Writing

Pen

I’ve always loved writing. My dear father, although no longer with us, was a published author of historical novels and a formative influence. He encouraged me to read and write, so it is something I often dabbled with, but didn’t really commit to until coming to Australia.

Determined to get the balance of life working in my favour, once I arrived in Australia I began to take my writing more seriously. As much as I could, I dedicated time and focus on my writing. Unfortunately, I also learnt the hard way that it is a good idea to back up your writing, because I lost my first years’ worth of effort lending my laptop to a friend who managed to wipe the hard drive. However, I’ve kept at it and I eventually finished the first draft of my current manuscript. It was a horrible mess.

I continued to work on it, winning the Historical Novels Society of Australasia’s First Pages Prize and long listed for the Emerging Writers Festival and Hachette, Richell Prize. These small accolades helped to encourage me to keep going and I have recently been awarded mentorship from the Australian Society of Authors. I’m hoping it will enable me to polish my manuscript to a publishable state. So what can I tell you about it?

The Book Lovers

How far you would you go for a book?

Estranged from her family, Highland Library van driver, Calder Shepherd, returns to Oxford for her mother’s funeral. There she is confronted by a brother-in-law, Giles, she loathes, a tactless Australian artist Ivo Kusan, and worst of all by the knowledge that her relationship with her beloved sister, Orla, is in tatters. When she discovers the family heirloom, the Shepherd Book of Hours has gone missing, she is finally forced to decide between playing it safe in Scotland or fighting for everything she holds dear.

Callie focuses on the one thing she believes she can do to salvage the situation: track down the Book … but it is no ordinary book and she is not the only person interested in its whereabouts …

 

I’ve done a fair bit of research for The Book Lovers:

Without mentioning names, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to a friendly librarian who works for the Scottish Highland Library service – thanks M!

 

 

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A Highland Library van …

And Whisky, her faithful ‘literary’ companion who also features in the story.

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Oxford research:

Radcliffe Camera

The Radcliffe Camera, Bodleian Library

 

Below, more images of the Bodleian Library

 

More images of Oxford …

 

 

Researching Shakespeare, whose life is also touched by the Shepherd Book of Hours:

Shakespeare's house in Straford

Above, a frosty morning at the Shakespeares’ house in Stratford-upon-Avon
Below, visiting the Hathaways’ house

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