Wednesday, 5 October 2022

Dawn Knox talks to us about her contribution to the Script Challenge


Why did you pick this a particular story for creating your script?

I wanted to select a story that would be easy to produce, so I chose one that only required a few actors and was set somewhere simple. The Stag Do is a short story from the book The Basilwade Chronicles which Chapeltown Books published in 2019. It contains four characters, the curmudgeonly bridegroom, Sydney Jugg; his wheeler dealer brother, Toby; their tactless cousin, Derek Carruthers and Sebastian who the bride’s friend has coerced into being an usher. There are two scenes, and both are set in the same pub. The first scene takes place the week before the stag do while they plan what they’re going to do to celebrate and the second is the actual night of the stag do.

I thought this story would make a good script because much of it involves dialogue, with very little action. The focus is on the characters and their interactions with each other. The two brothers have a difficult relationship with Toby constantly provoking the rather pompous Sydney. Self-centred Derek is more concerned that he doesn’t miss the last bus home than with planning or taking part in the stag do. Only kind and considerate Sebastian holds everything together, despite not knowing any of the other men and having been bribed to be Sydney’s usher. I thought their humorous comments would make a good script because, other than caring Sebastian, the men often don’t converse, they merely talk at each other.


What was the biggest challenge in turning this into a script?

The biggest challenge was that the story that I chose came almost at the end of The Basilwade Chronicles, so anyone reading the book would already have met the four men and would have seen their characters and how they related to each other. I had to try to give a flavour of their personalities, whilst moving the story on in a script that would only take about ten minutes to perform.


Has your script been performed or have you any plans  for this?

No, my script hasn’t been performed. The closest to a performance has been when the narrator, John Guest, read the Stag Do chapter from The Basilwade Chronicles out on a radio show. John has recorded the audiobook for The Basilwade Chronicles.

But no one has performed this script. I’d love to see it though! When I told John about the script being published in The Script Challenge, he said he’d also love to see it performed, so we’ll be first in the queue if anyone is interested!


Where would you like to see it performed?

 The West End and Broadway…? No, seriously, anywhere!


Could you tell us which well-known actors you would like to see performing your script and why?

Playing Sydney Jugg, I see someone rather ordinary-looking but with a huge ego, such as Chris Barrie, as the incompetent manager of a leisure centre who constantly comes up with idiotic schemes in the BBC’s The Brittas Empire . Sydney carries a huge chip on his shoulder that his outlandish entrepreneurial schemes always seem to come to nothing. He’s jealous that his brother Toby, seems to have all the luck.

 Sydney’s brother, Toby Jugg, would have to be David Jason as Del Boy in BBC’s Only Fools and Horses. They are both ‘wide boys’ and both have the cheeky chatter that often persuades people to trust them.

Toby Jones looking gormless as Lance in the ITV comedy, The Detectorists would make a good Derek Carruthers. He’d portray the right level of indifference to others’ feelings and his lack of social skills – bulldozing his way through any situation.

James Dreyfus as PC Goody in the BBC’s Thin, Blue Line would make a good Sebastian. They are both well meaning, kind and slightly clueless.



Do you have any more plans for similar scripts?

I’ve adapted some stories I’ve written about two outrageous elderly ladies and their neighbours. But I haven’t submitted the script anywhere yet.

The first of the stories was written from a photo prompt of an exotic, naked shaman-like figure with a painted face who is holding a skull above his head.

The story starts with the two ladies peering through a hole in the fence into the next-door neighbour’s garden at the naked shaman-like man who’s dancing on the lawn. During their comments and conjecture as to the identity of the man, it becomes clear that one of the ladies has a closer relationship with her next-door neighbour than the other had previously thought.

Monday, 3 October 2022

New 3 October 2022


Current writing

I am of This Land, the sixth book in my Schellberg cycle is now on its way out to publishers though I shall eventually publish it via Chapeltown if need be.

I’ve started a new Peace Chid book but am already thinking about another Schellberg one.  

I’ve had one story on CafeLit: The Last Human, An old man is determined to remain 100% human.  

On Talking About My Generation I have an article about Neighbours a soap I’m now missing.

I’m offering a new way for you to obtain a copy of my YA story about grief: A Gallery for Nick. See details here:  


On My Blog


This month I again have several interviews with other writers. Tony Domaille, and June Webber talk about being published in The Best of CaféLit 11     

Tony Domaille and Neta Shlain talk about being published in The Script Challenge

Dawn Knox chats to us about her CaféLit serial, The Crispin Chronicles

I also discuss time in fiction:


The Young Person’s Library

This month I’ve added:

Never Forget You by Jamila Gavin This is a YA text that tells the story of four feisty young women during World War II. It is partially based on some events that actually happened.

Amara and the Bats by Emma Reynolds is a picture book though a little sophisticated for pre-school. It addresses climate change.

Zoo Girl by Rebecca Elliott Another pre-school text. It has lovely illustrations and deals with loneliness.  

Current reading recommendation

This month I’m recommending Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

This seems like a cosy crime and we really are kept wondering whodunit.

The author really keeps us guessing in the first half of the book. All the clues are there, we may realise in retrospect. He even has a foreign detective, Atticus Pünd, who may remind you of a certain Belgian detective. Then comes the twist. A much more intriguing story and even more bizarre murder are hidden behind this story.

Anthony Horowitz, as ever a great story teller, presents us with some intriguing characters in the mysterious Magpie Murders.   


Note: these are usually mobi-files to be downloaded to a Kindle.  Occasionally there are PDFs. This month I’m offering a mobi-file of So Now You’re Published, What Next


What could you / should you do now that you are published?

The last thing most writers want to do is spend a lot of time on marketing. Yet books don't sell themselves by magic, no matter how good they are. Publishers do what they can but time and money is limited, and inevitably they have to move on to the next project. If you can adapt a few useful routines, especially ones you find palatable and fun, you'll hardly notice you're doing it. There are heaps of useful suggestions here and handy check lists to keep you on track.

So, kick-start your marketing with this handy little volume.


Find out more. Grab your copy and lots of other freebies here.

And please, please, please leave a review, perhaps on Amazon, Good Reads and / or Story Graph, when you’ve finished.    

Note: Normally my books and the books supplied by the imprints I manage sell for anything from £0.99 to £10.99.  Most on Kindle are about £2.99 and the average price for paperback is £7.00. Writers have to make a living. But I’m offering these free samples so that you can try before you buy.


The Schellberg Project

The posts may be helpful for teachers who are familiar with the Schellberg stories or who are teaching about the Holocaust.  They may also be interesting for other readers of historical fiction.

Sometimes I also write about what might be useful to other writers.

I’ve added three posts this month.

I’ve discussed

Never Forget You by Jamila Gavin,  also mentioned above, shows us some of the roles young women took on during World War II.

I look at the role of the Resistance in Germany, which will also feature in the next Schellberg book that I write.

I’ve continued to talk about my working process again in Drafts 14, 15 and 16 - does it ever end? where I describe killing off my darlings, the overall flow (aka the read aloud edit) and presentation.  


Some notes about my newsletters and blogs

They do overlap a little but here is a summary of what they all do.


Bridge House Authors For all those published by Bridge House, CaféLit, Chapeltown or The Red Telephone or interested in being published by us. General news about the imprints. News for writers. Links to book performance. Sign up here.


The Bridgetown  Café Bookshop where you can buy my book and books published by Bridge House Publishing, CafeLit, Chapeltown Books and The Red Telephone.  Visit us here.     


Chapeltown Books News about our books. Sign up here.


The Creative Café Project News about the project and CaféLit – for the consumer rather than for the producer.  Sign up here.   


Gill’s News: News about my writing, The Schellberg Project, School Visits and Events. Book recommendations and giveaways. Find it here.   


Pushing Boundaries, Flying Higher News about conferences and workshops to do with the young adult novel. (infrequent postings) Sign up here.  


Red Telephone Books News about our books and our authors. Sign up here.


A Publisher’s Perspective Here I and some other editors blog as a publisher. Access this here.   


The Creative Café Project Listings and reviews of creative cafés. See them here.   


CaféLit Stories Find these here


Gill James Writer All about writing and about my books. View this here.


Gill’s Recommended Reads Find information here about books that have taken me out of my editor’s head and a reminder of the ones I’ve highlighted in this newsletter.    


Gill’s Sample Fiction Read some of my fiction here.


The House on Schellberg Street All about my Schellberg project. Read it here.


Writing Teacher All about teaching creative writing.  Some creative writing exercises. Access this here.  I also invite other writers to provide prompts and work for critique.     


Books Books Books Weekly offers on our books and news of new books. Find them here. 


The Young Person’s Library The children’s book catalogue. Access it here.


Fair Submissions  Find it here.   

Opportunities for writers are added several times a day. Roughly once a month I send it out to a list. If you would like to be on that list, sign up here.  

Happy reading and writing.


Saturday, 24 September 2022

June Webber talks to us about being published in The Best of CafeLit 11


Allison Symes, whom I met at Swanwick, told me about CaféLit. I sent in two short stories which were accepted and included in The Best of CaféLit 11.

I like CafeLit because of the variety of genres and word count, and it is easy to submit.

I also write poetry and memoir, and am a member of a Zoom poetry group.

I wrote a chapter in Bus Pass Britain Rides Again by Bradt Travel Guides.

I have four children, nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

I am a regular attender at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School.


Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Dawn Knox chats to us about her CafeLit serial The Crispin Chronicles



So, you have three CafeLit serials now. Are they all connected?


Yes and no! They are connected in that they all started life in the same way. In addition, they all appeared as individual stories on CaféLit and they are all now published by Chapeltown Books. They are also all written in the same humorous style. However, the content of each book is very different and it doesn’t matter which order you read them in.

The first book that was published was The Basilwade Chronicles which tells the story of colourful individuals who live in the fictitious town of Basilwade and the madcap escapades in which they find themselves.

The second book, The Macaroon Chronicles tells the story of a band of anthropomorphic animals. They live on the fictitious Isle of Macaroon, where the scenery is edible such as the Cheese Mines, the Meringue Mountains and the Custard River. The main character is Eddie the Bald Chicken who has delusions of grandeur and tells everyone he’s a Bald Eagle. He and his band of friends lurch from one disaster to another as they travel about the island causing chaos.

The third and latest book in the Chronicles is The Crispin Chronicles. It’s set in the grounds of a stately home where the garden ornaments – the Gnomes, Elves and other creatures – live together ruled by self-appointed Head Gnome, Bartrum. Crispin is a Marble Elf who longs for a quiet life but being one of the few sensible garden ornaments, Bartrum relies on him to organise all his self-aggrandising schemes – and then to clear up the mess.


What made you think of this particular one? 

I mentioned previously that the three books began their lives in the same way – the first chapter of each book was written as a short, self-contained story, with no intention of writing any more. Each one resulted from a writing prompt given out at one of my writing groups, the Basildon Writing Group.

The first story in The Basilwade Chronicles was written in response to a prompt where a story was to be written about a socially inept man. In my story, Derek Carruthers is a rather tactless and ill-mannered man who goes speed dating. He blunders his way through the entire session and not surprisingly, does not come away with a perfect match. However, I grew to like Derek Carruthers despite his lack of social graces and decided that perhaps he should have a second chance at love. I wrote him another story. A character in that story appealed to me and I wrote a story for her. After that I kept taking one or more characters and writing them their own ‘episode’.

The Macaroon Chronicles came about in a similar way in that there was a writing prompt. It consisted of a list of disparate items from which we had to choose five and then include them in a story. I selected: a ballpoint pen, a pair of fisherman’s waders, a Hawaiian shirt, an electric guitar and a billboard.

After I’d written my story with Eddie and his two friends, Brian, a monkey, and Colin a lemur, I decided I wanted to see what happened to the next instalment and I carried on writing adventures with those characters – introducing more as I went.

And similarly with The Crispin Chronicles, the writing prompt was a list of items from which several were to be included in a story. I selected: a sombrero, a child’s tractor, a raincoat, a pair of flip-flops and a fishing rod – and Crispin the Marble Elf and his friends were born. I loved them so much that I carried on writing stories about them. And once I’d read out a story to the Basildon Writers’ Group, I submitted it to CaféLit and Gill published each one. When all the stories I’d written had been published on CaféLit, I submitted the entire manuscript and Gill published each as a paperback and e-book. In addition, The Basilwade Chronicles is also available as an audiobook narrated by John Guest.


Are there any advantages or disadvantages  in publishing them as a serial first?

The only disadvantage I can think of is that the book isn’t published until each story has appeared on the CaféLit website. But patience is a virtue! And each time, it was well worth the wait to hold the books in my hand!

As for advantages, I’m not sure. I have no idea whether having read some or all of the stories, anyone went on to buy a copy of the book. It would be interesting to find out if that was so.


All three have striking covers. Can you tell us a little about them?

Before the first book, The Basilwade Chronicles, was published, I gave a lot of thought to the cover. I remembered that David O’Neill, a fellow member of the Basildon Writers’ Group, had a book with a cover that I liked. He’d asked Neill C. Woods, an artist friend of his, to design the cover and I also approached him to ask if he’d be able to design something for me. Neill read the book and came back with a cracking design illustrating many of the characters in the book. Gill liked the cover too and so, I asked Neill if he’d design the artwork for the other two books when they were being published. I love the way Neill not only takes note of the appearance of the characters but also portrays some of their activities and even their expressions!


They  have  been on the radio and one of them has been made into an audio book. Can you tell us something about that?

Sylvia Kent, a member of the Brentwood Writers’ Circle, the other writers’ group that I belong to, introduced me to Jacqui James who is the chairman of Basildon Hospital Radio and I was invited onto the station to talk about my writing. BHR 87.7FM often joins up with local radio station, Gateway 97.8FM and Jacqui started to present Good Afternoon on Wednesday afternoons. I was invited on there to speak about The Basilwade Chronicles when it was released. Afterwards, Jacqui said that she thought one of her regular guests would do an excellent job of reading the stories as he has an amazing repertoire of voices and accents. Appropriately named, John Guest was a vicar at the time although he was preparing to retire and intended to become an audiobook narrator. It was a match made in heaven! John read one chapter of The Basilwade Chronicles out each week live on Jacqui’s Good Afternoon show. He offered to record the stories and Gill agreed that John could narrate the audiobook. He’s currently reading out one story from The Macaroon Chronicles on the last Wednesday of the month on Jacqui’s show. Not surprisingly, his career as a narrator has taken off and he’s currently quite busy.


Do you have anything else in the pipeline? What’s next?

I’m currently writing what I hope will be my fourteenth My Weekly Pocket Novel. I’ve set myself a challenge of writing it within a month and so far (day 21, I have 43,000 words written out of the 50,000 words that I need). After the Pocket Novels come off-shelf, they have so far been published by Linford Romance Library as large print paperbacks which you may find in the Large Print Romance section at your local library. The other rights revert to me and recently, I’ve got together with another fellow Basildon Writer, Paul Burridge. He formats the manuscripts and has designed some beautiful book covers for me for the first set of books that I’ve self-published – The Lady Amelia Saga. The books are set in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. All involve characters who are somehow linked to the fictitious ship, the Lady Amelia which transports female convicts to the newly-established penal colony in New South Wales. The other series of books which Paul and I are currently working on are set in the early 20th century and many take place just before or during World War Two. That series will be called The Heart of Plotlands Saga.

I’ve also been having a bit of fun writing fractured fairytale drabbles for CaféLit just recently and have had about a dozen published so far. I have lots more ideas for others.


Paul Burridge – PublishingBuddy


Neill C Woods –




Lady Amelia Saga books on Amazon:

The Duchess of Sydney:

The Finding of Eden:

The Other Place:

The Dolphin’s Kiss:


John Guest: 07710 353461/01795 469188



First stories of each book on CaféLit:

A Question of Timing – First chapter of The Basilwade Chronicles:


The Macaroon Chronicles Prologue and the Three Wise Monkeys – First chapter of The Macaroon Chronicles:


The Crispin Chronicles 1 Her Ladyship’s Garden – First chapter of The Crispin Chronicles:


Basildon Hospital Radio:


Gateway 97.8FM Local Radio;