Minutes of the meeting at La Rosa Hotel on the above date.

Present: Adele, Gill, Gina, Harry, Jenny, Karen, MichelePipIan (chair).

Apologies: Kaz, Lesley, Malcolm, Maria.

Topic: Members’ work-in-progress.


Matters Arising

Ian welcomed Gina, a guest applying to become a member. Attendees took it in turn to introduce themselves.

Adele reported on a meeting in York on 17 November at which Jodi Picoult described her collaboration with Jennifer Finney Boylan (a transwoman) to write Mad Honey. Apparently the two authors wrote each chapter in turn, and sent it to the other for rewriting.

Ian said the next meeting (the last of the year) would be on 8 December 2022. He advised that no special catering arrangements would take place, on account of the covid situation in Whitby. He suggested that those members with published books for sale might like to bring a couple of copies to the meeting in case others were in need of Christmas presents.

Members’ Readings

Karen — explained that she and Jenny are ending their collaboration over a novel about Mary Eleanor Bowes, and in its place she plans to write a play about the 17th century heiress. She also recommended a book: Naked Playwriting, by Downs and Russin.
This gave Ian the idea of planning a playwriting workshop for the group during 2023. The proposal won unanimous support.

Jenny — continued reading from her 17th century novel in-progress about Mary Eleanor Bowes, the heiress of a vast fortune from the Durham coalfields. Jenny has decided to devote the first three chapters to Mary’s childhood, and the fourth chapter to the youthful Andrew Robinson Stoney, her demon lover. Andrew’s family are landowners in Ireland, his father having been granted land by Oliver Cromwell in return for fighting against the Royalists in the Civil War. Andrew is his mother’s favourite, but disappoints his father: he is idle and shows scant interest in the farm which as eldest son he is due to inherit. After quarrelling with his sister over a trifling matter, he takes revenge by wringing the neck of his sister’s puppy.

Harry — distributed hardcopy and continued narrating the voyage of the Mahronda to an offshore island near Bengal. As radio officer, he tries unsuccessfully to establish radio contact with their destination by morse code. The ships cat plays with the flashing neon bulb as he taps his messages. The steward brings pilchard sandwiches, which tonight are hopefully free of cockroaches.

Gill — continued reading her children’s book about a boy, Tommy, who helps an old witch escape from a care home. Tommy has received a locket containing a needle: the modern version of the wizard’s wand. He is whisked off on another adventure: travelling along underground watercourses to Lake Windermere by sea-serpent, where the party break through the ice in the middle of the lake, cold and spluttering.

Ian — read an extract from Who Knackered Aragorn’s Catamite? – a totally unpublishable whodunnit set in the Fourth Age of JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth. It is 50 years since the end of the Ringwars. Goss, the bastard son of Gandalf, is a private detective secretly investigating the scandalous murder of Morfindel, the King’s favourite. He calls upon Lady Eowyn, Matron of the Houses of Healing in Minas Tirith, who tears him off a strip for his involvement in a shameful practical joke played upon her.
The piece was offered as a sample of dialogue which is something more than the author merely having a conversation with himself, which is what he started out writing. Tolkien’s character Eowyn, daughter of King Theoden of the Riddermark, besides being valiant to the last degree, was notably sharp-tongued. Which the author considers as far removed from his own temperament as it’s possible to get.

Adele — continued reading from her Covid Diary from 21 September 2021. There is panic fuel buying which is blamed for an acute fuel shortage by ministers. Since there is a limit of one tankful to what a car owner can buy, which will be soon used up, this is unlikely to be the reason. More probably it is due to a shortage of HGV drivers brought on by Brexit, plus a growing awareness by existing drivers of their leverage which has resulted in drivers reducing their own hours at poor rates of pay by leaving firms to join agencies. Airlines are compelling their staff to get vaccinated or face dismissal. At end-July 1.6 million workers were on furlough, at the cost of £billions to the country.
Adele and Neil travel down to London for the London Marathon, and an emotional reunion with their daughter Laura, who is taking part.

Pip — continues her memoir of coming-of-age on a Caribbean island: South Caicos in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The heroine is paying a visit to Haiti, then ruled by the infamous “Papa Doc” Duvalier. Her party visits the Citadelle Laferrière in the north of the country, an imposing monument which was totally undeveloped, therefore unspoilt but crumbling.

Michele — read a further instalment of her novel in-progress: The Undesirables, set in Southern Africa during the Boer War, 1898-1902. It is August 1901 in the British concentration camp. Anna’s mother Jeanette has nearly lost her mind. She is reaching term in a shameful pregnancy resulting from rape whilst being evicted from the family farm by the Khakis (British military). The camp midwife offers her services free-of-charge. She establishes that Jeanette knows what is happening to her and does not want the baby.
A new camp doctor arrives and introduces himself to the new civilian camp superintendent, the historical figure Bowen.

The meeting closed at 1:10 PM.