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Author, Avid Tweeter & Blogger, Lover of books, Teacher of Maths & Swimming, Mother, Speaks Spanish, Friend to many...

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Exciting Times!

I have finished the first book in this collection! Woo hoo! (The first book covers the period of 1841-1866, mainly focused on London & Jamaica).

After sharing it with a friend from school (thank you, Emma) and my editor, Adam, it is clear I have some work to do, but overall they both loved it.

Emma read it in a day, and Adam wrote this...

"First of all – congratulations! This cannot have been at all easy to write – not only the research on your family history, but also all the other general historical points that you have included. The novel therefore works in at least three dimensions – a ‘true story’ of family history, a slice of history about Jamaica the US and UK, and finally a gripping love story.

Because of all these different aspects I found the novel highly interesting and readable, and I do think it’s a step up from your previous fictional pieces (hope you don’t mind me saying). I would definitely encourage you to explore publishing options as I think this will be an interesting read for a wide audience."

Obviously, I am over the moon and am working hard to finish the next book. But, realistically it might take a while.

I now have to look into getting an agent - am I brave enough?

I have been given letter written by Emma, and diaries from her son, Charles (my great grandfather). The process of transferring the text to computer is long and disheartening. I'll get there!

It is amazing how well written the diaries are... they were definitely educated! It ha made me rethink Emma's past a bit. She was one smart lady!

Her son, Charles, was an incredible man - I really hope to be able to tell his story one day too!

These sketches are in his diary... I always thought I got my artistic side from my mother - perhaps, I am wrong!

I just wrote some extracts from Harriett's diary (Bolton & Emma's first daughter), which made me chuckle. I'm glad they had trouble controlling children back then too!

"That same Sunday evening Mother took us to Church, not the King’s Chapel, but a strange church we had never gone to before. It was a large square building with a huge gallery on each side. There was a black pulpit very high up and a smaller one or reading desk underneath. The minister read the big Bible at the reading desk and prayed with his hands lifted up, and went up into the big round pulpit to preach. He wore a black gown, not a white surplice such as Mr Magee had. There were no stained windows as in King’s Chapel and no organ. The people sat down to sing and stood up when the Minister prayed. The singing was slow and spiritless I thought without any organ to accompany it.

John and I thought it was very funny and giggled most of the time. We sat in one of the side aisles under a gallery. On the front of the gallery opposite was a large clock. It ticked very loudly when the Minister was praying or preaching. The pew we were in was a very long one with no cushions. There were not many people in church. Artie stood up on the seat and stared at the people behind us. 

Mother pulled his frock and made him sit down. Ems went to sleep on her lap. Baby was at home in bed. John & I whispered and bittered so much that Mother looked quite annoyed, at last she signed to John to come & sit the other side of her. Then I tickled Artie and made him squeal out, s mother sternly whispered to me to go & sit at the end of the pew by myself! Even there I contrived to catch John’s eye & we would both splutter with suppressed laughter. Poor Mother! She must have been quite ashamed of our bad behaviour! I took a dislike to the ugly church and its old minister and hoped we should never go there anymore!

After the service the Minister came up to Mother and shook hands. He looked at us & I thought that Mother was apologising for our bad conduct in church.

When we came out she told me very sternly that she wouldn’t tolerate such misconduct in Church in the future and if I couldn’t make up my mind to behave better I should be locked up in the coal cup-board instead of going to church!"

A stern, but fair, mother I think. I definitely think this will help me picture Emma for the second book!

Enjoy & apologies for not sharing more!

All the best,

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

At editing stage!

I am currently editing my new novel. Woo hoo...

I have decided to break it up into several novels, since I am already at over 70,000 words and I have not even reached half-way in the story-line.

As I read, I love it more... what the future hold for this collection only time will tell!

Here is another excerpt for you to enjoy. 

Emma, my great, great, grandmother has just been employed as a governess and her future hangs in the balance.

"Emma clutched her tiny bag. Her only possessions until she managed to get some of her things forwarded. She noticed a nightgown and a few other essentials on top of a wooden chair in the corner of the room. A bible sat on a small chest of drawers, and a bed sparsely covered with a white sheet and beige blanket took up most of the room.

She made her way over to a tiny window that overlooked the back of the house and wiped it slightly with her hand to remove the condensation. A chill ran through her bones as she did. This was home now. It was time to make the most of it."

Saturday, 9 May 2015

May? Seriously?

How on earth did that happen?

I wrote my last blog post in December! Truth is, I am over 60,000 words into my novel but it is nowhere near completion.

Writing historical fiction is like running a marathon. I would have to train for years before I ever tried one. This book is doing the same to me.

One tiny step at a time.

The problem is not only time but also the thought process. Writing a scene is so hard to visualise and at times I take a week just to think about how I will approach it.

I think I'll stick to normal fiction after this...

Here is a snippet for anyone interested! Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Vanessa :)

"The sight of the iron steam tug waiting on the Thames left Bolton with mixed feelings. It was not much to look at, with a set of twin central funnels that churned out black smoke and large wheels at either side, but it would serve as a taxi to the next destination. As he boarded, with a small bag to carry his meagre possessions, he glanced back at the Woolwich docks and wondered when, if ever, he would return. As they set off, Bolton decided to join some of the crew and wave at a few children racing alongside the ship.

The journey to Gravesend did not take too long and soon they came up alongside a much bigger vessel and got ready to disembark. The HM Adventure was surely not as famous as the vessel that took James Cook to record the first European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia, but it certainly took its fair share of recruits over the Atlantic Ocean. With its iron cladding and central sails it resembled a tin bath from his youth. Not as glorious as the beautiful tall ships he longed to sail aboard.

It seemed to take days before the ship was ready to sail. When it did, progress was slow and steady. Bolton made his way below deck and tried to find his brother, Emmott, who was also on board. The smell was already worse than that emanating from the Thames and he dreaded the thought of been stuck on board for about a month. He knew vermin was bound to lie in wait ready to pounce at night-time. No doubt this would be a long trip. The main consolation was the fact he was heading for the West Indies. It was surely going to be more exciting than gloomy, grey England."