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"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Nov 3, 2019

From Summer to Autumn

July and August somehow sped by in a flash, and I was in England and Wales for part of September, and suddenly, with a blaze of New England colour, October is over. I marvel when my calendar confirms that November is here!

For much of the summer, I was able to spend lots of time at our lake cottage, interspersed with author events--bookstore signings, radio interview, library appearance, and meeting with a book group to discuss Beautiful Invention: A Novel of Hedy Lamarr.

Off to a radio interview in a 1940s-inspired dress

Show and Tell item for a book club meeting

During July, I participated in Camp NaNo, and committed to adding another 25,000 words to my novel. I exceeded my goal.

Our younger dog Dot continued her training, formally--completing Level 2 Obedience--and informally, with her agility set at home. And she accompanied me to Maine to see friends, and had a terrific time romping along the beach.

Young Dot shows off her skills--senior dog Ruth cheers her on

A day on a beach in Maine

Other August activities included a road trip to Massachusetts and Connecticut, to attend a rock concert and do a little research at the Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield, MA, related to the work-in-progress. I meet some famous, familiar characters there.

The Cat in the Hat

With infamous troublemakers, Thing 1 & Thing 2

September is the month I travel to the UK. In addition to spending time at the usual location in Somerset, I ventured north to re-visit Chester, a favourite city where I've got family connections. Using it as a base, I visited the area in Wales where my Evans ancestors lived--a manor house and a very large farm enveloped by hills. The weather was glorious.

One of the family properties
Making myself at home at the ancestral manor house 

An ancestor was born on this property in 1686. 

 From there, I went to London, where the social calendar was full, and I carried out research in the British Library for future novels, and was able to tour some architecturally significant buildings not generally open to the public. One of my favourite stops was the Royal Society, founded in 1660 by King Charles II, father of Charles Beauclerk, 1st Duke of St Albans and protagonist of my novel A Pledge of Better Times. He was admitted to the R.S. as a Fellow in 1722.

At the Royal Society, Carlton Place, London

Since returning home, I've been putting finishing touches on the w-i-p, and rejoicing at good news about Beautiful Invention. It's one of three finalists for the Independent New England Publishers Association Book Awards for Fiction. And it was a finalist, and winner, as Outstanding Work of Fiction for the New Hampshire Literary Awards. I attended the ceremony, never expecting bring home a prize!

My award
Winners for Non-Fiction & Fiction (photo: Ron Stone)

Award for Outstanding Work of Fiction (photo: Ron Stone)

Shortly after the ceremony, I had another radio interview, followed by an author event way down south at a Barnes & Noble where I've appeared in the past, and am invited to return.

Signing books, talking about Hedy

No NaNoWriMo for me this November. I participate every other year, and did it in 2018, plus I had a successful push to 25K words in July for CampNaNo--despite the distractions of lake life, garden tasks, and helping the young dog in her formal education. I presented a Building Your Historical World fiction workshop for New Hampshire Writers Project this weekend, and have more writers' group visits and bookstore visits on the horizon--some in-person, some via phone or Skype.

Our dog Dot completed her Level 3 Obedience (is that a doggie Ph.D.?). She celebrated by attending the Downtown Farmer's Market in her Halloween costume.

Dressed up Dot

Next come the holidays and my annual winter hibernation. Not many weeks left in this very busy and happy year of writing, travel, new dog, author appearances, and family time.