Inspiration, is it a Relative Thing?

On digging through my blog archives, I recently came upon a post I wrote about inspiration. In particular, what inspired the first five of my novels up to, and including, Searching for Summer. I decided to update the post to include the rest of the Reluctant Detective Series since I had written and published two more novels to complete the series. So, that post ended up being about seven books.

Having written a further four, it’s time for a second inspiration ’round up’. You can read the first here, keeping in mind these posts are not about the books’ plots and content, but rather, what inspired me to write them. To find out more about each novel they’re all here as ebooks and here as paperbacks plus, there is even more information and photographs about their locations in my Facebook readers’ group, which you may request to join here.

After I finished writing the Reluctant Detective Series, I found some of the characters lingered in my mind, demanding I write their stories too. In particular, Mirabelle’s sister, Yvonne and her husband, Hugh. They hadn’t played a large part in Mirabelle’s story, especially Hugh, who hardly got any attention at all, yet their story was there in my mind to be written. I had done the background profiles. I knew the characters pretty well.

.

Hugh is different from any character I’d written before. His ‘voice’ was strong in my head. He had been sadly neglected in the series, so I decided to develop his story in For What it’s Worth, along with the story of his marriage to Yvonne, making the inspiration for that book an internal one, an offshoot from the series, but not part of it, available as ebook and paperback.

The next novel I published was Gold Plated, the story of one couple’s Golden Wedding Anniversary party and all that it raked up. The idea came to me when my husband and I were thinking about our own approaching Golden Wedding Anniversary. We were reminiscing on our fifty years together and I got to thinking whether it would be possible for a couple to have reached such a milestone without their marriage being a happy one. You can find out more about this one here for ebook and here for paperback.

Then came A Mountain of Memories, the first of my novels to contain a historic strand woven into the contemporary story. We were returning from vacationing in the north of Scotland and, as we drove through The Pass of Glencoe, I mentioned to my husband that I’d like to set my next novel on one of the mountains we were passing. He suggested that I should set it on one we had climbed over fifty years ago. Seemed like a good idea, so that’s what I did, and the book is now available in ebook and paperback formats.

The most recent novel I have published is Rose & Laurie, set partly on the Island of Arran. It’s inspiration came from a long-ago conversation I had with a lady on a train. She told me her story, which in turn inspired a new story in my mind. Rose & Laurie is also available as ebook and paperback.

So there you have it, the different ways I come to write a novel.

And the ‘Relative’ in the blog title? Well it applies to Jessica Norrie, the cousin I never knew I had (see my last post here) and who is also a published author. She explained the inspiration for her first novel in a post over on her blog and you can see it here.

Goodness, what a lot of links I’ve given you to follow. Don’t say I’m not good to you. 😀 Enjoy your online adventure 😀

As a reader, do you like to know the genesis of a story? Let me know in the comments.

Is There a Writing Gene?

I’ve often wondered where I got my love of writing. My mother and my sister, my cousins and my aunts, none of them seem to have that particular passon. My mother and my sister read a lot, especially my sister. I remember when we were growing up, how hard it was to rouse her from a good story; she really did typify the saying, ‘lost in a book’. As far as I know, she’s still the same.

I loved reading too – and can still get lost in a good book – but I very quickly realised the stories I enjoyed reading had to be written by someone. Why not me? So, much as I loved reading, I loved writing my own stories even more, winning essay prizes at school and going on to write and publish short stories, and newspaper and magazine articles, before finally finding my true passion – writing novels, published on Amazon Kindle and as paperbacks.

One of my daughters has been helping me trace my family tree. Having not known my birth father until I traced him when I was nearly forty years old, I knew nothing of the paternal side of my family, and he didn’t share his family history with me before he died.

But now, suddenly, it all makes sense.

There were writers in my father’s family. His cousin was a published journalist who later edited an anthology of letters, published after her death. And her husband was a ‘bookman’ working in the book trade, owning a bookshop, publishing fiction and non-fiction. Their daughter has published books too, and is still writing and publishing.

What joy! If there is such a thing as a writing gene, I now know where mine came from. And, when I contacted my second cousin, Jessica Norrie, she generously shared her bountiful supply of family history, stories and anecdotes with me, and it seems the storytelling gene stretches back yet another generation because her grandmother, my Great-Aunt Ivy (after whom I was given my middle name) was an entertaining story-teller too.

Jessica Norrie, my second cousin, at a book signing for her debut novel,

The Infinity Pool

.

Check it out. See if you think there are any similarities in our writing style.

~~~

My Flask

a fun and interesting post. Good to know what’s good on food 😀

Flippy Red Blog

Don’t get upset. I’m not a drinker. I do occasionally carry a flask, but it isn’t filled with liquor. Let me explain.

I am a well-behaved diabetic. I generally eat well, and I exercise regularly. On May 8, 2014, I attended the first session of Living Healthy Workshop with my friend and coach, Patty Pavey. That opening session changed my life. The topic was sugar detox. I figured I had this covered. Boy, was I wrong. The upshot was that I realized I needed to purge artificial sweeteners from my life. I began reading every label looking for artificial sweeteners in all their forms. This included sugar alcohols (e.g. sorbitol and mannitol), which technically aren’t artificial but aren’t recognized as natural by your body. There were even artificial sweeteners in my multi-vitamin!

Even eating well, I do occasionally indulge in French toast, pancakes, or waffles. In the past I had…

View original post 444 more words

Lifting The Lid Off Christine’s Kist O’ Stories

I’ve copied this post from my private FaceBook group, ‘Lifting The Lid Off Christine’s Kist O’ Stories’, to illustrate the type of post I offer those interested in finding out more about my novels and their settings and inspiration. I’m always happy to welcome new members to the group, so please do request to join here, if you’re interested.


This beautiful photograph is of the West Bow/Victoria Street in Edinburgh, only 150 metres from the entrance to Edinburgh Castle at the top of the Royal Mile, in the heart of the World Heritage site of the Old Town of Edinburgh. Here is the photographer, Dale Kelly’s, link if you’d like to have one of the limited run of prints he’s doing.
🌺🌸🌺
In my novel, Searching for Summer (Click here for kindle, here for paperback) Mirabelle would have walked this street many times, and often at night. In daytime, a busy street, with many tourists trying to capture its essence on camera, seeking treasures in its interesting shops, easy for someone to mingle and get lost among them. At night, a place for the lost and lonely to wander in search of a quiet close or stairwell in which to sleep.
Perhaps you can picture Mirabelle, searching here during the night, peeping in every hidden nook and cranny, searching for Summer.
🌺🌸🌺
Excerpt

She never tired of the secrets hidden in the Royal Mile, high above the gardens, its cobbles leading from Castle Esplanade to Holyrood House. Sometimes its secrets were the colour of Summer.

One day, she was halfway down the Mile when a girl caught her eye. A young, flame-haired woman who quickly looked away, head bent, and increased her pace.The colour of Summer.Mirabelle felt her heartbeat stutter. “Excuse me!” she called, boldly following her through one of the archways into a tiny, paved courtyard, bumbling out in embarrassed confusion when the person turned a stranger’s face in enquiry

“Can I help you? Are you looking for someone?

Mirabelle shook her head in apology, tumbled back into the High Street and continued down the mile of history: the Via Regis.From Lawnmarket to Cannongate, the Royal Mile buzzed with visitors, students and lovers.

She barely noticed the tourists; studied the students and lovers. As she searched their faces, looking for that one special one, they’d sometimes turn, a smile warm in their eyes, happy to share their glow with someone they must have imagined a tourist herself, her colouring declaring her part-Jamaican, her loose, colourful clothing more suited to the Caribbean than Edinburgh’s austere Calvinism

Should she walk its length every day of her life, she reckoned she’d uncover something she’d missed before: wynds snaking behind old buildings, ancient doors leading who knew where, tiny stairways spiralling up into special places. Tourist shops and museums served those without time or inclination to wander from the street, tiny theatres and history rewarded those who did.

And shades of Summer that failed to yield her daughter.

🌺🌸🌺

Searching for Summer is available on Amazon Kindle or as a paperback.

RSVP

Delightful post about etiquette.

Flippy Red Blog

Mention etiquette, and many people roll their eyes. They picture some stuffy old woman sniffing her nose at someone using the wrong fork. But that’s not what etiquette is at all. I’m a fan of Awesome Etiquette, the podcast by The Emily Post Institute. It’s hosted by the great-grandchildren of Emily Post. They point out that the watchwords of etiquette are consideration, respect, and honesty. It’s about engaging the world in a way that is helpful to you and those around you. The “rules” of etiquette change over time, but the basics remain the same.

They had a question recently about RSVPs. It’s not unusual for them to get questions about RSVPing. Since my main job involves parties, I’m familiar with the problems of RSVPs. I’ve heard people say that they thought RSVP meant to call if they were coming. I’ve heard people say that they thought it meant…

View original post 328 more words

A Mountain of Memories by ChristineCampbell #Historical fiction #Mystery #Romance

Delighted to receive this great review from Lizanne Lloyd on her blog.

Lizanne lost in a good book

Mountain of Memories

A childhood trip from Edinburgh to explore Caitlin’s family’s history results in tragedy on a mountainside above the village of Kinlochleven.

As an adult she is still affected by the events that took place there, though most of her memories of that day were lost as a result of its trauma.

Over a century earlier, Caitlin’s great-great grandmother, Mhairi, watched the village of Kinlochleven being born, suffering through its birth pangs.

Caitlin and Mhairi’s lives are linked by their common heritage, and as their stories become intertwined, Caitlin is drawn back to the question that has haunted her for eleven years.

What really happened on that mountainside?

A historic story folded into a contemporary story, the two linked by family, location and events.

My Review

I know from previous reading that a novel by Christine Campbell will be about realistic characters dealing with human problems. There will be soul searching…

View original post 264 more words

Rosie’s Book Review Team ~ 6 years old #TuesdayBookBlog #RBRT

Wow! So honoured to be included here.

Lizanne lost in a good book

Book Reviews

2014 was a special year for me. I had started my social history blog and I was a busy volunteer setting up an exhibition in our local Workhouse on its time as a World War One Hospital. We had bought a holiday home in Portugal and travelled to and fro, several times during the year.  I was also an avid reader and liked to follow authors and book bloggers on Twitter for new books to read.  And that was how I found Rosie Amber.

When she challenged some of her followers to review one of the books submitted to her, I couldn’t resist. I believe the book I chose was The Red Canvas Chair, an intriguing American crime thriller by N A Granger. When Rosie then invited some of us to join her team and review many other books of our choice from novels submitted to her…

View original post 154 more words

Whatcha Doin’, Papa?

I wonder, do you have a brother or sister, a niece or nephew, or even a son or a daughter, who you love dearly, but they also frustrate you? They’re mischievous and naughty, but endearing too. They’ve found your buttons and know how to press them.

That’s how my relationship with my father-in-law was. He was like a naughty child right into his nineties. I loved him dearly and have a lot of warm, happy memories of him but, there’s no getting away from it, he was a frustrating old rascal sometimes.

Like the time he fixed our roof.

It was forty years ago and he was in his sixties, too old to be climbing onto the roof, too young to resist it.

The house we lived in at that time had been extended by a previous owner, making a large kitchen and eating area. The extension boasted a flat roof.

In Scotland.

Where rain is not a stranger.

A flat roof with poor drainage.

(The correct way to deal with this information is to sigh and shake your head, or even to tut! and question the previous owner’s sanity.)

Above the eating area of this large kitchen, there was a pitched glass roof, surrounded by a moat. I call it a moat with good reason. It was often filled with water and, from time to time, it leaked. It leaked onto the table below and the diners around it.

So, forty years ago, when we were moving house and had insufficient funds to repair the roof, we decided – honesty being the best policy – we would tell any prospective buyers about the problem and leave it to them to decide if they had the funds to fix it.

Enter my dear father-in-law.

He was a very gregarious man and I’m certain he knew everybody in our village – and their business – despite the fact that he lived at some distance and visited infrequently.

Dissatisfied with how we intended to handle the matter of the roof, that dear, kind, lovely man decided to take matters into his own hands.

We were unaware of the road works going on in our village, but Papa, as the children called my dear father-in-law, was not only aware of such, but already on excellent terms with the workmen. 

He returned from the ‘stroll’ he informed us he was taking, carrying a bucket. Before we even knew where he’d procured it and what it contained, he’d carried it through the house and climbed out of our sons’ bedroom window onto the flat roof, where he proceeded to pour the bucket’s contents all around the moat. 

“Whatcha doin’, Papa?” my eldest son asked as he watched the black, treacly stuff being dispensed.

“What are you doing, Dad?” I asked, seeing the steam and hearing the fizz as the hot, gluey liquid hit the cold, wet surface of the moat. 

“Neil! You have no business up there whatever you’re doing,” said his wife, my mother-in-law.

Someone, possibly me, possibly my husband, took a photograph to record what we could hardly believe with our eyes.

“What I’m doing,” Papa said. “Is fixing the roof.”

I think he hoped for thanks.

Just as he traipsed back through the house with his messy bucket, the rain started hammering on the glass roof, and there was a knock on the front door.

A couple of prospective buyers come to view the house.

When we reached the threshold of the kitchen and I was telling these viewers to mind the step down, and they were ooh-ing and aah-ing at how lovely and big and bright the kitchen was, I did wonder what the plopping noise might be.

Plop! Plop! Pl-l-l-op! A slow glutinous plopping sound.

The sound of hot, runny, black-as-black, icky-sticky tar.

You know the stuff. They use it in road-mending.

Tar, which far from ‘fixing’ the leaky roof, was itself leaking through the roof, raining down on the idyllic scene of our children abandoning their snacks on the table and making a run for safety.

The prospective buyers also made a run for it, straight out the front door, followed very closely by Papa’s car disappearing down the driveway from the back door.

He did toot his goodbye as he passed the kitchen window, and indicated he’d left us to return the disgustingly sticky bucket.

~~~

You can find all of Christine Campbell’s novels on Amazon Kindle or in Paperback here.

~~~

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Fantasy C.S. Boyack, #Romance Christine Campbell, #Sci-Fi A.C. Flory

Great to be one of the authors featured in Sally Cronin’s wonderful blog today. Why not check it out.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet C.S. Boyack

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other…

View original post 1,277 more words

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships

It’s been a while since I posted here on my blog, so I thought this was a very honest and excellent post from Debby Kaye to get it up and going again – to reopen communication with my readers.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Happy New Year Readers! And welcome to my newest Blog Magazine Column at the Smorgasbord. This year I’m going to be writing here about relationships – The Realms of Relationships. When Sally suggested I might like to write on this topic I was elated as all my books are about things I experienced in life, and I’m delighted to share my insights here with you all. Now don’t worry, you won’t be finding any psycho-babble here, just plain English from a lifetime of experience.

I’ve been a storyteller since I was a young child – never a fibber – not that kind of storytelling. Whenever I’d heard or ‘overheard’ something when I was young, knowing I wasn’t supposed to be privy to, of course I had to tell someone what I’d heard. I hadn’t yet learned that by not telling all, it was easier to earn trust. By the time…

View original post 2,056 more words