Elizabeth is Missing

My book club read Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey last month. It reminded me somewhat of Mark Haddon’s Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime. This time the protagonist is not an autistic teenager but an elderly woman with dementia. It’s not a book to read lightly and with various medical issues to do with friends and relations, it was not a book I could read with much enjoyment. However, this is a first novel which leaves me in awe of the author. I can only imagine that she had a huge plan above her desk where she plotted every scene. This is a woman, Maud,  whose memory is shot to pieces, whose mind is playing all kind of tricks, where the people around her won’t listen. The author’s understanding of the disease showed both compassion and huge insight.

One of my book club members, mentioned that people with dementia often focus on an unresolved issue in their lives. In this case, Maud’s sister disappeared not long after the war and Maud aches to know what happened. At the same time, Elizabeth, her friend is not living in her house. What’s happened to her?

To me, while the book darts back and forth between Mau’s youth and her old age, the insight into a world where nothing makes sense anymore, where memory is as transient as a record on repeat play, is particularly poignant. You can understand the rage as we no longer go gently into that good night. This book should be read.

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New Books Progressing

I have been working on my granddaughter’s book and, although I have no idea if it will be worth publishing, I can see the end of the first draft. It will need beta testing once edited, to see if it will hold a child’s interest. Writing for children is a whole different genre and while I worked as a children’s librarian for many years, the style of writing has changed enormously. Humour, fast-paced and full of action is what is wanted. I am sad that my granddaughter, who recently finished reading all of Harry Potter, has said she doesn’t think she will ever read anything as exciting again. She’s 8 years-old. It’s not true, I hope.DSC_9743

I am 5.500 words into my new book. I have no idea where it will go. That’s what being a Pantser means. I am writing what comes into my mind. This evening, I rewrote a lot of it. I must move on to see what happens next. I have the feeling it may be time-slipping into Victorian London at some point. This man will feature. Who is he, what is he? I want to hear your best guesses.

On Monday I gave my first talk entitled Secrets and Lies; the story of an amazing Australian family. It was a small group of elderly ladies who settled down to listen. I took my laptop and a  projector which fits into my palm to show images. The first issue was there was no black-out and we had to move from the foyer into a modern church which was barely darker. Luckily they could all see my laptop screen rather than squinting at the large screen. I spoke for an hour without leaving me time to do any reading from one of my books but they were interested and engaged. A good learning experience for me.

The most interesting thing that I learnt was that the Townswomen’s Guild began in Hayward’s Heath, West Sussex, as did the Women’s Institute, by the Suffragettes and the TG adopted their colours.  I love these little snippets of history.

I have just finished reading The Singing Line by Alice Thomson which my friend found for me in a second-hand shop. What a find! It’s the story of how the telegraph line connecting Britain with Australia was strung through the middle from Darwin to Adelaide. An amazing feat considering only Stuart’s expedition had explored the centre before. He returned an almost blind and broken man, but Charles Todd had a vision and nothing was going to deter him from completing the line.

I love that great, great uncle Charles Dugmore Timms followed the same route 55 years later when he built the Old Ghan up to Alice Springs. Unfortunately, they had to move it because the line was so often delayed due to floods.

Posted in Australia, Book Talks | 3 Comments

Oh, What a Busy Month!

Where to begin? It’s been another crazy month. I have begun another book, apart from the children’s one I am writing. This one will mix the present day and the past. I have no title, my first three chapters are planned out but beyond is a mystery to myself and any future readers. Could it be a time-slip? It’s possible. Stay tuned.

The next four months are going to be horrendously busy. On Monday, I am speaking to the Townswomen’s Guild in Chichester on the theme of Secrets and Lies and how that has led to writing a saga spanning four generations. I will let you know how it goes.twitter-history

I have also been busy with planning for our events at the Chichester Festival. We are running five events.  Promote That Book; A Glimpse of Life on writing winning short stories, the one opposite, a Ghost Tour of Chichester and a creative even for children.

Yesterday, I interviewed the lovely, Beryl Kingston, for a radio show. As a successful author of thirty books with a million sold, she is the most delightful interviewee and full of stories. She has thirteen more up her sleeve which should get her to her centenary. You can read all about her here.

If that weren’t enough, I have written a short story for the Chindi book of Christmas Stories set in Sussex which we are compiling. Entries are due in by May 31st. They will then be judged blind and around 15 chosen. I hope the book will be available for sale by the autumn. Which cover do you prefer?

Posted in Festival Events | 2 Comments

Author, Carol Thomas, is my guest today

Fellow Chindi Author Carol Thomas is celebrating the release of her new book, Maybe Baby, CT4 and I have invited her to talk about it on my blog today. I have it on my kindle to read and I know I won’t be disappointed. Her last book, Purrfect Pet Sitter, had me in stitches. Carol’s observation of the trials of modern family life is so true.

Welcome, Carol. Tell me more about your book and where the action takes place.

Thanks, Rosemary. Maybe Baby is the sequel to The Purrfect Pet Sitter (Lisa Blake book #1), published by Ruby Fiction. While each book can be read as a standalone story, Maybe Baby revisits the characters readers have enjoyed in The Purrfect Pet Sitter as they move into the next phase of their lives. It is the story of what happens after the happy ever after …

Lisa Blake is back with her first love, she’s reunited with her best friend Felicity, and life is looking good; even her pet sitting skills are improving – everybody knows you can’t believe all you read in the local Gazette, don’t they?

Felicity is on the cusp of achieving her perfect wife-mum-life balance; Her husband, Pete, is being wonderfully attentive, and her four children are getting older and wiser (sometimes too much wiser) by the day.

But with secrets to be revealed and discoveries to be made, it seems life is full of unexpected surprises

Just like The Purrfect Pet Sitter, the story is mostly set in and around Littlehampton, in West Sussex on the south coast of England. With its mix of town, countryside and seaside it is the ideal setting for a heroine whose job takes her out and about in the local area.

However, not all of the action takes place in England. Lisa Blake’s parents have a home in Samoëns in the Rhone Alps region of France, where beautiful chalets are set amongst the mountains. In The Purrfect Pet Sitter Lisa visited her parents for Christmas, when she returns to France to celebrate her thirtieth birthday, in Maybe Baby, she discovers a different landscape:

CT3“The air was clear. The only sounds were the chirping of crickets as they stridulated in the surrounding grass, and the faint rush of meltwater tumbling down the face of a distant mountain. As the two of them stood soaking in the view, Lisa couldn’t help but compare the verdant late spring surroundings with the winter landscape she had seen during her visit in December when snow had dominated the view.

Now the sky was a crisp light blue and cotton wool clouds hung low across the lush mountains. Lisa could see the ski runs she had watched being prepared in the winter, now slick carpets of green streaking down between the trees.”

Researching this part of the book was a pleasure. CT2Holidaying in the area with my husband and children enabled me to capture the spectacular sights and sounds, as we were spoilt with mountain views, beautiful countryside and stunning lakes. While I am not as adventurous as my husband and children when it comes to exploring, I was certainly inspired creatively. Some of my favourite scenes in Maybe Baby happen during Lisa’s trip to France, as revelations are made and relationships blossom; I hope readers will enjoy them as much as I did while writing them.

 

Thank you, Carol. It looks a fabulous place to visit and write in CT1and congratulations on the publication of Maybe Baby. I really look forward to reading it.

 

Buying Links:

Amazon: http://getbook.at/MBAmazon

Ruby Fiction: https://www.rubyfiction.com/dd-product/maybe-baby/

 

About the author:

Carol Thomas lives on the south coast of England with her husband, four children and lively Labrador. She has been a playgroup supervisor and taught in primary schools for over fifteen years, before dedicating more of her time to writing. Carol is a regular volunteer at her local Cancer Research UK shop. She has a passion for reading, writing and people watching and can often be found loitering in local cafes working on her next book.

 

Website and Social Media Links:

http://carol-thomas.co.uk

http://facebook.com/carolthomasauthor

https://www.instagram.com/carol_thomas2/

 

Blog:

http://carol-thomas.co.uk/blog

Posted in Guest Author | 7 Comments

A Beautiful Weekend

Lovely warm spring weather is forecast. Time to get out in the garden and away from the laptop for a change. I have been driven mad today by freezing pages, crashing, WordPress changing its format so I no longer know how to do things. I don’t mind improvements but I hate it when fundamentals are altered.

I suppose in time I will understand it but at the moment I feel I need a tutorial. Yes, I know, there’s bound to be something on Youtube. I don’t know how I did this but the image has inserted and wrapped after numerous attempts. Make notes, I tell myself too late. A glass of wine calls. I should sit on the chair in the arbour and chill.

I was delighted this week to be included on NF Reads website. You can read my interview here

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The Year Ahead

I’ve had a busy couple of weeks with visitors and attending the launch of Chifest 2019. Now I have to get down to work. My to-do list is almost longer than me (my fault for being short). Chidest

Last night our group of Chindi authors met for a very useful meeting with Gill and Roger Kay from Ingenue Magazine. I apologise for the pile of books they took away to review. It was great to put faces to names of our new authors too.Chindi Authors 2019 02 We have a very busy year coming up with five events in the Chichester Festival, at least one more Littlehampton Ghost tour, our book stall at the Arundel Festival and no doubt other live events. We are also producing a book of short stories with a Sussex, Christmas theme. Closing date is May 31st and then begins the choosing, editing and compilation.

I have had some fabulous new reviews for Sadie’s Wars too. One I was especially pleased about was from a guy who lived in the Wilcannia district of New South Wales complementing me on my descriptions. It’s all down to research.

I am hoping the Sussex Roses from the Heart project will soon be underway. A key women’s organisation in Sussex has said they want to use it for MADE Museum bonnets on the wall (detail)their craft focus this year. I have sent them the list of all the female convicts transported from Sussex to Australia and will be researching those convicts with a view to an exhibition at a major local museum. I am so excited that these women’s stories will be made known.

Lastly, I have three talks booked at Townswomen’s Guilds and at Grimsby Writers. One is on Roses from the Heart, another is titled Secrets and Lies, adventure in family history. Chindi authors is producing a leaflet called Chindi Speaks with a list of authors and the talks they can offer. We aim to produce sample videos of talks so organisations can see before they commit. Exciting times.

Posted in Chindi Authors, Festival Events, Miscellaneous | 2 Comments

Overwhelmed

Maybe it was the shingles jab I had at the beginning of the week that has me feeling utterly exhausted. I like to think of myself with boundless energy, slaying the dragons of apathy and an empty retirement.

Didn’t I stand on the packed train all the way to London last Saturday to march for the only way out of the mess that Britain is now imarchln – a new People’s Vote? Did I not stand for three hours listening to principled politicians, broadcasters,  doctors,  nurses, our youth, pleading for a second chance to vote? Did I not come home energised, hopeful and with renewed purpose?

On Sunday, I agreed a contract for my first book, Search for the Light, to be made into an audiobook. A new venture and an exciting one to hear my words come alive. Was I not ecstatic that some organisation has bought a total of 48 paperbacks of The Digger’s Daughter and Sadie’s Wars? This surely means either a bookshop or library order. I should be on top of the world, but I feel drained.

I have managed to finish the first draft of a short story to submit to a new project, a Chindi book of Sussex Christmas stories. Entries are welcome until May 31st and then comes the job of selecting stories, editing and formatting the book – to be ready for Christmas.

I am also preparing talks for two Townswomen’s Guilds during the summer and have just received an offer to talk To Grimsby Writers (when I am passing through).

What I really want to get back to is writing a new novel, but first I need to finish the children’s story I promised my granddaughter and prepare talks for the Chichester Festival talks in June and the Arundel Festival in August.

Umm! Has something got to give?

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments