Tel: 07796 296387
for Other News:
Prepping for a storytelling cabaret
at Beyond the Border 2014
"I loved the skilful way you teased "the
storyteller within" out to be released
on the Great British Public!"
"Feeling on top of the world after a day's advanced storytelling with Sophie Snell.
I am looking forward to telling my stories
at the library - I can hardly wait to
"I like the imagery of the "dominos" of
the story falling down as each part of
the story was told. I had a terrific day
and ended up with a new interest."
Feedback from participants of Only
Words Aloud and More Words Aloud
workshops, summer and autumn 2012.
"Absolutely fab! Thank you for such
vivid and amusing stories. Food
for the soul."
"My friends saw your show at Whittlesey
yesterday and were blown away! They
were full of praise for you!"
Straw Bear Festival, January 2013.
"We really can't tell you how much we
enjoyed your storytelling. We can't be
the first to congratulate you on your
amazing talent, but it really takes
someone very special to hold the
of 60 odd Morris dancers
musicians, most of whom had drunk
more than was good for them. We
dine out on those pauses, when you
every one of us in the palm of your
hand and you could have heard a pin
drop. Unheard of in Morris circles!"
Ken & Kathy Trimmer, participants
Ravenglass Folk Meet, Cumbria,
This is my page of news to keep you in touch with what I am up to. It is really helpful to have any comments or suggestions on the work I do and I welcome any enquiries or commissions. So please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel 01332 840007.
The last year has seen some exciting changes in my life, largely due to making a big move into the countryside.
We'd outgrown our lovely house on the edge of Derby (3 teenage boys, 5 cats, various garden projects threatening to dwarf the back garden), and have now moved to the most amazing location in what's locally called the Ecclesbourne Valley. It's a very charming stretch of rolling Derbyshire hills and lush green farmland between Duffield and Wirksworth. The house is a renovated farmhouse overlooking the valley, bathed in sun and blessed with stunning views and big skies. We're in fact only 10 minutes from where we were before, but it feels so different and so lovely that I wonder why we didn't do this years ago.
One of the funniest moments just after the move was watching our 5 cats exploring the outside and encountering cows for the first time. There was a hilarious morning when 3 of the cats tried to stalk a neighbouring cow, like a would-be pride of African lions, until said cow got fed up and turned round on them with an impatient shake of her head. Now the cows are gone and the cats are hunting rabbit, pheasant and butterflies and generally leaping around with glee at their new freedom. They are ridiculously happy! And I have the space to grow all the fruit and vegetables I want, plant an orchard and possibly set up a wildflower meadow - it's all in my head at the moment but starting to come to life as the weather warms and I find time imbetween the day job and family.
Following the move too, I have finally knuckled down to writing seriously. Having completed one book last year (The Raven Stones) by dint of splurging the odd snatched week here and there, this time I realised you have to make time. So it's been 9 - 4 each day (plus evenings and weekends) for a solid run of months. It's meant juggling other things but I think the house move has given me a new lease of energy. As of today, I have a completed draft, already post 2 or 3 edits, of the new book, The Pear Drum.
It's a psychological thriller, different to The Raven Stones (which is a YA adventure), but very much inspired by the countryside around me (and some real life scary moments!).The "pear drum" is not actually a drum but an "organistrum", a strange musical instrument (bit like a hurdy gurdy) that appears in a famous picture by Hieronymous Bosch. "The Garden of Earthly Delights" has in its third panel an image of Hell, as seen below, with its surreal figures and depiction of music as the preoccupation of the damned. But it's also the subject of an actual Victorian morality tale - about a "box" (the drum) you can only open "if you have been bad enough". My book is a tense story of revenge, murder and family secrets - typical psychological thriller material. But revenge is only satisfying if your victim understands why... enter the pear drum, the catalyst for my poor protagonist's torment. What has she done?
Has she been bad enough to open the pear drum? What will she find inside? The book has quite consumed me since I started writing it in earnest last Autumn. Still some editing to do, but getting there!
The Organistrum or "pear drum" as shown here in the centre of the painting,
with its long box-like arm, rotating wheel and a handle wound at the top by a mischievous-looking figure (it's not the small blue drum beneath).
One of the joys of writing has been all the lovely writing folk I have met in the last two years. Writing courses, writers's groups, conferences and events, have brought new faces, locations and ideas to the fore and greater knowledge of the process of writing and the writing world. It all feeds into both the writing and performing and already I have ideas buzzing for the next book. My fascination with story in all its forms just grows!
If you are interested in The Pear Drum, you can catch me at Wirksworth Book Festival on Saturday 1st April, 5pm at the The Feather Star, St John's Street, Wirksworth (upstairs) where I will be talking about my experience of writing, how I've gone about approaching the longer project that is a book, and reading excerpts from The Pear Drum.
A recent smaller project has been a commission to write a children's story for Bulwell Forest Garden in Nottinghamshire. It's a fantastic community garden, with woodland, raised beds, polytunnels, orchard and a sensory garden (very inspiring) and the story will be illustrated and displayed on various boards across the site, so that you can read it as you explore the garden. It's being launched on 3rd April and has been a joy to complete.
Storytelling-wise, I have been doing lots of schools, community events, festivals and shows together with the odd teacher conference. But I have also been widening my scope to include more corporate and even a bit of museum training too, helping people find the "story" in their material, shaping it and then growing in confidence in how they present and deliver it. It's a very fulfilling side of what I do. If this is an area you are interested in, whether one to one or group training, do please get in touch.
That's probably plenty for now.
Do sign up for my Facebook page - Increasingly I use this to post upcoming dates and workshops, photographs and news, as well as other interesting snippets and links related to storytelling, writing and crafting a story.
Sophie Snell Storyteller on Facebook.