In short, Ireland was brilliant! (More to come…)

Although I was only in Ireland for a few days, I managed to pack a lot in, thanks mainly to the incredibly generous people I met there.

windy on the ferry - not going for the Morrissey look, honest

windy on the ferry – not going for the Morrissey look, honest

Too much happened to cram it all into one big fat blogpost, so I’ll let it out over the next few weeks or so, bit by bit.  I’ll definitely be going back over for talks and visits (and signings) sometime this summer so do feel free to get in touch with me on twitter (@GillHoffs) or at gillhoffs@hotmail.co.uk to let me know if there’s anywhere in particular I should get in touch with or if you’re a descendant of someone involved with the wreck and fancy meeting up for cake.

Hodges Figgis in Dublin, Manor Books in Malahide, and FeelGood Scuba in Howth all stock “The Sinking of RMS Tayleurso if you fancy a look, that’s where to go.  Alternatively, you can ask your local Eason’s or independent bookseller to get it in – some libraries have it too – or try here http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/The-Sinking-of-RMS-Tayleur/p/6053/

The best bit of the trip, the indisputable highlight amongst a ton of brilliant things, was sailing to the wrecksite itself on a gloriously sunny day.  Many thanks to Howth Sailing & Boating Club for making this happen, and to Harry Breslin for his tales of danger and discovery on the wreck itself, spanning over 50 years.

Sinking of RMS Tayleur - Gill Hoffs - hi res image

Thank you again to the people who made all this possible, including the O Duills for adopting me for the duration and feeding me pasta and icecream, Mike Medcalf for taking me out on Yacht Taurus and feeding me cheese and tomato sandwiches and soup, and John Craddock and his mum for escorting me round the anchor memorials and feeding me toast and fancy hot chocolate.  Can’t wait to go back!Malahide beach - book - Lambay

 

 

The sinking of RMS Tayleur

Gill Hoffs:

I’m really touched by this review of “The Sinking of RMS Tayleur”, and pleased that the people on board this doomed ship are being acknowledged once more after being forgotten for so many decades.

Originally posted on I run on caffeine...:

I’m a book lover, and a history lover, and fascinated by the story of the real people in historical events that we can distance ourselves from – and discovering the emotions and aftershock of those events.

Someone else who loves all those things – and who possesses the skills to actually write books about them – is Gill Hoffs, a wonderful writer who has a new book on the shelves.

“The sinking of RMS Tayleur” is the story behind a shipping tragedy as big, and as devastating, as the Titanic. Nearly sixty years earlier, and sailing for Australia, the Tayleur was the biggest, best ship, sailing her maiden journey, and wrecked within hours – shocking the world; but though the Titanic is still remembered, this Victorian tragedy faded into history.

Gill has brought the events that led up to the wreck, and the disaster itself, to life in her book…

View original 338 more words

Author Talk: The Sinking of RMS Tayleur – as part of Warrington Literary Festival, 25/4, 7pm

[NB - I copied this from http://www.pyramidparrhall.com/whats-on/event/gill-hoffs-author-talk-the-sinking-of-rms-tayleur/.  Free grin to anyone who brings me caramel eggs or Nutella!]

Date(s)/Time: 25 Apr 2014, 7:00pm

Ticket Price: £3

Location: Pyramid

 

Gill Hoffs Author Talk: The Sinking of RMS Tayleur

 

Join Gill Hoffs for this evening’s talk on RMS Tayleur, how this book came about and how Gill, inspired by a visit to Culture Warrington’s Museum & Art Gallery, researched this. Gill will also share insights on the practicalities of writing nonfiction including structuring the book, research, overcoming difficulties and deadends, approaching publishers and agents, editing, sourcing illustrations, and promoting the finished product and finish with a Q&A.

Bio: Gill Hoffs was raised on the Scottish coast but has considered Warrington home for the past ten years.  Her nonfiction book “The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the ‘Victorian Titanic’” (Pen & Sword, 2014) was written after a conversation with a curator about the Tayleur artefacts in Culture Warrington’s Museum & Art Gallery, and her short fiction and nonfiction pieces are widely available online and in print.  Please see http://gillhoffs.wordpress.com for further details, find her on twitter as @GillHoffs, or email gillhoffs@hotmail.co.uk

 

Irish launch events – RMS Tayleur

Following on from the success of the Warrington and Glasgow launch events for “The Sinking of RMS Tayleur”, I’m delighted to announce that come May I’ll be in the Dublin area visiting key areas featured in the book, and paying my respects at the memorials in Rush and Portrane.

The schedule currently looks like this:

The Sinking Of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story Of The Victorian Titanic

The Sinking Of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story Of The Victorian Titanic

EDIT: Tonight’s talk and signing event, planned for 6.30pm on Wednesday 14th May at Hodges Figgis, Dublin, has been CANCELLED due to circumstances beyond my control.

Weather permitting, on Thursday I’ll sail to Tayleur Bay to see the wreck site and view the cliffs survivors climbed while talking with people who’ve dived on the actual Tayleur wreck.  Many thanks to Howth Sailing and Boating Club for making this possible.  Once back on dry land I’ll pay my respects at the Tayleur‘s anchors, which serve as memorials at Rush and Portrane.

On Friday I’m visiting the (very) Grand Hotel in Malahide, where the first inquest took place amid much skulduggery (and being interviewed for RTE’s ‘The History Show’).  If I can master the DART and bus service, I’ll also visit the Maritime Museum where the artwork featured on the cover is located along with artefacts recovered from the wreck, and St Stephen’s Church and Herbert Place which also play a part in the book.  I’m REALLY excited about all this, especially since I’m meeting up with other people who share my passion for the Tayleur.

If you have any questions about the schedule, suggestions for the trip, or information about the Tayleur and the people involved with her tragic voyage, please contact me on twitter (@GillHoffs) or email me at gillhoffs@hotmail.co.uk

Typing tag – My Writing Process, Q&A

My Writing Process is a series of blog posts in which authors ‘tag’ each other to answer some questions about their work.  The award-winning writer Victoria Watson asked me to take part.  Here’s a bit more about the lovely Vic:

Victoria Watson is a writer, teacher and proofreader. She has a Masters in Creative Writing and her latest short story “Dangerous Driving” is available for download now at http://amzn.to/1cuT199.  You can follow her on Twitter as @vpeanuts. And if you’re looking for a proofreader, check out Victoria’s website at www.elementaryvwatson.com

What am I working on? 

I’m currently writing the last few stories in a series of 12 about a Mancunian sex worker and what she gets up to on the 9th of every month of 2014 for Pure Slush’s “2014 – a year in stories”.  This is an ambitious project masterminded by Matt Potter, PS creator, editor and publisher extraordinaire, involving 31 writers each allocated one day per month for the whole of 2014, their stories anthologized in a set of 12 books – for further information, click here http://pureslush.webs.com/2014.htm.  I’m fond of my character and will be sad to see the back of her when I’m done – I have that in common with her repeat clients.  For the sake of my dad and brothers who might be reading this, I shall state for the record that any resemblance between she and I is purely coincidental etc. etc. m’lud.  Apart from that, I’m writing articles and guestblogs to help promote my current book about a Victorian shipwreck, organizing talks on it, and preparing to research another shipwreck for my next nonfiction book.

The Sinking Of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story Of The Victorian Titanic

The Sinking Of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story Of The Victorian Titanic - OUT NOW!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

The other 30 story-threads in the 2014 series are each wildly different from their sibling pieces.  Mine is a raunchy, explicit, tongue-in-cheek (and often elsewhere) account of an unnamed escort in the North-West of England who has themed pubic hair – e.g. a heart for February, a Christmas tree, a maple leaf – and a crush on her agency’s secretary.  It’s a world away from what I’ve spent the last two years working on, a nonfiction book called “The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the ‘Victorian Titanic’” which is out now from Pen & Sword.  That had me crying over my laptop, this has me giggling as I type.

Why do I write what I do?

Because it’s what comes into my head.  I read across many genres and enjoy a variety of styles, and I think this is reflected in my work.  Also, I have a pretty infantile, filthy sense of humour – say “fart” to me (as my six year old often does) and I can’t help but snigger – so I tend to write about sex in a way that makes me laugh.  Writing about something relatively lighthearted is a real palate-cleanser after spending so long immersed in the tragic death of hundreds.

How does my writing process work?

If I have a first line – a remark, a line of description, the much-sought-after telling detail – then the rest of the story will flow.  I tend to have the end-line or image or action in mind when I start too.  I like to write as much as I can at once, in one go, but if I have to break off then I find it easiest to rejoin the story if I stop mid-sentence or mid-thought at a point where the piece is flowing easily.  I like to eat as I sit down to write, something tasty and usually bad for me (Nutella is thanked at the back of my shipwreck book for good reason), and sometimes if there’s a particular tune or song or film looping in my head then I’ll put that on in the background on loop so it frees up whatever mental energy I’m using up on remembering those words or images for mine.  Certain films and songs have really strong associations for me as a result, e.g. M*A*S*H* and the Blur documentary “Nowhere Left To Run” are shipwreck accompaniments, and Echo and the Bunnymen’s “Killing Moon” takes me back to writing a short story for the US-based site Literary Orphans last year.  I find writing a purgative process that’s also great for stress relief and a source of huge satisfaction.  I’m glad my brain derives such pleasure from what’s essentially just word-arranging and day-dreaming.  If my ‘everything is okay’ button was pressed by something risky or expensive or annoying then that wouldn’t be much fun for my family.  Thankfully, indulging my sweet tooth with chocolate dipped in Nutella is as decadent as I get.

These two brave writers will share their own approaches next week:

Matt Potter is an Australian writer born and based in Adelaide, who keeps part of his pysche in Berlin.  He is the founding editor of Pure Slush.  Matt has also been nominated for the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll’s Best Magazine / e-zine Editor.  http://pureslush.webs.com/

Shane Simmons writes in between being a till monkey, stuffing his face and having brain frazzles in the middle of the night. He lives in miserable Glasgow, came from miserable London and is willing to listen to strangers talk about their lives if they buy him cakes. He doesn’t like Twitter as there is a word limit but he can be found blogging at http://scribblingsimmons.wordpress.com/

If you have any questions about writing processes, my Nutella habit, or a rude joke to share do feel free to comment or email me at gillhoffs@hotmail.co.uk

Launch events and links for The Sinking Of RMS Tayleur

The Sinking Of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story Of The Victorian Titanic

The Sinking Of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story Of The Victorian Titanic – OUT NOW!

The short talk and book signing at Waterstones Warrington went incredibly well – many thanks to all who attended (about 75 of you!), Waterstones staff for staying open extra late to handle sales (and selling ALL the copies), The Village Café for providing such a sumptuous spread, and my husband for recording the talk.  Here’s a link for those of you who want a wee look – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foYkXoP3n6k

Due to the success of this talk and signing, there’ll be another signing at Waterstones Warrington, in Golden Square Shopping Centre, on Saturday 1st March from 1pm onwards.  I’ll be there with cake, bone dominoes, a fat stack of books and a pen.  I’m happy to answer questions and chat about the people on the wreck, so do feel free to stop by.  For further details, see here – http://www.liverpool.towntalk.co.uk/events/d/86511/the-sinking-of-rms-tayleur-author-book-signing-event-at-waterstones-warrington/

Before that, I’m in Scotland doing a talk and book signing in Waterstones Argyle Street, Glasgow, on Wednesday 19th February at 7pm.  Do come along for the books, the cake, and the craic! – http://www.whatsonglasgow.co.uk/event/006610-book-signing-and-talk-on-the-sinking-of-rms-tayleur:-the-lost-story-of-the-victorian-titanic/

I’m also doing a workshop in conjunction with Wire Writers’ Group on research and writing nonfiction at the Pyramid, Warrington, as part of the Warrington Literary Festival in April.  Further details will be posted soon.

If you have any questions about the book, the events, or whether I like Nutella (hint: yes, yes I do), then please find me on twitter as @GillHoffs or email me at gillhoffs[at]hotmail.co.uk

Launch events for “The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the Victorian Titanic”

There’s just a few days to go until my nonfiction book, “The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the Victorian Titanic”, is published by Pen & Sword, and I’m totally hyped about it.

The Sinking Of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story Of The Victorian Titanic

The Sinking Of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story Of The Victorian Titanic

There will be a launch event at Waterstones in Warrington on Thursday 23rd January, 7-8pm.  The bus station feeds into the Golden Square Shopping Centre where this Waterstones is located, and Warrington Central train station is just a few hundred yards away.  There’s disabled access, plenty of parking, and since it’s late night opening for the shops on Thursdays there are plenty of places to nab a coffee or browse for bargains while you’re in.  Everyone’s welcome, no ticket required, and as well as a talk on the Tayleur‘s origins in Warrington and links to Liverpool there will be cake and chocolate biscuits galore.  Don’t forget to bring your points card and any book tokens you’ve been saving since Christmas!

Apart from that, there will be an event sometime in February in Warrington Museum itself, and others in Scotland and Ireland throughout the year - details will be listed here and on facebook and twitter as they become available, or you can always email me at gillhoffs@hotmail.co.uk with any questions you might have.