Hello everyone,

This is my first time trying to post on a website like this, so please bear with me!

I'm an 83-year-old author with over 30 years of writing experience, although I've only just recently self-published my first novel on Amazon, after having tried for ten years to get this book published through traditional means.

My novel is a family saga called "The Falcon and the Dove" and it's currently only available as a digital download through Amazon ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Falcon-Dove-ebook/dp/B0097OZA1Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362247141&sr=8-1 ) , although I plan to make it available through other outlets. The link for those in the USA is: http://www.amazon.com/The-Falcon-Dove-ebook/dp/B0097OZA1Y/ref=tmm_kin_title_0 Thank you to those kind commenters who pointed that out to me.

As part of a writing course thirty years ago I had to write several short stories. One in particular made me think I could expand it so that is what I eventually did. By this time I had already been writing for several years, including a book about the lives of my parents, one about my time as a student at agricultural college, one about my time in Taiwan. None of these I had published but I was able to draw on these experiences when writing The Falcon and the Dove. This took five years to complete in between working as a gardener, travelling to Taiwan to work as a volunteer teacher, visiting family and friends in England and abroad.

I was born in Taiwan/Formosa, the youngest of five children of missionary parents. We came home to England when I was only one year old, to live in Eastleigh, near Southampton. My mother taught me at home, as she had my brothers and sister while in Formosa, until 1939 when I started school at the age of ten, then in the war I was evacuated to Malvern. At the end of the war I had hoped to train to be a vet but as that was not possible I trained instead to join the Land Army. I worked, mainly in dairying, until the Land Army disbanded in 1951 when I married my husband who was a farm worker. We had five children and I now have the joy of not only the addition of their partners but fifteen grand children and six great grand children. I still enjoy gardening, joining family events, church activities, working with children, volunteering, U3A, travelling.

Please feel free to ask me about my life, my first published novel, or my writing in general!

Kind Regards,



My book is now available in physical, paperback form to those of you in the US here: https://www.createspace.com/4193990

Soon it will be available in physical form on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk!

Comments: 252 • Responses: 43  • Date: 

BKSmith13163 karma

Just wanted to say congratulations. I know it must be an amazing feeling to finally have that happen. Currently in college so have enough reading to do but hopefully when I graduate in a few months I'll have the time to sit down and read your work, always nice to read a fresh voice and know people are still contributing to literature.

elizabethbridges98 karma

Thank you for your support, I wish you well with your studies!

fanlouliu66 karma


elizabethbridges97 karma

It was very exciting until I discovered that I had picked the wrong publisher and had to take it into my own hands.

hellajaded18 karma

Congratulations on seeing your work flourish into something so promising and for showing us that it's never too late to achieve a dream. :)

What advice would you give in choosing the right publisher and what are the benefits/downsides to self-publishing a novel?

elizabethbridges20 karma

thankk you for your encouragement. When i was trying to get my book published by a publisher I bought the Writers and Artists year book. that gives details of the type of writing that particular one is interested in. But, as i have found, it appears to be better, if you have the expertise or if you have a good friend to help you, to go straight to self publishing. So far I haven't found any downside.

ltactor8 karma

Congrats! I'm about to self publish my first book. Would you be comfortable revealing the name of the "wrong" publisher?

elizabethbridges33 karma

As that publisher has now gone out of business there would be no point in giving their name. Good luck with your publishing.

Brad_Wesley36 karma

Is the book any good?

elizabethbridges92 karma

Those who have read it have said how much they have enjoyed it. I hope if you read it you will also enjoy it. I put so much of myself into the writing.

custerc35 karma

Can you tell us more about your time in Taiwan? You and your family must have seen some very dramatic changes there, depending on how often you went back over the years...

elizabethbridges52 karma

My parents brought us all home in 1930 because of theChinese/Japanese war. I am the only one who went back and that wasn't until 1988. After my parents died I wrote a book about their amazing lives and in the research I wrote to rhe mission hospital where mother and father worked. They invited me out. I spent a week there and fell in love with the people and the island. I returned two years later to work as a volunteer teacher in a mission school. I spent six months there ate that time. I have since been back several times. Now the students i taught have babies of their own. they are my second family. I'm going out there this September.

OrbOfConfusion28 karma

What was the hardest part about writing a book?

elizabethbridges87 karma

Sticking at it once the first enthusiasm has gone and finishing it!

Cauca22 karma

Is it the same thing with marriage? What is the most difficult part of that?

Opportunities to interact like this one are one of the things that make me really love Internet.

Congrats on your book and your family!

elizabethbridges28 karma

Yes, it is very much the same with marriage. Once the honeymoon period has passed then is the time to work at keeping the magic going or at least keeping love alive. Being friends lasts far longer than being in love.

DeSanti2 karma

Have you experienced the problems I'm currently having? I'm not saying I'm a writer, though I've absolutely with all enthusiasm I could muster tried to and had (what I thought) some good concepts.

Problem was that I'd write a lot, then either something gets in the way or I lose inspiration and it takes a while until I get back to continue were I picked off only to re-read everything I've wrote and then just think to myself "This is no good at all!" and then start re-writing the entire damn thing.

Sort of stuck in a endless circle. . .

Anyways, congratulations on publishing it! I'll definitely take a look! :)

elizabethbridges7 karma

Yes, I'm sure every writer has the same or similar problems. So often I have scrubbed everything I have written over the past day or month. Anyone who says they can write a story and instantly be satisfied with it I find extraordinary. My continuing advice is -- don't give up.

ads21527 karma

Yes, wanted to add my congratulations as well. I so much admire persistence and you are certainly the epitome of it!

elizabethbridges23 karma

Thankyou. i do appreciate that.

elizabethbridges3 karma

Thankyou, i do appreciate that.

carters_here25 karma

I'm glad that a lot of the stigma of self-publishing is going away. There was a time when a self-published work was generally snubbed as "sub par" because a major publishing house rejected it. Now, self-published authors are often snatched up by major publishers once their work becomes successful (not unlike a major record label signing an indie band after they've done all of the hard work).

Anyway, on to my questions: Did you hire an editor to go over your work before self-publishing? Also, who was the publishing house that stole your money? Did you consider suing them or pressing charges?

And congratulations! Wishing you much success!

elizabethbridges19 karma

Without a very good friend guiding me I would not have been able to try self publishing. You are right, the stigma has disappeared. I did try twenty two agents and publishers before being offered the services of the one who stitched me up. There is no good giving you the name as they have now gone out of business.

Breker17 karma

This is very inspiring. I'm trying to get into the world of journalism and at 28 was worried I was a bit late to be giving it a go but you've shown that it's never too late. Congrats and well done!

elizabethbridges27 karma

Thank you so much for your kind response.

I actually started by doing a correspondence course with the London School of Journalism.

Don't ever give up and I wish you well for getting into the world of journalism.

Drummer242717 karma


elizabethbridges46 karma

Actually, before I decided to self-publish, I was taken advantage of by a publisher that took a significant amount of my money and then disappeared.

With regards to the contents of a work being stolen, I never sent the full manuscript to a potential publisher. Whether me having the copyright means anything, I don't know.

I recommend finding a good friend to help advise you!

Drummer242715 karma


elizabethbridges29 karma

Thanks for such a nice comment, I have never thought much about my work being stolen.

Do write it down and good luck!

doubbg19 karma

The chance that your work will be stolen is very small. Its always possible too, but its really not worth worrying about if you follow proper course.

As long as you have your copyright registered, it would probably be cheaper for a publisher to buy your work rather than attempt to steal it or commission another writer to re-write the entire thing.

elizabethbridges12 karma

Thank you for that advice.

alien_crazy7 karma

Just register the copyright. My husband just published his first short story for free on smashwords, they distribute it to all other stores like apple, barnes and nobles, etc. He did a lot of research, but in the end it was not that hard, just wait for the copyright to be ready and you can do whatever. Publish a few short stories for free, if people enjoy it, then you can go further. He got about 100 downloads on the first week.

His advice: "you can write, you can self publish, if you are lucky you can get away with making your own cover. But get it professionally edited". He says he sees a lot of self published work that have interesting concepts, but they could really use a professional eye. Nobody is perfect and after reading your own work a couple of times you will miss some errors no matter how careful you are.

If you do, there is a subreddit for book downloads: http://www.reddit.com/r/bookdownloads

elizabethbridges6 karma

I do totally agree that at some stage there needs to be professiobnal input. I had a company called Manuscript Appraisals to check my work. That was invaluable.

imabunny11 karma

What made you finally decide to write a book? I've been trying for years to finish a story and I can never finish. They're not bad, but there's something that holds me back.

I'd love to check out your book :)

elizabethbridges23 karma

Although this is my first novel I have written several books about either my life or my parents'. Starting is easy, completing is the hard part, then comes the trying to get it published. That takes enormous patience and determination.

zoef10 karma

What's your secret staying so young, healthy and energetic?

elizabethbridges17 karma

I haven't done anything special through my life. I guess I am one of the lucky ones.

noamagen9 karma

I'm hoping to get into a writing career of some sort, although I'm not quite sure what kind yet. Do you have any pointers for making it?

elizabethbridges20 karma

My advice is to write about things you know. Train for it as you would for any other career. Don't get disheartened. If you believe in your story never give up.

Fish_out_of_w4t3r7 karma

Makes me wanna write my own book, but I'm afraid I will loose interest. You prove to us that it's never too late. On a side note, we need more redditors like you!

elizabethbridges3 karma

Thankyou. Do go ahead and write.

jules26898 karma

As an older person you seem to be quite versed in modern technologies and outlets (amazon, digital books etc.)

How have you kept up with being so lively and understand current technologies, when a large portion of people that are older have issues turning a computer on? (And here you are on Reddit!)

elizabethbridges2 karma

I have a large family who are close, computer wizards and brilliant with help and advice. Also I have a good friend who is a guiding me round this totally mysterious world of internet marketing. Without their help and encouragement i would have given up long ago.

Liverpoolredditing4 karma

I don't have a question. I just want to congratulate you on achieving one of your life goals. It's great that you got rewarded for 30 years of hard work

elizabethbridges2 karma

Thank you. i appreciate that.

BridgetteBane3 karma

From the kindle description:

Over the course of his life, we see his coming-of-age, dommed romance,

Is this a bdsm novel, or just a typo? Either one, someone is bound to be disappointed...

elizabethbridges2 karma

You are reading from the synopsis and not the book. I'm sorry if that offends you.

zombianca3 karma

My husbands 90 something year old grandfather just did the same thing! Congratulations on your acheivement! Do you think you'll write another?

elizabethbridges1 karma

Thank you. I have already written another novel and wait for this one to get going.

AWhiteKnightArrives2 karma

Congratulations Elizabeth, self-actualization is something we all aspire to do in our lives yet few ever push themselves to follow through with their dreams, let alone in the face of adversity.

I hope your book is a great success.

elizabethbridges1 karma

Thank you so much. It is very encouraging to hear. I hope you will readi t.

mavriksfan112 karma

Honest question here:

Did you ever feel like self-publishing was cheating? A lot of us younger folk have been trained to view a publisher's letter as the ultimate goal and feel like self-publishing would be "giving up" as it were. What do you think about that idea?

elizabethbridges1 karma

When I first astarted writing and trying to get published (thirty years ago) it was considered the lowest of the low to self publish, called "vanity publishing" and considered the thing to do it your writing was not good but you thought it was. Nowadays it is completely different. In a way it is giving up on traditional publishing house but the competition os so intense that to be able to get published in that way is almost impossible unless you are known and famous in another field

Icee2391 karma


elizabethbridges1 karma

Several times. but my family and friends told me my book was worth publishing. They kept me going and of course stubbornness.

Emphursis1 karma


What was it like being evacuated? Did you enjoy being in Malvern or did you just want to go home?

elizabethbridges2 karma

I went to a school for missionary children whose parents were abroad so it was quite different to those evacuees who lived with families. It was probably a more organised life and certainly more enclosed. however I did have the chance to explore the beautiful hills above Malvern.

ArbitrarilyBeautiful1 karma

I'm a writer myself who wants to publish my novel I've been working on for six years now. Do you have any advice such as tips, tricks, and helpful thoughts about getting through Writer's Block?

elizabethbridges1 karma

I'm sure every writer has writer's block. There were times when I did not write for several days or even weeks. But if you have the writing bug you cannot escape forever. You have to try again.

theragequiter1 karma

Hi Elizabeth, firstly congratulations on publishing your novel. And seconedly, as a 23 year old who began working on his first novel 4 months ago, I was curious as to some of the troubles you ran into while trying to publish your novel by traditional means?

elizabethbridges1 karma

Probably one of the greatest problems was the time it took to wait for a reply. Each time I would send it off and hope that this time it would be accepted. I could only send to one agent at a time. If I sent to publishers they replied that I needed an agent first, but an agent was not interested unless you had already had a book published. Round and round in circles!!

PeopleInMyHead1 karma

Congratulations on your book. I'm an aspiring writer myself and I love the idea of self publishing. But I feel very stunted because I have no friends/contacts that are writers or in that field. So what would you suggest I do to take a step in the right direction to publish my book myself?

elizabethbridges1 karma

the flippant answer is to get a friend who knows how to go about getting your work published. Really i have no advice.

Odinman1 karma

How do you feel about the movement from hard copy to e book? Do you feel that anything is lost from the ability to actually have a physical copy of the book, or does the benefit to the author outweigh any negatives?

Also congratulations on finally getting published! It's never too late to have your dreams come true.

elizabethbridges1 karma

I personally love to hold a book, specially an old one that many people have read. I love it when there are notes in the margins. i can understand how Kindle is useful when you are travelling or perhaps in hospital but for me a physical book is best.

jinbaittai1 karma

What motivated you on the days you didn't feel like writing?

Has your family read the book? Are they as thrilled as you are?

What is the most surprising thing about being a published author?

elizabethbridges1 karma

Yes, my family and friends have all read the book, as they have my other ones. They have given me enormous encouragement

3Dartwork1 karma

Couldn't you have just self-published your work to begin with? How did doing it today differ from thinking about it back when you started?

elizabethbridges1 karma

When I started writing it was considered the lowest of the low to publish yourself, called "vanity publishing", that your book was not worth getting "properly" published. Because my other books have not been of general interest other than my family, my son, who used to be in printing, printed them for me in a small number just for my family and friends..

tjsterc171 karma


elizabethbridges1 karma

I have always worked, either as a gardener or as a seamstress or as a cook or as a house sitter. The first time I travelled to Taiwan I was sponsored by my church. because my other travels are spent visiting family or friends I can adjust my flights to get the cheapest and I don't have to pay for a hotel.

LionHorse1 karma

It sounds like you got really interested in writing about 30 years ago, and I'm guessing in your life you probably would have seen vast changes in technology/lifestyle. How has the internet and home computing changed your writing and researching process in the last three decades?

elizabethbridges2 karma

When i first started writing i used a typewriter and my daughter proof read it for me and retyrped it. The first great step forward was to get a word proceessor, so that I didn't have to completely rewrite the whole thing if I made amistake. Computing came from there. I still research through books and encyclopaedias. I find there is so much information on the internet it gets quite bewildering.

deejplktps1 karma


elizabethbridges1 karma

I wrote about the six months when I worked in Taiwan as a volunteer teacher.

61secondsandmore1 karma

Congratulations for having reached this milestone in your life! I, too have written a novel and is currently on the process of proofreading. I was wondering if I can ask you in one word...what constitutes a successful novel? Thank you and more power!

elizabethbridges1 karma

a novel is only as successful as the pleasure it gives its readers.

blazmat1 karma

Congrats! Is your book based at all on your upbringing? I find that time period in England fascinating.

elizabethbridges1 karma

No, but loosely on things i know about and have experienced. I also do a lot of research to make sure that historical parts are accurate. I have interviewed people who have, for example, been prisoners of war.

alfa_reaper_grimm1 karma

Much congratulations to you! Any word of advice to aspiring authors? How did you end up on the storyline? Having dabbled with the idea of writing, coming up with a continous story seems to be the biggest problem, for me.

elizabethbridges1 karma

probaly every author has a different method of getting a story line. Mine is to let the story grow as I write and reread what I have written. then to insert or leave out bits and probably change the story line as I go along. Some of my original drafts now look completely different to the final ms.

Poohat6661 karma

I lived in Taiwan for 14 years from 1998 onward. I would be super interested in your book because I fancy myself a bit of a Taiwan history hobbiest.

elizabethbridges1 karma

How I wish I could have lived there for longer! If ever my book about the island and its people is published I hope you will be able to read it. I have a strong love of Taiwan. it is such a beautiful island once you escape from the polluted and overcrowded cities. I have met such delightful people and have always been shown amazing kindness.

bondinspace0 karma

What was your experience like working as a Land Girl for the WLA? Every WWII personal experience I have heard has been unique, so I always like to ask when it doesn't seem like it would be traumatizing to do so.

elizabethbridges1 karma

I loved working in the Land Army. I always lived with the cowman and his family as I worked mostly in dairying so needed to be on hand early and late. I loved working with horses and being part of a team. Nowadays farm workers are very lonely people as there is veryoften only one tractor driver with this enormous machine. Everything is so mechanised.