Tuesday, 17 October 2017

An Afternoon with Three Authors

I am very pleased to be able to tell you that on Sunday October 29th, from 2pm until 4pm, I have been invited to take part in an event with two other authors at The Gallery in Slaithwaite.  So let me introduce them to you...


Tim Taylor, fellow Crooked Cat author and creator of Zeus of Ithome, will be talking about the inspiration behind, and reading from, his latest political thriller, Revolution Day.  Not that long ago, Tim was subjected to my detailed questioning about his writing as he very kindly agreed to appear on my blog as a guest.  You can read the interview here.  It will be great to finally meet him in person and if you want to know more about his book, then checkout Tim's  webpage.





Christina Longden, author of Mind Games and Ministers, is a member of the Holmfirth Writers' Group.  Chris will talking about her writing and reading from her recently published second book, A Cuckoo in the Chocolate.  Chris writes romantic comedies that have a political and satirical edge.  Hmm - sounds interesting doesn't it?  One thing I'm sure of though, no dratted cuckoo is going to get anywhere near my chocolate!  You can find out more about Chris on her Facebook Page.

And then there will be me trying my best to keep up with this auspicious company!  I will be introducing my recently published second novel, Merle, which follows on from Messandrierre and begins a few months after the end of book 1.  featuring my detective, Jacques ForĂȘt, I will be talking a little about the location and my inspiration for the novels and reading a couple of short extracts.  But I won't be giving away the solutions to the crimes!  You can  find out more about Merle here.

It will an enthralling afternoon of politics, intrigue, crime, comedy and romance.  And to further enhance your enjoyment will be the wonderful surroundings of The Gallery, run by furniture maker, Wendy Beattie.  It is an incredible space!  Check out the website here.  Admission to the event is free and there is a cafĂ©, so you can enjoy the readings with a favourite piece of cake and a cuppa.

If you are in the area, please stop by and say hello.  The Gallery is on Britannia Road, Slaithwaite, HD7 5HE - go through the Emporium to the door beyond and you'll find us.

Hope to see you there...

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

A camping conundrum...

Montbazon from the bridge over the Indre
...I'm recently returned from France and there has been a question that has been circling my mind all the time I've been on the other side of the channel.  Let me explain...

I've always camped from being in my very early twenties.  And OK, at twenty and twenty-one, money was not plentiful so maybe camping was an affordable solution. But the need for a cheap holiday was not, and still isn't, the real reason I took to camping and still use campsites.  For me it's all about the location, the view and the opportunity to go just about anywhere, to stay how long I want and to move on when I decide I've had enough.  So, take my pitch at Montbazon.  A small bustling town just south of Tours with a campsite on the banks of the river Indre.

The view from my pitch
On arrival one of the first things I do is take a walk around the site to see where the sun is, where the best view is, where the nearest neighbour will be...  And I normally pick a pitch that gives me a great view, that gives me some space between me and whoever else is parked nearby and that is not near the sanitary block.  Sanitary blocks on campsites kind of all look pretty much alike - so when you've seen one, you've seen them all!.  At Montbazon, I picked a pitch that overlooked the river and set my rig so that I could sit in the shade with only that view in front of me.  And, when I lost the sun in the very late afternoon I wasn't worried that it happened about ten/fifteen minutes earlier than some of the other spots behind me.  Why?  Because for the sake of taking about 15 steps in front of my pitch I could take my chair, my book or a glass of wine and sit on what I decided to call Plage d'Anglais.

And the conundrum?  In the two weeks that I was there only two other campers came and parked in the spots in the area where I was camped.  Everyone else - and there were a significant number of people who came and went and stayed for a few days - all clustered themselves around the sanitary block.  Maybe they were just being practical, I don't know.  Perhaps they thought it would give them an advantange for first in the showers in the morning.  Maybe!  But after a few days I noticed another aspect to this, what I considered to be, odd behaviour.  They all set their rigs in exactly the same direction!
My view from Plage d'Anglais


And the camping conundrum?  Why does anyone want to sit facing the bog wall when they can have a view like this...

Answers on a postcard, or in the comments box below, will be very gratefully accepted.


I will be back with more posts from Montbazon, and other interesting places, in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Please welcome friend and author...

... Christine Hornsby.  Thanks for visiting Chris and, from your many books, which scene would you say you enjoyed writing the most and why?

Oh, that’s an easy one.  About a third of the way into “Man out of Jail” I introduce an Italian Internee.  He had been only a shadowy character before – one described in bias, rumour and counter rumour.  When Ben, my protagonist eventually meets him they experience an immediate connection.
Being Italian, the prisoner of war was totally different from anyone Ben had ever seen or known before.  In pigeon English and with Gino’s expressive body language and ebullience they were able to communicate.  They seemed to have an immediate understanding of one another’s predicament.  At home in London, Ben had been bullied and that continued to be so.  Gino was always being castigated by the locals because he was different and a representative of his country’s allegiance to Germany.  They are both far away from home.  When Gino speaks so warmly of his mother and the village where he was brought up and his life in Monteregione, it takes Ben back to the Jewish influences in his past life.  They experience a shared nostalgia and empathy for one another’s current circumstances.  Alienated from everything familiar I tried to describe their unspoken togetherness and understanding.  Being young and missing his deceased father, Ben begins to see Gino as a father figure.  Not that he feels isolated or too uneasy as an evacuee on the farm but even before they met, Ben felt an instinctive understanding of the prisoner of war.  Finally, of course, there is a shared love of art; in Ben’s case cartoons.

I have presented Gino as a warm, thoughtful and congenial character so the question begs “Why are the locals antagonistic towards him?”  But Gino is not simply a character I introduce as a distraction.  No, he is pivotal to the plot.  In his own way, he effects everyone.  His warm character is juxtaposed not only with an angry, cantankerous farmer but also with the prejudices rained against him by the locals. Even so, I have given him an unfathomable quality... a mystery surrounds him and it is a mystery that my feisty gran character and Ben need to unravel.

I chose my internee to be Italian rather than German or Japanese for example because I love Italy, its people and the landscapes.  I love their warmth, their art, their culture but also because I thought such a person would exude a natural warmth, one that Ben could respond to because he is a sensitive character coming to terms with his own sense of alienation due to his Jewish background.

Thanks Chris, most interesting.  You can follow Chris on her website and on facebook