Presenting the Authors at the Tenby Book Fair 24th September 2016

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Over the last few weeks I’ve been introducing the authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair, http://bit.ly/27XORTh, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival http://bit.ly/24eOVtl 

 I’m almost finished interviewing them all now.

In the next few weeks I’ll be showcasing the three publishers who will be with us: http://honno.co.uk/, http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/ and http://www.cambriapublishing.org.uk/

And I’ll be sharing a post from the brilliant http://showboat.tv/ Who always video and share our Tenby Book Fair.

So far here are the wonderful authors. Please feel free to check them and their great books out: Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh , Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg , Christoph Fischer: http://bit.ly/1svniAr , Sally Spedding: http://bit.ly/1VNRQci, Wendy Steele: http://bit.ly/1PMoF8i ,Kathy MIles:  http://bit.ly/1twN3Bg , Carol Lovekin:http://bit.ly/1Y2z6HT, Colin R Parsons: http://bit.ly/1tvBc5G , Lisa Shambrook: http://bit.ly/28NMI5v:  ,Alex Martin:  http://bit.ly/28VLsQG ,  Judith Arnopp:  http://bit.ly/290cJMl , Sharon Tregenza: http://bit.ly/29frGPq    Juliet Greenwood:http://bit.ly/29jylrM , Nigel Williams: http://bit.ly/29racfO , Julie McGowan:http://bit.ly/29CHNa9 , John Nicholl: http://bit.ly/29NtdtX  ,Tony Riches:  http://bit.ly/29y3a8k:  ,Wendy White: http://bit.ly/29TMCpY  ,Angela Fish:http://bit.ly/2a5qY2U  David Thorpe: http://bit.ly/2a9uG0V . , and Eloise William: http://bit.ly/2aoZk1k And thanks to Thorne Moore for interviewing me: http://bit.ly/1VTvqGq 

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 I would also like to say,Thanks, Thank You, Message, Grateful

to everyone who has shared our interviews so far and spread the word. 

And don’t forget, there is still time to write a masterpiece for our short story competitions:

 http://tenbybookfair.blogspot.co.uk/p/competitions.html

And for all our visitors, here’s how to find us:

 http://tenbybookfair.blogspot.co.uk/p/where-to-find-us.html

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Today With Juliet Greenwood

Introducing the authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair, http://bit.ly/27XORTh, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival http://bit.ly/24eOVtl .  I’m looking forward to having many more such chats over the next couple of weeks. 

So far I’ve interrogated interviewed Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh , Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg , Christoph Fischer: http://bit.ly/1svniAr , Sally Spedding: http://bit.ly/1VNRQci, Wendy Steele: http://bit.ly/1PMoF8i ,Kathy MIles:  http://bit.ly/1twN3Bg , Carol Lovekin:http://bit.ly/1Y2z6HT, Colin R Parsons: http://bit.ly/1tvBc5G and Lisa Shambrook: http://bit.ly/28NMI5v:  and Alex Martin:  http://bit.ly/28VLsQG ,  Judith Arnopp:  http://bit.ly/290cJMl  and Sharon Tregenza: http://bit.ly/29frGPq  And thanks to Thorne Moore for interviewing me: http://bit.ly/1VTvqGq  Over the next week or two I’ll be introducing the rest of the authors. I’ll also be showcasing the publishers who will be in attendance and who will be giving short talks and may be able to give advice to would-be authors: http://honno.co.uk/ , http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/   and  http://www.cambriapublishing.org.uk/ ,

There may also be a short chat with John and Fiona of http://showboat.tv/ who, as usual, will be filming the event.

Today I’m chatting with the lovely author Juliet Greenwood, fellow Honno author and friend who writes the most wonderful books,

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Welcome, Juliet. Great to see you here today. and love the hat by the way

 Why, thank you Judith, and it’s good to be here.

So, let’s get going, tell me … why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I am published by Honno Press, and write historical novels, mainly set in the Victorian/Edwardian eras, which move between Cornwall, Wales and London. There is always a big house and a mystery to be solved, and plenty of drama along the way, so they are along the lines of Kate Morton and Rachel Hore.

I’ve chosen to write in this genre as I’m fascinated by the lives of women in those periods, especially the way things were changing, and the battles for the independence we take for granted today. So much of women’s lives have been forgotten, particularly how active they were, and how many campaigns they fought and won, despite having no legal existence for most of this period.

My first book ‘Eden’s Garden’ was a time-shift, with a mystery set between contemporary and Victorian times. I really enjoyed the challenge of writing a time-shift, so I’m hoping to be working on another timeshift mystery soon. I enjoy the challenge of moving between two times.

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Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I was a bookworm as a child, who loved stories. My mum loved reading, so she always inspired me to try new things. She encouraged me to absorb the classics, which gave me a great background. It started a lifelong love affair with reading and writing!

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? .

I started researching ‘The White Camellia’, to be published by Honno this September, thinking that the background would be that of the suffragettes, but I soon came across the far less well-known suffrage movement, which was a revelation.

 

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The suffrage movement included both men and women who fought alongside each other for over fifty years for every citizen over the age of 21 to have the vote. Although a small number of men had the vote at the start of the campaign, this wasn’t achieved for either men or women until 1928. The women and men of the suffrage movement used democratic tactics, civil disobedience and persuasion. It also fought for equal employment rights for men and women, and won endless battles to give women legal rights, including to keep their earnings and property, and to keep their children in the case of divorce.

Although they didn’t resort to violence, they were brave and resourceful, especially when you consider that at the beginning of their campaign women had no legal existence at all. I think what I found most fascinating about the suffrage movement was that it showed women taking on those in power on their own terms and out-manoeuvring and outwitting them at every turn, using rational arguments (and a bit of clever publicity) to achieve many of the freedoms we take for granted today.

What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn’t so?

I think the biggest misconception about the genre is that it’s always rich women floating around in nice houses, solving a bit of a mystery and probably finding a few pearls and Mr Darcy along the way. The greatest misconception about the struggle for the vote is that it was always violent – and that it was only about the women. In fact, most men in Victorian times also did not have the vote, and it was only the last few years when the violence erupted – and that was only after parliament, thanks to the work of the suffrage movement, had twice voted for women to have the vote.

I find that setting a story in the past can also be a way of exploring dilemmas that are universal and we still experience today. I feel the past can give more distance, so can give more freedom to explore experiences. As well as the role of women in politics, one of the main threads of the story in ‘The White Camellia’ is a character who takes the perfect revenge, with the most terrible and unexpected consequences – and that’s a story that could take place at any time.

What inspires you?

Primarily the untold stories of women. The more I learn, the clearer it becomes that so much of women’s achievements and experiences have not been told. Before I researched ‘We That are Left, I had no idea women worked on the front line in the First World War, often under fire, and were even given medals, as well as working as spies behind enemy lines. Although it’s now changing, too often women are still seen as passive victims, trailing behind their men, rather than being incredibly resourceful and resilient and worthy of taking centre stage. A love story is important – but there is so much more to women’s lives as well, including huge moral dilemmas, a need to live a fulfilled life, and the deep human need for self-determination.

 

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How did you get to be where you are in your life today?

Working hard, always reading, writing and learning – and never giving up! I’ve also tried to find jobs that allow me time and head space to write, which means I’ve never followed a conventional career path. It’s felt a bit scary at times, but I love what I do, and so it definitely feels it’s been worth it.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

I’m a part-time writer at the moment. I earn most of my living as an academic proofreader. I work freelance to try and organise my life to do as much writing as possible. I enjoy the work, and it’s taught me to be precise in the use of language, and it’s definitely extended my vocabulary. The downside is never having enough time to write the next book while editing and doing publicity. It can be very frustrating at times, but I also feel it’s given me the freedom to develop as a writer.

For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?

There are some excellent books on the subject of the suffrage movement, these are some of the best introductions:

Margaret Forster                                               Significant sisters

Lucinda Hawksley                                           March Women, March

Melanie Phillips                                                The Ascent of Woman

How do you find or make time to write?

I get up about six each morning (weekends included!) to get my ‘day’ job done, which frees up as much of the day as possible. I try to have a set time for writing, but being freelance with strict deadlines that doesn’t always work. I walk my dog for a couple of hours each day, which I use as thinking time (just as valuable as writing time). I try to be strict about not spending too much time on social media (I have a room in the house that is a wifi free zone). I also try not to get sucked into series on TV (the Great British Bake Off and Sewing Bee don’t count!) and watch as little as possible, (except when I’m very tired and just want to switch off after a long day proofreading and writing, when I don’t want to see another word in front of me, and hanging out the brain to dry on the secret life of kittens just hits the spot). My friends know that I’ve sacrificed housework, except on a strictly necessary basis (like when expecting a plumber), and love me all the same.

MEDIA LINKS

 ‘We That Are Left’, Honno Press, 2014

The Welsh Books Council’s Book of the Month, March 2014

The National Museum of Wales Book of the Month, March 2014

Waterstones Wales Book of the Month March, 2014

Amazon Kindle #4 May 2014

http://www.amazon.co.uk/That-Are-Left-Juliet-Greenwood/dp/190678499X

 

‘Eden’s Garden’, Honno Press, 2012

Finalist for ‘The People’s Book Prize’, May 2014

Amazon Kindle #5 June 2014

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Edens-Garden-Juliet-Greenwood/dp/1906784353

 

Website:          http://www.julietgreenwood.co.uk/

Blog:                 http://julietgreenwoodauthor.wordpress.com/

Facebook:        https://www.facebook.com/juliet.greenwood

Twitter:            https://twitter.com/julietgreenwood

 

 

 

 

The Eunuch’s Voice

Shakespeare, Poet, Writer, Author

 

Another of Maggie Himsworth’s fascinating slants on one of Shakespeare’s minor characters. Here’s what she says about this month’s post.

Antony and Cleopatra is one of my favourite plays. Mardian, the head eunuch, doesn’t make many appearances, but this is what I think he might have said if he’d been given a voice.

Drama, Comedy And Tragedy, Theater

I don’t understand it. Here I am, stuck in this tomb, with three dead women, the queen herself and her two ladies in waiting. They’ve cheated Caesar of his prize at least. Slippery as a snake that one, he’s not a man who keeps his promises. His father was a better man, or so I’ve heard.

My great queen, dead.  By her own hand, well, the serpent’s teeth actually, but you know what I mean. She couldn’t wait to get to Antony, jealous that Iras would get there first and get the first kiss.

Those three used to torment me, but I was fond of them.

‘I take no pleasure in anything you’ve got  Mardian’ she used to say, and they’d all laugh. Give them an extra inch and they wouldn’t stick it on their husband’s nose – how rude. But they always talked like that, women together, just as coarse as a group of men.

I always knew though that love between her and Antony would be their downfall. I say love, it might just as easily have been lust, what do I know, or perhaps it was a mixture of both. When she turned her ships and he followed, it was the end for Enobarbus. There was never anyone so loyal to Antony and for him to go over to Caesar’s camp, well, it killed him. I have to say though, Antony never held it against him, was magnanimous, but of course that made it worse.

Antony knew he had lost his honour, and that was more precious to him than anything, even his gypsy queen. He was a broken man. I don’t think she understood that. She was good at playing both sides, she knew how to get the best deal for herself, but for Antony, something was right or wrong. Maybe that’s the difference between men and women, not that I would know as I’m neither. Women have been used to being, what shall I say, adaptable? She had to live by her wits and her wiles, it was all she had.

Octavia I feel sorry for. Used by her brother and used by her husband. She must have known that Antony’s interest lay in Egypt, not with her. But then, she had no choice. It’s only men who have choices, women and eunuchs must do what they can.

I often used to wonder if I could have been an Antony. Great soldier, great general, great  leader of men. Great lover of course, but that part goes way beyond my imagination. I like to think that I could have been some of those things at least, instead of being stuck in this place where I fit neither with men nor with women.

How we laughed though, when the messenger arrived to tell her that Antony was married. We didn’t laugh to her face of course, that would have been suicide, but we all thought she was going to kill him she was so mad with jealousy.

‘Tell me about Octavia’s voice, is she tall, does she have a round face’.

I don’t know whether he told her the truth or not, but he managed to save his own skin.

But that’s all gone now. Enobarbus dead,  dead, my queen, all died by their own hand. What a waste. Maybe it’s easier to be who I am. I’ll never know the extremes of passion but perhaps that’s a good thing. I think I’ve had quite enough excitement in my life without even looking for it. I have no one now to serve, no master or mistress. Perhaps, just for once, I could do what I want to do. Go back to my family if I can find them. Live a quiet life.

They’re over there now, Caesar and his men. He wanted to parade her through the streets of Rome so that everyone would say what a great man he is. I’m pleased he didn’t get the chance. She outwitted him after all. I wonder if I could leave without them noticing?

©  Maggie Himsworth 2016

The Maid’s Account

A post from Maggie, one of my adult students.  I think this is a great idea. See what you think. Of course you’ll know the play … won’t you!

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There is so much being talked about Shakespeare at the moment that it encouraged me to go back and read some of my favourite plays. I started thinking about the role of some of the minor characters in his plays, and wondering what their story might have been. This is a short piece written from the perspective of a lady’s maid, who is gossiping with a friend. It will soon become clear which lady she’s talking about.

Maggie

The Maid’s Account

I’ve lasted a long time as her serving woman, longer than all the others put together. She’s not easy of course, very beautiful women often aren’t, and she is a beauty. Headstrong though. I’ve always thought that she’s the boss, he’s always been willing to do anything for her. Besotted with her and she’s obsessed with him, at it all the time. Children have to fend for themselves, poor little devils. That’s the trouble with the higher ups, they get someone else to do all that for them, and they haven’t worked out what they’re missing. She wasn’t as bad as some though, she nursed her babies herself, which was a surprise to everyone by all accounts.

That night though, something was going on. I’m not a superstitious person but the wind was howling and birds were calling, in the middle of the night when they should have been silent. I could hear the two of them creeping around and her voice telling him to be a man. Well he was a man afterwards all right. My God, they excelled that night in the bed department, even for them.

She told me later, much later, when she had started walking and  talking  in her sleep, that she always thought her husband was a good man, but he didn’t have the edge that would make him a powerful man.

‘And you know Elspeth, powerful men are very virile. Don’t you think so?’

Well, I didn’t know how to answer that one. I hardly get to see my Bert, I’m stuck in the bloody castle all the time at her Ladyship’s beck and call. It’s a wonder to me we’ve got any children at all. My Bert’s not like his Lordship though. He’s a gentle soul, not the brightest, but he’ll do me.

Anyway, I was telling you about that night. He came on ahead of the rest of them. You could see she was made up about something, she’d had a letter from him, sent on ahead. Turns out he’d had a promotion, and then the king himself was coming to visit. The kitchen staff were all of a flurry, preparing a big feast. Not everyone seemed pleased though. One in particular, the one who disappeared the following night, he was doing a lot of muttering to himself. Then of course the king’s two sons ran off early hours of the morning, after their father had been found with his throat cut. Everyone started saying that they must have killed him, but I never believed that. It’s surprising what you see and hear when no one thinks you’re important.

I saw her, my Lady that is, washing his Lordship’s face and hands, telling him to change quickly in to his nightclothes. I hardly dare tell you what happened, or what I believe happened, but he’s gone off now anyway, left her to her own devices, which she hasn’t been very happy about.

She talks to me when I do her hair. Tells me all sorts. After she’d told me about her wanting him to be a powerful man, she said that she’d lost him like that. He’d overtaken her, turned in to something she wasn’t expecting. I’m not that clever but it sounded to me as if she was sorry she’d encouraged him, because now he couldn’t stop and she’d gone to bits.

‘Look after your children Elspeth’ she’d said.

‘I’ve said some terrible things about mine and now I’m sorry.’

I overheard that too, all that business about dashing their brains out if she had to. All talk probably.

The country’s gone to the dogs of course, his Lordship seems to be creating chaos and mayhem wherever he goes. I heard a terrible story about someone’s wife and children all being killed, a good man he was too. Did you hear about it? It was all the talk here, but then that’s to be expected with him being the culprit more than likely.

Last night I found her wandering about again, all that beautiful red hair flowing down her back, her feet bare, in her nightdress, wringing and rubbing her hands as if she was trying to scrub them clean. Poor soul. They sent word to him and the doctor came out, but there’s nothing to be done for her. He asked me to take away everything that she might do herself a mischief with, so there’s not much left in her room. I had an aunt like that, but no matter how careful we were she managed to do herself in eventually. People with very troubled minds usually find a way.

Did you hear that noise? Sounds as if she’s creeping about again. I’d better check that she’s all right. Don’t go, I’ll be back in a minute and then you can give me all your news.

© Maggie Himsworth 2016

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And the answer: ? printed in 1623 after Shakespeare’s death.

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ROSIE’S BOOK REVIEW TEAM #RBRT

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My review of  Kings and Queens by Terry Tyler

 My rating 5 out of 5 stars 

My mother used to have the habit, when she finished a book of closing it up and saying, ‘By heck, I enjoyed that’. When I finished Terry Tyler’s Kings and Queens I had a ‘by heck’ moment.

I only discovered Terry Tyler’s novels last year, they are true page-turners and I’ve enjoyed each one. This book, Kings and Queens, is both a family saga and a clever contemporary take on history; Harry Lanchester lives a hedonistic life that, in many ways, parallels that of Henry VIII. He might not order the death of his wives and lovers but they are just as easily discarded, he is portrayed as a patriarch and is at the centre of his world. And that world is filled with everything that makes up ‘real life’ today; stable families, dysfunctional families, erratic individuals, stable characters, revenge and bitterness, love and caring, sex, lust, romance, death and grief, even murder – the list is endless and multi layered.

Normally I say I don’t include spoilers in my reviews but the background, the general plot in Kings and Queens is obviously a given. Yet the narrative is so original and innovative, it is easy for the reader to sit back and enjoy the modern-day twists and turns that the author conjures up as though the story is completely unknown.

As usual, Terry Tyler presents characters that are rounded, well drawn and given so many different facets to their personalities that it is easy to cheer with them, be irritated by them and to suffer with them. Through the various individualistic voices of the characters (and the dialogue is brilliantly written) the author takes us, chapter by chapter through the story. This is a particularly favourite writing style for me as a reader. Told in the first person point of view, there is always the slight suspicion (or knowledge?) that the narrator is sometimes unreliable; this certainly made me slow down and think about some passages, even though I so much wanted to know what happened next.

Kings and Queens covers the decades of the nineteen-seventies to the present time. The author’s research on each era is impeccable; every setting is drawn with subtle touches through the business economy,  the fashions, the communities, the music, the social scene.

This is a stand-alone novel but I knew there was a sequel, Last Child, so I read both in quick succession.  The review for , Last Child will follow soon. As for Kings and Queens, all I can say is that I was hooked from the first page and cannot recommend it highly enough.

Can’t say it too often -by heck I enjoyed it!