Chris Gardner

The joys of self-publishing.


5 Comments

Sorting Fact from Fiction

Does anyone else get a bit annoyed when they’re reading a book which purports to be non-fiction but is clearly riddled with fiction elements–the way people are feeling, for example, or what they were thinking about? It’s possible, if the writer is using diary entries, to stick to the facts and still include such details, but generally they must be invented. I don’t object to that style of writing at all–it makes the characters seem more real and makes the book more interesting, but I do like to know what is fact and what is fiction.

One of my all-time favourite genres is historical fiction–I’ve always been fascinated with history but even more so when it’s interpreted by a great writer. Some writers do let the reader know at the end of the story just what’s real and what isn’t and that’s what I did in my historical fiction, “Her Flesh and Blood”.¬†BookCoverImageher fleshandblood

I attended university a few years ago as a mature age student, majoring in history. I loved it, especially the research, which I expected to find horribly boring. I admit some of the books were, but the primary research was absolutely fascinating. Reading newspapers over 100 years old and handling original letters written by a murderess before she committed her crimes, in 1910, I felt incredibly privileged! I wrote my Honours thesis on Infanticide and Child Murder; as I said, the research was amazing, but writing within the boundaries of a university thesis was a hard slog.

After I graduated I felt I had to use the material I hadn’t been able to use for my thesis, that the story needed to be told, and I wrote “Not Guilty“, the story of the worst of the cases I studied, which, coincidentally, took place in the town where I live. This is a true account and the newspaper accounts are very creative but, as a writer with a fiction background, I was frustrated by what, in spite of all my research, I could not find out about my protagonist, Camellia McCluskey, so I not guilty 2014 coverblogdecided to give her a life of her own and wrote a fictionalized account. Having been somewhat obsessed with this horrific crime for several years it was a bit like an exorcism when I wrote “Her Flesh and Blood“. I was able to say what I wanted to, without the restrictions and I made sure I noted at the end of the book what was factual and what wasn’t! I also published my original thesis, “Demented Mothers“, on Amazon, for those who like all the facts and the sources and especially for anyone who might be studying the topic.

It’s the last day of 2014 here in Oz–Happy New Year to everyone. Let’s hope it’s peaceful.

My grammar guide, “What Did You Say?” and my children’s book, “No-one’s Good at Everything“, are free from December 31 to January 2.


6 Comments

Going back to school when you’re old.

I have five sons, all grown up now, but they kept me pretty busy at home for around twenty years and I was happy being a full-time mum. When my youngest started school though, I decided to do something else. I couldn’t decide whether to do a course in visual art, something I’d always loved, or something more practical, like an up-skill of the office work I used to do. I’ll leave it up to them, I thought. Just do the entry tests for both and if I pass one, that’s the course for me.

So I passed them both and had to decide for myself; the art course was impractical, a silly idea really, so of course that was the one I chose. And loved (almost) every minute. Strangely enough, the subjects most of the students hated, those that involved writing, I thoroughly enjoyed, and after two years full time and three years part-time I went on to a writing and editing class. Even more fun. So then I had a Diploma of Art and Design and a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing. Should have been enough, right?

Then the local university made us an offer–our two year diploma would be counted as one year at university if any of us wanted to ¬†attempt a degree there. Of course I did. It wasn’t that easy a decision–I gave it some serious thought. Probably part of my decision to go for it was I’d met so many people who had university degrees and, quite frankly, they didn’t seem any more intelligent than me!

So, to cut a long story short, I graduated, with Honours, from uni in 2005, and absolutely loved it. Not every minute–I didn’t love all the assignments and some of the lectures were better than others but most of them were fascinating. I studied History, Philosophy of Religion, Women’s Studies and Literature. If anyone is considering gong back to school I can’t recommend the experience highly enough.

My book, Not Guilty, evolved from my Honours thesis and I’ve decided to put the original thesis on Amazon as well. It is an academic thesis, not a commercial true crime, but I’m sure some will find it of interest. If you do, please take the time to put a review up. Demented Mothers is free from 21st (US time) to the 25th October.