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Why do I write?


"What good is love if it is not shared?"

(from "This Bitter Earth" by Dinah Washington)

Writing—like love—is nothing if it is not shared. Even the most private diary has an audience—an imaginary other to whom it is addressed. To write is to take words out of the realm of private thoughts, fears, and imaginings, to send them out into the world as an incarnate love offering. Like love, writing makes us vulnerable and exposes us in ways we would rather keep hidden. It sometimes goes wrong and brings disappointment and a sense of betrayal. To write is to reach out in trust to an unknown other with a yearning to communicate and to be understood, knowing that one might be rejected. But the ecstasy of communion is always worth the risk of rejection. 

Christabel Press—Writing for Life

"Some books are undeservedly forgotten. None are undeservedly remembered."

(W.H. Auden)

Independent publishing is a growing trend among writers weary of the competition to find agents and publishers in an over-crowded market. To go it alone without the support of an agent and a mainstream publisher is a risk and an act of self-exposure, but in the end it respects the judgement of readers over professsionals, who often put commercial considerations before the quality and significance of the manuscripts they receive. 

I published The Good Priest independently through Troubador and was delighted with the result. The response to that novel has inspired me to be a bit more daring about publishing under my own imprint. 

Christabel is the name of a female character in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem of the same name. The poem is an unsettling story of the encounter between good and evil, feminine virtue personified by Christabel and dark female sexuality personified by a supernatural woman called Geraldine. My name before marriage was Christina Bell, so Christabel has many resonances both as a name and as a story of female ambiguity in literary works.

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"... a compelling and captivating read ... Tina Beattie has captured an essence of the time with precise and knowledgeable detail." (Angus Shaw, Zimbabwean war correspondent

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"Powerful, moving, original and well-written. ... It is both bold and beautiful." (Sara Maitland)

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"… this absolute masterpiece … I would place this book in the top three fiction books I have read." (John McLorinan, GoodReads)

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