News, views and memoirs

9. juil., 2018

A PRINCELY HAND

Storylines aren’t always totally made up from imaginary situations. A lot of my books contain cameos from my own life, embroidered into the pattern of the story – factionalised. Here are two cameos that I would love to include in a book someday, if only I could think of a storyline to go with them.

 Meeting VIPs -  from famous footballers to royalty - was a part of my life that has left me with many a memory that is still great to share with guests at the dinner table. Back in the UK my husband was the director of Sir Peter Scott’s Wildfowl and Wetlands Park at Washington [north-east England, rather than the USA]. Sir Peter was the son of the famous Scott of the Antarctic. HRH Prince Charles is the President of the charity and I had the pleasure of meeting him twice. On both occasions, he came to my rescue.

 One incident was when Prince Charles came to open a new wing at the Washington centre. It was a freezing January morning and a group of us who were chosen to be introduced to the prince were lined up by the official photographer. I was to be the first to be introduced [don’t ask why, but I was rather pleased about that]. We stood there waiting for about an hour, frozen stiff, with the photographer constantly rearranging the group – mostly my position. It was a case of: “Mrs. Gadsby could you move back just a little please?” After the third time of asking, I suddenly realised that I was balanced at the very top of a flight of stairs, the heels of my shoes nearly hanging over. I felt very unsteady – more so when Prince Charles arrived and signed the visitor’s book right next to me, saying: “I can’t join up my letters this morning.” Then I was introduced and had to curtsy as we shook hands. I teetered on that top step, bending my knee and having visions of falling backwards with HRH on top of me. But he tightened his grip and I was saved the embarrassment of appearing on the front pages of Britain’s newspapers. He then made an apology to the group for having a bad cold, which he claimed he had caught from his son. William was then only a year old.

 Another saving experience took place when we attended the AGM at Slimbridge, the headquarters of the Trust. Lady Philippa Scott asked us if we would like to be introduced to Prince Charles, and of course we would.  We were the last in line and Lady Scott apologised profusely, saying that there wasn’t time for us to meet the prince after all as lunch was about to be served.  We were left standing only a few yards behind Prince Charles, who was conversing with Sir Somebody on one side of him and Lord somebody else on the other. They ended their conversation and the two men departed in different directions, leaving Prince Charles standing alone, everyone having disappeared into the dining hall. HRH spun around and saw us standing there, strode up to us, hand outstretched.  Brian introduced himself as the Director of the Washington branch of the Trust, then turned to me – we weren’t married at the time – and simply said: “And this is June.” The Prince shook my hand with a broad smile and said: “Hello, June.” He and Brian exchanged a few words, then HRH looked pointedly at me and asked what I thought was needed to improve the north-east of England. Well, that was unexpected, but I managed to pull out, hopefully, the right answer: “We need more culture,” I told him. “More art and music.” He just nodded and smiled and I hoped that he agreed and might do something about it.

 The dinner bell sounded again and Brian reminded the prince that lunch was being served. We walked hesitantly with him, completely unaware of the required etiquette. And he knew it, for he placed a hand on my back, leaned down to me and whispered: “You go first and I’ll follow.” All I could say was a simple “Thank you” and led the way into the dining hall, with Brian bringing up the royal rear. I was immediately pounced on by all the women there who were desperate to know what we had been talking about.  I smiled and shook my head, leaving them to wonder.

 Today, the north-east of England [Newcastle and Gateshead in particular] has become a real cultural region. It’s taken over thirty years, but I like to kid myself that my few words to Prince Charles on that memorable occasion had helped in some small way.

 

4. juil., 2018

A PRINCELY HAND

Storylines aren’t always totally made up from imaginary situations. A lot of my books contain cameos from my own life, embroidered into the pattern of the story – factionalised. Here are two cameos that I would love to include in a book someday, if only I could think of a storyline to go with them.

Meeting VIPs -  from famous footballers to royalty - was a part of my life that has left me with many a memory that is still great to share with guests at the dinner table. Back in the UK my husband was the director of Sir Peter Scott’s Wildfowl and Wetlands Park at Washington [north-east England, rather than the USA]. Sir Peter was the son of the famous Scott of the Antarctic. HRH Prince Charles is the President of the charity and I had the pleasure of meeting him twice. On both occasions, he came to my rescue

One incident was when Prince Charles came to open a new wing at the Washington centre. It was a freezing January morning and a group of us who were chosen to be introduced to the prince were lined up by the official photographer. I was to be the first to be introduced [don’t ask why, but I was rather pleased about that]. We stood there waiting for about an hour, frozen stiff, with the photographer constantly rearranging the group – mostly my position. It was a case of: “Mrs. Gadsby could you move back just a little please?” After the third time of asking, I suddenly realised that I was balanced at the very top of a flight of stairs, the heels of my shoes nearly hanging over. I felt very unsteady – more so when Prince Charles arrived and signed the visitor’s book right next to me, saying: “I can’t join up my letters this morning.” Then I was introduced and had to curtsy as we shook hands. I teetered on that top step, bending my knee and having visions of falling backwards with HRH on top of me. But he tightened his grip and I was saved the embarrassment of appearing on the front pages of Britain’s newspapers. He then made an apology to the group for having a bad cold, which he claimed he had caught from his son. William was then only a year old.

  

Another saving experience took place when we attended the AGM at Slimbridge, the headquarters of the Trust. Lady Philippa Scott asked us if we would like to be introduced to Prince Charles, and of course we would.  We were the last in line and Lady Scott apologised profusely, saying that there wasn’t time for us to meet the prince after all as lunch was about to be served.  We were left standing only a few yards behind Prince Charles, who was conversing with Sir Somebody on one side of him and Lord somebody else on the other. They ended their conversation and the two men departed in different directions, leaving Prince Charles standing alone, everyone having disappeared into the dining hall. HRH spun around and saw us standing there, strode up to us, hand outstretched.  Brian introduced himself as the Director of the Washington branch of the Trust, then turned to me – we weren’t married at the time – and simply said: “And this is June.” The Prince shook my hand with a broad smile and said: “Hello, June.” He and Brian exchanged a few words, then HRH looked pointedly at me and asked what I thought was needed to improve the north-east of England. Well, that was unexpected, but I managed to pull out, hopefully, the right answer: “We need more culture,” I told him. “More art and music.” He just nodded and smiled and I hoped that he agreed and might do something about it.

 

 

The dinner bell sounded again and Brian reminded the prince that lunch was being served. We walked hesitantly with him, completely unaware of the required etiquette. And he knew it, for he placed a hand on my back, leaned down to me and whispered: “You go first and I’ll follow.” All I could say was a simple “Thank you” and led the way into the dining hall, with Brian bringing up the royal rear. I was immediately pounced on by all the women there who were desperate to know what we had been talking about.  I smiled and shook my head, leaving them to wonder.

 

Today, the north-east of England [Newcastle and Gateshead in particular] has become a real cultural region. It’s taken over thirty years, but I like to kid myself that my few words to Prince Charles on that memorable occasion had helped in some small way.

8. juin, 2018

I've written numerous novels since 2001, but this is the first big romance and so very different from everything else I've written. It's a love story, written in the first person and there is no suspense [as in danger and violence]. It is out today in print form and e-book and already I've received this wonderful review from Judith Pittman:

This Affair will grab hold of you from page one and you won't be able to close the book until you've read the very last page. Make sure you start it on a day when you've time to forget everything else you're supposed to get done. 
#Amazon

 

14. mai, 2018

This is a story inspired by an old house in the town where I was born. A small mining town called Felling, once in County Durham, now in Tyne & Wear, north-east England. My heroine, Rosa, is born into poverty in the early 1900’s where she has to deal with her alcoholic, amoral mother and look after her crippled brother and two younger siblings. She bears no resemblance to the rest of her family and rumours abound regarding her biological father. Was he the son of the rich Italian family who once owned the house that became an obsession with Rosa, together with the young man who now owns it. There is no hope of this handsome young man ever falling in love with the beautiful girl  from the wrong side of the tracks.

But Rosa continues to dream. She dreams of Richard through a violent rape by her mother’s lodger. She dreams of Richard while giving her affections to the travelling salesman who eventually becomes the father of her illegitimate child – a child that was taken from her the day it was born. But Rosa refuses to give up and finding the child, she becomes its nanny, only to discover that the adoptive father is, ironically, her daughter’s biological father. Another affair develops, then disaster strikes when the family are lost at sea. Rosa, strong-willed, finds a way to survive, fighting everything that fate throws at her through two world wars finally realising two dreams that have haunted her all her life – to live in Orchard House and win the love of Richard…

So how come this was the novel that almost never was published? I wrote the original version more than twenty years ago. It was accepted with enthusiasm by two important agents. The first asked me to shorten it by 30,000 words, which I did with great difficulty, but his ‘reader’ then said ‘no’. The second agent asked me to lengthen it by 20,000 words and I faithfully did the work, but his publisher said: “If I had seen this book three years ago I would have accepted it, but now it’s out of vogue.” I had been trying to market the novel for twenty years or more without any success.

The I heard of Books We Love, Canadian publishers who only accepted writers who were already published. By then I had 26 titles in print. My husband, who had never lost faith in ‘Where The Wind Blows’, which we fondly referred to as ‘Rosa’, the title we finally agreed on, persuaded me to get the book off the shelf, revise it and send it off. I did and it was the fourth rendering of the novel that sailed off to Canada and was accepted with the editor’s one-word review coming back to me: “Wonderful!”

I am now waiting for another book to appear – my first real romance – ‘THIS AFFAIR’ – due to be published in June 2018 and am at present working on a romantic suspense about a dysfunctional family during the First World War – ‘FORBIDDEN’. 

But it will always be ‘Rosa’ that will be closest to my heart…until another dream book is realised – and I have plenty of those to work on.

27. avr., 2018

Despite the rickety back which refuses to heal properly, I have been able to sit at the computer for a longer time and am happy to say that Chapter One of "FORBIDDEN" is well under way. A tiny piece of it needs researching and, believe me, the research is taking longer than the writing. I am not, however, tempted to leave out this scene, because it is important in establishing the personalities of the main characters. Since it's fiction based on fact, if you know what I mean, I could possibly bluff my way through the incident that involves a German plane crashing in Northumberland early on in the First World War. I have found some references, but not enough information for me to feel confident. I could blast away with this information and my own imagination [I've done that before], but there's always the chance that some 'expert' out there will come up with a crushing criticism.CoolAh well. The story is the main thing, so I'd better get on with that and come back to the research when I'm not so frustrated about German Fokkas nose-diving on the Northumberland moors.