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Welcome to my website. Back in Summer 2013, an intense fortnight took me from aspiring author to author with agent and book deal. I’d been dreaming of being published since I was eight, and actually working at it for a decade. My blog tells the story, but if you don’t have the time or inclination to read it, the summary is simply this. Write. Write more. Cross it out and write again. Weep and rage, then get back to the writing. If you need a sounding board or just a virtual hand to hold – or indeed if you’ve been there and have advice or comments – please use Twitter or the comments section here to get in touch. The Ship is due to be published on 19th February 2015, and I’ve written a monthly blog about the process of taking it from manuscript to published novel. You can read a brief synopsis here.

I also blog about my reading, and about anything in the news that catches my eye.

I’ve got four small children, and although I tend to keep them out of my writing life, they’ll inevitably creep in somewhere – usually in the form of tips about writing in spite of them. This is to be interpreted as an indication of my commitment to writing, and not as an indication of my lack of commitment to them. For they are wonderful.

Whatever brought you here, thank you for coming. Stay awhile.

20 thoughts on “Home

      • Thank you Antonia I surely will. Very much looking forward to meeting you too, and to the Curtis Brown afternoon, just getting a little nervous now though as my very first event approaches.

        Can’t wait to read your book once The Big Day arrives, how exciting! x

      • I thought so, I think you were one of my babysitters and I remember when you accidentally pulled the handle off a door onstage when acting in a play at the village hall, your reaction was so good everyone thought you’d done it on purpose. Keep up the writing.

      • I’m not sure I’d have done any babysitting in Benson – I was only thirteen when we left the village, and although my parents were involved with the Benson Players, I don’t remember ever making an appearance on the village hall stage. A shame as I’d love to claim the door handle story.

  1. So I was listening to Woman’s Hour. A collection of listeners had been chosen to interview Miranda Hart; among them, a certain Antonia Honeywell. The name instantly conjured a bright copper coil of hair and a poem about a hedgehog. You probably don’t remember me but I have always remembered you – you introduced me to Margaret Atwood! (figuratively, at least) and Feminism.
    The Ashcombe School, circa 1996: You delivered a General Studies lecture which began with a photograph of Miss Honeywell in a beautiful bridal gown.
    “This is the only wedding dress I will ever wear,” you began. “Marriage is an out-dated patriarchal institution…”
    I grinned like a gate to hear that you are now a married mother of four!
    It was still a great lecture.
    Looking back, you were probably an NQT and only a few years older than me. I know now that twenty years can alter the shade of a person’s Feminism as well as the shade of their hair.
    You kindly lent me The Handmaid’s Tale – a truly life changing book that altered the way I saw the world and my place within it. I am ashamed to say that I was a typical teenage ingrate. I failed to return the book and what I found inside it; a dismembered poem, written in mirror writing, torn into five or six neat strips. I wish I could remember more than the one line:
    “Nobody hugs a hedgehog.”
    Alas, I think I lost the book and the poem when I broke up with my then boyfriend. In their place, I gained a David Bowie album; not a fair trade.
    After Ashcombe, I went on to Nottingham University to study English. I then went on to Drama School and worked as an actor for a few years before going into film and TV production. I married a Welsh-speaking Welshman and we live in Carmarthen, South Wales. I have been a TV producer for the last few years but in between having babies – Lyra (4) and Atticus (10 months) – and being made redundant, I have returned to my first love, writing.
    After hearing your voice on Woman’s Hour, my curiosity was piqued and I googled you. I was thrilled to discover that you are a writer now and that your first novel will soon be on bookshelves everywhere. Thrilled because you are exactly where I want to be. And knowing somebody who has succeeded makes success seem a much more tangible possibility. Reading your excerpt of The Ship made me think of Atwood. It is a brilliant concept and I can’t wait to read the novel when it is released.
    Like you, I have always written. It is almost a compulsion, in the same way that some people need to go for a run, or to the gym to keep sane. I am at a different stage on my journey – no agent, no book deal. I have yet to even finish a draft of my first novel. But you have given me hope that it will happen.

    With very best wishes and congratulations on your success,

    Sarah Clapham

    • Oh my goodness. How wonderful to hear from you. Congratulations on all you’ve achieved – what a brilliant professional life. I hope the redundancy is making the space for you to write – it’s hard with little ones (and congratulations on those too; gorgeous names), but not impossible. And thank you for your generous words. I’m so glad The Handmaid’s Tale moved you (although I think the poem’s probably best consigned to the fires of history) and although I quite agree that you didn’t get a fair deal out of that break-up, you’re welcome to the book. I would love to know more about what you’re writing. Are you on Twitter at all? Antonia x

  2. I am on Twitter @sarahyngnghymru (which translates as Sarah in Wales!) but I’m afraid I’m a bit of a taker – I like to nosey around at other people’s posts and don’t post much myself. I really ought to get with the whole social media thing. Is there a way to private message you on here?
    Sarah x

  3. Hello, Antonia.

    Your old email address no longer works, which doesn’t surprise me, because you gave it to me at the Historical Novel Society conference in London several years ago. I have to post my message here instead.

    I’ve just been sent a review copy of The Ship. While I’m delighted to see that you’ve been published, I’m a reviews editor for the Historical Novels Review, and this one isn’t historical. I’ll read it myself, anyway!

    Best wishes,

    Alan Fisk

    • Hello! I remember that conference – it was such an important step for me, so although the HNR is rather an odd destination for a speculative dystopian novel, I’m delighted that The Ship has found its way to you. My e mail is now antoniahoneywell@me.com; thank you so much for tracking me down and getting in touch here.

  4. Hi Antonia ( or should that be Ms Honeywell?!),
    You may not remember me but i am an ex-student of yours from Watford Grammar. You taught me a-level english from 98 till 2000. I just recently stumbled upon your website. How brilliant that you are about to publish a novel! I can’t say i am surprised. I remember you well and have such fond memories of our lessons. You always stood out as an excellent teacher and someone who truly loved the written word. In truth, i have thought about you over the years not just as a teacher but as a strong female role model i was lucky to have. I am really thrilled for you and wish you all the luck in the world with this milestone.
    You certainly nurtured my own passion for literature. I left school to study broadcasting at leeds university but ended up switching to english and theatre studies. Which i adored. I had a great decade after leaving uni; travelled the world (I always was hedonistic), volunteered abroad and worked in television, community arts and the charity- education sector. Sadly life since has thrown a curveball as i have been ill with M.E. or chronic fatigue syndrome for several years; basically bed bound most of the time. It is certainty tough but i am positive i will get through it eventually.
    Reading can be a bit of a challenge (cognitive problems dominate) but i very much hope to be able to read your book (I love what I have seen so far). Judging from the synopsis i think it should meet my current criteria (easy to read, gripping, thought-provoking but not too dark and above all well written!)
    I have actually just started blogging a little myself too (melifeinablog.wordpress.com). Though really just a way to stay connected with my friends it still is good to communicate in some form and i’m hoping as i get stronger i may develop this further.

    Anyway i very much hope you can enjoy this exciting time in your life and i wish you every success. Will look out for your name in the papers!

    Best wishes
    Daniella Michaels

    P.S Do you own a tv yet?!

    • Daniella! how lovely to hear from you, and thank you for those very kind words. I remember you so well, and am not in the least surprised you went off around the world. I’m so glad you did that before the M.E. struck – I’m so sorry to hear about that, and hope with all my heart for a full recovery for you in the very near future. And thank you for wanting to read The Ship. Thank you so much for getting in touch. My e mail is antoniahoneywell@me.com – I’d love to hear more from you as and when you’re able to write. And yes, there is a television in the house now – I even watch it sometimes.

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