A Grave above Ground
Many thanks to HPEditions Australia (www.hpeditions.com.au/our-books.html), for believing in me and for helping me from the start of this publishing venture. I found it daunting initially but, little by little, it is all becoming a reality, a part of my life.
A Grave above Ground is, as its title tells us, the tale of a beggar. She sits on a pavement in Madrid and gradually her story evolves, taking the reader through her tragic past, her traumatic journeys, her present observations. Perhaps I don't have to go very deeply into my motivations for writing this novel because they are obvious. It's been years now that Spain has opened up to immigration, after forty years of hermetic dictatorship. Unfortunately there are two sides to the immigration story - the legal side and the illegal and my protagonist is an illegal immigrant. There are so many of them in all the big cities in Spain. It is inevitable that you pass several when walking the streets. And one of these women caught my eye day after day. I often gave her a few coins, though I don't believe that charity is a valid answer to social injustice. Then the inevitable occurred, the questions: Why was this woman begging? How had she come to Madrid? Why had she left her homeland? Where did she live here? How could she bear her loneliness, hours and hours sitting on the kerb of a pavement through winter and summer? And many more questions ...
It was my own imagination that did the rest. She had provided me with the idea, but the story only began to develop when I started thinking about Romania. The shooting of Ceauscescu, the Romanian dictator, had vividly impressed me on television on Christmas Day in 1989. From there, and with a certain amount of research about his Romania, I imagined Mara's life and personal tragedy - the kidnapping of her baby daughter, her need to escape from Romania. Gradually I brought her down to Spain.
One thing that interested me, dealt with by the psychiatrist in the clinic where she is admitted after collapsing on the street, is how a young, intelligent woman can crumble with certain ease into a situation of utter degradation.
But that I leave for the reader to discover.
You can get a copy by going to:
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I hope that with this book I can reach out to people involved in helping immigrants, either associations or individuals, or to anyone really who cares about the lot of all these beggars.
"SISTERLY LOVE" : My latest novel
I know that two years is a long time; it is the time between my publishing "A Grave above Ground" and now "Sisterly Love". I emphasise the word publishing because I actually wrote some of this novel many years ago when I put it away to marinate beneath other documents at the bottom of a drawer in my study. Several months ago, I fished it out and decided, after much editing, that its destination, at the least, should be Amazon and, at the most, an editor. And once again, HP Editions of Queensland have come to my rescue. My heartiest THANKS to them.
I wrote this book during a time when I was feeling perturbed about the process of ageing. Of course, I was a younger woman then. Now that I can put myself into the ageing category, I don't feel quite as worried about it, although I recognise the importance of observing age with a sense of humour. Which brings me to something I want to say about this novel, that I have tried to write it with an acute sense of humour in an attempt to alleviate the sadness that inevitably comes with lives reaching their end. The lives of Elsie and Lillian and Horace, two sisters and a brother, who live out their later years thrown against one another, not always an easy co-habitation. But the substance of the book is built upon their childhood memories, their recollection of rivalries, disputes, their professional activities, their journeys, their marriages and romance.
Without going into too much detail, the characters are based on some people who have crossed my path, on comments that I recall from my youth, but all this I have highly exaggerated to the point where the people I had in mind are certainly not like those represented in these pages. Nor are the events surrounding them. I could say that they were my initial inspiration for "Sisterly Love", but any likeness ends there. All authors I believe use life material, often very close to them, but this doesn't culminate in a necessarily faithful representation of that material. One's imagination comes strongly into play which means that other characters and events burst into the story and, as I say, exaggeration is often needed to offer the reader a more amusing version of mundane lives.
This novel is now available on Amazon for pre-order. It is to be released on 1 July. You can purchase it in either digital or print form directly from:
Amazon books Kindle (mybook.to/sisterlylove)
HP Editions (www.hpeditions.com.au/our-books.html)
Smashwords (.epub) (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/943524)
It is also available from most online bookstores, as well as some "bricks and mortar" stores.
I would be enormously grateful to any of you who decide to buy it to accompany me on the adventures of Elsie, Lillian and Horace, or indeed to accompany me on my belated literary career! A million thanks. On second thoughts, perhaps it is a book for the later generations. Oh, I nearly forgot ... there will eventually be an audio version for any of you who prefer to listen than to read. Back later about that, when it happens.
And if you read it and enjoy it, I would be so happy if you'd give me a brief review on Amazon and recommend it to your friends.
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