A lady of many words

Laura Sheridan

When Laura Sheridan was 14 she carefully worked out a story and wrote it in an exercise book. Nothing ever happened to it and today she regrets that it ‘disappeared over the years’ but it gave birth to her love for writing.

Nothing excites Laura more than weaving words into yet another story so that she can add to her growing collection of published books.

Now 62 years old, although she lost that first precious manuscript she has published seven novels and a poetry book, and has three files of ideas any one of which could be turned into another storyline if she could create more time.

As the leader of Burnley’s two writing groups, Pennine Ink Writers and the Burnley and District Writers’ Group, a reading group at Coal Clough Library, teaching parttime at a homework centre and being a Friend of Scott Park, Burnley, just over the road from her home, finding time for writing is a luxury.

Laura Sheridan

“I can sometimes manage a couple of hours in a morning before I get involved in something but it is not easy,” she admitted.

With a love for painting as well, life is somewhat hectic for a woman who decided a long time ago that self-publishing was the way ahead for authors like herself.

“I didn’t like the idea of vanity books because the cost was often so exorbitant. So when I wrote my first book, Short of a Miracle, in 1983 I decided to put it straight on to Amazon. I use Createspace – a programme linked with Amazon – which gives you the ability to not only produce an e-book for the various systems such as Kindle, but also provides the facility for getting one or more actual paperbacks at a very reasonable cost. They can be ordered one at a time if necessary for the price of the book and postage.

“It took me several hours to get used to the system at first but I can now convert the manuscript in about an hour so it is well worth it. If people buy it on Amazon I also get a fee. It is a system which suits me.

“The main problem is that these days there are so many people producing books that it is difficult to get known.”

She writes under the name of G L Sheridan. “My first name is actually Giacomina, which is hard to pronounce, so I chose the initials instead!”

With an Italian mother and a Sicilian father, Laura has a grasp of different cultures which is part of her stock in trade when writing. Some of her books are for young adults and are science fiction but they all have sharp storylines and cover interesting topics.

Writing, she admits, is something you never fully learn. “That is the beauty of being in two writing groups with very different people who have different backgrounds and their own approach to life and writing. I learn a lot by just being with other people who love words. But however many books I write, it is always difficult to say I feel satisfied. There are always things I am learning. Language is a very fluid thing.”

Her books include a wide range of subject matter. Short of a Miracle is the tale of a priest who prays for a miracle and ends up in a world in which no one has heard of Jesus. Ugly Tuckling is about a fat guy who is a chef but has troubles with his love life. Martian Oddities is science fiction, set on Mars where those colonising the planet include some young people who do not fit in, and Germination is another science fiction novel for young people when a young boy discovers a new way of life.

Buttana is about a young Sicilian girl in the 1960s who has an illegitimate child.

Laura’s paintings are mostly of birds of animals, and the cover of the annual compilation of poems and short articles she helps publish for the Pennine Ink Writers invariably includes one of her animal drawings.

Even her painting is self taught. “I failed art O-level at school but have taught myself over the years. I love wildlife and it is a very relaxing thing to do.”

Several of her paintings adorn the walls of her home and her books line the bookshelves.

For Laura, words and the way she can use them to paint mental images and storylines that have power and meaning is of vital importance.

“I enjoy doing what I do,” she said, “but deep down I would love more time to be able to write. Just to sit at my laptop and create a new world.”

She is also keen to help others get more excited by writing, whether poetry, short stories or novels.

The wide mix of people at her two writing groups is an encouragement. “We have time to consider all manner of styles and it is amazing how some people very quickly, and skilfully, adapt to a new
style they pick up in our meetings. I get an enormous amount of pleasure from seeing their success stories, whether it is a novel being published, an article in a magazine, or a poem that has been
appreciated.

“I just wish more people would join us to expand the interest even further.” Laura’s website is www.g-laurasheridan.weebly.com

The Pennine Ink Writers meet each Monday evening (except Bank Holidays) at the Woodman Pub, in Todmorden Road, Burnley, at 8pm. The Burnley and District Writers Group meet in Zion Baptist Church, Burnley, on the second Saturday of each month at 1.45pm.

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