You soon will, Lisa!
Lisa Dyer is another find on the fast-growing list of successful Crooked Cat authors, and after reading this story of her journey to publication, I can’t wait to get my hands on her book, which was published last December. The links to stop-off points on her journey may well inspire others with leanings towards script-writing.
I’m still getting used to the idea of having a book published. It’s just over a year now since I got the email from Crooked Cat saying that they wanted to publish Since You’ve Been Gone and it’s been a rather strange experience.
Firstly, I had to get used to the idea that my ‘baby’ was not mine any longer. Others would see it and have opinions, good, bad, or indifferent on it. I was never very good at explaining the plot to people. The moment you (or you big mouthed mate) blurts out that you are getting/have been published the first question – generally – is ‘what’s it about?’ Natural curiosity, of course, it is just I usually shrivel at that point and get rather embarrassed. And there’s good reason for this – I don’t feel like a writer!
I’ll tell you a story…before Since You’ve Been Gone (the novel) I wrote scripts. That sounds far grander than it is…I’ve yet to sell anything! My logic went like this. I wanted to tell stories but I had a rather nasty experience with a so-called ‘book doctor’ who savaged my first attempt at novel and sent me scuttling for cover. So, once the wounds were licked I turned my attention to the matter of script writing. I thought it may be an easier way to express my inner story teller.
My first attempt at writing a script was on the subject matter of wolf rehabilitation in the US. I think I stumbled upon the idea through an article on the subject and wove a story from there. This first script managed to get through several rounds of a prestigious international screenwriting contest.
Buoyed by ‘success’, I set about writing a pilot for television. What I really, really wanted to do was look at the Arthurian legends, use Mort D’Arthur as a basis but set the story in a true historical context. I wanted to create a real landscape; the landscape of sub-Roman Britain. A time when order has broken down, factionalization is beginning to happen once more, hill forts are being re-established and war-lords are rising up. I complete the script and then I read about the Red Planet Prize.
The Red Planet Prize was set up by Tony Jordon (Life on Mars/EastEnders/Hustle to name but a few). I entered (the first round meant just the first ten pages). Out of 1100 entries, the judges discarded 1000 and asked just 100 entrants to send in the full script. I made the cut. From those 100 entries, 20 were selected for the final….I made the cut. I didn’t win but it didn’t matter because Tony Jordon invited all 20 finalists to his production office and offered us mentoring, a way in, an unlimited access to his team.
It was an interesting experience but it didn’t really lead anywhere. One of the finalists, Rob Thorogood went on to have his script commissioned by Red Planet Productions. You may know it…Death in Paradise.
I turned my attention to writing another full-length script and chose a subject matter close to my heart…going home. I moved from my home town of Dover in 2000 and I often found that when I went back the sense of belonging, of memories, of comfort, overwhelmed me and I wanted to try and capture that. The story of Hal and Abigail went through many changes. The original ending was very different from the one that it has now. I entered it into Prequel to Cannes and to my surprise, it won second place and a cheque for £100.
Shortly after that, I entered it into the BAFTA/Rocliffe New Writers Forum, a heavily contested event due to the association with Bafta. They pick only 25 scripts from those submitted to go into contest and Since You’ve Been Gone (the script) was one of them. It was an amazing achievement.
It was then I decided to adapt it as a novel and the rest, as they say, is history.
Currently I am working on a new story The Winter Rose. This indulges my love of history and archaeology by featuring an archaeologist. I’ve dubbed it a supernatural romance time travelling murder mystery and I’m having a whale of a time writing it.
I also have a YA novel which is languishing on the computer but is about ten chapters in. I’m hoping to finish this off very soon. It’s a ghost story of sorts.
Lastly I have notes galore for another novel which is set in a museum. This is very, very embryonic at the moment.
I don’t really have any plans to write any more scripts. The main script I have that I would love to sell is called Fifty-Five and tells the story of Florence White who headed one of the largest women’s social reform movements of the 30s. My dream is to see Imelda Staunton in the role of Florence! Sadly, this may remain a dream for a while!
Lisa was born and raised in Dover but moved to Colchester in 2000. Most of her adult life has been spent lurking in castles – firstly Dover Castle as Senior Custodian and then at Colchester Castle as part of the Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service.
Lisa is working on a degree in archaeology through the University of Leicester.
Please feel free to visit her website and find out more about her writing at
or find her on
Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Lisa-Dyer
Twitter at https://twitter.com/lisadyerauthor