Why Did You Write That Book?

Readers often wonder what inspired a writer to write the particular book they have just enjoyed, and it’s a fair question to ask, since the novel may deal with a subject that is somewhat out of the ordinary or a place they have never been. I know I find it interesting to have some background information about a book I have enjoyed. What about you? Let me know in the comments if you feel the same. With that in mind, here is a snippet of insight into the inspiration behind some of the novels I’ve written.

Much of my inspiration springs from personal experience. I grew up not knowing my birth father and, over the years, concocted many stories to explain his non-appearance in my life. As an adult, I became a very private detective, since I was my only client, and set about finding out who he was and where he was. It’s a theme I return to in many of my writings.

41QJW-AUatL._UY250_ Family Matters, my first published novel, revolves around a woman whose husband abandoned her and her two young children. She’d like to know why, and what happened to him. Eleven years later, after her son dies, she discovers that he’d been trying to trace his father, so she follows the steps he took in an effort to find out how much he’d uncovered. In this book, I draw on some of the procedures I used to trace my father. Paperback.

41C9fKLVtzL._UY250_Making it Home has, as part of its theme, leaving home and whether it’s possible to make one’s way back. The main protagonists are three women who become friends and help one another overcome their different problems while each works out what ‘home’ means to them and where ‘home’ is. Part of the inspiration for this novel was what I knew was discovered in an elderly aunt’s home after she died.  Paperback.

41WL0eRCVLL._UY250_ In Flying Free, the main protagonist loses contact with her father, when she and her mother leave the family home when Jayne is still a young child. So, in effect, it is she and her mother who are the missing people in this novel. The story traces Jayne’s efforts to come to terms with the why and how of the situation. Paperback.

517rcMAIR-L._UY250_ Here at the Gate is a story of a secret past, one threatened with exposure. Who is Mhairi? And why is she so afraid of what her daughter might find out when she traces the family tree. The inspiration for this novel was a snippet of a family story related to me in childhood. Paperback.

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In researching for my novels, I found that:
Approximately 2,300 Americans are reported missing—every day.
This includes both children and adults, but does not include Americans who have vanished in other countries, individuals who disappear and are never reported, or the homeless and their children.
That’s somewhere around 900,000+ a year.

In Britain alone, an estimated 250,000 people go missing every year. Many of those cases are resolved by police; just 2,500 people remain untraced more than a year after they disappear, some of them stay missing long after a year, ten, twenty, thirty years and more.

But that can still mean those who are contacted by police or other authorities do not return home and that families are not told if their loved one is alive or safe.
A closed case simply means the police are confident that no crime took place.

And how many of these missing people are children or young teenagers?

It is estimated that at least 8 million children worldwide go missing each year.
800,000 children in the U.S; 40,000 children in Brazil; 50,500 in Canada; 39,000 in France; 100,000 in Germany; and 45,000 in Mexico; 230,000 in the U.K.
And in most of the developing world—including Africa, Asia, and Latin America—no one is counting missing children.

These (probably wildly out of date now) figures, while chilling, also show me that the fictional stories I have written or will yet write are a drop in the ocean compared to the true stories no-one is writing.

I know how it feels for someone to be ‘missing’ from your life. I wonder how many of you know that feeling too? If you feel you’d like to, please feel free to share your story in the comments.

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The Reluctant Detective Series, is about Mirabelle, a rather eccentric lady whose daughter went missing. While searching for her daughter, Summer, she builds up a network of contacts and, with the help of them and her friend, DI Sam Burns, she finds other missing persons and is able to reunite them with family.
People become aware of her expertise in this area and begin to come to her for help. Reluctantly, she becomes a bit of a private detective and her home becomes an unofficial missing persons agency.

Mirabelle is mostly able to find young women, in their teens or early twenties. Those who have not been missing too long. Though her expertise stretches further, and, with the help of her network of unusual contacts, she’ll have a try at finding anyone.

Searching for Summer Final

The first of the series, Searching for Summer, is mainly focused on Mirabelle’s search for her daughter, and the building up of her network of helpers. As her reputation for finding missing people grows, she becomes increasingly involved in other cases, the reluctance of the title of the series being because each case takes a bit of the focus off Summer. Paperback.

Traces of Red, the second book in the series, takes Mirabelle out of Edinburgh, her usual searching territory, and further north in Scotland, up as far as Pitlochry and Aviemore, helping in the search for a missing husband, and two missing young women, one of whom could be the mother of the abandoned baby, found in Edinburgh. Paperback.

And the third in the series, Rusty Gold, takes Mirabelle and her assistant to the Island of Skye, searching for the daughter of a dying woman. The missing daughter, whose life may be in danger, is also an old friend from Mirabelle’s schooldays, and finding her proves both difficult and exciting. Paperback.

To find out more about the rest of my novels, click here for the ebooks and here for the paperbacks.

Reading for Pleasure

Reading can be a real chore if you’re not interested in the topic and you have to study it for an exam. It can be a pain if it’s a long, close-typed, legal document or something you have to check through to keep yourself right, but you could do with a lawyer to interpret for you. It can be frustrating if it’s in an unfamiliar language or if it’s badly written and lazily presented.

But, oh, reading can be fun!

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It can be such a pleasure when you find a subject that enthrals you, a story you believe in, poetry that resounds with you, a writer who reaches your soul.

The joy of getting ‘lost’ in a book.

The delight of finding a ‘new’ author, someone whose work you have never read before and find you love. Their style, their language, the story. When it all adds up to a book you don’t want ever to end.

Have you read anything recently that just makes you want to curl up in a deep armchair by the fire and read way into the night? Or a book you read on the beach that had you turning pages but forgetting to turn to the sun?

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There are quite a few authors who usually ‘hit the spot’ for me: Anita Shreve; Rosie Thomas; Nicholas Sparks; Maggie O’Farrell; John Grisham; Steinbeck, Austen, Trollope, Twain … the list is long …

Reading can be such a Pleasure.

Don’t you just love it?

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If you’re looking to find a book to read by the fire, curled up on the sofa or your favourite armchair, or you’re looking for a book to read on the plane or by the beach this summer, why not try

Searching for Summer

The First in the Reluctant Detective Series

Searching for Summer Final

Mirabelle’s daughter, Summer, disappears one Friday night, and Mirabelle would dearly love to rewind that day and live it differently. Instead, she is left not knowing if Summer is alive or dead, went of her own accord or was taken against her will.
Casting all other concerns aside – food, sleep, work, relationships – in her desperate need to find the answers, she takes to the streets of Edinburgh in search of Summer.
Searching along wynds snaking behind old buildings, through ancient doors and tiny spiral stairways, showing Summer’s photograph to everyone she meets in shops, museums and nightclubs, Mirabelle becomes a reluctant detective, gathering clues, trying to make sense of them in order to find her missing daughter.

Available on Amazon Kindle or  paperback here

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If you’ve already read and enjoyed Searching for Summer, and would like to read another novel by Christine Campbell, click here for ebooks and here for paperbacks, where you will find details and links to all her novels.

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The Number 1 Reason You Flub up Your Exercise Program

Are you a person who hates to exercise. Find out the number 1 reason you flub up your exercise program. Review of “No Sweat” by Michelle Segar Ph.D

via The Number 1 Reason You Flub up Your Exercise Program.

Formatting Matters!

Couldn’t agree more! The formatting of your ebook is vitally important. If it’s all over the place, it is very off-putting and your reader may well put off reading, and put off buying your next book.

Anna Dobritt -- Author

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Formatting Matters!

I love eBooks. You can take your entire library with you. What I don’t love is the way some eBooks are formatted. As a self-publisher and an indie author, your ebook needs to be neat and readable. When your reader buys one of your books, you are telling him or her that your product is worth their time and money. You may have written the greatest story in the world, but if the formatting is screwed up, no one will want to read it. I’ve deleted a number of eBooks from my Kindle after opening them and seeing how the formatting was. They were horrible! Next to bad grammar and other mistakes, bad formatting is a real turn off.

Before you ask, I create my own ebooks and covers.

A few tips:

  1. Don’t use fancy fonts for the body of the text except italics!
  2. Use font size 12…

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Amazon’s Logical TOC and Author Review Rules

Even more for the indie author to think about!
Every time I think I know what I’m doing, there’s something else to learn.

Lit World Interviews

I’ve posted about reviews and inserting a table of contents into your eBooks before, but I wanted to discuss them again, with special emphasis on Amazon KDP rules.

First, just a quick word about the table of contents. I’m editing a non-fiction book that I want a proper NCX table of contents for, that shows up in the little Go To menu itself, so I’ve been exploring Amazon’s guidelines. I wasn’t aware before that fiction had to have a logical table of contents, but it is now actually a requirement, and authors are starting to get notices from them to put them in their eBooks if they haven’t already. The HTML table of contents that we did here previously is Strongly Recommended by Amazon as well, but the Logical one is a requirement. This table of contents according to Amazon “Lets the reader easily find parts, sections, and chapters of…

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To Offer it Free or Not – Marketing Your Work

To offer my work for free or not…just what I’ve been wondering!

Indigo Sea Press Blog

Free BooksAs with everything to do with the art of writing, publishing and marketing books, there are different views on the worth of offering your books free.

Some will argue that you should not work for free.  And, in essence, that is what you are doing when you offer your books free.  You have spent countless hours writing, editing, perfecting, and polishing your writing.  You chose the perfect cover, formatted the book for eBook, and finally are rewarded with seeing your hard work available to the world.

Of course, you want some monetary gain from all that hard work.  Who wouldn’t?

But, unless you are already a well-known author, will the world even know you exist?  Will they (the readers) buy your book when you are an unknown quantity to them?  When there are so many badly written, badly edited, and just plain bad, stories out there, the reader needs…

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Why You Want to Be Findable on Social Media

How sociable are you on social media?

Veronica Bale

Findability ( … if that’s not a word, I’m making it one).

As an author, you’re an entrepreneur. That goes double (or triple, or exponential, even) if you’re a self-published author. The success or failure of your career is directly related to the effort you put in to make yourself visible to potential readers.

Never miss an opportunity for attribution

We all know that social media is one of the best ways to increase your visibility. But simply having a Twitter account, or a blog, or a Facebook page, or all three and more, is wasted effort if you are not making yourself findable. What do I mean by that? Well, for example …

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