This is the title of my authors talk and on the 14th January it was my pleasure to deliver it to fellow members of the Royal Air Force Yacht Club.
I started the talk with a very perceptive observation of writers that is sadly unattributed.
‘When you become a writer your heart and mind become divided between your many selves.’ Anon.
An artist displays a two dimensional image that offers not only the image but also a glimpse of themselves. Novelists in most genre present you with not only an image of the scene and conversation but a window to their imaginings and deepest thoughts and feelings.
I hope that any members of the club reading my books will not be too disturbed by my darker side.
A MAJOR EVENT ENJOYED.
Back at my desk I now have time to reflect upon my recent trip to that little paradise in the Atlantic, Madeira. ‘Shadows in Sunshine’ gave me the excuse to visit the island again to launch the book in its actual setting, and with the help of Bruno Silva’s team at the Real Canoa, Livraria Esperanca bookshop and the Pestana Hotel Group the week long event proved to be the most memorable in my writing career.
The event coincided with the Madeira Literary festival where I spent long periods on five of the days at the Livraria Esperanca stand. Thanks to their organisation the books had arrived from the UK in time and were displayed in pride of place.
A celebration of the launch was held at the Real Canoa restaurant slightly out of the centre of Funchal at Ponta Cruz and hosted by Bruno Silva and Alicia Gomes who laid on a remarkable buffet for the guests. Thanks to photographer Thomas Taylor and Alicia Gomes the event was well recorded on camera. The lovely Agnese Alde provided delightful background music throughout the event.
It was thanks to Paula Severino’s hard work and organisation that the four talks at the Pestana Group hotels went well, as did the talk arranged by Carla Camacho at the Vidamar Resorts hotel and the staff of the Girassol hotel who hastily organised an extra venue for me. As usual my memory failed me regarding having photographs taken of the talks.
Like most hectic events that seem to pass in a blur, it is only now as I sit calmly at my desk that I recall my conversations with the many delightful people that I had the pleasure of meeting during my stay. I am always amazed at the interest people have in the way an author works and invariably find fresh questions to answer once the formal talk is over.
The dark parts of ‘Shadows in Sunshine’ draw on the politics of North Africa and the Euro crisis and its effect upon the people of Madeira. That I hope will not disturb the tourists’ enjoyment of the island!
“What’s in a book is not what the author put into it,
it’s what the reader gets out of it.”
Having just chopped ten thousand words out of the manuscript of my latest book I sit here wondering how many other authors have been through similar experiences.
To say that the character I removed from the plot was disruptive is in a way disingenuous, as the lady concerned was beautiful, intelligent and sincere in her affections. Considering that my hero has been through three unpleasant adventures, without the joys of feminine companionship and affection, I felt it about time I balanced the books as it were. The idea started off well in that I chose to re-introduce a character from a previous novel, who Vaughan had shared some of his dangerous moments with. One would think that such a character who understands the life he
A pause for thought
lives would be an ideal companion, but that turned out to be totally wrong.
In chapter seven I found myself struggling to justify their coexistence and finally realised that her remaining in the book was slowing things down and seriously disrupting my plot.
To make sure that I was making the right decision, I went back to the very beginning, and started to read my manuscript through very carefully. In analysing her role I discovered that she not only failed to fulfilling her function, as drama relief for my hero, but equally important failed in furthering the plot itself; both functions that I felt I had achieved well with Amelia de Lima in ‘Shadows in Sunshine’.
What I found was a romance almost separate from the main story, detracting from a drama and acting like sea anchor slowing the whole thing down. Sadly she had to go, and Ian Vaughan continue his lonely existence, possibly. Like all disruptions, their disappearance leaves a void, a vacuum that must be filled, and that is now my task, thankful that I discovered my error before the vacuum became too large to fill.
Mervyn Gamage at Moorland Radio
This morning I enjoyed a special event, that of being interviewed by Moorland Radio’s Mervyn Gamage on the Breakfast Show. To my delight I discovered that Mervyn was a great fan of the Vaughan Thrillers after having read ‘A Cast of Hawks’ during a holiday in Madeira. Hooked, he has followed my books and the Ian Vaughan story from that day to this.
As a regular visitor to Madeira it was fortuitous that his last visit coincided with his reading of ‘Shadows in Sunshine’ that is actually set in Madeira and a scene from which takes place in a similar hotel suite to his. It was in a way nice to learn that the scene was good enough to have him searching on the carpet for blood stains.
It was great being on the show of such a popular local radio station. For readers of this page who live in the Staffordshire area but who have not yet found Moorland Radio, tune in on 103.7 FM to keep in touch with local news and events. The Breakfast Show presented by Tony Mullins and Mervyn Gamage goes out every Saturday between 7am and 10 am. Enjoy, I know I do.
‘Thank you‘ has got to be my most favourite phrase, as it implies that something nice has been done or a service provided. I know that it can also be used in a sarcastic vein, but keeping with the positive, I will keep it at the top of my favourite phrases list.
The reason for my rambling on this subject is my own awareness of the need to say A BIG THANK YOU to those readers who have taken the trouble to write reviews of my books
Having written several reviews of other author’s work, I appreciate the time in consideration and the actual phasing required by the writer. It is, however, a way for the reader to say thank you, and like the tip given to a waiter for good service, is highly appreciated by the receiving author, and this author in particular. It is only by this method that we know that our writings have met the reader’s expectations. If you are puzzled as to where to send them, may I suggest the ‘Good Reads’ or ‘Waterstones’ websites or of course ‘Amazon’. THANK YOU.
As of the 14th October, Kindle readers will be able to download copies of ‘Shadows in Sunshine’.
This ‘stand alone’ Ian Vaughan thriller has had some great reader reviews so far, so I hope those downloading the Kindle version will find equal enjoyment in reading it.
Ian Vaughan. Family man… once. Now recruited to the SIS and fresh out of training, his first field op looks to be almost a breeze. His assignment sounds highly achievable – a mission to befriend a charismatic Tunisian politician, who, in the wake of the failed ‘Arab Spring’ has conceived a unification plan for the North African oil and gas producing nations. Western governments welcome the plan, but other forces are at work…
A conference to present the plan is to be held on the beautiful island of Madeira, and Vaughan, using the cover of a maritime author, is dispatched to the island, assisted by the Royal Navy. En route Vaughan rescues a boy adrift on a sailboard and comes in contact with his widowed mother who is host to her Brazilian uncle, unaware that his ambitions could destroy the entire European economy.
Greed and death lay in the shadows, as Vaughan finds himself embroiled in conspiracy and danger, challenging both his judgement and his courage.