Burnley Literary Festival – day three – The Faerie Chronicles


Life never runs smooth

… as the pet cat of my middle daughter, Streisand, has been diagnosed with a life threatening disorder which means he can’t toilet properly. His body is shutting down at barely two years old. This small crisis was still developing as I took my youngest daughter back to Chester university. I dropped her off spending enough time to receive an update on flatmate issues – university life takes no prisoners; the young have to learn social skills the hard way. Fortunately the motorway congestion of three days before was missing so I was able to trundle back home in in time to not completely write-off the afternoon – could I make the next event?
As it happened I wasn’t awfully late,


just a couple of minutes. The session began at 15:00 and was held in the basement of Burnley Central Library. Note to Library staff: many thanks for hosting the event but it can be tricky when non-event attendees aren’t quiet.

Helen Sutton in conversation with Brett Davison of BBC Radio Lancashire

+ readings

Helen Sutton is a YA Fantasy writer who comes from Burnley (yay!) She has self-published the rather successful Faerie Chronicles. This is a (projected) nine volume series of which she is currently on her sixth. Ms Sutton is in the fortunate position of having offspring who are at an appropriate age to do serious quality control. Her readings bear witness to this – in particular the dialogue. More reading would have been useful.
Brett Davison (BBC radio Lancashire) covered a number of areas with Helen. I was impressed by her gung-ho spirit – blasting out a first draft in a matter of weeks – wow! As a child she read prodigiously and her storytelling bug manifested itself quite early, only abating as family responsibilities came to the fore. She is a library lover and blames this on her parents. As her children grew older, she drifted back to writing and made the transition to self-publishing. She unashamedly loots legends and myths from around the world – don’t we all? – and hasn’t looked back.

I suspect some of her comments would be of interest those wanting to know more about self-publishing. To give a flavour, I reproduce my notes *

  • Forget fantasy is nonsense, if you want to write it, write it. Remember, you can use it explore real-world issues in a non-threatening way.
  • Ideas: If a great twist presents itself, don’t hold back. Use it. Other great ideas will present themselves at the right time. Research, always research. Mining themes will become second nature as you progress.
  • How do you write? Compressed inspiration.
  • Quickly summarise the Faerie Chronicles: a series exploring characters and (fae) races.
  • Writing is nailing jelly to a wall. Don’t overthink, it’s only first draft. Finish it.

* As this was done under the aegis of BBC Radio Lancashire it wouldn’t be a surprise if a full transcript was available.

Conclusion: What she writes isn’t what I do but I love her enthusiasm.

Conclusion 2: I was too busy making notes to use my camera so no pictures  😦

Books were on display (prices £9 / £10) including:

Helen Sutton: Fated - front cover

Helen Sutton: Fated

Helen Sutton: Tainted - front cover

Helen Sutton: Tainted

The Faerie Chronicles can be found on the net. The series is for Young Adults / Teenagers at Heart. Check out Helen Sutton’s Goodreads profile.

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About Terence Park

Collections: vinyl records, comic books, paperbacks; I've plenty of them all. I also do spreadsheets.
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