Monthly Archives: May 2016

Researching for my Novel.

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I often mention, joke, that I buy so many books because I need them for research. Generally, I really do love to have books on hand to either answer questions or to get some inspiration. I know the wonders of the internet has helped me numerous times but having a break from the computer and opening up a book has been more helpful. The novel I’m writing is set in a big Cornish House with woodlands and forests; includes magic- folklore-first life on Earth and climate change. See how many books I can investigate?

9781909263659Every Sunday I work in the Children’s department of the bookshop and  recently, I was organising all the new stock in the delivery when I came across- Briony May Smith’s debut Children’s book; Imelda and The Goblin King. A gorgeous illustrated book and such a great story. It reminded me of why I’d love to read as a young girl. I grew up in the countryside and spent most of my young life sitting in trees and running about in woods and farms. Even as I child I was inclined to write from my imagination. (As do most children.) My diaries had occasional words like- Went to School-came home- went out again-but my stories, they  could go off on a tangent. I used to stare at books like this one.

imelda-and-the-goblin-king-interior-briony-may-smithFiction after all, comes from inside our minds; also mixed up with life’s experiences. Our writing is a blend of likes and dislikes, applying them to characters and fictional situations and relationships. Some customers love the Sci-fi and Fantasy section or fiction in general. While others can’t abide it, preferring instead to go upstairs in the shop to the non-fiction department. The grown up section I call it. But non-fiction plays a huge part in fiction. It’s where I go to get all the facts I need to write my fantasy. Briony’s book with all the stunning visual inspiration and folklore, connects me back into that first desire to see and hear magical stories and characters in books. All genres connect to each other. Think of all the books Briony may have read and studied over the years to inspire her. Colours- art- illustration- trees-flowers- baddies-You get the idea.

Next: Looking at books about the first life on Earth. Richard Dawkins and Yan Wong’s; The Ancester’s Tale. 9781474600569Dazzling four billion year pilgrimage to the origins of life. Remarkable encounters with fellow animals, plants, fungi and bacteria. I’m not an academic, and certainly no expert on the subject, but I love the language and words, which help sections and chapters find their way into my brain. Other times I read the same sentence over and over but nothing happens. Still love it. Early history of this planet is a huge love of mine and I’m still getting through this and I will take my time learning from it. (Four billion years! Still nothing.) This is the new Revised and Expanded Edition, just released. Highly recommended.

James Lovelock: GAIA: A new Look At Life On Earth. My protagonist certainly has strong interests with the planets ecosystem, but she’s not quite Gaia. 9780192862181I’m very late reading this book, it’s been around since the late seventies, but I have a 2009 edition and I’m following it very well. Lots of updated thoughts, information and preface. I have a lot of images of the planet in my own novel that involves the characters evolving from the first cells of life so this book gives me lots of ideas and thoughts on the world as a living self-regulating entity. I find it fascinating. Well- worth having a copy of this on your shelf, if not for writing, then a interesting discussion. (Fight!)

MrFOx-story-of-life-bookI want to finish, (although I have loads more research books) with another children’s book. The Story of Life: A first book about evolution. Authors- Catherine Barr and Steve Williams. Illustrated by Amy Husband. story_of_life_spre_3246931b

I couldn’t help but notice this lovely book. How could I refuse to buy this!  Look at these little faces! Actually, a bit of lighter relief education doesn’t hurt anyone as I learnt quite a lot from this book! (Funny enough I could follow it quite well!) Please buy this for your child or for yourself. Really educational and fun and another great illustrated kids book. Until next time…enjoy your books. I’d love to hear what your researching!

Robin Hobb, Art and Horror.

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510-znU+BAL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_I haven’t been here for a while. Thought it was time, especially since I’ve been buying a good deal of excellent books. Working part-time at Waterstones means I have an amazing opportunity to gather as many books as I can carry and bring them into my house and shut the door. Books are more important to me than buying clothes, except I do insist on good quality pyjamas!  So I am going to catch up, show you all the books I’ve been buying and reading, including ones I had to buy for research for my novel! (Cough.) I must talk about Robin Hobb. Some of you may know her already. She’s brilliant!

5141EMwHyfL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_A lovely lady in my book shop persuaded me to read The Liveship Traders last year. Fantastic rare ships made of sentient wizard wood and the figureheads come alive and speak. (Ooh why didn’t I think of that.) Now that I know the stories better, I would recommend reading The Farseer Trilogy first. Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin and Assassin’s Quest. The protagonist is Fitz Farseer. I love him! Robin Hobb’s characters are incredible. Her writing ability and her imagination is impressive. I often wonder how she can keep up the momentum of remembering all of her story plots. I bet she gets through a lot of note books! Follow Fitz in the first series as he grows up and  trained as the King’s assassin. Magnificent! The book covers are beautifully illustrated by the talented Jackie Morris.

9783836538350Next. Hieronymus Bosch, published by Taschen. Oh I love this. His work is so incredible and Taschen always prints a very beautiful book. I am inspired when I look at his paintings. If you take a very close look you see not only spiritual and fantastical creatures but some images are truly bizarre and nightmarish. I think Jung and Freud would have liked this. You could have a field day in psychology over these.  No record has been found of the painter and what he believed in or what kind of person he was but apparently his work has been accepted to teach moral and spiritual truth. They are pretty out there for its time. They must have been shocking and he must have been a very interesting man. He’s a mystery. Lovely.

51Xv9C7RvqL._SX337_BO1,204,203,200_ I recently wanted to buy a good Manga book. I really like Manga but I don’t buy it often. I wanted something dark. I got it. Uzumaki, by Junji Ito. A horror story. I read the back. Kurouzu-cho,  a small fogbound town on the coast of Japan is Cursed. I looked inside. Spiral’s everywhere. Frightened and terrified sad faces. Monster’s. People dying horribly. Yes that’ll do. Bought. The drawings are magnificent and a big reason  I chose it. The art is incredibly detailed and this deluxe edition has been printed really well with lovely paper! If you fancy a special piece of Manga horror, then this is one to have. I’m really pleased with it. Thank you very much. On the shelf.

More books coming soon.

 

 

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