Category Archives: Patterns of Our Lives

How sad is ‘The End’ ? Missing your characters.


The End of the book

image from ‘The Guardian’

Some people feel sad when they finish reading a book or a series. There’s a new hole in their lives, they say, when the last page is turned and the characters they’ve come to know and support fade away.

Here on Reddit, there’s a discussion about how finishing a book causes sadness.

Bailey laments the coming to the end of a series in 2013 in her BookBlogging blog.

In Yahoo answers the discussion mentions sadness at finishing a book because the reader has become so attached to the characters.

On GoodReads, too, there are readers who explain how they feel sad when they’ve finished reading a book they’ve really enjoyed.

So how do writers feel when they’ve finished?

If you can feel sad when you’ve finished reading a book, how much sadder are you going to feel when you’ve finished writing one?

The writers at Jungle Red discuss it here. Most writers feel something of a kind of emptiness but deal with it in different ways. Some jump straight back into the next novel. Others enjoy taking a break.

Flaubert said this –

I love my work with a love that is frenzied and perverted, as an ascetic loves the hair shirt that scratches his belly. Sometimes, when I am empty, when words don’t come, when I find I haven’t written a single sentence after scribbling whole pages, I collapse on my couch and lie there dazed, bogged in a swamp of despair, hating myself and blaming myself for this demented pride which makes me pant after a chimera. A quarter of an hour later everything changes; my heart is pounding with joy. Last Wednesday I had to get up and fetch my handkerchief; tears were streaming down my face. I had been moved by my own writing; the emotion I had conceived, the phrase that rendered it, and satisfaction of having found the phrase–all were causing me to experience the most exquisite pleasure.”

He must have been depressed beyond imagination when he actually finished.

I admit I’ve made myself cry

when I’ve killed off characters. I’ve got myself all riled up during arguments between my fictitious people and found it difficult not to take sides. I’ve felt for myself the heartwarming/heartbreaking bits, but the act of finishing, actually coming to ‘The End’ has been a very strange feeling indeed.

When I finish a short story, I can’t wait to submit it and see if a magazine is going to take it up. I don’t grieve for the fact that story is finished. I’m not so invested in the characters. I’d be wrung out like a rag if I became so deeply involved as with the characters in a full length novel.

So, now I’m missing the characters in Patterns of Our Lives. They’ve been a part of my life for so long. The best I can do for them now is market the book and find ways to promote my work and persuade people to read it so they can come to love Sandra and Jean, Polish George and Ronnie Logan and all the others. Like grown up children, they have to go out into the world.

I’ll leave the final words to the Bard:-

‘Tis almost morning, I would have thee gone—
And yet no farther than a wan-ton’s bird,
That lets it hop a little from his hand,
Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves,
And with a silken thread plucks it back again,
So loving-jealous of his liberty.

I would I were thy bird.

Sweet, so would I,
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow. [Exit above]

Romeo And Juliet Act 2, scene 2, 176–185

The End

farewell my friends . . .

Meet My Main Character. Blog tour

A writer friend of mine invited me to take part in a blog tour. Would I be interested in answering a few questions about the main character in my Work in Progress?

Patterns of Our Lives

Meet my main character

how many secrets?

Oh, I said. I haven’t got a work in Progress. It’s finished. I’m taking a break before starting the next one.

It didn’t matter. I could use Patterns of Our Lives for the blog tour questions. So, it’s thanks to Siobhan Daiko that I’m bringing you the results.  She is currently working on her novel The Orchid Tree, set in Honk Kong 1941-1945 and 1948-1949.  We’ve both chosen to have events of World War Two feature strongly in our first novels.  We’ve also both been inspired by old photographs.

Siobhan is an accomplished writer whose work is very highly rated by readers and by other authors. I’ve read the opening to The Orchid Tree and it sounds exactly the kind of read I enjoy.

Here’s a link to Siobhan’s blog, where you can find out more information about Siobhan and her work.

I think blog tours are a great way for writers to share news and help each other. This one was started here and I thank Teagan for getting this thing rolling.

Here goes.

What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or historic person?

My present day character is widow, Audrey Freeman, returned to England from Australia to search for the truth about her mother. The real main character is Jean Thompson who lived through World War Two. They are fictional characters. Any resemblance to real people is for me to know and for my readers to wonder.

When and where is the story set?

The novel has two settings. First there’s Kingsley, Yorkshire, 1935 to 1965, a fictitious town based on my birthplace of Keighley and its neighbour Bingley. My second setting is Walsingham, in Norfolk 2009-2010.

The dual narrative treatment allows the reader to discover more about Audrey Freeman’s ancestry than she knows herself.

What should we know about him/her?

You don’t need to know anything in advance about Audrey. She’s chatty and tells you all about herself right from the off. We learn straight away how she cherishes old family photographs.

Readers see Jean’s life in the sections of ‘snapshots’ from the past. We get to see events Audrey has no access to. The snapshots she cherishes don’t tell her the whole story. In Jean’s era, when they left school at fourteen, young people moved straight from childhood to become an adult with adult responsibilities. There was no in between stage. Teenagers hadn’t been invented.

What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

The main and obvious conflict is World War Two and how it affects my characters in a north of England industrial town where munition factories worked round the clock.

What messes up both Jean’s and Audrey’s lives are the secrets passed on from one generation to the next.

What is the personal goal of the character?

Audrey wants to find out the truth about her mother’s past. Jean wants to find love.

Is there a working title and can we read more about it?

My working title was Walsingham Matilda. It wasn’t until I wrote a scene where Audrey uses the phrase ‘patterns of our lives’ that the lightbulb moment arrived and I realised all I needed to do was add capital letters and I had my new and more appropriate title. It sums up the theme of the book perfectly.

When is publication?

Patterns of Our Lives is available from June 14th 2014. It’s just gone live on Amazon as a paperback. I haven’t yet finished formatting for Kindle.

Many thanks to Siobhan for the invitation. Don’t forget to visit her blog. Just click on her name to go straight to more information about The Orchid Tree.

Patterns of Our Lives

I‘m delighted with the cover for Patterns of Our Lives.

So much so, I’ve decided to reveal the cover of my upcoming novel. Here’s a sneak preview:

Cover reveal

Patterns of Our Lives

an epic family saga

Patterns of Our Lives

My first novel is a family saga from 1935 to 2010. Set in Yorkshire and Norfolk, the book follows widow Audrey Freeman’s search for the truth about her mother.

How could generations of one family keep so many secrets for so long?

Do you know the full story of all those people who feature in your old photograph albums? Those little square black and white pictures don’t tell the whole truth. Maybe none of us is ever meant to know.

Heartwarming, heartbreaking, Patterns of Our Lives is essentially a story about love and the sacrifices people make in its name.

book cover

coming soon . . .

I’ve borrowed heavily from knowledge of my birthplace but I’ve messed around with its geography. I ask the good people of Keighley, West Yorkshire and their neighbours in Bingley for their forgiveness. Kingsley is my fictitious town based on both my former haunts.

Similarly, I ask the people of Norfolk to forgive my messing with their geography, too.

Of Yorkshire and Norfolk in wartime I have no personal experience. Events in Patterns of Our Lives are authentic. Characters are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons either living or dead is entirely coincidental.

But then, I would say that, wouldn’t I?

Publication by Amazon as a paperback and for Kindle – only weeks away!

Would you like to be among the first to know when Patterns of Our Lives is available? Sign up to get an email or watch for Tweets or on my FaceBook author page.

(Edited June 8th)  Publication date brought forward to June 14th. Get it for your summer read.

Here’s a link: