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

Look back in Uganda

‘I was born reading, or so it seems, as I don’t actually remember learning to read,’ writes subscriber David Ardron.

‘As a teenager I was introduced to the writings of PG Wodehouse and James Herriot, and it was their work that planted in me the desire to write. However, due to the busyness of teenage life, forging a career, pop music, girls and beer, I put the desire to one side.

‘In 1990 I took the opportunity of visiting East Africa, little realising that Uganda would play a major part of my future. My visits progressed through the years, with new adventures, new friends, and funny incidents which weren’t funny at the time they were happening.

‘At this time my reading had progressed on to travel books, and I realised that some books had been written to promote development work in various parts of the world. “What a good idea”, I thought. Fortunately I keep a journal of my visits to Africa which I used as source material for The Adventures of a Mzungu. Over several years the book took shape, until I felt it was as complete as it could be.

‘Whilst browsing the magazine shelves of a local supermarket I came across Writing Magazine. I took a copy home, read it, and paid my subscription fee for regular copies. In the magazine I spotted advertisements for self-publishing and chose Matador as my preferred vehicle. Matador offered a comprehensive service, steering me through editing, typesetting, proof reading, production, and marketing. Hence, my book was born.

‘Yes, it was expensive (you get what you pay for) and, no, I’m not expecting to make a profit. My idea for the book is to promote development in Africa, and to encourage others to get involved. The world is wide open. Get out there!’

The pull of the the past

‘Since my mother introduced me to books at an early age I have loved reading,’ writes subscriber Daphne Breen.

‘A natural consequence was to want to write. First efforts included plays as I belonged to a dramatic society but it was too ambitious. Apart from writing at work (application software manuals) and studying for professional qualifications, I have written local history pamphlets for sale by Stockport Heritage Trust. History, including historical novels, is my other great interest.

‘But I always wanted to write a novel. I deliberated on possible ideas over several years but kept returning to one. The only trouble was that while the first half of the story worked well, the rest was not good. Then I thought – why not make it a historical novel? It wasn’t just a simple lightbulb moment, it was the whole of Blackpool Illuminations switching on! Immediately the story began to write itself. Not only did the ending fall into place, characters developed and side plots multiplied! Of course, this meant a fair amount of research to do with the period and Stockport’s ancient market place as this was the main location but I enjoyed that. The result was my first novel Twenty Days Dead. Aware of the unlikelihood of being accepted by a traditional publisher, I decided to self-publish as an ebook on Kindle.

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About Writing Magazine

How do you follow up one of the biggest books of the decade? The Girl on the Train author Paula Hawkins tells us about changing tracks and writing the book that matters to you in our star interview. What do editors want? There can't be anyone in a better position to tell you than debut novelist Anna Pitoniak, who worked as a Big Five editor before landing her book deal. How is your year's writing plan going? As 2017 hits the halfway mark, we help you stay on target. Look for leads, find the most up-to-date markets for your work and enter the latest writing competitions, with more than £50,000 in writing prizes, in the Writers' News pages, packed with news you can use.

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