Unlikely, unexpected and downright bizarre!
This month has brought so many surprises. We have had a heatwave, not quite as unprecedented as the reported tropical ( for Wales!!) 20 C but still pretty amazing. Surprises are all around me as I write…
Daisies vying with cyclamen for the most stunning show in the garden.
Everything has woken up, even my tortoise, Flash. Its a great feeling to see the year ahead rolling out and hope (perhaps vainly) that the worst of the winter is over!
My delight at finding Flash peeping out from his straw box, (I kept him in a fridge all winter) has not yet been quelled, although he doesn’t seem quite as excited by our reunion as I am!
I’m excited by some new developments in my writing life too…I’ve just completed a piece of
Continuing the theme of unlikely, I’m discovering the more I research the more unlikely
Another unlikely has recently been offered to me. I’ve been invited to speak to nurse and health care researchers at University College London on 8th March, International Women’s Day, and I will be focusing my presentation on how I’ve used my background as a nurse researcher to assess facts, search for evidence and then evaluate them. Are all facts equally valid? I’d say not! And then of course, are all facts equally interesting? probably not, but it’s great fun to embellish, that’s the creative bit.
I use lots of photographs to illustrate how things aren’t always how they seem, the one above here is an example, courtesy of Belfast Telegraph. I used several similar images in my second book ‘ Time for a Change’. The pictures really bring home the human side of the impact the troubles had on the province.
So on to my latest book…here are a few facts which need embellishment and perhaps you , the reader, can help me. It’s still very much work in progress, two main characters, brother and sister, have a close relationship. They are based on my ancestors, real people, but not necessarily of great interest outside of our family. On searching through some archives I found that the sister, some fifteen years the elder, was recorded as
What shall I make of that story? Perhaps the sister was, in reality, his mother or perhaps it’s simply that as the elder she was expected to provide for her younger brother. Shall I make him an ungrateful ne’er do well, or a loving sibling? Shall I have her continually baling him out to the detriment of her own wellbeing or shall I have both of them growing old together comfortably settled on the other side of the pond with their families?
At this stage it’s all to be played for! I have prepared the ground, established the characters and the timeline, cleared the decks with those relatives with whom I am in contact, but I’ve not yet put much meat on their lovely bones. My proposal is that if you would like to do some of that I’d love to hear from you! email me; email@example.com
Why do I ask? Well, having written two books with some overlapping characters, I’ve been delighted to hear, from both readers and reviewers, that those characters seem to have taken on a life of their own. People often ask me’ what happened to Agnes, or did Kitty ever go home? was Teresa happy ever after or did she continue to kick up her heels?
This time why shouldn’t I write a book which lets readers contribute. So please, tell me what would you find more interesting… a young mother having to leave her illegitimate baby behind, breaking her heart but being forced to emigrate to America without any support?
Or a young woman who leaves for a new life, not looking back, glad to leave the ‘old’ life behind. And what should we do about the baby’s father? Is he in or out?
One of the most fun things about writing fiction; the author can asorb unexpected events into writing and ask ‘what would happen if …and why not?’