Tag Archives: England

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!

Dark, Urban, Supernatural Fantasy Urges.

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About seven years ago I embraced reading like  I was a woman obsessed. At the time, life was testing me. My career had changed direction, and I had a baby and a teenage son. I was single and at home…a lot.

The ‘catch up on the classics’ lightning bolt hit me. Why? I have no idea, just this deep urge to read the books that I had somehow avoided in my wild teenage days.

So Jane Austin’s library was devoured, Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White, Thomas Hardy, Far from the Maddening Crowd, Tess. Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, and so on. My favourite? Dorian Grey. Yes, horror, the supernatural.  I remembered,  as a child I wrote horror stories. A deep sense of grounding overcame me, I needed more. More!

One night, as I watched TV, baby in bed, teenage son in his room ( where he now resided full time and survived on food passed through a gap in the door ) a programme came on. True Blood. Memorised, I fell in love. I went straight to the bookshop the next day, bought all of Charlaine Harris, the Sookie Stackhouse, True Blood novels and ate them up. That led to ‘others’. I remember the staff in the bookshop avoided eye contact, a slight distaste on their lips when I bought more and more Dark fantasy. I got the feeling they wanted to put them in brown paper bags and slide them across the counter. But I didn’t care! Ha ha ha ha ha.

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Reading Dark and Urban Fantasy books did more than entertain me, I became happy. I rediscovered a subject I loved. It wasn’t the sex, vampires that lured me, ( only sometimes )  but the stories of the supernatural. The story telling. Folklore, forests, woods, witches and myths. Over time I knew I had to start writing again, I was thirteen when I last wrote like a mad thing, when my new english teacher told me I was rubbish! Don’t ever listen to Mr Sandercock, he’s not up to much!

Well, I’ve learnt something, that it doesn’t matter, it’s all debatable, always someone who isn’t going to like it. So who cares right? The only person that really cares is me and I love it!

It’s never too late to read, to have books in your life. You just have to find a foundation of genre you love. I now read Non-fiction , Science, Bestiaries. YA, anything that interests and inspires me.

But…I will always, deeply be in love with my dark side.

 

More books what I bought…

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Nobrow, Graphic Novel.

 The lovely book itself is a light-hearted and playful exploration of possible theories of the creation of the universe dreamt up by the contributors themselves. The quality of the paper and the binding is truly lovely. If you are a fan of illustration or even books in general, this is a lovely book to have in the library. You can see some examples of the content on the Nobrow website. I have yet to read this, so watch out for the review. It is amazing in the flesh!

“Faery Tales” by carol Ann Duffy

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A stunning gift edition. I bought this mainly for the cover

Faraway lands of wicked witches, evil monsters. Carol Ann Duffy’s stunning collection of fairy tales.

Once upon a time . . . I bought the same book twice!

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Penguins deluxe edition of Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights”.

The problem I have working in a book shop is I see all the new editions and new releases and have to own them. Yes, I already have “Wuthering heights”, but look at that cover!

I shall be back with more delights. I’m just piling them up, until I pounce and devour them all.

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