Earlier this week Terry and I flew from Christchurch to Invercargill on our way to Stewart Island. The plane travels at about 16,000 feet which, in clear conditions, gives passengers an impressive view of the South Island, similar to looking down at the map.
Here we are flying over the Waitaki River, just north of Oamaru. This mighty braided river is the one that Sophia and George came across as they headed up the coast from Port Chalmers. You can see why they chose to turn inland rather than cross the wide mouth of the river. And the rest, as they say, is history…….
‘The Wideawake Hat’ is now available from Scorpio Books. Here are some details about this amazing independent bookshop in the new BNZ Centre, just off Cathedral Square in Christchurch :-
“Established 40 years ago, Scorpio Books is a Christchurch institution. It is the best place to go to browse and buy books in Christchurch, or if you get stuck, we encourage you to come ask our knowledgeable staff for a recommendation.
We have an extensive range of books covering a variety of genres, and if you can’t find it on our shelves, we’ll be more than happy to source it for you if it is still in print. We invite you to sink into one of the old-fashioned leather chairs placed around our shop as you browse.
We also have an online store, and offer free shipping within New Zealand for online orders.”
So you will find ‘The Wideawake Hat’ on the NZ fiction shelf, in strict alphabetical order, between ‘Inangahua Gold’ by Kathleen Gallagher and the intriguingly named ‘A Briefcase, Two Pies and a Penthouse’ by Brannavan Gnanalingam.
To be honest, I would be tempted to buy all three……..!
The Transitional Cathedral in Christchurch is an iconic building and well worth a visit if you are in the city. It is hard to spot the cardboard that was used to build it, but it has an atmosphere of calm and beauty that is quite inspirational. It may have been built as a temporary replacement for the cathedral in the square after the 2011 earthquake destroyed that building, but it doesn’t feel temporary at all, and it has fast become a tourist destination in its own right and a venue, not only for worship, but for concerts and events of all sorts.
I recommend purchasing two things from the cathedral shop. Buy yourself a Bartholomew Bear, and you will also find The Wideawake Hat for sale there too.
At 7:18pm on 7th March 2018 I sent an email to my friend Heather. It was the first time I had come clean with anyone that I was writing a book. Did I know then what I had let myself in for? Probably not.
And it is odd to look back and see how much has changed. At the start of it all, my heroine was called Elizabeth (I changed it to Sophia because I kept typing Elizabeth wrong), and our hero was Angus (George is so much better!).
In my notes I had written, ‘Angus dies (illness or accident?)’. Well we know now that George drowned, leaving room for James to enter the story. Rather surprisingly the rest of the story remained much the same over the next few months, as it left my head and entered the laptop.
And Heather became my sounding board, my editor and my proof reader without whom I doubt I would have completed and published ‘The Wideawake Hat’. On that day Heather suggested we needed the film and TV rights, even Netflix – that hasn’t happened yet, but you never know when the call may come through!
To celebrate the completion of my first year as a proper author, I give you small taste of Book 2 in the Applecross Saga called ‘Shepherd’s Delight’ – due for publication in mid 2019.
For those of you who care to work it out, you could connect the photo above with the start of book 2, and the choice of title – 3rd September 1859. Go on – google it!
“Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight, red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning,” Sophia chanted the words in time to the bouncing of baby John James on her knee. The child looked back at her mother as if he understood every word, a wee bubble bursting on his lips as he digested his latest feed of milk.
But what, Sophia wondered, did shepherds do when the sky stayed red all day and night? “
Writers love libraries. Where else can you browse shelves of lovely books to your heart’s content, sit quietly in a comfy chair and read whatever you want, ask questions which lovely librarians are only too happy to answer?
So I was very pleased indeed to have a request recently for some copies of The Wideawake Hat for Timaru District Library. Apart from some copies for people to borrow in the normal way from Timaru, Geraldine or Temuka libraries, a copy has been placed in the Aoraki Reference section (for books by local authors) and two copies in the Aoraki Stack – an archive of local publications. It is a very special feeling to have produced something which will be kept for posterity.
Support your local library!!!
I was recently asked for an interview by a guy called Wayne Turmel, a Canadian living in Las Vegas. He writes historical fiction too, and blogs about the genre.
Here’s the results
Wayne has just published his latest book too, part 2 of the Lucca Le Pou stories, set in the time of the Crusades, Acre’s Orphans
So why not ride out the heatwave in Australia or New Zealand by downloading a couple of ripping good e-books. Relax next to the fan with a cold drink within reach, keep cool and read, read, read?
Or, for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere winter, cuddle up on the sofa with a blanket and a steaming mug of hot chocolate, keep warm and read, read, read!