Tag Archives: BBC

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!

Pogles Wood, Castles and Watch With Mother.

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9781909829022I’ve bought a new book.

The art of Smallfilms.

Smallfilms was the work of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin. No doubt some of you will know these wonderful creations. The Clangers, Bagpuss, Ivor the Engine etc, and all of them became part of the Watch with Mother series.

The book is filled with wonderful photographs of the original puppets and the pictures are fascinating.

My favourite is Pogles Wood. The first series was originally called The Pogles, and only broadcast once due to the BBC’s thoughts that the witch and the storyline rather too scary for children. It was quite dark, filmed in black and white but I remember loving it.

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My castle lamp in the garden

I had a bedside lamp in the shape of a castle when I was small. (In the garden now.) At night I was convinced tiny people came out of it while I slept. The Pogles only confirmed it was true.

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The original witch from ‘The Pogles.’

Look at these puppets! It could be nostalgia on my part, but after watching the first three episodes last night, after many years, (cough) I still think the films are remarkable. The old black and white stop motion matures the strangeness and delightful story lines. The narrative of The Pogles is odd but brilliant for a child, so natural you wouldn’t stop to think about it when you were young. Like the Teletubbies!

The magic bean was the first episode, and introduced the magic plant that came to stay with Mr and Mrs Pogle, and even though the films were old, I had to keep watching more to find out what happens.

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Mrs Pogle

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Pipin and Tog

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Mr Pogle with the magic Plant that came to stay

I can’t help looking at the puppets in the Smallfilms book, and feel a deep sense of affection for them. It’s where my love of dark and atmospheric magical story-lines began. I recommend this book for anyone who grew up with these wonderful children’s programmes.

It’s always good to go somewhere you love!

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