Category Archives: Channel Islands

Reading and Travelling for Inspiration and Renewal

Renewal

This summer and autumn are all about having a refreshing pause for healing and renewal of mind, body and spirit. My two main interests in life are writing and gardening and I found myself with a strained wrist back in the spring ~ possibly RSI ( but who can see a doctor these days?)

What did I need? A break from the garden and sitting at my PC.

What better way to do it than to read and to travel now the world has opened up a bit and while it is safe to do so?

The Extraordinary Island of Iona

In my next blog posts I will share with you posts about my journeys and book reviews of those I’ve picked up and enjoyed along the way.

Book Reviews

I’ve read some gripping and sometimes unusual yarns this summer including:

  • Songbirds by Christy Lefteri
  • The Stationery Shop of Tehran by Marjan Kamali
  • The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea
  • Interleaved Lives by Roderick Hart
  • Travels with Epicurus by Daniel Klein

I will share reviews of these books with you over the coming weeks. As I have often said, ‘in order to enrich the quality of your own writing it is vital to read a variety of books, helping you to hone your own skills. Meanwhile you will also enjoy being absorbed in the literary world in which you hope to share just a small part when you publish your own novels.

Islands of Inspiration

It may be a coincidence, but we have been visiting some new and some very familiar islands this summer:

  • Sifnos and Tinos ~ beautiful Greek islands.
  • Iona ~ a favourite of mine over the years for spiritual renewal and refreshment. An extra special place.
  • The Island of May ~ A fortunate recent trip to an island in the Forth estuary, renowned for its seabirds, especially puffins at this time of the year.
  • Alderney, Channel Islands UK ~ An island close to my heart and the original inspiration for my writing novels.
  • Guernsey and Jersey

There may be more.

My aim is to share the experiences with you and how they have inspired me in my life and more particularly in my writing.

Leave a comment

Filed under Alderney, Book reading, Book reviews, Channel Islands, Fife, Scotland, Writing

Diana’s Book Review ~ The Girl From the Island by Lorna Cook

I’m still following the theme running through many books I choose to review:

  • They tell a tale linked to history
  • The books are often set in two time periods
  • The location is a place either I have an affection for, or one I would dearly love to visit.

Why did I choose this book?

The Girl from the Island was set on Guernsey, the island where Grandpa and Great Grandfather were born. They moved to Woolston Southampton when Grandpa was a toddler but Great Grandfather eventually returned, but died there during WW2. This book is set in modern times, but also on the island during WW2. I know this history well, but was intrigued to see if another novel could be written to grip my attention. It did!

Did you feel empathy for any particular character?

Where can I start? Of the two sisters during WW2 it was Persephone I was drawn to most; her willingness to put her life on the line for the cause; her tug of emotions as she tried to distance herself from the man she had fallen in love with ten years before, but who had arrived at her house, a Nazi who was taking over her late mother’s bedroom. What a complex but wonderful character.

Is there a lasting thought or memory of the book which remains with you?

One scene I just cannot share with you, because it would be a spoiler but it was poignant, tragic, full of tension ~ everything really to draw me closer to Persy and like her even more intensely. You’ll just have to read the book to find out.

Available on Amazon

Leave a comment

Filed under Book reading, Book reviews, Channel Islands

Who’d have thought it? ~ 60!

images3As I approach my 60th birthday, in between a dream of a lifetime trip to Venice and a quiet celebration with my husband, mum and dad up here in Scotland (God willing), I have been reflecting on my ‘path’ to this moment in time in my writing life.

I have penned stories and poems since my teens for my personal pleasure, much inspired by Mrs Yates, my English teacher to A Level. However, it wasn’t until my late forties, the first time in my life I was made redundant, that I was inspired to write my first novel Riduna, (the Roman name for the Channel Island of Alderney) which was finally published in 2009.

cropped-fort-albert.jpg

Fort Albert, Alderney

It was on a family holiday to the island of Alderney in fact, that I learnt about my wayward Great Grandmother Harriet. She tragically lost both parents at sea when she was eight, then in her teens she became too much to handle for her grandparents, who ran a public house and guest house, and was shipped off to live with her aunt on Guernsey. Her misdemeanor was allegedly too much fraternising with the soldiers stationed in the newly built forts of this ‘Gibraltar of the English Channel’!

norman-and-family-2-001.jpg

My family history inspired its sequel Ancasta Guide me Swiftly Home (Ancasta is the Goddess of the River Itchen, Hampshire), which was published in 2012. Then a series of chance remarks in emails led me to write Murder, Now and Then (published in 2014)a book which linked where I lived in Bedfordshire to the Channel Islands in two time zone murders 100 years apart.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nellie Rault’s grave in Haynes churchyard, Bedfordshire

That same year Fife beckoned us, with a work transfer for my husband simultaneously to me being made redundant for the second time in my life. The Healing Paths of Fife naturally transpired from this life changing move north to Scotland. It is  a special book for me and a way of saying thank you to my new community, friends and the lovely Kingdom of Fife, which has welcomed us.

…and so in the months leading me up to my 60th birthday I have been writing once more in earnest. This new novel is a very different venture. It is a mystery inspired by social areas of need pertinent to our age, all of which we are all struggling to address. I hope it challenges perceptions but also that the reader warms to the colourful characters.

I will say no more at this stage because it has a few stages to go through before publication, but I am very excited about this project and feel full of hope for my 60th year.

For a more personal reflection on my 60 years visit http://www.selectionsofreflections.wordpress.com in a few days time.

Thanks for all your support!

4 Comments

Filed under Channel Islands, Fife, Southampton, Writing