Tag Archives: While No One Was Watching

Fifty is a Wonderful State of Mind

Fifty.

Wow.

Fifty.

I remember thinking how long that was when I set my novel fifty years after Kennedy was assassinated.

Fifty years on and what became of the little girl who had been watching the motorcade with her mother, waiting on the sidewalk of Dealey Plaza? Rushed forward as the hush descended. Mother’s hand tight in hers… then.

A gunshot shatters sound.

Then another… and is that another? Too close together to tell? And from what direction?

Panic.

A president slumps forward, his wife clambers over the back of the car and we later learn she was trying to what? Scoop up his already broken brain? A man on the grassy knoll captures the footage in a film that will be scrutinised millions of times, maybe more than any other film made on a home movie camera. It will make him famous, infamous, he would never have known it as he drank his morning tea, or was it coffee, did anyone ask? He could never have known.

Life ends although death will not officially be declared until the president reaches Dallas Memorial Hospital forty minutes after the gunshots.

A shocked world will see it huddled around black and white TV sets. Often other people’s.

A mother stands on the grassy knoll but looks the other way to everyone else, now but she didn’t at first because, and some might judge her for this, but in that moment when the gunshots rang out, she watched what everyone else did and she dropped her daughter’s hand. She let the fingers slip from hers, and that was her mistake, right there. But she can be forgiven for that, can’t she? She made one small error. One thing. And now she stands and looks the other way and thinks how she only dropped her hand for a second, took her eye off the ball for a moment. And now she is gone. So where is she?

Where?

Gone.

She can’t be.

Eleanor Boone is gone?

Eleanor Boone is gone.

Only what she will later discover is she has gone and will never be found.

Or will she?

Fifty years later will she finally be found? And what did she see? What did she see that day?

While No One Was Watching was published five years ago, fifty years after a real moment, fictionalised and I want to see it on film, that moment, the fifty years on moment when one thing, one single thing changed everything because a mother let go of her child’s hand, and that has made all the difference. And it happened while no one was watching.

I did promise an extract this morning but I hope this will suffice instead to tease you to buy the book if you haven’t already and just maybe for a filmmaker to think: I could make this movie. And my dream might one day come true. My dream made a while ago, confirmed on the day I see my half-century turn.

Something quite unique and special happened yesterday. It happened as I researched for my new short story, and it has a special meaning given how the cards align. By that I mean I am fifty (dear God I am fifty today) and next week I marry for the first time, a second chance at love because sometimes sad things happen. And in four months a new baby comes into our family, my brother and his wife wait. Let me share a piece of the magic with you. When I went to bed the night before last I asked my late grandad (he died many years ago) to show me what part of the story from his past, from his experiences as a Japanese prisoner of war in Changi I ought to use in a new story. Not memoir, a story. It’s a story I have been on the verge of writing for a long time. And yesterday about this time he showed me his story. I knew it, but he showed me through some serendipitous clicks on the computer that his story is better than any I could make up. His story or a fictionalised version of it is what I MUST share with the world… finally. Once again real moments inspire the best stories, don’t they?

At that moment I knew what he wanted. It came from a line written on the back of an old photograph: the title of a story written for a newspaper in 1945… a lot more than fifty years ago. I found it, oddly, for sale on eBay. A photograph of my grandparents, later I was told my nan was pregnant with my mum when it was taken. It feels as if the things my grandad would never talk of, he is now finding me, the storyteller of the family, to tell it, or to tell not so much of the atrocities and horror but a love story and somehow I think it means that is what kept him going for the twelve years they were apart. It’s moments like these that make me know there is more than the life we know. There is more behind the ideas and the stories if we choose to tune into them. There are two timelines, now and then… and they are barely whispers apart.

There is more.

This is my path.

This is confirmation it is absolutely the right one.

This is what happens when I focus completely on my writing again.

I will leave you with these thoughts and tell you more about what happened yesterday in another post, another time, how my grandad is now with me, closer than ever as the cards align.

Sometimes magical things happen while no one is watching.

No post tomorrow as being whisked away for a night away later in a lovely old-fashioned guesthouse in Southend with my very soon to be husband as a special birthday treat… and I will celebrate fifty years.

Fifty.

Wow.

Fifty.

I remember thinking how long that was when I set my novel fifty years after Kennedy was assassinated.

Now I think, fifty is no time at all.

 

Fifty is only a number.

Fifty is a wonderful state of mind.

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Four Years On…

A lot has happened in the last four years since my debut novel was published. No more novels are out yet and that is a shame, but it is not that novels have not been written, just that things have slowed down since I was signed by my agent. I am hoping that 2018 is the best year ever by seeing progress in getting that second novel out there. So watch this space.

Well, today sees the 54th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination: the event that inspired, first the short story and then the novel While No One Was Watching. So it seems right to slip in another quick blog post for the rare few that follow this blog that did not buy the book, with a blatant plug! I launched it on this day at the same place I will be launching the Canvey Writers book this Friday. November 22nd, 2013 was, in fact, a Friday and we showed the famous news clip announcing Kennedy’s death at almost the exact moment it broke some 50 years before!

I did see that the book Kindle version is only 99p today so do download it if you haven’t yet and the paperback is also on offer too!!!

So here it is… !!!

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Voice again!

In the absence of requests, I decided to share this with you even though it means listening to my far from perfect African-American accent. You see the thing is, having created that voice for Lydia, who I talked about yesterday, it means to do justice to readings, how could I talk in my estuary English London accent?

So I had to take Lydia on the road to book launches and events including the Hollywood event where there were African-Americans in the audience (yikes) and try to let her voice come through.

Now recently, my hugely talented friend who wrote the song for the book trailer, recorded me reading the whole of Chapter 16… and I hate to hear my voice, but it is now out there in what is known as the SoundCloud along with the song.

So, here is my link. This is not really an editing tip, but if you are shy about acting (which I am) and you write a first-person narrative in an accent, just remember that one day you may have to read that way! 😉

That is all, not sure what I will be blogging about next week, whatever comes to me I guess or send requests for tips! Hey I could do a vlog one of these days… although not sure you want to see me waffling on, and waffling on I am prone to… never?!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Weekend!!!

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Settling into Life

How lovely it is settling into my new life in this lovely little house. The house has so many windows and I love the light.

Yesterday a very talented musician friend was here with her hubby; I think I have known her longer than any of my friends, we go back to infant school in fact and I introduced her to her husband when we were both doing our A’Levels! They have now been married twenty-seven years! Wow! Anyway, Nic is the one who wrote and recorded the music that goes with the book trailer for While No One Was Watching, the one Dad and my best friend sang on… shared again below as it’s been a while! Anyhow, she is releasing a very special album and yesterday we turned our living room into a recording studio and I gave a reading as Lydia, the whole of Chapter 16 of the novel as it happens!

Once this is released I will share. I think she will use some of it as it’s ten minutes long, but there will be a link to hear it all, so that’s me talking in my African-American accent. Hope it sounds okay. How bloody exciting is that!

So what fun! And then we had a Chinese meal sat on our patio, so the house has had its first social gathering 🙂 How lovely 🙂

The garden is a work in progress but we are getting there! What do I look like? Don’t answer that!

 

Here is the book trailer :)CLICK  https://youtu.be/yu-FEliJflA

 

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Countdown

Late blog this morning as was busy early, but just popping in to say have a great weekend all! The countdown begins and next week I will be posting short extracts of some of my published short stories and maybe novel extracts too on here in my own countdown until Friday!

So watch this space folks!

Happy Friday!

dreams-1

 

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On This Day… 22/11/2016

Today sees the 53rd anniversary of the assassination of John F Kennedy. Three years ago I had the official launch of While No One Was Watching, my debut novel. And what a three years it has been.

The same year I won the inaugural Bath Short Story Award, was shortlisted in the prestigious Commonwealth Short Story Prize and my story, The Theory of Circles, was also nominated for the highly acclaimed Pushcart Prize! It was hard to top that in a year!

The following year also saw successes, the biggest of which was finding an agent.

Since then I have had something published each year to keep that short story momentum going and had numerous signings and events along the way. I also moved to Essex, joined a gym and met a lovely man.  So personally and professionally my life has changed.

Give me a WHOOP!

Novel wise, I have still got the other three novels and been working on at least two new novels but am waiting for something to happen. My agent is so incredibly busy and she has now joined a much larger agency where her focus has changed more towards non-fiction. She still represents… me for the time being, but I am now making plans for 2017. I need to have another novel out there now!

I talked about my novel, and this whole idea of using a real event, such as the Kennedy assassination, woven into the fabric of fiction at the U3A event last Friday. Aptly timed of course for the anniversary. We used examples from film and talked about the historical novelists like Philippa Gregory and Sharon K Penman and where the historical novel sits (although mine is not a historical novel per se) in terms of representation of history. Can fiction change what we believe and is that a good thing?  It went down really well and I sold 14 books which isn’t bad for an event like that!

I will share links to the U3A site as they also took photos  when that is live.

So on this special day, I am sharing links to my novel again (sorry!) for anyone who has not read it! Give it a go! Christmas presents?

 

New cover WNOWW

Buy me

Thanks and thoughts to Kennedy and what the world might have been if he was still here.

Would I even have written this novel?

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Blurred Lines

Tomorrow morning I will be talking to the lovely members of the U3A at St Nicholas Church on Canvey about my novel. Well to be more precise about the blurred lines between fact and fiction and if any book can be wholly one or the other. I will look at how we define fact, truth, accuracy and what obligation to truth, we writers have, when it comes to the portrayal of real events in our works of fiction.

What do you think of movies that claim to be ‘based on a true story’ when really they can be so loosely based very little is true. What about Braveheart? Titanic? U571, Pearl Harbor…? The portrayal of the Holocaust or war in fiction?

What about writers like Phillipa Gregory? Sharon K Penman? Hilary Mantel?

Do you think fiction about real events can actually change what people believe about real event or real people? Is that okay?

Any thoughts?

The talk happens on Canvey but is not open to the public, only members of the U3A, so 50 plus although some can bring paying guests.

Since it’s an early start tomorrow  and I will want to be up and going over the talk one last time in the morning, there will be no blog but I will blog about it next week… I am away with the man this weekend so the next blog will be Tuesday!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Why not buy my novel for Christmas presies? I can sign copies for £5 plus postage to wherever you are!

I should have copies left after the event tomorrow, but message me if you want one.

Or order direct from Amazon!

 

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