If you can’t get a ticket for my book launch next week, you do have a chance to hear me talking about Paper Lanterns, thanks to Radio Wildfire. “The Loop” is always worth listening to in its own right, and not just because it’ll let you hear me talking about the real-life letters that partly inspired Paper Lanterns. It’s a nonstop transmission between their live monthly broadcasts - two hours of lively interviews with writers , musicians and generally creative types from around the West Midlands region.
The whole ‘menu’ is there for you to read, so you can see what’ll be coming up next. You can’t predict which part you’ll land on, but you’ll be able to see whether or not I’m next on the list. If you’ve worked out that you’ve just missed me, and my turn won’t come round again for ages , you can decide to go out for a walk or dig the garden and then come back to listen to me. (There are lots of other interesting things though, so you might prefer to listen to everything else (instead, or as well!)
All you need to do is click on this link then click ‘Listen’
So what about those letters? Briefly, the story behind the novel relates to some original love letters that were written in China in 1920 by a married English woman to a young colleague of her husband. There were five letters that related to her, and the final of these had been written by a female friend of this woman, informing the young man why he had not heard from her friend. It turned out that the husband had discovered that ‘something’ was going on, so the errant wife had given up her would-be lover for the sake of her children.
Reading these letters, I felt like an intruder even though the writer herself must have been dead by the time I came across this material. I was intensely moved by this glimpse into the private life of a woman from a different era, but then, when I then found that there were the two short letters in broken English, written in 1916, I was almost in tears for the young Chinese girl as she struggled to express her grief at his absence.
There were a few other accompanying documents in the same package, and when I turned to these I realised that both sets of letters had been addressed to the same young man. In spite of my feelings of sympathy towards both these women, the writer in me was already dreaming up ways in which the stories of those two women could be woven into fiction.
I’ll be writing more about these letters soon, but meanwhile, in case you were wondering why I’ve included pictures of a peacock and pink magnolia, it’s because these were taken on a gloriously sunny day in Kew Gardens, while we were visiting our daughter and her fiance in Chiswick for the weekend.
Getting back to recommending other websites to visit, you might like to follow this link I’ve already mentioned Nicola Morgan (aka ‘crabbit old bat’) in a previous post, and the new link is to her new novel, with lord knows how many exciting competitions etc. What a wildfire of energy the woman is!