It’s been an exciting few weeks for Creative Writing participant Linda Dooks, as her debut historical fiction novel, Land of Opportunity, was published by Blossom Spring Publishing.
Linda has been a part of ARC’s Creative Writing group for five years, but she has been creating stories since she was a child. Linda originally intended the story to be a short story, which she presented to ARC’s Creative Writing group. The group were so enthralled with the characters that they advised Linda to keep writing and see where she could take the story. In each session Linda would read out a new chapter until she finally had a finished novel. After just eight refusals from publishers, the novel was picked up by Manchester-based publishing house Blossom Spring Publishing.
Land of Opportunity tells the story of Rose Watson, a sixteen-year-old girl from North Yorkshire who finds herself working long hours on the family farm. Treated badly by her family, Rose knows she must escape, so when the opportunity arises, she flees the farm and boards a ship heading to New York. There she meets a budding singer, Agnes, who draws her into the underworld of gang warfare and street crime. Rose must strive hard to make it in a new and dangerous land so very far from home. Some familiar historical faces crop up throughout the book, owing to the heavy research Linda did while writing.
Linda herself was born and raised in North Yorkshire and has experience of rural living, helping out on her family farm. Since retirement, Linda keeps busy as a member of ARC’s Creative Writing group, and volunteers at her local hospital radio station, where she occasionally reads her short stories.
Linda credits her success to the support of the Creative Writing group at ARC and its tutor, Joan Opie, who is also a published author. We sat down with Linda and Joan to discuss the news, watch our interview below.