Q&A with Rachel Hore

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Rachel Hore’s new book Last Letter Home – Rachel has kindly answered a few of my questions about the book.  I’m in the middle of reading Last Letter Home at the moment and won’t say too much because I plan to review it soon. I will admit that I’m really enjoying it.

Can you describe Last Letter Home in 6 words or less?

‘Love, loss and secrets in wartime’ is my best shot.

Where did you get the idea for Last Letter Home from?

I love wandering round old walled gardens that you sometimes see at National Trust houses – the one at Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk is a pretty special example.  They’re where the fruit, vegetables and flowers for the household were cultivated and to me they feel safe and secret places.  It was easy to dream up a love story from the Second World War in such a setting, when the lovers were parted and the flower and herb beds ploughed up to grow food on a more industrial scale.

What was your favourite character or scene to write in Last Letter Home and why?

I enjoyed writing some of the wartime action scenes in Egypt and Italy, in which I tried to get into the minds of the soldiers.  What they went through is completely beyond anything in my own experience and it involved a great deal of reading and imagining for me to be able to attempt to evoke it in words.

Do you have a favourite of the books you’ve written and why?

All of my books have aspects that make them my favourites, but the one I wrote with most passion was THE GLASS PAINTER’S DAUGHTER.  It must be the mixture of music, art, church music and the pain of unrequited love that made it so emotional to write.

What’s your number 1 piece of advice for someone starting out in writing?

This is not original to say, but it’s the truth: read.  It’s not impossible, but it’s unlikely, that you’ll write something wonderful without having first steeped yourself in the writings of others to catch their language and techniques and to tune in to the interests of readers and writers.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to write but haven’t yet?

Yes, part of my mind is working away at a sixteenth century novel, but the way to write it and the opportunity to do so have not yet presented themselves.  One day…

I would like to thank Rachel for taking the time to answer my questions. To find out more about Last Letter Home click here.

What I’ve Been Reading This Week

Here’s what I’ve been reading this week

All That She Could See by Carrie Hope Fletcher

This was a brilliant book.  It had a magical feel that kind of reminded me of Chocolat by Joanne Harris and had just enough fantasy to satisfy my “I don’t read fantasy but…” side.  It was a lot more than I expected it to be – in a very good way!

Flash Fiction: The Truth About Penguins

I recently took part in a one day workshop on flash fiction. One of the exercises we did was to write a piece inspired by a picture. The photo I got was of a penguin diving underwater. I’ve typed it up to share in this blog and would welcome feedback. I’ve not edited it beyond breaking it into paragraphs and changing the odd repetitive word.

The Truth About Penguins

 

The penguin took the fish from the trainer. She was giving the talk about “penguin behaviour” yet again. And as always she was getting it wrong. Personally he couldn’t understand how humans could be so stupid. Wasn’t it obvious? Still he played the part of the good little penguin and took his fish then dived into the water and swam away.

 

It was his turn to do the work of real penguins so he swam fo the far side of the pool. He vaguely heard the trainer tell the crowd how all the penguins liked to hide in that corner. It was typical behaviour she claimed.

 

The penguin thought they should let the humans see what they really did when hidden but he was just a child and the elders had forbidden him from sharing. It was “too dangerous” they said. But one day he would be king and his word would be law. Then the humans would allowed to see what was happening and would know just how superior penguins are.

What I’ve been reading

I thought it might be nice to start posting a semi regular blog about what I’ve been reading again. And to post it on a Monday so I can link it up with the It’s Monday! What are you reading? meme over on The Book Date.

This will be a longer list because it’s what I’ve been reading over the last several weeks. And for some reason most of these are audiobooks. I hope that will change to more actual reading soon.

And One Last Thing by Molly Harper

I’ve had the audiobook on my TBR for years and I’m trying to tackle my audio TBR rather than by new ones right now. It was OK. I did like it and it made me laugh but it was stupid in places and pretty antifeminist. I would not recommend it as I think there are much better books with the same premise out there.

Little Liar by Clare Boyd

I read this to review for Tenants Times, I thought a thriller would be good for the wider audience over there. I won’t say too much as I’ve written a full review. But I was reminded how much I like a thriller and impressed by how skillfully the tension ramped up having recently been to a workshop on plotting in fiction that talked about that.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

I won’t mention each book separately but in the past week or so I’ve relistened to the audiobooks of The Magician’s Nephew, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, The Horse and His Boy, and Prince Caspian. I’m currently listening to The Voyage of The Dawn Treader. My enjoyment of these books is different this time. I am seeing more problems with the way certain characters are treated, particularly women and have been thinking a lot about the so-called problem of Susan. I have enjoyed the books that don’t focus on the four Pevensies more than those that do. With the exception of The Last Battle the reverse has always been true when I’ve read them previously.

A Match Made In Devon Part Two: The Hen Party by Cathy Bramley

The second part of this new serialised novel was just as good as the first. I’m really enjoying it just like I have her previous books. Kinda wishing I’d waited for the whole novel though!

Snow Days No More

I started writing a blog post on Thursday about how it was a snow day and what I was doing (mostly crochet and audiobook that day) but then my carer came and I saved it to drafts and never went back to it. And now it’s Sunday and it’s finally snow free and I’m out of the house for the first time since Wednesday. So this entry is now snow days no more.

If memory serves there were no stuck in the house due to snow days last year. Which is good. I think maybe I coped better this time to previous snowbound times. I don’t know why that is. It might be the fact that I panic shopped a lot in the days before. It might be the fact I made a conscious effort most days to not be on the Internet for the whole day without a break (crochet and audiobooks featured heavily most days but mum also came round yesterday and helped me have a sort out). Or it could just be having a carer in twice a day meaning I saw people – I’d like to think that’s not it but it could play a part.

It’s just damned annoying that I ended up missing two shows due to the snow and am now out and about again with nothing big planned for this week. But such is life.