Monday 14 March 2022

 Writing Novel Four

The last time I wrote a post about novel four was when I was at the planning and research stage. One of the things I realised was that both those stages could go on forever and I needed to start writing it. The James Thurber quote, 'Don't get it right, get it written', became more important than ever. 

Back at the beginning of February, a member of the Cariad RNA Chapter of which I'm a co-organiser, the lovely Jessie Cahalin, offered to run a Virtual Writing Retreat via Zoom. Members met at 9am to say what their plans and aims were for the day, met back at lunchtime and finally congregated at 5pm to review the day and celebrate each others' achievements. Some people used the time to write, others to edit or plan; some people came for part of the day. From everyone's feedback, it was a huge success. I had started writing the novel beforehand, but being totally immersed in the story for the whole day was just the kick-start I needed. Thank you, Jessie.

Since then, I have tried to write whenever I can and I am now over twelve thousand words into the story. Some things have changed. The husband of my main character, Sara, was called Alwyn and their son is Aled! I've kept the little boy's name, but Alwyn is now Fred, a common name during the 1940s. I have a new character, too. Jane Lewis, Sara's mother-in-law, now has a sister Gwen who was needed to show Sara kindness and support as a complete contrast to the character of Jane. One of Fred's previous girlfriends also now has a role. Babs is as streetwise as Sara is innocent 

Although writing the story is my priority at the moment, it doesn't mean that finding out about the Italian POWS and Sicily itself has stopped. I follow a wonderful blog White Almond Sicily run by a British woman, Sarah Kearney. As an introduction to her blog, Sarah writes: 'My love for Sicily inspired me to write a blog sharing travel tips and advice, Sicilian food tips and living life "The Sicilian Way", writing in a fun and visual way to encourage more visitors to the island...' There is always something to learn from her posts and the photography is wonderful, 'whether you are a lover of art, history, mythology, food, vineyards or literary, walking and hiking or just a sun worshipper of beautiful beaches with lazy days on board a yacht.' Sarah very kindly chose my second novel, Her Sister's Secret, as one of twelve novels set in Sicily. My daughter, Jo, and I are hoping to visit Sicily on a research trip in the next month or so and I shall be contacting Sarah for advice on the best places to visit as she has offered.

On Friday, I shall be travelling to Los Gigantes in Tenerife for an eleven-day holiday. I shall;l be packing my notebook and hope to get some writing done. As well as having my KIndle jammed full of novels I can't wait to read, I shall be taking this wonderful-looking book by Daphne Phelps. It was recommended by Sarah on her blog. She bought it on her first-ever visit to Sicily. She describes how she loved '...the way (Phelps) wrote about her life in Taormina with its colourful characters and visitors... and living life the Sicilian way.' 

She goes on to say:
'Casa Cuseni is an enchanting villa that was designed and built fo9r the English painter, Hawthorn Kitson in 1905. His Taorinese house and its lush gardens were designed in an art nouveau way mixed with Sicilian influences.

After his death, Daphne inherited Casa Cuseni and in order to sustain the enormous cost of the house, she started to rent out a few of the rooms to illustrious guests who came to write and paint.'

Thank you for reading. Can you recommend any books set in Sicily? I'd love to know what they are. 

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For more about me and my books, please visit my AMAZON page.