I turned to books and the internet. I discovered, much to my dismay, that books on autism seemed to fall into three categories: those for autistic children; those for parents of autistic children; and those for healthcare professionals working in the field. There was very little about adults with the condition and nothing for the many thousands of people diagnosed each year as adults.

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Writing for the Modern World • CRIME: Inner city inspiration with rising crime star AA Dhand • ROMANCE: How to write 21st century love stories • 'Dear Writer...' – the no-nonsense writing advice you need to read • Easy IT: The best free software for all your writing life needs • WIN! Agent feedback in our new Picture Book Prize Includes WRITERS' NEWS: 20 packed pages of competitions, opportunities to get published and insider know how. WIN! £91,361 in writing prizes

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