Sat | Feb 17, 2018

Blogger gives review advice, author gives encouragement

Published:Friday | March 18, 2016 | 12:00 AMMichael Reckord
Emma Lewis
Roland Watson Grant

During last Friday's Kingston Book Festival discussion at the Spanish Court Hotel, New Kingston, blogger Emma Lewis proposed six main points on writing book reviews. They are:

1. Don't make them too long (1,500 1,800 words) but do capture the essence and mood of the story.

2. Don't give away the plot.

3. Use a writing style that is flowing and readable.

4. Write about the main character.

5. If possible, use visuals.

6. Always include background information on the author.

The very successful first novel Sketcher, which has been published in three languages and is sold in 12 countries, had its beginning with a Google search, author Roland Watson Grant said.

He looked up 'International Open Literary contests' and from the list of contests that appeared he clicked on one at random.

Of the six stories he wrote to enter the contest five were set in Jamaica and one in New Orleans. That story, Sketcher, got shortlisted among the top 10 of the over 300 entries.

Watson Grant was invited to read it in England at a function put on by the organisers. A publisher heard the reading, liked the story and asked Watson Grant to make a novel out of it. He agreed and within months got a three-book deal with the publisher.

The writer spoke of the book's popularity in several countries (interestingly, for different reasons) and ended his presentation with the encouraging observation that Caribbean writers are in demand.

"Take note, we're no longer on the back burner," he said.