Fellow Crooked Cat, Sue Barnard, gives us a timely reminder of Shakespeare’s importance to all writers – and speakers – of English…
This coming Saturday (23 April 2016) commemorates the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. Many people believe that he was England’s greatest ever poet and playwright. Whether or not this is true is a matter of personal opinion, but in any case he’s definitely up there with the front runners.
One thing which cannot be disputed is how much Shakespeare has contributed to the English language. A surprisingly large number of words and phrases in common use today were first penned by the Bard himself. If you’re on a wild goose chase and find yourself neither here nor there, feeling faint-hearted (having not slept one wink), waiting with bated breath for the naked truth, and all of a sudden find yourself saying “Good riddance” as those who have eaten you out of house and home whilst playing “Knock, knock, who’s there?” vanish into thin air – you are quoting Shakespeare. The world is [your] oyster, but for goodness sake, don’t wear your heart on your sleeve and end up looking a sorry sight in a fool’s paradise. Truth will out, and it’s a foregone conclusion that you can still have too much of a good thing.
The Bard of Avon has certainly inspired much of my own writing. One of my first successes as a poet was winning a limerick competition, in which I summed up the plot of Macbeth in five lines:
On the strength of a witches’ conjection
a regicide’s planned to perfection,
but revenge is prepared
by a tree-moving laird
who’d been born by Caesarean section.
One of my long-term projects is to produce a limerick for each of the plays. That’s still very much a work in progress, but in the meantime, two of Shakespeare’s other plays – Romeo & Juliet and Julius Caesar – formed the basis of two of my novels.
The Ghostly Father takes a new look at Romeo & Juliet, and asks the question “What might have happened if the events of the story had taken a different turn?” If, like me, you love the original story but hate the ending, here is your chance to read an alternative version – one with a few new twists and a whole new outcome.
The Unkindest Cut of All is a murder mystery set in a theatre, during an amateur dramatic society’s performance of Julius Caesar. What really happened to the actor playing the title role, during the final performance on the infamous Ides of March?
Shakespeare-themed celebrations will be taking place all through the anniversary weekend. My humble contribution to these celebrations is to offer a special discount on the ebooks of these Shakespeare-inspired titles. For a few days only, they will cost you just 99p each. That’s two books for less than the price of a regular cup of arty-farty coffee. And if you usually prefer to spend a little more and go for a large coffee, then why not splash out another 99p and treat yourself to my other novel, Nice Girls Don’t, which is also reduced? This book isn’t directly Shakespeare-themed, but the Bard does get a couple of mentions.
Just click on the book titles above to be taken to your local Amazon links. And you’ll still come away with change from £3.
About the Author:
Sue Barnard was born in North Wales but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester. After graduating from Durham University, where she studied French and Italian, Sue got married then had a variety of office jobs before becoming a full-time parent. If she had her way, the phrase “non-working mother” would be banned from the English language.
Since then she has had a series of part-time jobs, including some work as a freelance copywriter. In parallel with this she took several courses in Creative Writing. Her writing achievements include winning the Writing Magazine New Subscribers Poetry Competition for 2013. She is also very interested in Family History. Her own background is stranger than fiction; she’d write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.
Sue has a mind which is sufficiently warped as to be capable of compiling questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird.” The label has stuck.
Sue joined the editorial team of Crooked Cat Publishing in 2013. Her first novel, The Ghostly Father (a new take on the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet) was officially released on St Valentine’s Day 2014. This was followed in July 2014 by her second novel, a romantic mystery entitled Nice Girls Don’t. Her third novel, The Unkindest Cut of All (a murder mystery set in a theatre), was released in June 2015.
Sue now lives in Cheshire with her extremely patient husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter (@SusanB2011), or follow her blog here.