How Fifty years in a fiction factory can change lives.

fictionfactoryNot so long ago while browsing the web I came across a site asking people to post on ‘the book that changed my life.’ Nice idea I thought before I moved on, as you do, forgot which site it was but held onto the idea as one I might write about myself.  But that’s going to have to wait, because today I want to write about ‘the book that changed the direction of my life.’ It is Fifty Years in the Fiction Factory by Julia Jones and word has it on the world wide web – and indeed in that fictional place called reality – that today is Julia’s birthday.  So this seemed like the right day to post on this subject.

Julia is a sailor type woman and so I cannot help but bring out the sailing clichés. This book and the ideas in it helped me change tack and showed me how to set a new course. The waters will likely be choppy at times and who knows, if I’m a duffer I may still drown, but at the moment, some months ahead of being able to tell you what all this is about, I remain cryptically optimistic that I may sail off into the sunset feeling fulfilled with my life – and in no small part because of Fifty Years in the Fiction Factory.

How so? Well, Fifty Years helped me with a problem. I had this jigsaw puzzle called ‘something I believe in and what to do about it.’  I first found this jigsaw in 1996 and started trying to do something about it in 1997 but that attempt was aborted. I was sailing up the wrong tree (to mix my metaphors).  I didn’t know what to do. The jigsaw pieces went back in the box. I didn’t have the right picture you see. I just had all these pieces I believed in and now a feeling that I would never be able to create the finished jigsaw.

I had started thinking about it again in 2012. I pulled the box out. I still ‘believed in it’ but I still didn’t know what to do. Bur I once again felt the need to try to do something about this ‘thing that I believed in but didn’t know what to do about.’ (Note how the title grows like ivy over the years!) I began to tentatively put the pieces together, to test them out, to see what pictures I might make, but I still didn’t have a cover picture to guide me. Then I read Fifty Years in the Fiction Factory. And the scales fell from my eyes.  I learned a lot. A lot about human nature and publishing history and tenacity of spirit and how the world is and it all tied up with the missing pieces in the ‘something I believe in and what to do about it’ jigsaw.  It helped me recognise what the ‘something I believed in’ was but it also gave me some really clear ideas about ‘what to do about it’ – and ‘how to do it’ which was perhaps even the missing piece of jigsaw that had hampered my efforts previously.

So now, thanks to this book I am embarking on a voyage. I’m at the stage of making my craft sea worthy and I’m looking for an autumn launch this year, maybe not till next spring if I get distracted this summer. And with every bit of spit and polish I thank Julia and Herbert Allingham and the Fiction Factory for helping me resolve my life’s jigsaw puzzle. I hope one day you’ll all be thanking them too.  Julia will be holding the virtual champagne bottle when I launch. She, like you, has no idea what I’m talking about yet.  Her navigational skills may give her something of an advantage to pondering the mystery but I want to surprise everyone with the completed picture. So like all good mystery writers, I haven’t given you enough clues to make a really informed guess. You’ll just have to wait and see.

The way I’ve been influenced by Fifty Years in the Fiction Factory is surely unique, and not in any part an intention of either Julia or indeed Allingham, but this is a testament to the significance of the work of both of them.  Publish and you create a new life and infinite possibilities for other people.

So let’s all splice the mainbrace and all those things that sailor type people do and charge our glasses to Julia Jones, Herbert Allingham and Fifty Years in the Fiction Factory. I certainly thank her on a daily basis for the leading light she showed me when I was way, way off course and needing to find my way through the shipping lanes at night.

You can find my original review of Fifty Years in the Fiction Factory just by clicking. Also one by fellow writer Kathleen Jones (no relation)

You can buy this book as an ebook or a paperback. Available in Kindle format and epub format and from any good bookseller.

Find out more about Julia Jones and  her publishing company or access her PhD Thesis on Herbert Allingham if you want even more information! 

Happy Birthday Julia. And many more of them.





About callyphillips

One Response to How Fifty years in a fiction factory can change lives.

  1. Julia Jones says:

    This makes me feel so happy Cally – and I long to see the results. THANK YOU

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