Scaling the Dragon’s Back by Karen Patrick
In September 2012 I took part in a trek of part of the Great Wall of China. Quite simply the experience changed my life. Awe inspiring scenery, memorable experiences and personal challenges. I will admit at times I found it difficult even doubting I would be able to complete the trek. I was driven on to prove something to myself and by not wanting to let down my chosen charity. And frankly there was an occasion on one day of the trek when it was actually easier to continue on and up than to go back and down the Wall.
To celebrate the wonder of the Great Wall, and capture my experiences not only of the trek but of seeing the Terracotta Warriors and the sights of Beijing; and to continue to support Dementia UK, Admiral Nurses I wrote a book. My experiences been published as an ebook sales of which continue to support dementia care.
I do hope my book is more than a travelogue and that as well as entertaining the reader it provides an insight into the realities of life in modern China, its culture and a little of the political history which has helped shape the country today.
WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT
Scaling The Dragon’s Back is the author’s account of her experiences of her visit to China in 2012. The purpose of her trip was to participate in a charity trek of part of The Great Wall to raise funds for a dementia charity providing specialist dementia care.As well as being a humorous and entertaining account of her adventures on the trek the book also includes the authors observations of her time in Beijing, Xian (the ancient capital of China and start of the Silk Road), and of seeing the Terracotta Warriors.Scaling The Dragon’s Back provides the reader with an insight into city and rural life in China and engagingly informs the reader of the issues, cultural and political history affecting life in China today.
Author Profile – Karen Patrick
Karen lives in the beautiful university city of Cambridge, UK.
After graduating from University in the 1980’s Karen has spent most of her career in human resources (HR) via the IT sector, and a spell working in the National Health Service. After periods working in employee benefits, recruitment and then operational HR she has specialised in employee relations and in recent year’s dispute resolution in the workplace working with both organisations and individuals. Karen is a qualified community and workplace mediator and conflict coach. In her local community Karen volunteers her time as a community mediator and she is a Board Member of a Cambridge based Housing Association.
Karen is a Co-Director of arc resolutions which provides conflict coaching, mediation, conciliation, and termination of contract negotiation to the parties involved in a conflict to resolve the dispute at an early stage avoiding, where appropriate, costly litigation.
Over the years Karen has written a number of articles for professional magazines and journals. As well as writing for her work Karen has always enjoyed writing for pleasure as a hobby. Karen would describe herself as one of life’s observers.
Karen kept a diary of her experiences when visiting China, the main purpose of the holiday was to raise funds for a Dementia charity which provides support the family and main carers of those suffering from dementia. She decided to publish her account of her trip as a way of continuing to support and raise awareness of the work of the charity.
When she is not working Karen enjoys listening to music, reading (both fiction and non-fiction), travel, walking and socialising with friends.
Karen’s interests are history, politics and current affairs which account for much of her reading. She lists among her favourite novelists, DH Lawrence, Henry James, Lynne Reid Banks and John Le Carre. She is particularly fond of the poetry of Byron and WB Yeats. Among Karen’s favourite books she would list, Dr. Zhivago, The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Little Drummer Girl and Konin.
New to blogging, having come to it only recently, Karen is now building a travel blog, starting with China and Scaling The Dragon’s Back, where she will go on to publish accounts of her other travel experiences.
Buy the book at Amazon for Kindle and for all other ebook formats from http://
Overall, I think it is a fantastic book – your anecdotes add humour and your historical references make for a both enjoyable and informative read. The book offers plenty of advice to people who may be interested in taking part in the climb themselves.
Beezeebooks Welcomes Karen Patrick author of Scaling the Dragon’s Back,
Karen has agreed to answer some question for our readers today, here goes
Q.Who are your greatest support – who believes in you?
A. A couple of close friends who keep telling me to ‘go for it’ knowing how much pleasure I get from writing.
Q.Where do you write from? e.g. Kitchen table? Study? Bedroom? Garden shed?
A. I have recently moved into a first floor apartment. Prior to this I used to write in my study looking out onto my enclosed rear garden while watching the local wildlife; birds, squirrels and the occasional fox. All were very welcome distractions.
These days I write in the study / spare bedroom of my apartment. The room, which has a large window, is very light and airy and looks out onto a green open area which I am finding is condusive to writing.
Q.Do you write at set times e.g. morning, afternoon, evening, very early morning?
A. No, not really. I dislike routine and generally try to avoid it. Although I do find I am often at my most creative early in the day between 6.00 am and 10.00 am. Maybe this is because this is before ‘noise’ (emails, telephone) distracts me or maybe as the normal working day starts I begin to feel guilty that I should be working at something else.
Q.What motivates you to write?
A. For me the sheer enjoyment of writing, I have always loved to write since schooldays. As an only child, before tablets and the internet, I lived much of my childhood in my imagination, something I have continued into adulthood. I want to capture all of the stories floating around in my mind while I still can. A few years ago a life event made me re-evaluate my own life and what I wanted to get from it. I decided to step off the organisational 24/7 ‘merry go round’ and concentrate on the things that challenge and motivate me; writing and the alternative conflict resolution business I started with my business partner.
Q.What are the biggest distractions to your writing time?
A. Apart from the usual Emails and the like, seeing to the necessities of living and lunches with friends are my biggest distractions, as is marketing and working in my new business a couple of days a week. I hope in time to be able to eek out a living from my writing and new business venture.
Q.What part of the world do you live in?
A. I live in England. I am so lucky to live in the beautiful, diverse and vibrant university city of Cambridge. I have a car but rarely use it as I walk or cycle (fortunately Cambridge is very flat!) everywhere and London is only 45 – 50 minutes away by train. Living in Cambridge means I naturally have a healthy outdoor lifestyle. I never tire of living in this wonderful city, there is so much going on throughout the year. An added bonus is that my friends love to come to visit me here which is great. As of the end of last year I live in an apartment which is about 15 minutes’ walk from the historic centre and shops, a delightful walk along by the Botanical Gardens and Hobson’s Conduit.
Q.Are you from there originally?
A: No. I was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in the north east of England which is close to the beautiful Lake District and Scottish borders. It was my privilege as a child and as a young adult to get too spend a lot of time in these two areas and in beautiful rural Northumberland with its dramatic coastline, numerous castles, Hadrian’s Wall, and all its natural beauty. Northumberland is the best kept secret in England although perhaps less so since one of its most impressive castles, Alnwick Castle, was used as the setting of Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter films.
I still go back to the area regularly to visit my mum and catch up with the friends I have in the area.
Originally I moved to the south of England for work and lived in London and Surrey before settling in Cambridge.
Q.Have you ever suffered from writers’ block?
A. No, not yet but it is still very early days in terms of my writing career.
Q.How do you overcome it?
A. I imagine I would do something to try to stimulate my mind, perhaps a walk across the meadow to Granchester or a walk along the river.
Q.Have you taken any writers’ courses and have they been worthwhile?
A. Many years ago I did sign up for a creative writing course but found I only attended a couple of classes probably because I didn’t find the tutor was particularly inspiring.
Q.Have you ever belonged to a writers’ group? And what value did you gain from it?
A. I do intend to join a writing group in order to meet like-minded people and to develop my appreciation of different writing styles. Yes, I must find the time do something about this…
Q.Is self-publishing satisfying enough for you or would you prefer to be traditionally published?
A. At the moment having only published one ebook I find it a little early to say. I do think I would feel I had finally arrived if I had a book traditionally published but it doesn’t seem to be a necessity today.
I would love it if someday a scriptwriter spotted one of my stories and made it into a film or TV programme. I won’t be holding my breath!
Q.Have you ever tried to find an agent?
A. No. I have never felt that confident.
Q.What would you expect an agent could do for you that you can’t do for yourself?
A. Access to industry knowledge and an extensive network. The advantage of knowing who to talk to and the appropriate channels in which to market and publicise my work.
Q.Do you think you can make a full-time career being an Indie writer?
A. That would be my dream. However, a useful income stream would do nicely.
Q.How long have you been writing?
A. Since childhood for my own amusement and enjoyment, mainly travelogues and notes made of major events.
Having kept a journal of my visit to China and trek of part of The Great Wall fundraising for charity I decided to write it up as an ebook as a way of continuing to support my chosen charity.
Q.From where did you get the idea for this current story?
A. From the interesting adventures I had whilst on the trek.
Q.How did you go about developing it?
A. I kept a notebook of my visit and on returning from the trek supplemented my notes with a lot of research into Chinese culture and socio-political history which I used to inform and hopefully entertain readers. I wanted the book to be more than just a travelogue and hoped to pass on some of my fascination with and understanding of Chinese history to the reader.
Q.What is your next project?
A. I am writing my first novel which is a ghost / mystery story. At the moment I am typing up the first draft. I still put pen to paper first. I hope to have it ready to publish at the end of this year.
Rosie Keating, Community Fundraising Team, Dementia UK