Friday, July 30, 2010

Three minutes of Fame

How is it that I can write novels one after the other, but as soon as a writing colleague asks for a donation of words to a blog, the mind becomes one great big blank? There are only so many things that can be said about writing, and I’m sure everything has been said many times over, so, I thought I’d tell you about something a little different for me, though still connected to writing.

The daily newspaper decided to do a spread on romance writing, and although I wasn’t part of the printed article, I was asked if they could do a tie-in video. It was great fun. After answering questions about myself, and giving my views on writerly matters, I was then asked to comment on my three favourite books. I’ll name them, in case any of the authors look in. However good a writer you are, it’s always nice to know your work is appreciated.

First for me came Sharon Penman’s “Devil’s Brood.” To be fair, I was only allowed to pick one of her books, though I love all her big novels equally, and so does my husband. She’s my favourite author, and her books are on my keeper shelf waiting to be read again. This particular novel is the story of the betrayal of Henry 2nd by his three eldest sons and Eleanor, his wife.

My second choice was “How Green Was My Valley,” by Richard Llewellyn. It was first printed in 1939, so is a bit on the elderly side. But it hit me straight in the heart when I first read it, and the writing still stands up today. My earlier 1951 copy was borrowed, and was never returned. Luckily the book was reprinted again in 1991 with a different cover. It’s the only book I’ve ever bought twice, and it was made into a TV serial with Stanley Baker and Sian Phillips in the starring roles.

Third comes a debut novel by Helen Simonson, published this year and called “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.” The novel is an older-couple romance with family complications, and it’s set in an English village. The writing has a great deal of warmth and is sprinkled with wonderful metaphors. I’m sure we’ll hear from this author again.

So that was my input into the article. The three-hour interview was edited into my three minutes of fame. Author at the computer––author talking about how she started writing, and author talking about her favourite “other authors'” books. Author at the computer again…fade out.

Funny, but there’s something very familiar about that, as though it’s all been done before. Hmmm …

Friday, July 2, 2010

Library Journal Review

Another review…this time one for my own book STRAW IN THE WIND. It’s particularly pleasing to have a novel reviewed like this, especially when the opinion originates from a source such as Library Journal.

Woods, Janet. Straw in the Wind. Severn House. Jun. 2010. c.256p. ISBN 978-0-7278-6893-0. $28.95. Historical

Hired by sea captain Erasmus Thornton to investigate his suspicion that the daughter he had fathered 18 years earlier may not have died at birth as he'd been told, Det. Adam Chapman sets out to learn the truth and ends up falling for housekeeper Sara Finn, the mystery woman he has been sent to find. Vivid descriptions, a fascinating assortment of secondary characters, and snappy, clever dialogue make this a memorable treat. Verdict: Woods's touching, mystery-laced story features a plucky, outspoken heroine and an intriguing plot; and it satisfactorily continues the tale begun in Salting the Wound. Although a sequel, this novel stands on its own, thoroughly rewarding. Woods, particularly known for her well-researched, emotionally rich historical novels lives in Perth, Australia.
October 28th sees the release of my next book, PAPER DOLL. For a change this book is set in 1920s England, shortly after the end of WW11. Many authors have favourites amongst their books. PAPER DOLL is one of mine…but more of that at a later date, when I’ve done the copy editing and have been sent my cover.