Sparkler Special: Meet The Award-Winning Kaisha Holloway of The Writing Garnet

The Writing Garnet, and Me.
by Kaisha Holloway

Firstly, let me start by saying how honoured I am to have been asked to appear on The Romaniacs blog today! I idolise each and every one of you, if I could bow down to you all I would…I just wouldn’t be able to get back up again!

Let me introduce myself; I’m Kaisha, otherwise known as TWG (The Writing Garnet), a single, chronically ill mumma to a beautiful little girl. TWG is book focused as well as lifestyle focused. I’m honest, I write from the heart, and I wouldn’t be here without any of you.

‘How did TWG come about?’ Is a question which I get asked a lot of the time! Part of me would like to answer that question every time with a sarcastic response, such as ‘on a whim’. But, since I have no reason to hide behind my sarcasm anymore, I’ll answer that question for you guys, from the heart. I have been an avid reader from an extremely young age, single figures I think I was told. The older I became the more books I stuck my nose into; Cathy Cassidy, Jacqueline Wilson, The Babysitters Club, the highlights of my teenage years. In 2011, my life changed when I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. It continued to change as I was diagnosed with a further six chronic illnesses over the years. Limitations became my enemy, and my bed became my best friend. I could no longer rely on my body to do its job, but I could rely on books to keep me company. From 2011 until now, I read. Books were, and still are, the only thing that can give me a little respite from my daily hell. So, in March 2016 I decided that I had to do something to give back to all the authors who have written such fantastic books which have allowed me to laugh, given me company, and made me feel less alone. I decided to review. I decided to blog. I decided to create TWG – The Writing Garnet. I cannot thank authors enough, truly.

Like a lot of bloggers, I have a review policy. Not only is it there to guide authors into finding the right blogger/reviewer for their work, it’s also there to help me otherwise my inbox would overflow even more. I don’t read sci-fi/fantasy/western/super natural or horror novels. You will usually find me reading contemporary fiction/women’s fiction/romantic comedies/psychological thrillers/crime/romance/commercial fiction/historical fiction/autobiographies & some non-fiction (I decide there and then where non-fiction is concerned). I say yes to a lot of review requests that I receive, and I am happy to review last minute, i.e., two days before the date it’s needed. If I get sent a request for a book which isn’t my cup of tea, I just don’t reply to the e-mail. I’m not being nasty, I just cannot spend all day replying to every single request e-mail. If I love your book, you can bet I will cheerlead it until I am blue in the face. Call me Smurfette.

Another question I get asked A LOT is; ‘how on earth do you read so quickly?’. Short answer, I speed read. I know some people wonder if I taught myself how to do that, but the answer is no, I didn’t. Speed-reading is all I have ever known to do, I don’t remember reading slowly. On average, I can read 5-7 books a week due to the speed of which I am able to do so. If you’re sitting there thinking that I must miss out parts of the storyline whilst reading fast; I don’t. I am able to remember everything of the book. How do I know this? Because my mum tested me when I was a kid, two weeks after I had finished a book. Did I get top marks? Hell yeah I did!

On the 10th June this year, my blog became an award winning blog, courtesy of the Annual Blogger Bash Awards. Squeal! A lot of super lovely people voted for me (big thank you) to win Most Inspirational Blog. I am completely overwhelmed that people think myself and my blog are inspirational, and it means the absolute world to me to win such a heart-warming award. Thank you so much if you voted for me in the awards, and thank you all for the love and support over the last 15 months. I cannot believe it; I was convinced I wouldn’t win. Thank you, so, so much.

Kaisha.

 

Kaisha – thank you for your wonderful guest post and for joining us at Romaniac HQ. Many congratulations on your brilliant award and thank you for all the hard work you put into getting the word about great books out into the world. We truly appreciate the time book bloggers take to read and review our work. Delighted to have you with us today.

To find out more about The Writing Garnet and follow Kaisha’s reviews, here are the important links:

Twitter: @kaishajayneh (www.twitter.com/kaishajayneh)
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thewritinggarnet
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/thewritinggarnet
Blog url: https://thewritinggarnet.wordpress.com

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The Romaniacs Sparkle Spotlight 2016.

The Romaniacs Sparkle Spotlights 2016.

Filmed at the RNA conference, Lancaster University.

We asked three questions:

  1. What are you working on?
  2. What inspired your story/you to become a writer?
  3. What is your top writing tip?

Thank you to everyone who took part in this year’s Sparkle Spotlights – your advice is invaluable.

Life Cycle Of A Writer – Catherine Miller – Pinch me, I’m dreaming!

There is no other way to describe this year other than to say it has been EPIC! Unlike most years in a writer’s life, this one has been a rollercoaster of HIGHs. Since our last Sparkle Party, my reasons to celebrate have been immense:

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  • Miles Between Us won Just Write’s Monthly Masterpiece
  • Baby Number Two was highly commended in the Accent Press/Women’s Magazine Writing Competition
  • I won the 2015 Katie Fforde bursary
  • I was a finalist at the London Book Fair Write Stuff event.
  • I was offered a two-book contract with Carina UK
  • The Romaniacs won Media Star at the RNA Industry Awards
Award-winning Romaniacs! Sue, Catherine, jan, Laura, Debbie & Vanessa, with Celia & Lucie holding the fort back at Romaniac HQ, but with us in spirit.

Award-winning Romaniacs!
Sue, Catherine, jan, Laura, Debbie & Vanessa, with Celia & Lucie holding the fort back at Romaniac HQ, but with us in spirit.

So overall, my writing CV is somewhat shinier than it was this time last year, but none of this has come without sheer determination and grit. I’ve only listed the good stuff here because those are the parts I’m choosing to dwell on. There are of course the occasions I’ve submitted to agents and been rejected or not received a reply. There are the competitions I’ve entered and not even been placed in. To those occasions I say Pah! Because what do they matter? Those occasions won’t stop me from writing something new, from doing something different, from finding someone who loves my style of writing as much as I do.

As this is my last LCOAW this year, I’m going to encourage you to write some lists. One for the things you have achieved this year however big or small, writing related or not. Then write a second list for the things you want to achieve in 2016. I’ve been doing this every year for the past five years and without encouraging myself, half of the above wouldn’t have happened. I’ll be writing mine up soon and I break it down into categories: Family/Health/Writing/Competitions. (I have a feeling I might have to add spring cleaning the house once Book Two is written.) Once you have those lists, continue celebrating the good stuff, even if it’s the simple things like writing The End.

Then find a group to celebrate with like The Romaniacs. Because on the occasions I haven’t triumphed, they have. On the occasions I’ve wanted to grumble, they’ve listened. When I’m not sure where I’m going wrong, they’ve pointed me in the right direction. And vice versa. In just under two weeks when we meet up for our next Sparkle event, I know this whole life cycle of a writer gets to start all over again! And who knows what the next year will bring?

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