A Cynical American’s Guide to British Myth ~ Synopsis and Guest Post

  • ACynicalAmericanAuthor: Ann Kenney
  • Published: August 2015 by Craig na Dun/Ravenswood Publishing
  • Category: Paranormal/Supernatural Romance
When Lydia, a teacher of English folklore and myth, contacts a cynical American writer on-line, their relationship seems doomed because despite their shared love of the paranormal and supernatural their beliefs are poles apart. To Lydia’s astonishment, Jensen accepts her invitation to visit England and to explore its myths and legends. A road trip across Britain in a tiny KA is not quite what Jensen was expecting but as he travels the country with Lydia as his guide, his cynicism is tested, not only by Lydia herself, but also by the colourful array of characters that they meet along the way. 

His efforts to debunk legends such as Black Annis and the Cottingley Fairies are thwarted by both Lydia and those who truly believe. As time goes on Jensen begins to question what he sees and feels as his love of the British countryside and Lydia become entwined. Jensen hears tales of the White Worm, experiences first-hand a Phantom hitchhiker battles nature itself when he confronts the legendary Green Man. The final tale of shape shifting Selkies makes Jensen realise that his cynicism is being replaced by humanity and humility and as his love grows deeper, he begins to believe in the myths and legends he once wanted to disprove.

Guest post from Ann Kenney

My Writing Process (or, as I call it, organised chaos) 

How did I come to write A Cynical American’s Guide to British Myth? It’s a good question and I’m not sure I have a good answer so I’ll start at the beginning and, hopefully, like any good story I’ll get to a satisfactory end!

I’ve been writing for years and have written several novels in that time. Two of them were written so long ago that word processors and computers were things I could only dream of! I wrote by hand which made altering the novels a real pain and – as for sending them off to publishers – well that was a nightmare which involved a very expensive posting process and a hell of a lot of photocopying. Despite this I was still determined to actually write something that people would enjoy and, after obtaining my degree, I really wanted to get back to writing again.

In 2007 I went to Devon for a holiday and spent a morning at Hartland Point. It was a wild and beautiful place and it inspired me to start writing. The book was to be about Selkies, mythical, shapeshifting fairies that could turn themselves into seals and, during the full moon, came on land to become human. I was halfway through the book when I got bored with it and started to write another one about the Leicester legend of Black Annis. Again I got dissatisfied with what I was writing and put it to one side. It was during my third attempt at writing a book (this time about an evil white worm that lived in the mines of Derbyshire) that my husband suggested I take all three stories and try to link them into one book! And so A Cynical American was born.

The first attempt at doing this was not particularly successful. The two main characters were only used in small vignettes in between the main three stories. The book was also too short (34,000 words) and needed filling out. I spent hours talking to my nearest and dearest trying to get inspired and then hubby came to the rescue again! Apparently he had met a novelist’s wife while on the park walking the dogs. This particular writer was a very successful one and his wife said that he would be more than happy to have a look at what I’d written. At the same time I started watching Supernatural on TV about two brothers who travelled across America investigating urban myths. I’d always been a fan of this sort of thing and had a great interest in the supernatural and the mythical (I was a huge X Files fan too) and I thought it would be a great idea to make Jensen a main character and to make him a sort of Scully type, someone who could only see a rational explanation in things. At the same time the novelist who’d read my draft came back with much the same idea, build up the characters of Lydia and Jensen and make them integral to the story.

After that linking the stories together became much easier. I decided to add a couple more using the Cottingley Fairies and the Green Man as inspiration. I made sure that Jensen and Lydia were always part of the story and introduced their friends and family (plus an ex-boyfriend). Soon the novel grew from 34,000 words to 94,000 words and it suddenly, what had been a random set of unfinished books, became a complete novel.

After a few members of the family had read it and given honest opinions I fine-tuned it and decided it was good enough for publication. It was certainly different and definitely unusual and I’d never read anything like it! I amused myself by imagining it as a film and spent hours on the internet seeking names and addresses of agents and publishers hoping for success! After a year of saving rejection slips Ravenswood came along and the rest – as they say – is history.

I will never stop writing; I honestly do it for pleasure and have never really done it for profit. I love people to read my stuff and it is nice to have positive feedback. I write everything from fan fiction to TV reviews to articles about my favourite football team. I guess my ambition would be to be a full-time writer as I could spend the day doing something I love.

I’m inspired by lots of things; my love of the supernatural and the extraordinary, my interest in history, actors that I admire, films I’ve seen and other books I’ve read. I try to put myself in the stories that I write, try to imagine myself in the heroine’s situation or even in the heroes. I’d like to think my books can be read by both men and women and always bear that in mind when I’m writing.

So that’s me and my writing journey. I’ve grown pretty fond of Jensen, Lydia and all of the other characters surrounding them. All I hope is that potential readers feel the same way.

Book links ~ CreateSpace, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Smashwords

About Ann Kenney

annkenneyBorn in Leicester in 1960, I’ve been writing for more than thirty years! I have a real thirst for knowledge and tend to use information I’ve gleaned while writing my books or short stories. Married with three children I use my family as a sounding board for every single thing I write! I work full-time as a Student Support Administrator but spend most of my spare time writing. I am a huge football fan and have written lots of articles about Leicester City Football Club and have had them printed in the Fox football fanzine! Over the last ten years I have been an avid viewer of the TV series Supernatural and write episode reviews for Support Supernatural – an American website. I also write fan fiction because it helps me keep my hand in so to speak. I’ve been lucky enough to work in some interesting jobs and have been editor for a community newsletter. When I’m not working or writing I look after my two dogs, read, go swimming and go to the cinema (I am a huge film buff/bore). Years ago I used to be a Magician’s Assistant, I’ve run Murder Mystery evening with my husband, looked after a children’s theatre group for four years and helped out my kids! I have a degree in English and Media studies and I would really like to study for my Masters!

Author links ~ Twitter, Facebook


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