A psychologist needed for my handbag

Letters to the Pianist

S. D. Mayes

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing S.D. Mayes and her debut novel – ‘Letters to the Pianist’

 

About the book

‘A Family Torn Apart. A Past They Can’t Escape.’

After their home is bombed in the London blitz, a chance connection brings the broken Goldberg family back together, but delivers rebellious and overweight Ruth Goldberg, into the hands of a murderer.

Letter from the author…

Dear readers,

I am delighted to present an extract from my new 1940s suspense novel, ‘Letters to the Pianist’.

This extract is taken from a third of the way into the story, when the pianist, Edward Chopard – a man with no memory of life before the London Blitz – is in New York, preparing to play a concert at Carnegie Hall. His good friend, psychologist Dr Oliver Jungston, has taken a sabbatical to help him on his concert tour.

This gives you a snapshot of the central theme of the story … how the protagonist, Edward is driven to make sense of the confusing events that are happening to him, as he attempts to discover who he really is.

Enjoy,

S.D. Mayes

Extract

The hospital psychologist Dr Oliver Jungston explains to his patient, Edward, about his troubled visions and the chance events unfolding in his life. 

‘These connections … the young boy, the blonde, the London Hospital, your lunch with John the chance meeting with the redhead, even our conversation right now – they are known as meaningful synchronicities.’

Edward looked baffled, rubbing his chin.

‘To explain, Jung’s philosophy is based on the principle that life is not a series of random events, but rather an expression of a deeper order, referred to as Unus mundus, Latin for one world or one energy. A meaningful coincidence occurs from a conscious or unconscious need, want or desire, that draws the observer and the connected phenomenon together through Unus mundus. Listen to me, Eddie,’ he said, standing up and waving his arms around like a conductor of an orchestra, ‘it’s all good.’

‘So you don’t think I’m slowly going insane?’

‘Not at all. These coincidences reveal a deeper realisation that something more powerful is at work. In short, the unconscious you, has brought about a chain of events so that you can rediscover your past. Your soul is pushing you to confront your emotional history.’

‘Hmm, sounds a bit mystical.’

‘Well, in a way it is. Jung believes these meaningful synchronicities direct us back to our spiritual nature.’ Oliver gazed into the distance. ‘There are links in every living thing. We magnetise them to us. There are no accidents.’

What the reviewers say…

‘Letters to the Pianist has a gripping and multi-layered plotline’ – The Daily Mail

‘Exceptional and unique … will remain with me for a very long time’ – Booklover Catlady

‘Mayes has written a masterpiece. Savour the words and let the pages turn themselves’ – John Winston, award winning author

‘This was an incredibly atmospheric novel that brilliantly depicted the effects of ww2 – loss, fear, grief, helplessness, poverty, evacuations and separations; whilst also being a very suspenseful and thrilling story. Detailing horrific acts committed against Jews – the torture made me somewhat uncomfortable – and conspiracies regarding the war.
I utterly loved the way this was written. It was immensely rich with descriptions and added great depth to the characters. The words flowed beautifully and created a vividly imaginable story, wholly capturing the ambience of war. The multiple POVs also gave an insight on the characters’ circumstances, thoughts and emotions.’ – Svetlana’s review

S.D.Mayes worked as a journalist for nearly twenty years before turning her hand to fiction. Originally from the West Country, she has one daughter and currently lives in Berkshire, United Kingdom.

The best of luck to S.D.Mayes with the unique and intriguing novel.

 

Please see my blog at jessiecahalin.com

Rosemary Noble insists on a daily dose of realism and compassion

Rosemary Noble 

 

 

 

It was a pleasure to welcome, historical novelist, Rosemary Noble to Wales.  We met at Newport Station. Unfortunately, it was a rainy day but that was soon forgotten as we chatted about her novel, Ranter’s Wharf and retraced the Chartists’ footsteps as we walked down Stow Hill.  We went to visit the site where the Chartists were believed to have been held captive. Unfortunately, the original building has been demolished but the whispers of struggle can still be felt in the town.

Finally, we visited a fish and chip shop before I drove Rosemary to the Chat Room.  There is a good fish and chip shop in Newport that honours the northern tradition of cooking in beef fat.  Back at the Chat Room, we ate fish and chips and talked about Grimsby – the setting of the novel.

Rosemary Noble

Jessie: Your novel is well-researched and rich with historical references.  You have developed strong characters that one cannot fail to empathise with.   I can rant on and on about the merits of your book as I did in my review. Can you summarise the book in a few words?

Rosemary: It’s a moving family saga about love, loss and betrayal set in 19th century England. It follows three generations as they attempt to find a way to live honourably in tumultuous times.

Jessie:  Your novel has been a very popular download on Kindle.  I have noticed an impressive number of reviews.  Can you retrieve some reviews that capture the essence of your book? Always modest, Rosemary hesitated a little until I insisted that we read the reviews.

Rosemary: Maybe like any author, I dread the first reviews because you wonder if anyone will get what you are trying to do, especially when the subject matter is unusual. But I have been overwhelmed with the kind words people have written. For example:

“The wonderful characterisations in this novel make light of a challenging theme and transport the reader through the harsh times of Victorian Lincolnshire in a roller-coaster of emotions A little masterpiece of its genre” John Broughton – May 26 2017

“The joy of this book is that it is absolutely gripping. Because of the sympathy with which the characters are portrayed, you find yourself really caring about what happens to William – adopted as a bewildered child by his rich maiden aunt – and his heirs who carry on the fight for social justice into the next generation.” Perdisima May – 15th 2017

“Delightful and informative. An intriguing story with a wonderful insight of the times.” Amazon Customer – April 15th 2017

Jessie:  Can you tempt the reader with an extract from the novel?

Rosemary: “Her passionate nature freed itself from the reserve she showed the world, allowing her whole body to respond with joy to his smiles, with misery to his tears and a fierce desire to protect him.”

Jessie: How did you feel when you had finished writing your book, and did you miss any of the characters?

Rosemary: In some ways, relieved because it was a hard story to write. It’s based on my 3x great grandfather who was an ordinary farmer until he was converted.  I wanted the book to be engrossing and relevant but I had to keep the reader interested while dealing with the difficult subjects of poverty, politics and religion. Religion has featured strongly in all three of my books only because it was so important in the 19th century but it is not my natural element. My next book set in the 20th century will not be influenced by religion but will have its own problems for me to overcome as a writer and storyteller.

I always miss the characters in my books. As an author, they inhabit my mind constantly. Because the subject has relevance for today with Brexit and the Trump vote, I wonder what my characters would have felt and how they would react. I can hear William saying to his son,’ education is key’ and his son and nephew replying, ‘No, every man should have a vote if they contribute to the wealth of the country.’ I found myself quite conflicted when writing the final chapters.

Jessie: Who would you like to read your book and why?  This could be another author, someone famous, a friend or a member of your family.  

Rosemary: People like my hairdresser’s receptionist who said to me ‘your book makes me realise I should always use my vote.’

If I can move someone sufficiently to learn how hard life used to be and then become more active in demanding the voice of the poor and dispossessed are heard today, then I will be happy. I am no Dickens or Hardy but am conscious of the impact they had on 19th century society. Our current times are troubling and I see the hard-fought-for Welfare State crumbling through cut-backs. Let’s not go back to those times, please.

If there was one famous person I wish would read my books it would be the director, Ken Loach. I am in awe of his work such as Cathy Comes Home and I Daniel, Blake.

Jessie: Why should I keep your book in my handbag?

Rosemary: For a dose of realism and compassion. Allow yourself to be transported to a time where life was a struggle not just in a material way but also in a spiritual and political way. I want to know how you would react to ‘the undeserving poor’. Would you turn your back, cloak yourself in respectability or would you act to mitigate the poverty around you?

Rosemary Noble

Jessie: What is the last sentence written in your writer’s notebook?

Rosemary: A solitary gull glides and swoops in the azure sky below a trio of swifts cavorting and darting as though playing tag but in the far distance a black speck appears, a harbinger of death.

This is a note for my next book, working title, Sadie, which will link all my books together.

Jessie: What is the biggest challenge for an independent author?

Rosemary: Getting noticed which means learning about marketing on social media. The key for me is the relationships you forge with other indie’ writers. In any walk of life, you learn so much from other people and you’re stronger together in a team. In our case, a virtual team of authors from around the world as well as close to home.

What is the best advice that you have received as a writer?

Rosemary: Learn the craft but write the book you want to write. Stay true to yourself. I am in the lucky position that I don’t need to earn my living from writing which frees me to write what I want.

Rosemary is driven to give a voice to our ancestors, to those who never had a voice in real life. “I like to pose questions, encouraging readers to think for themselves, ‘what would I do in that situation, how would I cope’? The stories history sends us, have relevance for today and I like to tap into that because I am quite a political person though it’s only this year that I joined a political party.”

Rosemary is passionate about the messages that she conveys through her novels.  Ranter’s Wharf did make me think about the way that my own ancestors must have struggled.  Rosemary’s strong characters evoke empathy in the reader as she transports us to their world and their struggles. One only has to open a newspaper to see that poverty has not disappeared and neither has prejudice.  I do worry about the Welfare State and hope that politicians will listen to their conscience.  We must all continue to vote!  

 

Please see all my author interviews at My Guests and my blog at jessiecahalin.com

Originally posted 2017-07-29 07:00:49.

Meet an explorer of the dark corners of history

Annabel Fielding

 

 

 

 

 

Annabel arrived at my Chat Room in the middle of September.   The autumnal feeling was already in the atmosphere, and I was tempted to light a fire.  Annabel was wearing black jeans and a loose blue blouse, clearly indicating that she is not yet prepared to say a decisive farewell to summer.  Her handbag was slightly bulky – spacious enough to fit in all the possible gadgets and tools of trade, including, perhaps, an odd typewriter.

She was feeling rather tired after a long journey.  Inspired by Annabel’s interest in tea, I had been to a specialist shop, in Bath, to buy some tea.  Annabel approved of my quirky 1930s teapot and a vintage tea strainer.  Apparently, the Winter Mixture tea was perfect.  I served the tea with some shortbread biscuits.  I added stem ginger and lemon to the shortbread and the flavour worked perfectly with the tea.

Jessie:  The front cover of your debut novel looks intriguing.  Tell me more about your book. 

Annabel:  Three very different women get caught up in the political struggles of the 1930s, in three very different ways. The novel is about the allure of fascism, the allure of love, the power of art and the art of climbing to power.

Jessie:  What prompted you to write the book, and what genre does it fit into

Annabel:  I’d say it’s a cross between historical fiction and an LGBT novel. I can say it was inspired by the period dramas that followed in the wake of Downton Abbey (I think we all remember that craze!), but in a sort of twisted way. I had this desire to explore the darker side of the world they’ve showed, to dissect all the political conflicts they only hinted at.

Jessie:  How do you manage to combine a career in PR with writing?

Annabel:  Actually, I can count myself to be incredibly lucky, as most of my duties allow me to work from home and to generally keep flexible hours. Honestly, I cannot imagine how I would have kept up otherwise – scribbled during lunch breaks, probably!

Jessie:  It is such a challenge to release a debut novel.  What response have you had from the reviewers so far?

“A captivating, stylish… historical novel about the polite society, dangerous affairs … political intrigue and espionage in London in the 1930s.’ Christabel, Goodreads

“So well researched and written, this exciting time in Britain (pre-WWII) is brought life in this lively novel. ” Polly Krize, Goodreads

“A fantastic story line and wonderfully written, the plot is well thought out and a brilliant LGBT tale”. Charlotte McGlinchey, Goodreads

Jessie:  It seems as if you have researched the plot thoroughly and developed an intricate plot.  Read me a short extract from the book to tempt the reader.

‘It was as if Hester was once again cycling down the hill and feeling the wind roaring in her ears; only this time the brakes were broken, and the map was lost, and the landscape around her was full of dangers”.

Jessie:  It sounds like the character is having a difficult time here.  Can you provide a little context?

Annabel:  She is under a kind of double pressure here. She is drawn into a turbulent affair with a woman… I could have ended the sentence here, as we are talking about a respectable, salt-of-the-earth, small town girl in the 1930’s; but that’s not the end of it – she is drawn into a turbulent affair with a woman, who has her own dark secrets and a continents-spanning political agenda.

Jessie:  How did you feel when you had finished writing your book, and did you miss any of the characters?

Annabel: I’d say it was a mix of relief and regret. Parting with Lucy was especially painful. I missed her terribly in the months to come, the shadows in her heart and her glorious way of making trouble..

Jessie: Who would you like to read your book and why?  This could be another author, someone famous, a friend or a member of your family.

Annabel: I would have loved to hear Sarah Waters’ opinion on it. Her Tipping the Velvet was a revelation for the nineteen-years-old me.

Jessie:  Would your book appeal to fans of Sarah Waters?

Annabel:  I hope so! I have always loved her mix of sensuality, unparalleled historical atmosphere and social commentary.

Jessie: Why should I keep your book in my handbag?

Annabel: That way you’d be able to get your daily dose of hot jazz, bias-cut gowns and interwar intrigue while on the Tube.

Jessie: What is the last sentence written in your writer’s notebook?

“Into the coming storm”.

Jessie:  Is this a note for another book?  Tell me more!

Annabel:  I would be glad to say so – but, alas, my new book is still in the research phase! This from one of my drafts for the epilogue.

Jessie: What is the biggest challenge for an author?

Annabel: For me it was to piece the intricacies of the plot together. After I was done with that, the actual writing process came surprisingly easy.

Jessie: Did you have beta readers and an editor?

Annabel:  Yes, I had good fortune to have as my editor the lovely Clio Cornish at the HQ Digital. She was a tremendous help for me, especially when it came to improving my plot flow or character development!

Jessie: What is the best advice that you have received as a writer?

Annabel: Probably to disregard the romantic ‘tortured artist’ archetype and work out methods that would cause me as little torture as possible. In my case, it was dedicating enough time to careful research, detailed outline and scene-by-scene planning.

 More about Annabel…

Annabel Fielding graduated from the University of Arts London with an MA in Public Relations. She is a PR assistant by day and a novelist by night. Being a self-professed history geek, she dedicates her free time to obscure biographies, solo travel and tea. She also posts a mix of book reviews and travel photos on her blog at http://historygeekintown.com“. 

Annabel has always been unique.  She read The Iliad in primary school to prove everyone wrong.  She is obsessed with the dark corners of history and wants to bring them to life in her novels.  From an early age, Annabel liked to explore the world – prefect for a writer!