Did you ever have an itch you couldn’t scratch, a feeling that you’re supposed to be doing something else, something bigger with your life? Something that would touch the souls of the rest of mankind and justify your place amongst our fellow men, but you just couldn’t put your finger on what? I spent the best part of 40 years looking for the answer and low and behold, I finished back where I started, with writing. I sometimes question why I didn’t just turn in the opposite direction, I would have got there straight away, but my path led me away from writing when I was just a teenager, because I lacked the confidence to pursue the dream. Reminiscing one day, the thought occurred to me that if I had found writing back then, I wouldn’t have taken the journeys that led me to write The Hidden Saga.
My name is Serina Hartwell. I’m the mother of two wonderful children, who grew up in the blink of an eye. I come from an average size town in West Yorkshire, England; the same place where the Bronte sisters were born. I am from the village in the mill town I write about.
Growing up in an industrial town, and coming from a working class background, I was surrounded by the mills that were once the life blood of the community. Decrepit and falling into disrepair, they overshadowed the place where I lived, serving as a reminder that our town once thrived. I watched as one by one, the mills went out of business and closed, serving to inspire my story, while changing the landscape around me.
My mother worked in one of the mills when I was a child. I recall every night, my father taking my brother and I to the mill to collect her and walk her home over the lonely beck-side. These trips along the shortcut are embedded throughout Hidden, as my childish imagination finally materialised on the page.
It was only recently when I suddenly found out that I was seriously ill that I found my way back to writing. It’s funny how life has a way of bringing you full circle and offering you sharp reminders that time is slipping away. One moment I was fine and the next I was in a very bad place. Today you look upon the writing of one of the luckiest people alive as I recovered and moved forward with my life. This is luck I intend to build upon. With doors closing all around me and my timely reminder, my life had reached a turning point and I knew that I had to find my life purpose and get on with it. That’s when I really started to look.
In August 2010, I had the most intense urge to write. It came from nowhere and I did fight it, instead I borrowed my daughter’s laptop and headed to the bottom of my garden. I didn’t even know at the time if I could write. The last creative thing I wrote was at school. Without knowing if I could even connect with the page, let alone complete a book, I started writing and haven’t stopped since, nor do I intend to. So, allow me to introduce you to my work. May I begin by introducing Bronte Hughes in The Hidden Saga. I hope you enjoy Hidden and the many more novels to come.
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I enjoy putting playlists together to help me write. If you would like to listen to the music that inspired me to write Hidden, click the link here.
I enjoy putting playlists together to help me write. If you would like to listen to the music that inspired me to write Behind the Cold, click the link here.
I enjoy putting playlists together to help me write. If you would like to listen to the music that inspired me to write Trapped, click the link here.
I enjoy putting playlists together to help me write. If you would like to listen to the music that inspired me to write The Awakening, click the link here.
I enjoy putting playlists together to help me write. If you would like to listen to the music that inspired me to write Stay, click the link here.
I enjoy putting playlists together to help me write. If you would like to listen to the music that inspired me to write Fighting the Light, click the link here.
Click here to read my author interview with Shelley Workinger.
Click here to read my author interview with Fiona McVie.
Click here to read my author interview with Jason Montello of I Like eBooks
The pictures on this website relate to me as a writer and photographer. They depict what I enjoy and what fills my life when I’m not writing. You will see lots of pictures of my writing companion, Tilly. She liked to sit near me while I wrote, because she learned that the fan on my computer works constantly, throwing heat out in her direction. Still, I enjoyed her company and she listened to my moaning when my creativity abandoned me.
Photography is another art form I have always felt completely natural with. Years ago I turned my back on being an artist when I had my family and life caught up with me, meaning that the practicalities of life had to take charge. The one thing that always stayed with me however, was photography.
The first piece of advice my father gave me when my daughter was born, was always take pictures of her because if you don’t, those moments will be lost. At first I eagerly followed his advice simply because I enjoyed the art but after years of watching her grow up, exactly what he was referring to became evident. It’s amazing how time flies by without realising it. It’s only when we look back that we see how the people in our pictures have changed and moved on with their lives. It’s this fascination with capturing a moment in time that can be revisited over and over that draws me to photography, besides the art form it takes and the fact that I am a true creative regardless.
I was recently asked, as an amateur photographer, to take the photographs at the christening of my close friends’ children. Here are a few of the pictures I turned into art pieces. I call them the Sienna Collection. The boy on the beach is my son when he was a child. It was taken by his grandmother and is one of my favourites. I love the mystique of the moment captured of him with his grandmother’s dog. I often ask what was going through his mind at that moment. They are random pieces that don’t relate to my writing, but are simply standalone pieces of art that give me great pleasure.
Living in a village near Haworth, does have it’s influences, even if it’s hard to admit. Haworth produced some of the most influential writers of our time, the Bronte Sisters. That said, I didn’t become a writer just because I live in a place local to their place of birth. I was simply born that way. There is something special about the place though.
Ironically, the first book I ever wrote was when I was at primary school. I found it the other day and couldn’t believe that I had actually managed to patch together a story line. I wrote it as a school project after visiting the Bronte Parsonage and then forgot about it. I was tasked with writing a book like the sisters used to write. They wrote tiny books, so my teacher asked the class to do the same. It’s still intact, cover by wallpaper and full of tiny illustrations. That was back in the days when I had my heart set on being an artist, rather than a writer. So perhaps that was the humble beginning to my writing career. My writing journey didn’t actually start until I was 38, but writing was always there in the background.
I am lucky enough to live just outside the hustle and bustle of the place that draws visitors from across the globe. We receive a lot of tourists from places like China and America, all looking for a little snippet of history. It’s not a large place, it’s just the main street and surrounding villages and moors, but its charm is magnetic. The local residents hold annual events, celebrating the past. The pictures I took below, are of the 1940′s weekend event where the whole main street is taken back in time. If you ever do turn up to one of these events however, I do suggest that you dress appropriately and get into the spirit of the event, unlike myself who didn’t read the circular and stumbled into the event by accident. It didn’t really matter, because a good time was had by all, but I know that it would have just finished the night off nicely.
I thought it would be nice to talk to you about Haworth, because it is a huge influence on me, after all I named my main character after the place. The street that has been frozen in time, its cobbled road and the rugged landscape that surrounds it are my stomping ground. No matter how far away I move in future, Haworth will always stay with me.
Please feel free to take a look at my photos and tell a friend about them. I would love to know what you think, so let me know, leave me a reply. Thank you for taking the time out to read my page and remember I came from humble beginnings. Why not have a go at putting pen to paper yourself today? Allow me to introduce Haworth, the birth place of the Bronte sisters.
After standing up to a school bully, Bronte Hughes’s life shatters… along with her reality.
A single act leads to a near-fatal accident, which sets closely guarded wheels in motion, leading her to fall for her best friend, Riley. But when he leaves her, she realises her world isn’t flawless. With everything unravelling around her, the cracks begin to appear. Added to this are the powers she cannot control; wild magic she is not sure she wants in her life. She is an outcast, torn between her need to reconnect with Riley and the overwhelming desire to hide from the world.
Join Bronte’s journey of self-discovery, where she learns a dark secret, her family has worked so hard to conceal from her. Will it save her life... or destroy it forever?
Hidden - The Hidden Saga
2017 New Apple Summer eBook Awards Official Selection for their YA General Fiction category
2017 New Apple Book Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing Official selection of the YA Fantasy category
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