UPDATED 8th MAY 2011
Scroll down to read about the discoveries I’ve made recently when researching into the love letters sent in 1920’s China that inspired a section of my latest novel, Paper Lanterns (March 2010). This beautiful book has been making its way across the globe: a large case of books was sent to one of Hong Kong’s major book chains, Swindon Books, and other have found homes as far away as New Zealand and America.
I started my Mystery Challenge to readers to see if any of them, or their friends and acquaintances, might know someone who knows someone who is a descendant of one of the relations of Douglas Gordon Bruce, the recipient of those love letters. (In my novel, I brought the date forward to 1930, and set that part of the story in Hong Kong, instead of China. )
Most of these 12 posts relate to those letters, several photos and information that has gradually been discovered about the identity of DGB and his relations. Probably the best way to follow the revelations as they gradually emerge, is to follow the links, which I’ve now organised in chronological order:
The first of these posts is headed: ‘Six Degrees of Separation – can you help to solve the challenge?’
2) 9th Jan 2011: More about my mystery challenge
3) 16th Jan 2011 D.G. Bruce –what kind of man was he?
4)23rd Jan 2011 Stranger than Fiction
5)30th Jan 2011Is this the D. G. Bruce who inspired my novel?
6) 4th February: The Husband, the Wife and the Best Friend
7)13th Feb 2011: What can be learned from a Ship’s Passenger List.
8 ) 20th Feb 2011: Bessie’s 4th Letter – Stolen Kisses in a Monastery Tower
9)27th Feb 2011: Latest Discovery about Douglas Bruce and his Sisters
10)7th March: Bessie’s Final Love Letter & Why She Went to Shameen
11) 28th March: Why did D.G. Bruce Marry so Late?
12) 18 April: A Few Loose Ends & back to Poetry
THE OFFER OF A FREE COPY OF PAPER LANTERNS IS STILL OPEN TO ANYONE WHO CAN THROW NEW LIGHT on D.G.B. and the writers of those letters and their descendants.
MORE ABOUT PAPER LANTERNS and my other NOVELS
Paper Lanterns has been enjoyed by several book-reading groups, in the UK, Europe and America - Here’s what a group in Tennessee thought about it.(You’ll need to scroll down to towards the end of that post, to read their comments.) As a complete contrast with the setting of my first published novel (Birmingham), Paper Lanterns is set mainly in Hong Kong - a place I know well.
The middle part of the novel is set in 1930 in Hong Kong, and this section was inspired by the discovery of a cache of love letters. The story of that find was so interesting in itself, that the Birmingham Sunday paper published a two-page spread about the find, and included some of the original photographs.
My official launch was organised by the Birmingham Book Festival at the Ikon Gallery on Tuesday 27th April, ‘in conversation’ with my school-days’ friend, Clarissa Dickson Wright.We were introduced by Jonathan Davidson, chief executive of Writing West Midlands, and I was delighted to see his comments about my book and publishing venture, Novel Press
Here are links to a few reviews:
- from a lovely book blogger in America
- and a brilliant writers’ blogsite
and one from Lamma-zine in Hong Kong
BOOKCROSSERS have played an important part in promoting my first published novel, and if you click here, you’ll see why I think authors should love bookcrossers!As you can see, I invited readers to comment on seven possible covers for the book, and this is the one chosen by the majority.
So here in this picture, I’m in Hong Kong, in February 2010, holding copies of Paper Lanterns against the background view of the scene on the cover!
And here’s the picture, taken in March 2007 which shows the view that Ann would have seen from the roof of Vivienne’s house.
This gripping novel shows with insight and compassion how the consequences of an act of infidelity have shaped the lives of three generations of women.
“ Certainties are shattered as past and present
inexorably unfold - a deeply moving and unusual novel ”
Crysse Morrison, author of Frozen Summer and Sleeping in Sand
After a phone call from her younger brother, Ann travels to Hong Kong in search of the truth about their scandalous mother, Vivienne. Here, she discovers a series of letters and journal-entries which reveal a secret about her beloved grandmother’s early life that challenges her most deeply felt convictions. Ann must also face up to her own part in an event which took place just before her sixteenth birthday, and caused the break-up of the family.
Hong Kong itself, with its exotic mix of old and new in the bustling urban districts, and the quiet charm of beautiful Lamma Island, plays a key part in Ann’s reappraisal of her own life and marriage, and the unexpected dilemma that confronts her.
“A vivid and absorbing tale of family secrets and illicit love, observed with the keen eye of a poet. You can almost smell and taste Hong Kong. Recommended for fans of Margaret Forster and Penelope Lively”
Linda Gillard author of Star Gazing, Short-listed for Romantic Novel of the Year 2009
So far, I’ve written three novels for adults, and one for children. The Dangerous Sports Euthanasia Society is the first one that I’ve had published.
(There is a fourth, ‘A Head for Heights’, but I’m not including that one - you’ll understand why not, if you read the post of 15th May 09, headed, ‘Hunting for an Agent‘)
The Dangerous Sports Euthanasia Society
(Transita 20005 ISBN 1 905175 18 3)
“Agnes Borrowdale, seventy-five years old a week on Tuesday, hoisted herself onto the window sill and perched astride it, gripping the wooden frame.”
After her escape from an old people’s home where her son, Jack, and his new partner, have placed her, Agnes’s quest to find her grandchildren is complicated by unexpected encounters. These new friends include: Joe, the helpful lorry driver; Molly, the garrulous hotel-owner; Gazza, the student; and Felix, the retired barrister’s clerk, whom Agnes pulls back from attempted suicide.
Hoping to rekindle Felix’s desire to live, she invents the Dangerous Sports Euthanasia Society, but soon fears that this falsehood, having acquired a momentum of its own, will end in tragedy.
This is me at my book launch - one of the most exciting evenings of my life!
A few of the numerous reviews:
‘Delightful, enormous fun and surprisingly original.’
Sara Maitland, The Literary Consultancy
‘This book is both wonderfully titled and brilliantly inventive. Telling the story of one woman’s search for a reason to live, it manages to be piercingly accurate about our daily lives while very funny indeed.’
Jonathan Davidson, The Orange Birmingham Book Festival
‘A surprisingly original story – gripping stuff.’
‘A funny and poignant story about life beginning at seventy five! Great stuff for anyone planning to grow old disgracefully!’
The Pitshanger Bookshop, London
‘I loved how Ms. Coleman addressed some serious issues in such a clever and entertaining way. The Dangerous Sports Euthanasia Society is a gratifying and uplifting testament to living life to the fullest, regardless of age.’
Sharon Goforth, Exlibris
‘…big issues within an “easy” read and some lovely characters.I loved the whole premise of the Society’ Lynne Hatwell, Dovegreyreader
‘A terrific girls own adventure with a most unusual heroine who will steal your heart.
The Nottingham Evening Post
‘Dangerous Sports has all the hallmarks of conventional chick lit. It’s a light read, irreverent, improbable and focused on a strong female character. That’s where the similarities end.’
Lillian Kennet The First Post.co.uk
Click on this link to see more reviews from readers
My first ‘proper’ novel, In The Lamb-White Days was started when I was on my M.A. course at Nottingham Trent.
I’ll be writing more about this in my posts.
You can find out a bit more about my (unpublished) children’s novel, The Tide Machines of Mermaid’s Rock, by clicking on , ‘Influences on my Writing’