Welcome to A VERY BRITISH BLOG TOUR 2013 – a collection of blogs, books and authors who are surprisingly very British.
Author Clive Eaton has invited me, and a hand picked group of British authors, to take part in ‘A Very British Blog’ by visiting and supporting the websites of authors involved in the tour, and who are dedicated to turning out some of the finest books available in Britain today. Each author, named at the bottom of the page, has been asked the same questions, but their answers will obviously all be different. You merely click on the author’s link at the bottom of the page to see how they have answered the same questions.
So, without further ado, here are the questions from THE VERY BRITISH WRITER, together with my answers:
Q. Where were you born and where do you live at the moment?
A. I was born in York and presently live in the countryside between Sedella and Canillas de Aceituno, two of the White Villages of Southern Spain.
Q. Have you always lived and worked in Britain or are you based elsewhere at the moment?
A. I lived and worked in England until 2001, when my husband and I retired to Spain.
Q. Which is your favourite part of Britain?
A. There are so many lovely places in Britain that I am having trouble choosing a favourite. I loved living in Oxford, which is a beautiful and ancient city surrounded by rolling countryside and pretty villages, but I have very fond memories of holidays in the West Country. Devon and Cornwall seem to have a better climate than the rest of England. I also loved visiting Ireland and Wales. The Lake District is stunningly beautiful, even in the inevitable rain. And I was very impressed with Edinburgh, with architecture reminiscent of Berne in Switzerland. And then there’s Durham Cathedral in the North East, Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire, not to mention my own birthplace of York which is absolutely stuffed with history.
Q. Have you ‘highlighted’ or ‘showcased’ any particular part of Britain in your books? For example, a town or city; a county, a monument or some well-known place or event?
A. I think I only mention a few British towns by name – Oxford in “A Wish for Linda” and “What am I Going to do About Alice” – both in “Take One At Bedtime”, Leeds in “Domingo’s Angel” and Manchester and Birmingham in “All in the Mind”. I don’t think the exact location is very important in any of my books.
I have written about Britain at war and its aftermath in “Domingo’s Angel” and “All in the Mind” as well as in my upcoming horror story, “Turning the Clock Back,” in the Anthology “Horrific Histories”. I seem to be a bit obsessed with the war years at the moment.
Q. There is an illusion – or myth if you wish - about British people that I would like you to discuss. Many see the ‘Brits’ as ‘stiff upper lip’. Is that correct?
A. I think there is an element of truth in that. Our culture is to carry on regardless of whatever personal problems we may have. I would say that as a nation we are undemonstrative and that is particularly true of British men. It is quite amusing to watch the body language when a British man is approached by a Spaniard, clearly intent on giving him a hug or even, God forbid, a kiss! The British man will stick his hand out and attempt to give the Spaniard a handshake, whilst backing off in embarrassment.
Our humour, however, is largely based on self-mockery and sarcasm. You have to be able to give it and take it. Maybe the whole thing is testing the stiffness of the upper lip.
Why upper lip, I wonder? Surely it’s the lower lip which would be more likely to tremble?
Q. Do any of the characters in your books carry the ‘stiff upper lip’? Or are they all ‘British Bulldog’ and unique in their own way?
A. I think all my British characters are necessarily imbued with British culture but I wouldn’t say any are typical ‘stiff upper lip’ types. My most recent novel “All in the Mind” has a major character who is of the British upper class, but is nevertheless surprisingly approachable. In fact, the character who is most like the stereotypical British man is of Indian birth.
Q. Tell us about one of your recent books?
A. Here is the blurb for “All in the Mind”.
Tilly wakes up in the dark, alone and very frightened. She finds she is in a strange room inexplicably furnished in 1940s style. However did she get here? Has she somehow slipped into the past? Has she been kidnapped? Of one thing she is absolutely certain, she has never seen this place in her life before.
All in the Mind is a fascinating tale exploring the human capacity to overcome any obstacle, no matter how great, as long as you believe you can.
Tilly is part of an experiment working on a cure for Alzheimer's disease. She and most of the other patients taking part in the experiment seem to make a full recovery, but there is a strange side effect.
Tilly and her fellow experimental subjects appear to be getting younger.
Can the same experiment be repeated for Tilly's beloved husband so that he can recover from a stroke? Tilly thinks it can and she will move heaven and earth to make sure it happens.
A charming and thought-provoking story full of reminiscences of a bygone age, All in the Mind also deals with the dilemmas posed by new developments in a society whose culture is geared to the idea that the natural span of a human life is three-score years and ten.
Q. What are you currently working on?A. I keep getting distracted by short stories, but my major work in progress is based on Erich von Däniken’s theory that the gods were spacemen, written from the point of view of the Olympian gods, particularly the goddess Athena.
Q. How do you spend your leisure time?
A. I read and knit (usually simultaneously) and do fiendishly difficult logic puzzles. I love travelling. My husband and I are slowly exploring Spain and we like tovisit other European countries for our holidays.
Q. Do you write for a local audience or a global audience?
A. I have to confess that, although I
hope my books will have a wide appeal, I really write for myself. I write the
sort of things I like to read.
Q. Can you provide links to your work?
A. Certainly. Just click on one of the Amazon links below.
I've invited the following British, not necessarily British-based, authors to join in the fun. Once they’ve agreed, and set up their own answers on their respective websites/blogs, then clicking on their name will take you there. Also, if your are a British author and would like to join in, please get in touch via http://www.cliveeaton.com/contact.html
Clive Eaton: http://www.cliveeaton.com/averybritishblogtour2013.htm
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