booksandstories.com

September 2004 Review

Writing Progress

Well, what a shock, I've finished “A Fine Woman”. Yes, that's right, I have, honest. And what's more I have actually started work on reviewing “The Heroic Englishman”. So “A Fine Woman” is now listed as a complete, self contained story under the Thrillers and Romantic Books section on the List Page. And the first part of “The Heroic Englishman” has taken its place in the Short Story Serial section. Unfortunately, this means that the story isn't premiered in this review. I decided to do things this way because I didn't want to leave the Short Story Serial section blank after moving out “A Fine Woman”. But part two of “The Heroic Englishman” will appear in next month's review as normal before moving to the List Page the month after.

Now that “A Fine Woman” is finished I must say I am very pleased with the result, and although the story isn't a long one, it's more of a novella, I think it works well. Having never written a story based somewhere that I have no knowledge of, the idea of doing the story in flashback definitely helped. I did quite a bit of research on the internet for all the correct terms, spellings and military ranks. I also did a bit of research on the history and area of the South of France where the story is mainly set. But having said that, I don't think there is actually a railway line that connects Antibes with Juan-les-Pins, Mougins, Vallauris and Grasse! Or even if there is a Convent in Antibes. But you never know!

Stories are fiction, but they read and feel better if there is a bit of realism as background. I knew when I started “A Fine Woman” that I would have to get the feel right, and although I brush over a lot of things, the general background about the American invasion of Southern France and the British Mandate over Palestine and Israel are all based on real history. But my story is still ficticious, so if there are some things that are not right, you'll have to forgive me.

“A Fine Woman” was started a long time after I began writing “The Heroic Englishman”. In a way, the problems I encountered in this earlier story allowed me to realise that I needed to do research to get things right, and what I learned I first put to use with “The Friendly Ambassador”. By then, the internet had become a very useful research tool, and research from your living room became possible. Before that I had been faced with long visits to the library. It was this lack of information that eventually stalled “The Heroic Englishman” and I abandoned it in 1998. It was a shame, really, because I was beginning to like the characters. Well, six years on, I am renewing my acquaintances.

There are several complete parts of “The Heroic Englishman” already written. But I will have to review these as I learn more about the geography and history of the places where the story is set. And don't be surprised if the story undergoes any subtle changes even after it has been loaded up on the List Page. As I learn, I will modify. So...on to other things.

“The Friendly Ambassador” is at the production stage with my publisher, PublishAmerica. I now have to wait for the final draft for me to proof read. I haven't heard anything about the book cover or whether they will contact the illustrator I suggested, but I live in hope. Although I have no final say, I would like the cover art to be striking, and there is no reason why one of their own illustrators can't come up with the goods. I just hope that I am not disappointed.

Time rumbles on. It's already September. Are you looking forward to Christmas yet?
 

If you would be interested in buying a copy of a real book version of “The Friendly Ambassador” when it is published, email me with your details and I will contact you when it comes out.