As a newish indie author, I have begun to understand the importance of reviews on Amazon etc. and now try to write them for about 80% of books I read. Why only 80%? There are some books where I feel I have nothing useful to say because they are so unmemorable.
I have just read a book which was so beautifully written, so insightful, so full of emotion that I was in tears for the last part of the book and yet it has a slew of 1 and 2-star ratings on Amazon (the largest majority by far are 5*) – but it just got me wondering how people could view a book in such different ways? Yes, the story was simple – two forty-something single parents literally bump into each other, fall head over heals for each other only to find they live on different continents. But the quality of the writing, the imagery, the way the story unfolded screamed 5* to me but to a few others it was boring, repetitive, sentimental, unsatisfactory. So it did not have the ending one hoped for, but that’s life sometimes. I want to shake the reader and ask, did you not love “the hedgerows now a knitted wall of prickled bare branches” or “her breathing trampolining on his skin right between his shoulder blades.” What about the introspection of the developing relationship, did you not consider it honest and moving? Why did you dismiss it so easily? The truth is, I suppose, that we are all different. A book that speaks volumes to me is irrelevant because of its lack of action or thrills to someone else. It reinforces the view that the author must write what they believe in.
Judge the book for yourself – Freya North – Turning Point
I said I was going to take the summer off and maybe do a free novella but it hasn’t worked out that way. I was sitting with my mother in the garden of her care home. It’s very rare for there to be much conversation between us, other than ‘Have you heard from x’ or ‘How are you feeling?’
So I watched the birds in a rare, cloudless sky. A lone seagull glided along the thermals just for pleasure, I’m sure. But it was the swallows or swifts which grabbed my attention. They looked to be playing tag, swooping low and the next moment high. They reminded me of all the footage of fighter planes in WW2 that you see in films. The first chapter came to me in a flash and less than a week later I have written two chapters and drafted a format for the book. It’s early days so the format may change.
I am lucky enough to have a 91-year-old aunt who lived through WW2 in the area. The females in my family are long-lived. She has an extraordinary memory, unlike my mother, so I will be pumping my aunt for detail and colour.
This little Victorian folly is called Ross Castle. It was built by the railroad company, which also built the pier. You could say the railway company invented Cleethorpes as a popular seaside resort, although there were attempts before the railway arrived. Ross Castle plays a part in the first chapter.
My book, Ranter’s Wharf deals with issues raised about the poor in the Victorian era. Reviewer Jessie Cahalin stated that she wanted to rant ‘on behalf of her ancestors’ when she read the book. Have we learnt anything about poverty? I found this old article
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/nov/20/scrounger-stigma-poor-people-benefits We have just called them a different name, scroungers or benefit cheats.
If you finish watching, I Daniel Blake, with tears in your eyes and anger in your heart, you will know what I mean. The so-called Gig Economy or Zero hours contracts are leading us back to poverty, not experienced since the 1930s. Film-makers like Ken Loach become our social conscience. In my small way, I use my family history to point out the similarities with the 19th century. What our ancestors fought for and how we still need to fight.
In Ranter’s Wharf, William says “Those who are rich and powerful will always find a way to be so. It is their nature.”
Someone told me recently that people always vote for policies which are best for them. It surprised me because I believe that we should vote for what is best for the the country and its citizens as a whole. Now I also believe we should vote to help the younger generations. Our generation has been favoured in a way that is totally at odds with those who finish university with £40,000 of debt.
John and Billy, in Ranter’s Wharf, fought for people to gain the vote. We must use it wisely.
I can imagine I will upset people with this offering. Last week we were on a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords; a treat after a really busy few months getting my latest book ready and the launch itself. We had been on one cruise before around New Zealand but when we got to Fjordland in South Island, the weather turned so bad that the captain would not risk the ship. As it was the week of the Costa Concordia tragedy, no one complained.
Although we loved the New Zealand trip, it left us wanting more and we also decided cruising wasn’t really our thing. Eighteen months ago we returned and did a road trip in NZ but only made it as far south as Queenstown. Continue reading
I’m always trying to find new ways of engaging readers. Plus, I also like to play with technology. Having a little time between book launch and a trip to Norway, I have investigated Adobe Spark. It is not a program you need to download.It’s all done via the internet. There are 3 possibilities of use. First is very similar to Canva.com and that is making social media images. Second is the page. I tried this out yesterday and was impressed with the ease of use and the look of the finished product. Take a look at the story I created on Arun Scribes Facebook Page.
Today I experimented with the video. Unfortunately, I hadn’t got any video clips to use but I used still shots. Again very easy to use. Take a look Let me know what you think.
First, we had the book launch on Sunday, which went like a dream. Lots of people, buzzing with author chat, cake and bubbly. This was followed by my author interview on the Love Books Group Blog. What a great blog that is. Amazing that I haven’t found it before.
On Thursday, I woke to the news that I had been awarded the Author Hour Book of the Week. Totally unexpected and delightful.
On Friday my author interview was scheduled for Mrs Average Evaluates. Another lovely blog. I will be sure to follow them in future. I won a twitter competition from Mrs Average and received Black Eyed Susans by Julia Hearberlin in the post. I’ve just finished reading it so will do a review on out Arun Scribes page in a day or two.
I am looking forward to the reviews of my own book later on.