The Buffalo Kid is a passionate story about a 71 year-old man and his struggle to rebound and find himself again. Formerly a successful business man, John Ross loses everything. Bankrupt and depressed, abandoned by his family, he ends up on the streets of Buffalo, New York, for over thirty years. He becomes known as The Buffalo Kid – the city’s oldest homeless man.
One day he meets a stranger to our world, one who has come to Earth to study our culture, and the two strike up a unique bond, one which catapults The Buffalo Kid from rags to riches and from walking the streets to saving the very city that rejected him.
With each twist and turn, The Buffalo Kid discovers that he can make a difference and that he is not just a forgotten and useless man and over night, he is cast into a thrill ride which changes his life and the lives of many.
A truly inspirational story, reminding us all that anyone, no matter their circumstances, deserves a second chance.
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Today, I am doing a wee spotlight for author, Maggie Tideswell. Please enjoy a free excerpt of her new book and do consider connecting with Maggie on social media – all links are below. Thanks for supporting this author.
***Moragh, Holly’s Ghost – Synopsis
Magic works – but in the wrong hands it becomes lethal!
The help of well-meaning friends set off a chain of events that are to have far-reaching effects on the key characters in my novel. Moragh, Holly’s Ghost is a paranormal romance.
Holly and Joshua are just ordinary people. Joshua is fed-up with a commitment-phobe fiancée and Holly is tormented by her ex-husband over visitation of their kids. Holly’s friends try to help by placing an advert for a husband for Holly in the newspaper. When Joshua sees the ad, he sees the opportunity to motivate his fiancée, Nicole, to set a date for their wedding by being off-limits to her – Nicole always wants what she cannot have. From the moment Holly accepts Joshua’s proposal of marriage, unexplained things start happening to her. A woman, Moragh, demands that Holly – who is a journalist – tell her story.
While researching the Vanishing Twin Syndrome on the net, I found a medical site which provided me with the information I needed and then firmly advised me to seek immediate medical help. I assure you I wasn’t pregnant at the time! The idea of the vanishing twin started some years ago when I read a woman’s question about her experience of this in an Ask Dr Ruth – type article in a magazine. I became interested in the effect on the mother-to-be as well as on the surviving twin as the child grew up. Everybody knows that the bond between twins is far stronger than between ordinary siblings. Would the surviving twin carry the loss of the other one through life?
In the background to my story, Moragh lost her mind to the extent that she blamed baby Nicole for the death of the other baby. Moragh rejected her child, which prompted her husband to kill her to protect his daughter. Her life cut short, Moragh can’t rest in death. She haunts Magnus, her husband, and his new wife, Pearl – who used to be Nicole’s nanny – and they never managed to have a baby together. And as Nicole grew older, Moragh haunts her daughter in nightmares. Nicole suffers from melancholy – feeling an overpowering sadness most of the time. Only when Nicole became engaged to Joshua did the nightmares stop. Until the time of my story.
Though engaged to be married, Nicole has an affair with an employee of her father’s and falls pregnant. That’s when the haunting starts again. Moragh doesn’t want Magnus’ line to continue through their daughter – Nicole wouldn’t have children either until Moragh rests. Joshua gives Nicole an ultimatum – set a wedding date or the engagement is off. Nicole ignores the deadline and the next day Joshua marries Holly.
Neither Holly nor Joshua intend for it to be a real marriage – a marriage of convenience – but the instantaneous chemistry between them catch them both by surprise. The spell Gwen, Donald’s second wife, cast on Holly and Donald to separate them is wearing off and Donald wants Holly back. He cannot stand the thought of another man making love to Holly. He physically removes her from Fairley to force her to see sense and come home to him and their kids. But Holly is by now deeply in love with Joshua and she could never trust Donald again. Donald has no choice but to return her to Fairley.
Holly’s investigation of what happened to Moragh led her to Nicole’s family. Magnus doesn’t like Holly digging in his affairs. He has something to hide – a 30 year old murder. He kidnaps Holly as soon as Donald returns her to Fairley, intending to silence her in the same way he had murdered his wife – it worked once, why not a second time? But Moragh kills both Magnus and Pearl before he can complete his mission, leaving Holly in an open grave she cannot get out of. With Magnus dead, nobody knew where she is. Heather, Holly’s psychic sister, finds Holly in a vision and leads Joshua to rescue her.
The story pivots around Moragh and the influence she has on all the people she was involved with in her life time, after her death. She could only rest once her husband, who had wronged her, and the woman he had replaced her with, were both dead.
Holly cringed when the back door slammed loudly in the still of the night. This wasn’t her fault. She had never meant to … Oh God, what a mess, she thought. She sat on her legs in the middle of the bed, her eyes swimming with unshed tears. She didn’t want Joshua to think badly of her. Turning toward the window, she wondered where he was going in the middle of the night. Dawn was still some hours away. Would he go to the woman he had betrayed?
Holly brushed the moisture from her eyes. The moon was still high enough to shine into the room. It had a hazy quality, as if it came a long way through a filter. Mist had risen and it amplified the light so that it seemed brighter than it should have. It was eerie, and at the same time peaceful.
Behind her, the doorknob rattled. Holly snatched the sheet to her chin, watching, waiting for Joshua to come back into the room. She wanted him to come back so that she could explain.
The door slowly, silently, swung inwards. Holly pressed her sheet covered fingers to her lips.
The fire had burnt to ashes and the candles gutted long ago. The only light came from the window, unreal and eerily bright. A floorboard creaked a moment before the door slammed shut. A picture frame fell from the tallboy and shattered on the floor. The silence that followed was deafening. It was freezing in the room.
Connect with the author, Maggie Tideswell:
My writer friend, Vashti has released her debut novel today. A huge congratulations to Vashti! I am so incredibly pleased for her. Keep an eye on this author – she’s going places! Here’s what she has to say about her book release,
‘My first novel, The Basement, will be released today! I wanted to celebrate this fantastic day with my fans and followers. It is still a bit surreal that my high school short story (which I later expanded into a novel) is now a published book!’
“A kid should not be aware of his own heartbeat”, he thought.
Never forget the unexplored territories in your own back yard, or under your house. Here, Vashti Quiroz-Vega gives voice to the young inhabitants of one neighborhood where things are more than they seem.
Robbie is an ordinary boy in a normal world, as we first enter the neighborhood and witness an idyllic scene of prepubescent children at play; but what happens in silence and in the dark will amaze you. Join Robbie as he journeys to explore unknown and forgotten tales of intrigue, fear and blind faith.
What kinds of monsters lurk in your world?
What will you do when you can no longer see?
The Basement is a tale of angst, teamwork and solutions, of treasure hunts and adventure, and of facing your fears. It is a focus on the small- but everything- world of one group of pre-teens and the very real and wondrous world they face, and it is a take-away resource.
What will you take away?
***Simply click on book cover to find out more.
Today, I am very pleased to introduce you all to Ryan Krauter. He’s a lovely chap who has published an array of books. Be sure you check out Ryan’s website for more information on all his books.
What fact about yourself would really surprise people? –I maintain my superior physical form by using the treadmill and drinking Lite beer.
What scares you the most? –One day, when my time is gone here, that nobody would remember me or feel like I’d accomplished anything that would outlast me (other than my kids). That’s why writing is so rewarding; long after I’m gone, my books will remain. Whether anyone likes them is a different issue, but at least I will have left something behind!
Why do you write? –I write because, most importantly, it’s fun. I wrote two entire novels before I realized I could make them available to others through outlets like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I just enjoy creating something out of nothing, of being a producer and not just a consumer. It started out as me doodling and drawing pictures of ships, vehicles, and locations, and eventually a story blossomed out of it.
What motivates you to write? –Both good AND bad stories. When I read a great book or watch a wonderful movie, I think “Man, I am dirt compared to whoever put that together”- I’m not worthy, but I feel inspired to live up to that standard. When I read a bad book or see a real stinker of a movie, it works the same way. I think, “I can do better- time to fire up the computer!”
What books did you love growing up? –I read Ender’s Game in high school, long before it was popular to say you’d read the book. It was a great story that later encouraged me to write in the YA genre. I had a friend recommend A Prayer for Owen Meany. It was a wonderful book, with an almost complete lack of explosions, car chases, nudity and gunplay. It taught me that a great novel has characters that the reader identifies with. I also loved Starship Troopers; the book by Heinlein, not the movie. Now, I thought the movie was fun in its own special way, but the book was very deep, with intriguing ideas about service, duty, and the honor of being a full citizen with true ownership of their country. The movie took all of that out and replaced it with butts and breast shots. If the characters are compelling, the setting is much less important; the book could be about unicorn-riding leprechauns who hunt vampires, and if the cast was really interesting I’d read it. Hang on, note to self: write a plot outline for unicorn-riding vampire-hunting leprechauns. It might be the next big thing…
What do you hope your obituary will day about you? –His friends were grateful that the wake had an open bar.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing? –It started out as getting published. I sent out my letters to agents, and even got a few requests for partials. Then one day an agent replied that, and I paraphrase, ‘my writing didn’t sufficiently interest him enough to offer representation’. I thought, who is this guy to pass judgment on everything I could ever write? So I went the indie route and published through Amazon, Createspace, and B&N, and never sent out another query letter.
Do you plan to publish more books? –Definitely. I write because it’s fun; it just also happens to appeal to a number of people who’ve purchased the books. It doesn’t feel like work, and I get down/jittery if I don’t get to write for a few days. It’s my way of relaxing, and I’m 50,000 words into the fourth novel of my military sci-fi series right now.
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick? –History. I love old buildings, stories about how we got to where we are, how the world shaped up to be what it is today. I think there’s a serious lack of knowledge and interest in the average person about the past. Don’t people care about those who came before us, why we turned out the way we did? I’d love to have my own time-traveling DeLorean so I could check everything out.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? –Somewhere in New Zealand or Australia. A nice house with a super-secret command center deep underground and a big fireman’s pole to slide down to get there.
How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk? – I used to write on my laptop, but when it died I got an iPad. I’m by no means an Apple cheerleader, and would love to tell you all the things I don’t like about the device and the company. However, it serves my needs well for writing and is incredibly convenient to travel with. It is about an 80% replacement for a PC, at least what I use a PC for. I bought a word processing app and a bluetooth keyboard and have written my last 2 novels on it, then send it to my PC for editing and compiling.
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you? –Well, while I’d love to quit my day job and write full time, the reality is that very few do that and live a comfortable life. I would consider my writing a success if people continued to buy novels and drop me the occasional e-mail or blog form like they do now to say they like my work. I want to create something people will enjoy reading, and while I don’t hold out any hope of supplanting JK Rowling on the bestseller list, I’d be satisfied if I learned that people looked forward to reading what I’ve written.
If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask? –A few of our founding fathers (Washington, Adams, the like) and I’d get their opinions on the foul political system that has evolved since their days. I’d invite Joss Whedon because, well, everything he’s done has been awesome, from Buffy to Dollhouse to Firefly and Avengers. The Marvel universe is in good hands. I’d invite George Lucas so I could ask him what the hell he was thinking about when he introduced midi-chlorians. My grandparents from my mom’s side, because they were such an integral part of our lives growing up. And finally, Bob Hoover, the air show pilot. Somebody should make a movie about that guy; I’d love to just hear him tell some stories for an hour.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax? –More dorkery here, but I spend it in front of my PC making 3D models. As an indie author, I have to do everything, from writing to editing (to tricking friends into helping edit) and even making the book covers. I used Sketchup and Twilight Render to build 3D models of the ships and items in the books. So, I usually spend some time every night working on the model for the next book cover. Again, it’s more rewarding than watching The Bachelor and I feel like I’ve created something. Plus, nobody else is going to do it, so I’m glad I enjoy the process!
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel? –I hope they find my books and characters enjoyable. I’m not trying to write Gone With The Wind. Every author has something they’re known for, and since I’m a lifelong sci-fi fan the choice was obvious. I describe my work to friends as ‘Tom Clancy in space’. I love the opportunities that abound in the sci-fi universe; you can write about anything, in any setting, and it’s ok! However, I didn’t want to write a book about how weird the aliens looked or how everyone coped with the time-dilation effects of extended near-light-speed travel. I wanted action and a good story that happened to take place in space, with authentic tactics and action. One thing I specifically went after was to give the characters a sense of humor. Too often, I’ve read books where every character is serious as a heart attack, and their personalities are a bit flat. Now, this isn’t a comedy, but I can confidently tell you that in real life people are funny! They say stupid things, make jokes about their friends, etc. I love how people like Joss Whedon or John Scalzi can create characters that deal with serious drama, then make a crack about how one of the male characters has a girl’s name, and then go right back to the drama. It doesn’t feel forced or fake, and real people are like that. I wanted the cast to feel like real people, and that included making them have a sense of humor.
Thank you Ryan!
–No, really, thank you, I insist!
Look at all of Ryan’s books!
My goodness Ryan, you have been super busy. That’s an impressive catalogue of books. Keep up the good work and stay in touch with all your news. Thanks mate. I’ll include an excerpt of one of your books soon.
Hello everyone, today I am delighted to introduce you to a lovely lady from Scotland. I hope you enjoy reading all about Christine’s life as much as I did. Let the interview commence…
Hi! I’m Christine Campbell and I’m a writer.
There! I stood in the middle of the circle and owned up. I am a writer: a novelist, in particular. I write contemporary fiction: strongly character-based, relationship novels, with a smidgen of romance and a generous dusting of mystery and detection.
Ever since I learned my ABC in a sandbox, I realised that writing was a wonderful gift. To keep in touch, to describe a well-loved face, to tell a story…
I have learned a lot about my craft since that wonderful night when I held my first completed, printed manuscript novel in my arms. My first book-baby.
I have now completed five novels, two of them published so far, with a third almost ready to leave home and see the big wide world and, even more importantly, to be seen by it. It’s so exciting when your book-babies grow up and leave home. As a mother of five grown-up, married children and ten grandchildren, plus unofficial adoptive mother of one, grandmother of two, I know a lot about babies growing up and leaving home!
I didn’t write for more than a year after my mother died. Just lost the spark. Did a lot of thinking and soul-searching and began to realise the problem. I had spent my whole sixty-odd years trying to gain my mother’s approval and never managing it. I realise now that I had thought to make her proud by getting my novels published. She never read them.
After she died, I seemed to lose the point of writing: I was never going to gain her approval now! But, gradually, I realised that was the wrong reason to be writing in the first place. I should just write for the love of writing. Since that eureka moment, I can’t stop writing and I’m getting excited about publishing my next novel and I’ve started my blog which I’m loving too.
The point I suppose I’m making is…maybe sometimes you need to find your reason to be writing, to find your spark. Yours will be different from mine because we all have our unique history and experience, but, when you locate it, I hope you feel ‘relit’ as I do.
If a star could play you in the story of your life who would you hire? Goldie Hawn.
What genre would your life story be? And do you have a snappy title for your life story? A Rom-Com with an edge perhaps: starts badly and gets better. I could call it, ‘You Gotta Laugh!’ but I don’t know if that qualifies for the description ‘snappy’.
What fact about yourself would really surprise people? Something that wouldn’t surprise my family because they know me and they know the stories, but I like to entertain people apart from through my writing.
Many years ago, I was a member of an amateur dramatic club and I played in the pantomime each year, sometimes in the leading role. I was Humpty Dumpty one year, hidden behind a huge wooden egg until toppled from the wall, whereupon I had to sing and dance my way through the rest of the pantomime until I was put back together again!
That’s me taking my bow as ‘Principal Boy’ at the end of the show.
I can still remember some of the songs: “I am Humpty Dumpty and I’m most annoyed, that I’ve fallen down from the wall. And, if I’m not put toge-ether again, then the worst of disasters will befall, befall, befall. Oh, the worst of disasters will befall!”
Another year, I was one of the Seven Dwarves and had to sing and dance through the entire pantomime on my knees…even though I was pretty small to start with. “Hi-ho! Hi-ho! It’s off to work we go. We work all day and we get no pay. Hi-ho! Hi-ho! Hi-ho! Hi-ho!” Ah! Such wonderful lyrics.
We also played in one-act and three-act play festivals yearly and gained some great reviews.
In my heart, I still love to entertain. It’s unfortunate that the world has been deprived of my talent for so long: poor health and age caught up with me some time ago and I can no longer dance without falling over, sing without running out of puff, or act without forgetting my lines.
One of life’s tragedies: I could have been Goldie Hawn. No-one would have known the difference. She’s not that much taller than I am. Having always had that taste for theatre has helped me to ‘see’ my novels as they progress, each ‘scene’ another part of the unfolding drama.
What assumptions do people make about you that are wrong? And what assumptions are bang on right? Because I’m pretty small, about four-foot eleven, was blonde/now greying, blue-eyed and usually smiling, people assume I am a bit of a pushover. I think there was a time when that was probably true, but now I am feisty and no-one’s fool. I can stand up for myself and my beliefs…and have on many occasions. Feisty, not in the sense of ‘touchy or quarrelsome’, but in the Scottish sense of ‘plucky, frisky or spunky’ or ‘resilient and self-reliant’.
I am, however, a total pushover when it comes to my kids and grandkids. When they were young, I was pretty strict with my kids, didn’t ever say, ‘You wait till you father comes home!’ but always dealt with any misdemeanours fairly swiftly and firmly. Now…they can have anything I own, can do what they like in my house, can and do gang up on me to tease and ridicule (gently, of course) and I am a total pushover for them. I just love them completely.
What scares you the most? Unfortunately, I’m afraid of lots of things. Some of my fears are totally irrational, like spiders and daddy-long-legs. I mean, really, they’re hardly going to overpower me, are they? Not Scottish spiders! Perhaps if I was in Australia….
One of my rational fears is dogs.
When I was a little girl, and I mean ‘little’ both in age and stature—I was a frail wee thing, under-nourished and tiny—I was viciously attacked and savaged by an Alsatian dog. I was standing outside a shop waiting for my mum. In those days, it was possible for a mum to leave a child unattended outside a shop, usually without them coming to any harm.
As was my wont, I was hopping on and off the doorstep of the shop, singing a nursery rhyme, ‘One two, buckle my shoe…’ as I remember.
Perhaps it was the movement that attracted the dog, a mangy, uncared for and hungry Alsatian, and it ran at me, snapping and growling. Being only three or four years old and not knowing any better, I screamed and ran. It chased me, still snapping, catching my dress, ripping it as I struggled free. It snapped again, catching my leg this time, pulling me down.
What follows next becomes blessedly hazy in my memory. I vaguely recall being tossed about like a rag doll, thrown in the air, trapped on the road. What I do remember all too clearly, is the huge, slavering face, teeth bared, eyes wild, looming over me as it went for my face.
A lorry screeched to a halt inches from my head when the dog chased me and felled me in the road, and it was the driver who pulled the dog off me before it ate my face, kicking it and swinging at it with his fists…so I am told. With merciful timing, I had passed out as the teeth searched out my nose.
I’m afraid of dogs.
What’s your greatest character strength? Resilience, I think. I keep bouncing back. I had a difficult childhood, desperate teenage, and over the years, I have been afflicted with several chronic, progressive, debilitating conditions but I am not down and out yet.
Why do you write? It’s my way of letting the world know I’m here. I’ve lived a small life in many ways: I’ve never achieved any great thing; haven’t served my community in any wonderful way; haven’t healed the sick, fed the hungry, or changed the world in any significant way. I haven’t travelled the world, won an Olympic medal, broken any records. I didn’t even manage to become Goldie Hawn.
But I have two books on my bookshelf that bear my name, that tell the world I was here; I made a mark, albeit a small one. Even more importantly, there are people out there who have been entertained by my writing, people who tell me they have been helped by it, people who ask me for more. Mustn’t disappoint the fans, so I write.
Have you always enjoyed writing? Yes, ever since I learned how to write, I’ve loved it. Being born just after WW2 ended, things were rationed and consequently hard to get, so I learned to write in a sand-tray when I went to school. We lived near the sea and sand was plentiful, so someone must have come up with the bright idea of making little wooden trays to put it in. The teacher would write the letters of the alphabet, one at a time, on the blackboard and we had to copy them in our sand-tray. She would walk round the class, checking we had managed that correctly, then chalk up the next letter. We would shake the sand smooth and try that one. On going home, I would run out to play, straight across the road, ‘dreepy doon’ the wall to the beach and practice my new-found skill in the sand, unconfined by a wooden tray.
Next, we had slates to write on with chalk and we each had a little duster to wipe the slate clean between efforts. I loved it.
At home, I practiced my writing on the brown paper bags our ‘messages’ or groceries had been in. If the bag had contained something a little greasy, it would be hard to get the pencil to work on it. Gradually, it was not just letters of the alphabet I’d write, but little stories and rhymes. It was hard watching them go up in flames when my mother used my scribbling’s to light the coal fire. But, even then, I loved writing. I loved the feel of it: my hand controlling the pencil as it formed letters, then words, sentences, paragraphs and eventually stories.
My stepfather was a door-to-door salesman and he had pens in his inside pocket that he used to write down any orders he received. They fascinated me and, as a treat, he would occasionally allow me to write with them on any scraps of paper I could find. What joy when he brought home a smooth-papered notebook one day and gave it to me! The flow of the ink across the pages mesmerized me. I was entranced, addicted to writing for the rest of my life.
What motivates you to write? I suppose it’s a need to be heard, but also the joy of creating stories and poems. As a child, I think I wrote to escape the harsh world I lived in. It helped me make sense of it and it helped me create something more appealing.
As an adult, I still sometimes use my writing to help me make sense of that world and the realities of the world around me now. My life is filled with happiness and faith, but I see what others suffer and it saddens me. I write as a way to change the outcome. In my novels, my characters usually overcome the horrors of their lives. They come off victorious, as I have done. One of the things that motivates me is a desire to tell others they too can come off victorious, they too can conquer the world.
What writing are you most proud of? When I finished writing my first novel, I held the printed manuscript in my arms and wept. It had been a long, hard struggle to write it and I felt I had given birth to my first literary child. But that one has remained a secret love-child. It may, or may not ever become publicly acknowledged. We’ll see…
When I held my first published novel in my arms, I danced. Such joy! To have a book I wrote, with my name on its cover to place on my bookshelf! Such twirling, waltzing, wonderful joy!
It may or may not be my best writing, but I am inordinately proud of it. It represents achievement. I saw the enterprise all the way through: from conception to birth, it is my baby.
Sarah’s husband, Tom, disappeared without trace eleven years ago.
Now her son, David, has died.
Tom appears at David’s funeral and tries to re-establish contact, which Sarah refuses but Kate, her daughter, accepts.
Then Sarah finds David’s diary and follows the steps he took in search of his father.
It becomes a journey of self-discovery: what she uncovers forces Sarah to reassess her view of herself, her origins and her certainties.
A relationship novel, but also a detection novel with a difference; this story traces a woman’s drive to uncover and understand the truth about a family she thought she knew… her own.
My second published novel brought the same joy. Much like having children, the joy and the pride don’t become diminished with each successive birth: the first one loses none of your love. It’s the love that grows.
To be able to repeat the process of writing a novel and seeing it published was thrilling.
I want to do it again and again.
‘Making it Home’ is contemporary novel about three women who want more.
Kate had a home, but her heart wasn’t in it… or in her marriage. So she left them both. Phyllis had a home… and her heart was in it… but she wanted something more. So she shopped. Naomi had no home and her heart was in cold storage, frozen by grief and fear. So she shopped. They found one another in a department store, shopping. The problem with ‘retail therapy’; you can overdose. As friendship grows between these three women, they help one another face up to their problems, realising along the way, that every heart needs a home and it takes more than a house to make one.
Both my novels are available as paperbacks and eBooks on Amazon.
What books did you love growing up? For me, it was the old classics: Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, all the Jane Austin books, the What Katy Did series by Susan Coolidge, the Little Women series by Louisa M Alcott, the Heidi series by Johanna Spyri…
There was a few years when I read everything I could get my hands on about boarding schools: I read all of The Chalet School series by E.M. Brent-Dyer, a long list. I didn’t get on with my stepfather and was constantly in trouble. My mother kept making the empty threat that I would be sent away to boarding school if I couldn’t ‘get along with him’. ‘Please, please, please!’ I used to long to be sent away, far away from his taunts, his smut and his cruelty. Had I realized you have to pay for a place in a boarding school, I would have known how empty the threat was, since we were dirt-poor.
A lot of the books I read growing up were handed down to me from family and friends. My sister and I both loved to read so books were always an acceptable present…or bribe.
What book genre of books do you adore? What genre do books about ‘real’, fictional people living in the ‘real’, fictional world, doing ordinary things, overcoming extraordinary, ordinary trials and loving, hating, living with other ‘real’, fictional people come under? Because that’s the genre I like to read and write about.
What book do you think everyone should read, at least once in their life? The Bible. It is a terrific piece of literature. Although it was penned by so many different people, it has an amazing internal harmony. Some of the stories are so well told, I, as a writer feel I can learn a lot about how to relate a story: the book of Ruth, a story of love and loyalty rewarded; the book of Esther, a story of loyalty and courage rewarded and so many other true-life stories written down well and containing great lessons for life.
The Bible is a book that has fallen out of favour these days and I think that’s sad because it is one of the most profound and insightful books I have ever read.
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live? Scotland has been my home since I was a new-born baby, though I was born in London of English parents. My mother ‘ran away’ to Scotland with my year-and-a-half-old sister and me as soon as she was able to travel. Things weren’t good at home.
How did you develop your writing? Mostly through practice and from studying other writers: not just reading books, but taking notes of the words the author uses, how they gather them together into sentences, paragraphs, chapters. Some authors use words that melt in your mouth, create sentences that let you smell the flowers, paragraphs that wrap themselves around you. If an author does a good enough job of doing that, it’s possible to be transported to the time and place of the novel: to imagine yourself there, wearing the tee-shirt. That’s how I’d like to write. These are the books I study.
For a few years here and there, I was a member of Edinburgh Writers’ Club and I gained a lot of help and encouragement at those times. I now run PenPals, a small Writers’ Club, from my home and I love it. We gain lots of mutual help and encouragement. I also subscribe to several writing magazines and have a library of ‘How to Write’ books.
Do you plan to publish more books? Absolutely! I have a taste for the sharing part of writing now and love to think that there are people all over the world who have access to my books. Some of them have even read them. I know this because I have had such wonderful letters and emails, comments and postcards.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel? A whole range of emotions, I hope. When I write, I laugh, cry or sing as the mood of the part I’m writing takes me, so I like to think it might affect my readers that way too. Life’s like that, isn’t it? There are times when it deals us a rotten hand and everything feels very heavy and dark. But, if we’re strong, we can weather those times and hang on in for the better times. Joy and laughter feel so good: worth fighting through for. No matter how hopeless we feel, if we dig deep and seek out help, we can find the tiniest chink of light behind the dark clouds. Head for that light. Aim to walk in the sunshine.
More than anything, I’d like my writing to give hope to my readers.
What colour represents your personality the most? Primrose yellow.
What’s your most embarrassing moment of your life? Oh dear! There have been so many! That’s the trouble with being an enthusiast: you get into all sorts of silly situations.
I’ll tell you about one that happened when I was the School Hockey Captain. (Yes, I was very sporty too in my younger days.) That’s me in the middle of the front row, surrounded by my team, a mixture of ages 13 to 16. I’m not sure, but I think my seniority was a factor in my selection as Captain, as I was the oldest by a fair bit!
As you can see, we wore gym slips to our hockey matches. What is not so visible in the photo is that we had to wear black stockings and suspenders under them. No such thing as tights in those days.
One Saturday morning, in my eagerness to get to our match, I rather too hastily donned the uniform and ran for the bus. All went well until the bus arrived and I stepped up onto the platform to board it. Ping! One suspender came undone. Oops! I brought the other foot up to join the first. Ping! Another suspender came undone. Double oops! I reached to pay my fare to the conductor. Prang! The whole blooming lot fell apart and I was left standing with the suspender belt and stockings down round my ankles and a busload of people roaring with laughter.
What’s your next project? I’m currently editing and rewriting what I hope will be the last draft of another novel. This one is about a young woman who overcomes the horrors of the abuse she suffered in her childhood. I don’t dwell on the abuse, nor do I describe it graphically. It is inferred and referred to rather than recounted in detail. One of my recent short stories on my blog was inspired by her background and may well be included in the book. You can find it on http://cicampbellblog.wordpress.com and it was my ‘Story a Day for the Month of May’ story number 5, posted on 23rd of May. The story is called ‘Best Served Warm’ and it will give you an insight into how I handle the subject. The working tile for the novel is ‘Flying Free’ but that might yet change.
If any of your readers have suggestions for a suitable book cover, I’d love to have them as I haven’t decided on one yet.
How do you feel about self-publishing? All for it. Whatever works: whatever lets your work be seen. The publishing industry has changed almost beyond recognition in my lifetime and I think that’s a great thing. It needed to change.
***More about Christine…
When Christine was a girl at school, she started winning essay prizes, so was encouraged to write short stories, which she continued to do, as time permitted, throughout her adult life, winning some short story competitions along the way.
When she married and began having her five children, she turned to writing articles for a small newspaper. Now that they have grown up, left home and have families of their own, Christine is able to indulge her passion for writing and has had two novels published as well as writing a regular blog.
Christine home-schooled her youngest daughter from the age of four right through, and, English being one of her daughter’s strong subjects, she too had a couple of poems published while in her teens.
Brought up in Gourock, on the Firth of Clyde, in Scotland, after a few years of marriage, Christine and her husband moved across country and have lived near Edinburgh ever since, and that is where her writing is mostly set.
Apart from raising her own children, Christine also became an unofficial adoptive mother to another, a young girl who lived with the family for a year or so while in her teens and who Christine and her husband regard as one of their children.
As a sixty-six year old mother of five plus one, grandmother of ten plus two, Christine feels she brings a lot of life-experience to her writing. She’s certainly had her share of ups and downs, pleasure and pain, and feels well qualified to write about life and relationships.
Thanks so much Christine. I had a scary episode with the exact same breed too, nothing as terrifying as you endured. In the wrong hands, some dogs can become savage. What happened to me was – the neighbours dog was trying to eat my pet rabbit. He was determined to eat my bunny. I was thrashing it over the head with my skipping rope, crying and screaming. It had just minutes before ripped open my spaniel’s neck as she had tried to stop the beast. I was about four. I was lucky it never turned on me. My Dad came running out and kicked it hard in the ribs. It yelped a bit but it took a good few kicks from my Dad! I guess some people are mental and so are some dogs. Very scary for you. I’m so glad you were saved! My bunny and spaniel survived. We were very lucky. I found your answers a brilliant and inspirational insight into your life and what motives you to write. I wish you every success!
Today, I want to share with you a poem that my writer friend Vashti Quiroz-Vega wrote to compliment my debut book, Women Behaving Badly: Exposing the Truth about Female Friendship.
Accompanying the poem are beautiful illustrations by a very talented artist from Denmark Zindy Nielsen.
The sun shone brightly on the day we met. The radiance of your smile promised eternal sunshine. When darkness loomed I dried the sorrows you wept. Always by your side, I offered dawn when you suffered stress. I was gravity, ever-present for each trivial affair of your life. But when I needed you most, you couldn’t care less.
As I neared my goals, and success was within my reach. The luster of friendship began to dull in your eyes. Why do you despise me? Tormented, in my mind I screeched. You feigned to listen, when all the while you gathered information to judge me with. Why the hatred, my friend? Why am I on trial?
When you betrayed me, the skies grew gray and dark. My heart bled within me as the storm clouds gathered in your eyes. You held up a broken mirror to show me my heart. Sodden by the tempest of envy, unable to tolerate my radiant soul. You set out to drain my spirit with distorted images you presented. Until one day, in another’s eyes, my heart’s true reflection I stole.
Eerie, cold, and turbulent was the night our friendship ended. I was too fetching, too clever, too creative for you to love me. How am I to release my disappointment? Will my heart ever be mended? Your spiteful squalls tore a hole in my heart, but my spirit you did miss. Some friends crush you with a cold glare or a hurtful word. A jealous friend betrays you with a cowardly kiss.
~ Vashti Quiroz-Vega