Saturday 28 May 2016

Reviews for A Shackled Inheritance


A Shackled Inheritance has received 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I was really pleased that all reviewers highlighted the historical context of the story. One reader confessed to looking up certain facts. Yes! That’s just what I do when something I read surprises me, or offers me a different perspective on historical events, whether the book is fact or fiction. When researching A Shackled Inheritance, I often had to drag myself away from documents written by real people 200 years ago, in order to return to my fictional characters.
    In different ways, my characters are all imprisoned by the existence of slavery and the norms of society in the early 1800s. The gulf between owners and slaves was unbridgeable, and it is not surprising that free persons of colour did their best to deny their African heritage and claim the same privileges as the ruling planter class.
    We like to think of slavery as something that is over and done with, a vile system that ended 200 years ago, a system we can afford to forget when we finish a book. Yet slavery still exists. Some organisations estimate the number of human beings held in conditions comparable to slavery to be 30 million worldwide. Modern serfdom comes to our notice now and then, when a brothel is raided in a quiet country town, when gangmasters are found to have forced vulnerable adults to work on building sites, or when an outwardly respectable couple are found to have confiscated their maid’s passport and made her sleep under the kitchen table. In 2016, there is even a UK helpline to report suspected slavery. Wilberforce must be turning in his grave.   

Sunday 15 May 2016

Unaccustomed As I Am - Talking About Our Books

This week member Linda Acaster is being interviewed on one of the local radio stations - for an hour

The proposed questions have arrived and top of the list is Tell listeners about your books. 

As Linda says, "I have nine titles published as ebooks, four of which are also in paperback, these straggling across five genres ranging from Horror to Historical. This doesn’t include the short fiction or non-fiction articles. How can I condense that into a soundbite?" 

How indeed? Check out her blogpost HERE as she wrestles to do the question justice.

Saturday 7 May 2016

The Mechanical Engineers of the Writing World

It’s obvious to a reader when a book isn't working, just like it’s obvious to a driver when a car breaks down. It’s not a matter of understanding what’s going on under the bonnet, the very fact of being stranded at the roadside is clue enough that all is not well. And it’s the same with a book. 

I’m sure you know the feeling. The story begins to grate, to be irritating rather than intriguing. Or it simply falls flat. What should on the face of it be a dramatic scene – a fight at the top of a cliff perhaps – completely fails to thrill. Just like the driver, the reader doesn't need to know what’s going on under the bonnet, but for the writer (as the mechanic) it’s a different matter.

These kinds of nuts and bolts of writing were discussed in a series of short articles and on line exchanges at the very busy 48-hour launch of the Writers’ Toolkit a few years ago. Three extracts are linked here: