This blog post gives a comprehensive look into the lost world of old Calcutta during the time of the British – via CALCUTTA MAIDAN in 18th and 19th Centuries
This is the final part of my interview by Trisha (Writer at Play) about writing and being a writer …
I’ve had great fun being interviewed by Trisha for her blog WRITER AT PLAY:
If you want to take a look, here are Part 1 and 2 …
THE SCOTTISH HEBRIDES are steeped in the history of Jacobite Risings and the legendary Flora MacDonald – a beautiful, spirited young woman from the Outer Isles who dared to put her life at risk to help the fugitive Bonnie Prince Charlie. And she may just be a cousin of mine!
Flora – her life, loves and adventures – is the subject of my forthcoming historical novel, THE JACOBITE LASS. Available for pre-order on Kindle UK: http://amzn.to/1w5dtcl
and Kindle.com: http://amzn.to/1n63KZX
Scotland, 1722: on a remote and windswept Scottish island an enigmatic poetess foretells tragedy for the proud Macdonalds of Clanranald and the birth of an extraordinary child. That child is the passionate and free-spirited Flora.
She is in love with childhood sweetheart, elusive Jacobite, Neil, yet increasingly drawn to passionate and handsome Allan.
Before affairs of the heart can be resolved, the exiled Prince Charles Stuart lands on the Outer Isles in his bid to win back the crown and his arrival ignites the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Scotland is plunged into bloody civil war; families and clans are torn apart in their loyalties and Flora’s fate is changed forever. The fate of a fugitive prince is in her hands. Will she risk everything for the sake of those she loves?
Deeply emotional and uplifting, THE JACOBITE LASS is set in the turbulent times of 18th century Scotland and is based on the true story of Scottish heroine, Flora MacDonald.
I have been following in her footsteps to get a feel of where she came from and the places where she lived – I feel like I know her!
Although I’m a proud MacLeod – a clan genealogist has worked out that Flora and I are distant cousins – five steps of kinship removed and several generations!
The next post will tell you more about my search for Flora’s past …
Invitation to the paperback launch of my new novel THE PLANTER’S BRIDE –
Unique cine footage that my forester grandfather filmed in the foothills of the Himalayas and never before shown in public will provide the backdrop to readings from the novel. Take a look at the taster clip showing my mum and uncle being transported in a basket on top of a mule along narrow mountain tracks!
Tales of tigers, tennis and tea parties …. I’ll be talking about the real life experience of my grandparents in India who trekked into remote parts of the Himalayas – and how this inspired the latest novel in my India Tea Series.
The event is free but to book a place please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or telephone: 01670 623455
THE PLANTER’S BRIDE – sequel to THE TEA PLANTER’S DAUGHTER – is now available as an ebook.
The story is partly inspired by my maternal grandparents, having discovered diaries and letters written by them, giving rich detail of their lives in India in the 1920s and 30s. Granddad Bob worked for the India Forest Service and my intrepid Granny Sydney followed him out from Scotland to marry and live the itinerant life of a forester’s wife.
My granny in her wedding dress in a garden in Lahore is featured on the cover!
They trekked through remote parts of the Himalayan foothills – and when they became parents, the kids went too! My mum Sheila, as a baby, was hoist in a pram on poles and carried through the jungles and along mountainous pathways along with the tents and supplies!
The new novel follows the fortunes of two cousins, Sophie and Tilly, who leave post 1st World War Britain behind and head for adventure in India – Sophie determined to find out the truth behind her parents sudden death in the tea planting area of Assam 15 years previously …
Researching my latest novel, THE PLANTERS’ BRIDES (a sequel to THE TEA PLANTER’S DAUGHTER ) I came across this great collection of old photos of Lahore.
Great inspiration for my novel which is partly set in 1920s Lahore in the Punjab!
My grandparents lived there in the 1920s and 1930s, and many of the places are mentioned in their diaries and letters: they arrived at the magnificent station, were married in the Anglican cathedral off the Mall, stayed at Nedous Hotel, had a friend who was curator at Lahore Museum ….
Granddad was working for the Indian Forest Service. After Independence he stayed on to work for the new country of Pakistan and was based in Lahore.
In 1976, on an overland bus trip to India, we stopped in Lahore and camped for a couple of nights. I wish I had known then the rich details of my grandparents’ life there which I now know from their recently discovered diaries and letters ….! (Above is a game of cricket going on near the Mall in 1976)
I recently spent a week on a self-imposed writing retreat to get on with my novel-in-progress, THE PLANTERS’ BRIDES (a sequel to THE TEA PLANTER’S DAUGHTER)
As going to India wasn’t a practical option (!) I chose a beautiful spot on the Northumbrian coast – Alnmouth. (Through Northumbria Coast and Country Cottages, I booked a self-catered flat a stone’s throw from the beach – but handy for the hostelries too – Thursday night is curry night …!)
What better way to start the day than with a walk along the stunning beach at sunrise, with the moon still high, the sound of the waves crackling on frosty sand and a light burning in the friary chapel overlooking the sea …?
It worked – I got 17,000 words written and it’s almost complete …
Recently, I have come across old diaries and letters written in India by my maternal grandparents in the 1920s and 1930s, where my granddad was a forester with the Indian Forest Service. Bob Gorrie had been a gunner in the First World War and survivor of trench warfare (one of the ‘mortar-mongers’ as he nicknamed them). He kept diaries of that ‘adventure’ too, but that’s a whole other story!
On his return to Scotland, he trained in Edinburgh at the University – there’s seems to have been a lot of rowing, tea dances and theatre trips in between lectures on tree species and Hindustani – Bob was relishing life post Flanders. There was a whirlwind romance with sophisticated Sydney Easterbrook (a wow on the dance floor) and then he was off to the Punjab, leaving his fiancee to follow a year later …
As a writer and researcher, I am absolutely hooked on my grandparents story – their life in India leaps off the page – and I’m drinking tea, marking trees, auctioning timber, riding under moonlight and playing ‘topping’ games of tennis alongside them!
Oh, yes – and I’m wearing a brooch made out of a tiger’s claw from a man-eating tiger that my grandfather shot and named Gwendoline …
My next novel – a sequel to the Tea Planter’s Daughter – is taking form and taking my characters back to India in the ’20s. Over the next few months I’ll share slices of that long gone era on this blog – with the help of Bob and Sydney.
One writer's story - When the kids leave home - and come back again
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