Monday, August 10, 2015

Wigston woman's dream of 40 years becomes reality when her first book is published | Leicester Mercury

Wigston woman's dream of 40 years becomes reality when her first book is published.

Ann Kenney's dream for the past 40 years has been to see one of her stories printed and bound, sitting on a bookshelf. This is now a reality. Her first book, A Cynical American's Guide to British Myth, has just been published by Ravenswood.
Ann, 55, said: "When you see the first print in the cover, it is very exciting. As a writer, that is what you want to see, you want to see it in print.
"I never thought about the book in terms of making money, just to see it on the bookshelf.
"It has been a long-term dream. I think I have driven my family mad over the years, forcing them to read what I am writing."
Ann, of Wigston, describes the tale as "a road trip across Britain investigating myths and legends".
She said: "I always write something with a supernatural twist, as that is what I am interested in.
"The book is probably a mixture of fantasy, horror and romance. It covers a lot of genres.
"I have always been fascinated with ghosts and anything that is supernatural."
The mum of three has had a passion for writing since she was a teenager.
"I always enjoyed writing. I write whatever and whenever I can," she said.
Ann is also a big Leicester City fan and has written for The Fox fanzine in the past.
She has written several books, but this is the first time she felt happy enough to approach a publisher.
"I was more confident about this one," she said.
Ann, who has been married for 35 years, said she began writing this novel in 2012. It was originally a short story.
"I started writing about Black Annis. Black Annis' gateway is up by De Montfort University, the Hugh Aston Building, if you walk up from there, there is the gateway. There is a myth that she will snatch children and eat them.
"But I got half way through and started writing another.
"My husband said 'you should try and tie them all together'."
The heroine of A Cynical American's Guide to British Myth is Lydia, a teacher of English folklore who makes online contact with sceptical American writer Jensen.
He accepts her invitation to visit England and to explore its myths and legends. Together, they take on a road trip across Britain in a tiny KA.
Despite their shared love of the paranormal and supernatural, their beliefs are poles apart.
The book starts in Leicester then moves on to explore many other myths including Cottingley fairies, the White Worm and the Green Man.
Ann, who went to Guthlaxton College, finished the novel about 18 months ago, then spent a year trying to get it published.
She takes her inspiration for characters from people around her. "I always use real people as my characters, such as famous actors, footballers or members of the family,"she said.
She works full-time as a student support administrator at De Montfort University, so writes in her spare time.
Ann is now writing another book that she hopes will be finished in six months' time.
A Cynical American's Guide to British Myth (Ravenswood Publishing) is available in ebook format on Amazon and can be ordered from HERE.

Extract from the book:

The Blue Badge guide paused just before the gateway and waited for the walkers to catch up. It was a cold December night and most of them were wrapped in layers, red faces peering at him from under hats and over scarves.
Lydia stood close to Jensen, she was freezing and she wished that she had the courage to put her arms around the American and thrust her hands in the pocket of the thick leather jacket he wore. She was aware of her friends watching them, Stacey whispering something behind her hand.
"Remind me why we are here again?" Jensen grinned down at her and she tried to keep the flush from her cheeks.
"We are here to hear about Black Annis – the Glenfield witch." Lydia pointed to the ruins in front of them. "She supposed to live in the Dane Hills and used a set of tunnels to get to Rupert's gateway, those ruins over there. Legend has it that she would catch one child a night, take them back to her lair where she would eat them and hang out the skins!" She laughed at the expression on his face. "It is an ancient legend, going back centuries and there are a few eye witness accounts."
"Mass hysteria, more like." Jensen shook his head. "You can't honestly believe in this – this 'Black Annis'"
"I keep an open mind." She put her hand, lightly, on his arm. "Anyway, brace yourself because the guide normally makes us all run under the gateway,"
As if he had heard her, the Blue Badge Guide held up his hands. "Now ladies and gentlemen," he began, "we are going to risk our lives and run under the gateway so follow me and watch out for Black Annis. One, two, three, go!"
Lydia laughed then and she heard her friends giggling as they staggered towards the gateway. Jensen took her hand, briefly, and pulled her forward. For a moment there was a rush of bodies as the whole party dashed towards the ruins and then burst out from underneath the gateway, shouting and pushing.
"Didn't see anything," Jensen was panting and he kept hold of her hand. Behind her, Lydia heard Stacey giggle again and she stared down at their joined fingers, feeling suddenly warm despite the cold.
They walked towards the next stop which was St Mary De Castro Church and Lydia was bending towards Jensen to tell him some of the history of the place when a woman pulled at her arm.
"Excuse me," she said, sharply. "My son, David, I – have you seen him? He was with me a minute ago and now he has gone."
"No, I haven't. Sorry." Lydia looked behind her to where the stragglers were meandering through the gateway. "Maybe he got lost when we ran."
"Yeah – you know what kids are like," Jensen added, his smile reassuring and confident. "I was always gettin' lost when I was a kid."
"He can be a right little sod at times." She smiled then. "I bet he has gone off with one of his mates – probably gone in search of food." She turned back and Lydia heard her call the boy's name.
"Black Annis probably ate him," Jensen's voice was cynical and she let go of his hand to slap his bicep.
"Not funny," she said and they followed the guide to the churchyard, giggling all the way.

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