MEET JILL DOBY

Great author interview.

lucinda E Clarke

Jill and I have been FB friends for a long time, I remember beta reading her first book, or was it her second? Anyway, I’ve read both and I highly recommend them. She is so right that travel broadens the mind and introduces you to different cultures and peoples. Jill is a true traveler in every sense of the word and has some great stories to tell.

birthday 59

I am an international educator and a writer. I write travel memoirs and articles about my experiences living in different countries while working as a teacher/administrator in American and international schools around the world. Documenting my travel experiences has given me opportunities to relive all the good, bad, harrowing, and remarkable events I endured along the way. Writing about traveling also comes naturally to me as I continue to encounter diverse cultures, distant lands, and historic sites in this unique lifestyle of mine.

I’ve…

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Recommended read for history lovers – ‘A Purgatory of Misery’

Capture PofM

An in-depth study of the events leading up to the Irish Potato Famine in the latter half of the 19th century. The author has provided an informative, eye-opening, unbiased, and moving account of the plight of the Irish poor during recurring failures of the potato harvest and the inadequacies of government and church to successfully address their needs. I wasn’t aware of the scale of the disaster – one million deaths from starvation and disease and thousands transported to the colonies.

Politics and religion played their part but also the history of Ireland going back eight centuries over which 19th century politicians and clergy had no control. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in social history or the history of Ireland.

Take a look here – via From Page to Print

Wishing I’d listened more to my elders. Remembrance.

cropped-tdc-2-covers-troop-background.jpgMy grandfather fought in the Great War. His name was William Harold Goodman, and he was a lad from Warkton, a tiny village of thatched cottages belonging to the Boughton Estate of the Dukes of Buccleuch. Although records are sparce, I’ve discovered after months of research that he was with the Royal Buckinghamshire Hussars and the Queen’s Own Worcester Yeomanry. I can’t be sure which campaigns he fought as I’ve been unable to discover when he first joined the army (he was with the QO Worcs from January 1916), but both brigades were at Gallipoli and were involved in the Sinai offensive and the Battles for Gaza. I remember as a small child sitting on his lap in a big leather chair by the fire, listening to his stories of the desert. My abiding memory is of him holding out his right arm, hand palm downwards, and describing a wide arc, which to my small person encompassed miles and miles of sand, oases, dunes, and lack of water. I could see horses, camels, dusty roads, and men in uniform. I could smell the horses, hear the jangle of their harness, and see Jerusalem.

Sadly, sixty-five years on, the stories themselves are forgotten, their greatness trampled by the trivia of life. Having written a novel about the Holocaust in WW2, I was inspired by Grandad’s sweeping, all-encompassing arm, by this vision of Palestine, to research for a novel about WW1. It’s a pity that at age five I didn’t realise I would need these stories. Why didn’t I ask him to write them down for me?

So, it’s with the spirit of his tales rather than the personal facts that I write The Dandelion Clock, a tale of a young lad and his older brother taken from their home, family, and those they loved and plunged into a world they couldn’t have imagined in their darkest nightmares. They took with them horses they loved and cared for in intolerable conditions. They suffered, heat, flies, thirst, and near starvation. They saw Warkton lads fall beneath the machine guns of the Turks, they almost drowned in the trenches of Gallipoli, and saw men freeze to death. They slept in dugouts with mortars and high explosives bursting overhead and the the stench of death around them.

I can’t imagine that these are the stories Grandad would have told a young child, but this would have been the truth behind the tales, the pain and anguish behind the slow, generous sweep of that gentle arm. The tales he wouldn’t, couldn’t ever tell.

He died days before my twenty-first birthday, and I’ve missed him every day since. The only thing I have to remember him by is his army fork, which I used to eat with as a child and which I treasure. I can imagine him eating his bully beef out of a tin with this fork, possibly sitting in a trench at Gallipoli, or on the road to Rimani, El Arish, Gaza, or Jerusalem. I wish I’d talked to him more. I wish I’d listened more to my elders. On this Remembrance Day, I’m thinking of you, Grandad, and those Warkton lads, and all those who gave of themselves, and still give, at home and abroad during all our terrible wars. I salute you.

mybook.to/TouchingtheWire – a fictional tale of the men, women, and children of Auschwitz.

Station Toilets, Shellshock, and Freezing to Death

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I love historical fiction because of the journeys I take to different times and places. As an author, this journey is truly one of dicovery. Today, for example, I have researched steam trains, Kettering Railway Station toilets, shellshock symptoms, Co-op milk and bread deliveries, gas street-lighting, soldiers freezing to death in Gallipoli, and the Battle of Loos, all in 1915. I’ve learnt more about modern history from researching my historical novels than I ever learnt at school.

Last year, I sailed the world on a convict ship in 1841, saw my child starve in a convict nursery, and crossed the Blue Mountains with a horse and cart. I’ve prospected for gold, held a young girl in my arms while she died of dysentry, and been robbed by bushrangers. I’ve watched the man I love convicted of murder and had him sail out of my life, and I’ve sacrificed my son and my soul for love. All this pain to bring to life ‘For Their Country’s Good’, a three-book series about convict transportation, a brutal ‘trade’ to build a colony of labour, breeders, and tamers in Australia: to put the flesh on the bare bones of historical fact and documentation.

Probably the most harrowing research I’ve undertaken was for ‘Touching the Wire’, a story of the men, women and children of Auschwitz. It’s difficult to comprehend what ‘mass hysteria’, for want of a better term, drove ordinary German citizens to commit the atrocities that were carried out in Auschwitz/Birkenhau and the other death camps where so many innocents lost their lives. How did Hitler command such a devout following? How could he turn men with wives and children of their own to view Jews, Romanies, homosexuals, and political prisoners as fodder for the gas ovens? How does anyone ever forgive such inhumanity to men, women, and children?

I often had to walk away from my research and take a walk in the fresh Pembrokeshire air to cleanse my lungs of the reek of death and my mind of the capricious brutality of Nazi  Germany. As with all tales, if the characters are to live, their plight to have impact, their tragic stories to have wings and fly, the devil is in the detail, and, in the case of Auschwitch, the detail was the devil. It made me question my own powers of forgiveness, and it wasn’t until long after I’d typed ‘The End’, possibly a couple of years after, that I found my own answer. For me, it wasn’t so much what I could forgive but whom I was willing to forgive.

My present work in progress presents a more personal challenge in that it’s inspired by my grandfather’s experiences in The Great War. Where ‘For Their Country’s Good’ was based on three of my relations who died long before I was born, ‘The Dandelion Clock’ is inspired by grandparents I knew and loved. They were flawed, with human frailties, as are all my characters, so they needn’t expect special treatment, but I shall attempt to show their humanity in the most difficult of times — how war tore them apart, brought them back together, and changed them irrevocably.

Last week, I marched with Grandad across a salt flat, with no cover, under fire from Turkish soldiers on the hills above me at Chocolate Hill, Gallipoli. Around me men dropped like flies, their bodies, left unburied, filled the hot air with the stench of death. Yesterday, I endured trench foot, hunger, the loss of comrades due to flooding in the trenches, and today I almost froze to death. I left him in a casualty clearing station on Sulva beach, suffering from frostbite, while my grandmother copes with a brother home from France with shellshock and a father who is a violent drunk. All my grandparents wanted was each other and love. It’s an emotional journey for me as a writer and granddaughter. I hope you will find it an emotional journey as a reader. Look out for it in 2018. Remember the name, ‘The Dandelion Clock — A wish to end all wishes. The war to end all wars.’.

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Watching Spiderman

I love this post.

Frank Parker's author site

You can see it from a long way off as you drive over the ridge from the East into the valley, up the valley from the southern end, or down it from the northern end. Pointing skyward, it rises from among the trees that surround it and the village. Few visitors in the twenty first century realise that it is made of plastic – glass fibre reinforced resin to be precise.

st-_peters_church2c_peterchurch_-_geograph-org-uk_-_155448 Peterchurh church with its spire. Philip Halling [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons To me it symbolises my struggles with belief in Christianity. It is also a reminder of my first efforts at setting my thoughts down on paper and publishing them to the world. I’ll come back to the story of the plastic spire in a moment. Bear with me whilst I recall my first ever published piece of writing.

In the late nineteen fifties and early…

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Splattering Richard over my Laptop

A great conversation, Sarah. Thank you.

Rebecca Bryn

Splattering Richard over my Laptop. – the secrets of award-winning author, Sarah Stuart.

So who is Sarah Stuart? I mean, who is she really? Who is the very private woman behind the pen – no, make that keyboard, please make that keyboard: Sarah’s writing is totally illegible to everyone except me, and I struggle. Is this why I have her comments in bold?

‘Getting to know you, getting to know all about you…’

‘Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me.’

‘Quiet, Sarah. One, you can’t sing, and two, you get your fifteen minutes of fame in a minute.’ As Sarah is a lover of musical theatre, and the theatrical world is the backdrop to Sarah’s amazing Royal Command series of novels, that song seems like a suitable place to begin and, as I’ve known Sarah for more years than either of us will admit to, who…

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