Leaman, Celia A. 1948–
Leaman, Celia A. 1948–
PERSONAL: Born June 9, 1948, in Moretonhampstead, England. Ethnicity: "English." Hobbies and other interests: Gardening, reading.
CAREER: Writer and librarian. Fraser Valley Regional Library, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, assistant librarian.
Unraveled (novel; "Gale Island" series), Twilight Times Books (Kingsport, TN), 2004.
Mary's Child (e-book; novel; "Dartmoor" series), Twilight Times Books (Kingsport, TN), 2005.
WORK IN PROGRESS: For Twilight Times Books (Kingsport, TN): PastPresent I: Awareness, and PastPresent II: Resolution, sequels to Mary's Child; The Bowerman, another novel in the "Dartmoor" series; The Winnowed Woman: Declarations from a Woman's Heart, essays and poetry; and Deceitful Hags, a novel in the "Gale Island" series.
SIDELIGHTS: Celia A. Leaman told CA: "My primary motivation for writing is to entertain and give people hope. Life experiences influence my work considerably. I can remember learning a lot from reading fiction when I was a young girl, and I'd like to pass that experience on. As a child, I always liked writing, although I didn't begin writing seriously until ten years ago; I've written practically every day since.
"I write in several genres, not to any fad or fashion, but straight from the heart and my imagination. In my upcoming literary fiction, The Winnowed Woman: Declarations from a Woman's Heart written under the pen name of Anne Graham, I touch on some personal issues. That is the hardest book I've written so far.
"No matter what genre I'm writing in, all my novels end on a hopeful note. There are lots of novels concerning the negative things in life, but working in a library and talking to patrons, I know they enjoy books that don't leave them feeling depressed. I think hope is as important as love. After all, if we don't have hope, how can we face the future in a positive frame of mind?
"Career-wise, writing, for me, has opened up a world that has endless opportunities. I now tutor for Writers OnlineWorkshops, focusing on the short story. Every year I learn a lot from my enthusiastic and hopeful students, and a few have gone on to be published. We interact for fourteen weeks in this course. I've given talks on how I became published. I call it 'Taking the Scenic Route to Getting Published.' That is, how I began with being e-published, which has now evolved into getting published in print. Through that experience I have met writers from all over the globe who share the same difficulties and struggles in getting published. A few have fallen by the wayside but many have persevered into their second and third novels. All of us are dedicated to our craft.
"My writing process is to first get a full draft out. This is often the hardest part, especially with a work that you know is going to evolve into a long novel. I'm not one of those writers who can set down a specific plot line and keep to it; I find my characters invariably take my hand and lead me where they want to go. So the best I can hope to do in any given first draft is to set the story in motion and then, when I find I can no longer go on in detail because it has become too fuzzy, I have to rest from it. Before I do this though, I try to at least get a vague plot line and an ending clear in my mind. It's then that I feel comfortable with putting a manuscript away for six months or so while I work on something else.
"Resting a work for such a period of time used to be difficult for me. I'd be so impatient, wishing to finish it and get it off to the publisher without delay. What I ended up with was a work that needed lots more attention and inevitably, revisions. Not a good scenario. I have learned that during the six-month resting period an amazing thing can happen. When I return to it with a fresh eye and a clearer mind, a lot more of the story pours out effortlessly and enjoyably. It takes the slog out of producing a better manuscript. I simply have to resolve myself to the fact that I may have to go through this process several times before I have a full draft in my hand. It takes patience, time, and a lot of hard work. It's no use being a writer if you're shy of hard work.
"Writing is a craft which takes a lot of practice to perfect, and I'm aware of how much I still have to learn. However, the most surprising thing is that you do get better, and you do learn if you keep your mind open and don't become defensive over critiques. This is hard at first, but the knack is not to take your editors' comments personally. Try to detach yourself from your work and see it as they do."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Celia Leaman Home Page, http://www.devonshirebabe.com (April 28, 2005).