I get inspired by the oddest things – I’ve said before that it can be as simple as an ancient dye, a splinter of wood, a fragment of cloth and so on.
I say to myself, ‘There’s a story in that…’
All writers will agree that a significant part of their time when they’re not writing, is quietly observing the human condition. The seasonal holiday gives one the greatest chance to do that as the jigsaw of characters falls across one’s path.
As Ernest Hemingway said in Death in the Afternoon:
Oh, crikey! I’ve observed the good, the bad and the downright ugly!
Some days are just like that, aren’t they?
A bit like Christmas and birthdays?
Today was one such.
I love Fridays because I go to my embroidery group, and it’s a forerunner to the weekend – no busy-ness, no appointments, just a kind of ‘aaahhh’ day.
But this Friday was a little bit extra-special.
I was reading some commentary on Facebook detailing people’s preference as readers and writers in respect of love scenes in novels, In this case romance novels. Do we like raw, flesh-toned intimacy with all the bells and whistles or do we prefer the subtler approach – the ‘less is more’ approach?
As a writer of historical fiction, one appreciates all the grand historical times – the Greeks, Romans, Dark Age Britain, Vikings, Byzantines, Renaissance. Sweeping, glorious stories that are the stepping stones of the world as we know it today.
But sometimes, history is miniscule. And personal.
I first met Kelly Gardiner during the organisation of the Historical Novel Society of Australasia Conference happening in Melbourne in the first week of September.
One of the nice things for me about this conference, has been touching base with writers in Australia and New Zealand because, to date, most of my professional relationships have been with European and American hist.fict and hist.fantasy writers.
Kelly is appearing on a panel about why we authors write about far-flung shores, why we bypass our homeland in favour of other places.
Kelly accepted my invitation to appear on Desert Island Books and I leave you with she and her rather wonderful list.
I was honestly wondering how long it would take any of my Desert Island castaways to include a book on building sandcastles and/or boats amongst their lists. Naturally, it took an Australian to do it!
Colin Falconer is a writer of the most excellent and fast-paced historical fiction which is how I met him. And I just had to invite him to join the Castaways Club. Apart from anything else, I wondered if his response would be as sharp and witty as his blog.
The beach is yours, Colin!
I would like to have opened this segment with a review of Matthew Harffy’s latest book in The Bernicia Chronicles – Killer of Kings. But it sits waiting on my Kindle for me to finish my current reading. I have no doubt it will maintain Matthew’s reputation as a compelling writer of Seventh Century Britain. Matthew’s hero, Beobrand, has quite taken over from Cornwell’s Uhtred of Bebbanburg for me. Beobrand has such dimension and depth and wondering what influences Matthew may have had in the creation of such a well-rounded character, it’s intriguing to see where Matthew’s interests lie as he is marooned far from home on a Desert Island. I heard that westerns may make an appearance. Westerns? Matthew?
I’m a very slow reader of fiction.
Partly because I spend a great deal of time reading non-fiction for research. For time off, I either embroider or tumble into bed exhausted at night and manage just 3-4 pages of the fiction novel I might be reading.
I haven’t counted the books I’ve read this year and will just list those in my library which appealed the most to me as a reader and writer. I’m not a believer in listing books which have not been what I had hoped or which I was unable to finish. I think it’s unfair to the author who may well by liked by many other readers and who has a brand and who has worked hard to pull off a good novel. Reading ‘likes’ are completely subjective and so below is my very subjective list…