Erin Golding has written the most beautiful review of my novel, The Paler Shade of Autumn. Her clarity of thought, and ability to see between the layers of this story and witness its core, is truly amazing.
How it all Began
I met a wonderful lady, Erin Golding, on twitter (@eringolding) a couple of months ago. She is an Aussie living in England and is also a writer, having self-published a novel, Run to Me.
As I usually do, I looked through her website, www.healingscribe.com, and realised that I had plenty in common with this woman who lives half a world away. So I emailed her, out of the blue, because I could see our motivations were very similar, and asked if she could do a review of my novel, The Paler Shade of Autumn, for the AWW 2013 Challenge. And she agreed.
You can see the magnificent result here: http://www.healingscribe.com/2013/04/book-review-paler-shade-of-autumn-by.html
For those of you wanting a copy of the Paler Shade of Autumn, you can buy it from all e-tailers world-wide or here: Escape Publishing.
I have heard firsthand and read about authors receiving story inspirations from all sorts of places – particularly dreams. But I had never experienced a dream inspiration myself until a couple of weeks ago. And boy, was I supposed to get this message.
I was sound asleep (an essential component to receiving dream inspiration) and began to dream.
I am in a room, sitting at a table next to my sister. She pulls a book out from her bag, and says to me, “This is the best book I’ve read in ages.”
Intrigued as I am hearing a comment like this, I ask her to tell me what the book is about. She says, “It’s about three sisters who all disappear on the same night and they each end up in different places specifically designed for them and based on their true personalities. These places are so eerie, you’d think these sisters were mad. ” (I won’t give away more of the story line as I still need to write this sucker).
Next thing, I woke up and I repeated to myself, as I laid in my bed, remember this dream, please make sure you remember this dream. I soon closed my eyes and drifted back off to sleep, to awaken in the 1800’s.
I’m dressed in a beautiful, black dress with full skirts. I’m walking down a long hallway, upon plush red carpet, lit by wall-mounted candles. And I’m following three men in expensive suits. I end up at a timber writing desk with a quill in my hand and I’m dipping this quill in black ink so I can scrawl across paper a message to myself. I write how I have just received a story idea about three sisters who all disappear on the same night, etc., etc.
I woke up again and I took the hint, loud and clear, this time. I reached for my iPad on my bedside table and wrote the whole thing down.
For my recently published novel, The Paler Shade of Autumn, my ideas didn’t come from a dream, but, more so, were devised out of inspiration from seeing ordinary people doing extraordinary, selfless things.
How have you received inspiration?
With the advent of Google and there being around 7 billion people in the world, the odds are high that your fictional character’s name will be the same as countless real individuals existing on the Earth. But when coincidences in a number of aspects, other than name, occur, are these simple coincidences something more?
Let me tell you about the first experience I had with this.
A couple of years ago I wrote a novel about a World War I soldier whose remains were uncovered in a mass grave in Fromelles, France. This actual discovery was a real event that occurred in 2008 where 250 Australian and English soldiers – lost since the bloody battle of Fromelles, which took place during July 1916 – were discovered in the mass grave. My soldier, whom I created out of thin air to exist in my fictional world, was not real.
In my story, my soldier (a ghost), appears to a young woman while she is visiting this new graveyard in France built especially for these 250 soldiers. As many of these soldiers, still to this day, remain unnamed, my soldier beseeches the young woman to have his remains identified and his name inscribed upon his unmarked gravestone.
This task required a complete search of the soldier’s family tree to find existing family members who could do a DNA test that, when the universe is being kind, will match uncovered remains of the soldiers.
So as a mere writer, and having no experience in researching family tree construction, I had to find as much information as I could on how to undergo this task. The first thing I did, was take the fictitious name I had given to my soldier and type it into Google. What came up astounded me.
Turns out my soldier was a real person. I don’t want to expose anybody in this bog, so I’m going to use another fictitious name (I hope) to demonstrate my point. I had called my soldier, Joe Blogs. When I typed it into Google, I found that there was an actual soldier who fought in World War I called Joe Blogs as well. Except where I had used Joe as the soldier’s first name and Blogs as the last name, the real soldier was called Joe Blogs Jones. Let me say, the name I gave my soldier was very unique and was not something I had ever, in my memory, heard before.
So my solider turns out to be a real soldier, who fought in the same war. But, where my fictitious soldier died during the Battle of Fromelles, the real soldier was one of the fortunate who survived the war, came home and lived to the ripe old age of 86. In fact, there were so many details I was able to find out about the real soldier: where he was stationed overseas, where he trained, what year he signed up for the Army, when he got an STD and had to be hospitalised, who he married, where he was buried, and even how much he bequeathed his wife.
The next coincidence was that the real soldier came from Tasmania. I was originally born in Tasmania. Being a believer in reincarnation, when I found out this detail, I rapidly searched for his year of birth, just to make sure he didn’t die close to my birth year. He didn’t, he was still alive when I was born.
So why am I writing about this real soldier from the same place I was born, who shared the same name as my character and fought in the same war? I don’t know the answer to that. Only that they are sheer coincidences. Coincidences that were set to repeat with my current work-in-progress, based on convicts from England who were transported to Van Diemen’s Land. Both my characters, whose names I, again, plucked from thin air, turned out to be real convicts. Coincidence? Maybe. Something else? Perhaps.But what? I don’t know. What do you think?
By the way, did I mention what I called my novel about the World War I soldier? Beautiful Coincidence, quite a foretelling title. Perhaps a bit of a coincidence in itself.
Check out the coincidences my characters in The Paler Shade of Autumn encounter.
February 14 – March 15
One romance – 30 authors – 200 words a day – a world first
What happens when 30 Escape authors decide to collaborate to write one short story?
We’re not sure, but we think it will be amazing.
Everyday from Valentine’s day February 14 – March 15 an Escape author will post 200 words on the Escapade Blog.
There’s no master plan. No one knows where this is going until it’s written.
It’s Pass the Parcel meets Chinese Whispers meets Build a Bear.
It’s one girl and one boy in a contemporary romance that guaranteed to surprise.
So come on and Escapade with us by visiting our blog daily over the next month and prepare to be delighted.
Autumn Leone travels to India to find answers about her unique ability to see into other’s minds. But instead of answers she finds love. It takes one night of passion to fall for Jet Stark, whom fate had sent her half way around the world to meet. But, too soon, Autumn is to fly back to Australia and out of his life.
When Autumn bumps into Jet back in Australia after five long years apart, it’s difficult to dispute fate’s intention in crossing their paths not only once, but twice. Autumn knows it is a risk to fall for an old fling,
especially because Jet now happens to be rich, her new boss, and involved with another woman.
But a connection like theirs proves impossible to sever.
Reunited with the only man she has ever truly loved, Autumn thinks their relationship is flawless. But she fails to see that Jet is hiding secrets from his past. Secrets, which threaten to fracture not only their love for one another, and her career, but also her relationship with her family.
Will the truth about her gift and their unbelievable history be revealed in time before Autumn loses all she cares about? And will the truth be enough to mend old wounds?
The Paler shade of Autumn is available on iBooks now, Amazon,and Kobo. Take a look at the escapepublishing website for more details on my and other books, or head straight to The Paler Shade of Autumn.
Enjoy! And I’d love to hear what you think.
I wasn’t going to write a review on this book as it is a few years old; however, after reading it, I felt I wanted to. It was written by the long-established Australian author, Kate Grenville, and is a fiction novel based on the life of an actual lieutenant of marines, William Dawes, who was on board the First Fleet that brought convicts to Australia in 1788, and was a scholar in astronomy, language and mathematics.
Daniel Rooke is an incredibly intelligent young boy, so much so it diminishes his ability to connect or relate to other people in his life. Sent away to school at an early age he learns the hard way how different he is from others. Not until he joins the marines, where nobody knows of his past, does he feel he belongs, though only superficially. However, after experiencing the tragedy of war, death, and what it actually means to be at the service of His Majesty, he mentally declines, preferring solitude.
When the opportunity arises to travel to New South Wales on the First Fleet in 1788, he takes it. In this strange, unchartered new-land, he will be able to undertake scientific work in the field of astronomy never before carried out. After arriving in Botany Bay, he sets up an observatory upon a peak away from the main camp of soldiers and convicts, and plods away at charting the stars and weather.
Whilst there, Botany Bay natives visit him and, as a linguist, he takes it upon himself to learn the language, recording in careful detail their conversations. From these exchanges, he forms a wonderful friendship with a young Aboriginal girl, Tagaran, who becomes his language teacher of soughts. He builds a mutual affection for the local Aboriginal people, which is what ultimately forms the basis of a decision he makes that will change the course of his path in Australia.
I must, first and foremost, comment on Kate’s impeccable writing ability and style. Each word compliments the next. Each phrase, paragraph, and page, seamlessly follows the last and, at times, will wrap back upon itself so beautifully, coalescing one seemingly unrelated idea to the one presented before. Her unpretentious prose sings. I wanted to take each word and play it on the piano, just so I could hear the melody of this novel.
The Lieutenant is a simple story, beautifully bare, and unforced. It is what it is–a fiction novel recounting the events of England’s first encounters with native Australia. Viewed from this perspective this novel offers no flaws; however, viewed as a work of fiction required to entertain it fell short. Though emotive, insightful, and descriptive, I found it hard to keep turning the pages and found my mind wandering and seeking a more thrilling ride.