Wednesday, 23 September 2015

My Notes on Ian McEwan’s Views on Writing

I thought I would like to share with you my notes on watching Melvyn Bragg’s conversation with Ian McEwan on the South Bank Show Originals series. In the interview Melvyn himself comments on Ian’s ‘focused zeal’ for and on writing. I was struck again by how relevant his words are for any experienced and aspiring writer in the modern world of writing and publishing..

Here are my notes verbatim

‘Writing tells you how the writing it fitted into the novel.’
(Melvin comments on McEwan’s ‘focused zeal’.  They talk about ‘the facts of the streets.’)

Ian talks of being the only student on the first Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia. His weekly tutorials consisted on meeting Professor Malcolm Bradbury (‘a superstar professor who gave me a sense of readership.’)Bradbury would read this week’s story and simply ask Ian for the next. 

In this year Ian McEwan wrote twenty five short stories* which were the launching pad for his literary and professional success.

Ian mentions, in later times, of ‘writing himself into a corner.’ And ‘having closed down for years.’  And feeling ‘locked down’. He mentions ‘writing myself into silence.’ And 'The act of writing demands that one ‘Engages with the world.’

 In later years he began to free his voice in writing libretti and screenplays before beginning his more recent novels.

Writer and critic DJ Taylor shares his views in the programme. He says - talking of the short novel Yesterday’ - ‘It’s quite an old fashioned book – an issue novel.’ But he admires his writing. ‘He writes brilliant sentences.’

Some brilliant thoughts from Ian McKewan on Writing

 ‘Happiness and anxiety rubbing along together.’
‘How does matter become conscious?’
He speaks of the material view of life being rich and human.  ‘In the material view of life there is a beauty and grandeur.’
‘It is the actual, not the magical that should be challenged.’
‘We have not yet bettered a device like the novel to find out what it might be like to be other people.’
‘Even poetry cannot tell you what it’s like to be an individual moving through time.’’
‘Think of novels like minestrone soup…’

*One would like to see such high literary productivity among the students emerging from the plethora of Creative Writing MAs now being commodified and pushed across Britain these days.  One hears troubling accounts of the lack of literary product in the maze of sub-Eng Lit exercises, and of promising writers who stop actually writing their short stories and novels for years after completing their degree. Of course the graduaes might ‘teach’ Creative Writing, or nibble the edges of literary journalism with reviews and criticism. Good luck to them.
But I think Ian McEwan had a much better deal, sitting in the pub talking to Malcolm Bradbury knowing he had an audience for the next short story. And the next.

My Own Advice to Aspiring Writers Regarding Further Study
Option One
I do encourage writers to study for further degrees if they fancy that. But urge them to make it history, politics, art, physics: any field that makes it an authentic academic experience that toughens the mind and develops the senses.

During that time, I will say, you can write your novels and short stories in the evenings and week-ends. After a year or so you will have a Master’s Degree in a valid subject with substantive content which could inspire a body of creative work that reflects your unique writing self and will find its readers.

Option Two.
Equally I might say to these aspiring writers - go off and work on a building site, in a factory, in a café in a forest or a bank. Or go travelling for a couple of years. And still write your short stories.  poems or novel at the evenings and weekends. In this way you will have enriching, valid experiences and a body of creative work that has substantive content emerging from your working life.  This will reflect your unique writing self and will find its readers.

There is a good argument for each of these options.

Option One will furnish you with an alternative career while you are making your way in the challenging world of writing and publishing. It might make a hole in your bank balance but ultimately it would be worth it.

Option Two will not leave you in debt and allows you to live in the real world as you develop your writing. You will move among people outside the slightly precious world of acadême. It’s always a good thing for a writer to get inside the lives of people different to yourself.  As Ian McEwan says, ‘We have not yet bettered a device like the novel to find out what it might be like to be other people.’

Any of these experiences will develop your material view of life. As Ian McEwan says   ‘… the material view of life [is] rich and human.’ And also:   ‘In the material view of life there is a beauty and grandeur.’


Sunday, 20 September 2015

'Writing a cookery best-seller is easy.' Maybe.

I  have remarked here several times that  the art of writing a novel or short story is close cousin  to
 the art and craft  of painting. Now, after a delightful week spent in the company of  the very creative @licked spoon  I would include the art and craft of gardening and cooking for their  relevance to the art of writing fiction.

And now I feel this even more so, having read Jane Middleton's visionary Guardian article    Want to write a best-selling cookery book? Don’t worry about making it any good.

Middleton is very good at irony. To quote her directly: Above all, remember that anyone can write a cookbook. Writing a cookery best-seller is easy. Why else would there be so many of them? But writing a good and original one – well, that would just spoil the fun for everyone else.'

Much of the witty critique in Middleton’s article seems to me to apply directly to the sometimes bizarre situation today in the world  of modern fiction.

I think all fiction writers, whether they cook of not, would relish the implications of this article by a great cookery writer for their own writing.

What do you think? 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The Paradox of the Continuing Attraction of Fiction Inspired by World War One

Iconic Image of World War One

Like many of us, this year and last,  I’ve had World War One on my mind. Like many of us, as a child growing up in the after-shade of World War Two, I absorbed the heroic legends of the First World War into my inner story-scape to the extent that I ‘knew’  the truth of that war and this second World War,

As time went on, this possibly illusory inner certainty was hauled into balance by my political and historical studies of the first half of the Twentieth Century - to the extent that my first properly researched published adult novel Riches of the Earth involved both the home front and the battle front in those First World War years.

The fact that my own grandfather was killed in that war gave me a personal link that I share with many writers of my generation. The blood in our veins helped us channel experiences both at home and in France into rivers of fiction.

World War One continues to be an area of fiction that continues to fascinate both

French Soldiers in Eastern France

readers and writers, not least because we still have to work out what we feel about the nature of war that still seems to permeate the air  around us. These days war is not being slogged out blow for blow in mud and blood in nearby France and Belgium. Still, broken bodies and despairing families stare at us from our screens. There in the comfort of our sitting rooms, as well as seeing innocent victim of war, we witness 
graphic images on our TV and computer screens, of soldiers who have fought in our name in the Middle East,  physically and sometimes mentally disabled by devastating war experiences.

As an aside: Pat Barker’s Booker Prizewinning novel Regeneration, as well as being a top-notch novel in literary terms, taught the reading public a great deal about the devastating nature of what was then known a Shell Shock, and what we now label as Post Traumatic Stress  Disorder. We continue to learn.*

For some there can be a self-generated light at the end of the tunnel. One of my
lifetime highlights was the day I spent at the 2012 Paralympics where athletes with disability  – some of them ex-military - proved themselves equal to mainstream athletes in sporting dedication, discipline and supreme ability.

The Reading Groups

So you will see from all this how inspired I felt to agree when Dorothy Mason, Durham City ex-librarian asked, me to lead two discussions at Belmont Library on World War One fiction with two writers’ groups to discuss World War One fiction on October 21st and October 22nd.

My idea is that these discussions will not just be a critical introduction and discussion of one novel. Rather it will be a wider ranging discussion of the approaches of many writers to devastatingly rich inspiration of the events and backgrounds to those years
between 1914-1918

I feel that readers can bring to this discussion their reading of any novel that reflects their feelings about World War One. In the process we will all gain new insights,

The List

To make this happen Dorothy and I got together and made a list of forty possible novels that will be available to readers  at Belmont Library in Durham City. You can see the list HERE if you are curious. Our  list includes English, American and European texts and includes remarkable examples of children’s fiction.

Questions for Discussion.

Our idea is that those coming to the discussion will have read at least one of these novels  so they may add their opinion to the discussion which could circle around certain  questions:

Why is World War One such and ongoing theme for writers?

What do these varied novels have in common?

What do the writers have in common?

How does their writing  differ?

Do you recognise World War One Stereotypes in these novels.

What role do they play in the novel(s) you have read?

Do we focus too easily on the Engish experience of this war?

Other questions will apply of course. If you yourself have suggested questions let me have them here and I will add them into the mix.
If you have any other views on this generic and ever-lively theme, you can comment and share here.

The Books

I have read a number of the novels on the list and look forward to hearing from other readers about novels with which I am not yet acquainted.

At present I am re-reading some or my own preferred titles and fresh reading others. This week my choice is One of Ours by Willa Cather and The Lie by Helen Dunmore.

More about these two novels and writers in my next post.

*NB Avril Joy and I are looking forward in the Spring to running writing workshops in Durham with army veterans under the auspices of the war veteran’s charity Forward Assist.

Happy Reading


Sunday, 6 September 2015

Wonderful Reviews: The One True Path

I could not resist sharing with you these two Amazon readers' reviews of The Pathfinder. It is very touching to find  readers who can so well access the heart of one's story as well as the unique challenges of writing a novel.

1] Amazon Five Stars 'The one true path' 4 Sept. 2015

 ...'I have just finished this spell-binding book, rationing out the pages towards the end, so that I could savour every word.

Wendy Robertson is a consummate practitioner of the crossover novel, one foot in the 'now' the other in the 'then' but with this book she has planted both feet firmly on the same historical path and the results are wonderful.

'The Pathfinder' has allowed me to bury two of my reading bête noirs. One is that I don't like historical fiction, the other is that I avoid books that make me cry. However this book has confounded both of these prejudices. I loved the story, part fact, part fiction and I was genuinely moved - not manipulated- by the beauty of the writing and the incredibly sad but uplifting ending.

I don't hesitate in giving this book five stars. I'd give it more if this were possible! Other reviewers will give you in depth details of the story but if I were you, I'd just read it (very slowly) and enjoy every single moment.'...

2] Amazon 5 Stars. What a Remarkable Book!

Find on Kindle or in Paperback

' ...The past has never felt so real as in the last days of Roman Britain and the uneasy peace between natives and conquerors portrayed in Wendy Robertson's 'Pathfinder'. Heroine Elen is a beautifully drawn character uniting natives with the conquerors.

Pathways lead in two directions and fey Elen's 'honeycomb' mind leads back centuries into the mists of time. But she is young and resourceful and her ordained path leads from her beloved coastal marshland of West Briain into Roman Gaul when the Roman leader of Britain Magnus Maximum falls I love with the native girl, drawing her father and warrior brothers into his military schemes.
The book is filled with believable,fascinating characters. including Aunt Olwen a drowned spirit, song-writer brother Lleu, and Quin the faithful Roman devoted to both Elen and Magnus Maximus.

It is a delightful, thought provoking read and I could not put it down. So many questions answered, so many tantalisingly left. Elen has a future in her homeland and I want to know more.
 I love it. What a remarkable book! ...' 

The Pathfinder:  

PS I have written HERE before about the importance of reviews. The  commentaries above  show how readers' words  can lift the heart of a writer, inspiring her  to continue to produce original, authentic stories for insightful readers.


Monday, 31 August 2015

The Granduate: On a Very Special Relationship

Friends Now 

The girl on the couch, unwell
Are you expecting? I say.

The anticipated storm of temper

A slight smile from him. 
At least,  he says, I'll see him grow  
in my lifetime 

Through the years he drove the boy
to and fro from school, putting him
through his paces. 

He watched the boy catch the egg,
kick  a  rugby ball through high posts,
wield a mean cricket bat on the field. 

He saw the boy off in his father's car
laden with high hopes, books,
and essential technology. 

He imagines the boy -white-coated - 
working with 
phenomenally powerful magnets. 

And now, today, he sees him
in cap and gown, 
beard trimmed, hair clipped. 

The boy throws his cap into the sky
and has  very special smile
for his grandfather. 

July 2015

Friday, 21 August 2015

'A Rare Breed.'. The significance of reviews.

Newspaper reviews can be as rare as hen's teeth, so it's great to look back at my newspaper reviews and hope that my new novel The Pathfinder will find such appreciative readers 

Would you like to review it? In the press or on Amazon?

Here's a sample of reviews of my writing: 


‘A terrific read. A world on the cusp of change and we experience intimately.’ Historical Novels Review.

 ‘A powerful writer.’    Mail on Sunday.

 ‘Wonderful…Robertson deftly intertwines two time periods, slowly absorbing one into the other through the remarkably likeable protagonist.’   Booklist USA.

‘A great storyteller… she weaves another tale with ideas that still resonate when the story’s over.’ Northern Echo.

‘Wendy Robertson is a rare breed – a writer with an exquisite gift for creating vivid, relateable characters.’ Scottish Daily Record.

Note:: In The Pathfinder I have taken the available material and archaeological history of late fourth century Britain and addressed the powerful pre-Arthurian myths of Macsen Wledig and the British princess Elen. My intention is to weave a story that has hope, truth and justice at its heart.’  W.

Here's an extract which tells how and why Elen is a Pathfinder

[..] Elen:  You should understand that as well as being born and trained as Seers, members of my family have always been pathfinders – my father, Eddu, his father, Caradoc, and the grandfathers and grandmothers before him, going back seventeen generations. I learned the names of these ancients by heart - first at my father’s knee and later at the Seer School in the Green Isle across the water. They were famous across all the island of Britain.
It was they who found the paths that criss-cross this island and the lands across the sea. I have learned that a thousand generations ago the pathways were slight, mere shadows in the grass, reaching out and up to the horizon. As time went by our people started to mark them properly with stones, to raise them with the trunks of fallen trees, and to line them with small stones and pebbles. Then we planted thorn hedges to stop people and animals – tame or wild - destroying our road. Along the way, we would build small temples in stone and wood to shelter the rituals and protect the tributes to the gods that blessed the track and kept clear the way to the next high spot.
I have to say that in these times the pathways are all made. There seem to be no more for me to find. And yet, because of my family heritage, I am still known as a pathfinder.  [...] 
Read The Pathfinder  

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Chocolate Truffles & Your Friend E. A Writer’s Commentary.

The Occasion

Last night we braved buckets of rain and long traffic hold-ups to cross county lines and get to the Howick launch of writer Anne Ousby’s new novel Your Friend E.

The charming Howick Village Hall was crowded with Anne’s friends and fans and furnished with wine, an exquisite buffet and specially made chocolate truffles. (Truffles play a somewhat menacing role in the novel – read the novel to discover why.)

And so the scene was set for an excellent book launch,

The Author

Buy Anne's Book 
Anne, whose plays have been performed across the North and whose short stories have been broadcast on the BBC, has now turned her hand to writing novels to some effect, having published four novels since 2010. She has moved from the stern beauty of her Northumberland home to the dusty heat of contemporary South Africa to set three of the novels - most recently Your Friend E.

Her daughter Catherine, who was at the launch last night, (very proud of her mum) has lived with her own family in South Africa for eighteen years and Anne, who visits her daughter frequently, has become fascinated with that country,

Your Friend E, like Anne’s other novels, demonstrates her detailed interest in this ever-changing country: she is clearly inspired by her experiences there and brings an outsider’s eye to that complex environment. As I said to Catherine at the launch, being the stranger in a community is a good position for a writer. She takes nothing for granted and notices what may be overlooked by an insider’s eye.

The Story

Evie, the central character and the narrator of this psychological novel, is doubly obsessed.   She is experiencing the trial and sentencing of one murderer and struggling with the dark memory of another. She is walking into a complete breakdown before our eyes, her life and identity crumbling beneath her. Her own crucial family narrative, past and present, entwines itself around her present perspectives on the two acts of murder. Her reliability as a narrator fluctuates in the reader’s mind compelling us to drive on right to the end of the novel.

The Place

And always – as in Anne’s novel, Patterson’s Curse - the South African landscape with its exotic flora and fauna plays a fundamental role in Your Friend E. This underpins and authenticates the universal realities of the contemporary world, where fundamentals like prejudice, sibling rivalry and domestic violence are a commonplace.

The Writing

There was some discussion at the launch as to whether it is possible or desirable to have an unsympathetic main character. The implication was that Evie with her obsession and vengeful determination is an unsympathetic character.

Well, I didn’t find Evie the least bit unsympathetic. I empathised with her in her stressful family situation and I sympathised with her desire for resolution, even revenge. The writing helps this by skilfully holding the balance between the past and the present. And the clarity and non-judgemental style here allows us as readers to tolerate the destructiveness of Evie's despairing emotions as she pursues her vengeful quest. It encourages us to root for Evie’s survival and hope for her return to some kind of normality.  For me Evie is not at all an unsympathetic character.

And Anne Ousby treats us to a perfect surprise at the end - an end which is another universal beginning,

Highly recommended.

Writer’s Note

This is a short novel – sometimes now called a novella – very popular these days. However it is perfectly structured to tell this whole story and has the weight and significance of a much longer novel. It strikes me also that it would make a very good film. Any film makers out there?

Monday, 10 August 2015

Sarah Hall’s The Wolf Border – a Writer’s Commentary

Bedtime Story
With my tendency towards insomnia I get to hear a lot of fragments of broadcast-radio in the early hours. Recently I heard an episode and a half of Sarah Hall’s novel The Wolf Border.  I was very intrigued with the fragment of story so I checked out the novel and the writer.
Great cover. Imagine the author name
and the wolf silhouette on  the hill
picked out in gold and the title set against
green. planting.Sumptuous.. 

The following day my high-octane reader-friend Gillian told me she had just read a superb novel – original and absorbing. The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall. (I had been complaining that there is so little originality on modern fiction.)

So I ordered the novel on-line and it arrived yesterday. And now I have spent a delicious day and a half reading and enjoying it.

Very finely and closely written, The Wolf Border is about Rachel, a world authority on wolves - currently working with wolves in Idaho - who is drawn back to her home territory of Cumbria in Britain to work for an enigmatic millionaire earl. He engages Rachel to head a project aiming to re-introduce wolves on his wild land in the Lake District.

So far, so ecologically trendy.

The Story
But the story is so much more than that. More ambitious. More significant. The action takes place over a two year period – in which time the prose floods us with closely observed details of the landscape, seasons, smells, sounds and skies of Cumbria.

But this is no rendering of a country idyll. The action is set against the political background of Scotland’s ‘Yes’ vote for Independence and of the subtle operation of power in British politics. At the heart of the novel are the wolves and the complex arguments for their positive role in the hierarchy of predators.

The collection of people Sarah Hall brings into the story is varied and authentic, adding depth and ambiguity of the characterisation. More than this, the narrative unfolds steadily, arousing the reader’s curiosity, compelling her to read on and on through this long novel. (433 pages.).It is cleverly written and very hard to put down.

One central strand of the story as it develops is the way in which we witness the evolution of Rachel’s emotional identity, as, among other elements - the birth of her son filters through the routines and habits of the pair of wolves as they settle in the prepared land and go through the rituals and processes of attachment involved in their own breeding process.

The Writing
In the hands of a less gifted writer all this barrage of information would be almost unreadable -didactic and very heavy going.
One key to Sarah Hall’s skill in avoiding this problem is that she tells the whole story through Rachel’s eyes, using the third person voice but completely from Rachel’s point of view. We are very close in. We are sharing Rachel’s experience. This immediacy is enhanced by the fact that story is written almost completely in the present tense - very hard to pull off in such a long novel. Sarah Hall manages it.

This is because the originality, delicacy and immediacy of the prose clarifies the complex subject matter, making it easy to read, raising questions in the reader’s mind and sweeping her forward through the action.
The overt transparency is enhanced by her decision not to use punctuation marks for speech. This has been done before but it works very well indeed in this novel.

And she avoids the strong structural element of chapters and titles. The novel is split into substantial parts and these parts are very simply separated by white space. This adds to the flow and the unity of the whole novel.

The Wolf Border shouldn’t be an easy read, but it is.

The Book
Like many of us writers and readers as much as a third my reading is on Kindle, which is functional, useful and fast. 

But there is no denying the extra dimension of literary and reading pleasure in reading a tactile, well designed book such as this. My own interest in book design has been enhanced lately since – in my modern role of artisan writer, - I have been designing and producing my own books.

Faber & Faber are to be congratulated on the design qualities of The Wolf Border which reflect the assiduous care of Sarah Hall in writing the book. The cover is brilliantly designed, a kind of metaphor for the novel’s themes and style. It has a simple clear typeface and is printed on substantial paper and has gorgeous green endpapers.

A wonderfully original novel The Wolf Border certainly earns a permanent place on my book shelves. Highly recommended to those who love good books. original stories and excellent writing.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Elen Walks on Fire: Excerpt from The Pathfinder

So now my novel The Pathfinder

is out there

strutting her stuff

(If you are inspired to read THE PATHFINDER you can obtain it HERE.

I hope you are entertained and enjoy it. Let me know.)

About the story:

The Pathfinder centres on the lives my heroine Elen, her song-smith brother Lleu and their father Eddu a King of West Britain.  

In 383 AD, myth and history tells us of a truly great love story that blossoms between Magnus Maximus, the Roman leader in Britain - afterwards for five years Roman Emperor - and Elen, daughter of a powerful British king in the place we now call Wales. Magnus is fascinated by Elen, a gifted Seer, healer and ‘pathfinder’ whose talented ancestors made straight roads in Britain long before the Romans.

As the Roman Empire begins to crumble, the love and marriage between Elen and Magnus forge a link between the sophisticated creative and trading Celtic culture (with its esoteric rites and rituals) and the pragmatic military culture of Rome, now beginning to impose Christianity on the known world.

But while the story contains political and historical themes it is the  essentially personal story of Elen and Magnus Maximus (called Macsen Wledig in the Welsh histories), Lleu, Elen's brother and Quintanius Sixtus, Macsen’s friend.

And there are touches of Druidic magic...

Obtain Book

Here is an extract from the story, where Elen walks on fire at the Aclet Midsummer revels the day after she has met the Roman commander by a water pool.

Excerpt from Chapter 14 Walking on Fire

[…] Now Lleu’s voice rises in the air. His is not a prayer but a story. He declaims a tale about the ancient power of fire that first came to our ancestors from Lugh the sun God. 
           His tone deepens as he tells of great forces raised by Seers to defend our West Britain from the invaders. He names heroes who fought and seemed to win, then were defeated and slain in their thousands. He names great women who defied the enemy and threatened them with spells and bolts of fire spouting from their fingers. Then he tells how these heroic men and women of the highest council of the wise in the British West - – who in their honeycomb brains held ten thousand years of knowledge of the earth, the sky and everything in between; who were the nestlings of the Gods; who were the most significant of our people – all these great ones who were driven into the sea and slaughtered in their thousands.
         Now, here on Aclet field, you can hear a feather land. You can sense all the people there around the fire-pit straining not to look at the visitors or the bright Roman standard floating above their heads. They are tense, waiting.
        ‘But, wait! Listen to me,’ Lleu goes on, ‘that fire still flickers around us even today. We are still here. And in time the British people will rise again and light their torches to drive the invader from their lands for all time.’
         Even through my meditation I see that what Lleu is saying is forbidden: pure treason against Caesar’s men.  My blood chills. I swear that if Lleu turned to the crowd this minute they would take up the fight and demolish the invaders even here in their midst.
       But Lleu’s voice fades on the air and now an eerie silence fills it. My grandfather and uncle’s faces are stern and Kynan and Gydyan have their hands on the hilt of their swords. The soldier with the standard senses something, even though he cannot understand Lleu’s words. His thick muscled arm tenses as he grasps his standard more tightly. But the three of them, the Commander, the General and the Procurator are standing easy, their faces neutral.
        The moment passes.
        ‘But now in our day!’ Lleu cries on, ‘the flame that will achieve this miracle is the flame of love, the warmth of peoples who see the eternal human spirit in each other’s face and wish the other no harm.’
         Kynan and Gydyan relax and fold their arms across their broad chests again, to enjoy the show. The soldier’s grasp on the standard loosens.
         ‘And now listen to me!’ I jump into the silence. ‘My brother Lleu and I will walk the fire to show to you…’ 
         I scan the crowd, my glance stopping very briefly on the General and passing on ‘…to show you that we can make this miracle with our own human spirit and the help of the gods, sustained by our ancient power over fire and water, over the earth all around and the sky above and everything in between. In this action we show we are the British people and this we always will be. We are still here.’
        At last the people in the crowd send up loud cheers and out of the corner of my eye I see the General smile slightly and say something to the man beside him, his Procurator.
Lleu raises his hand. I close my eyes and think of the statue of Olwen, of Arianrhod in the centre of the pool in my father’s house. Cool holy water.  This is what I have been taught.           Then I raise my hand and, side by side, Lleu and I begin, steady step by steady step, to walk on fire. We do not hurry.  The crowd breaks into great applause as finally we leap back onto the grass at the far end. The old priest, still standing there at the end of the fire pit, waves his staff across us and sings a blessing. I am filled with energy and delight and smile broadly as I wave at the great circle of people standing here. Lleu holds up his arms in a victory salute. The young stick fighters beat their sticks against each other making a rattling rhythm. A pipes-man squeezes out a few notes. Another man makes his elk horn pipe squeal.
         Lleu smiles and shushes the crowd. ‘Would any here like to walk the fire as do my sister and I?’ He grins broadly at the chorus of groans.
         The General’s Procurator shakes his head and calls out in a gargled version of our own language. ‘Only a fool would do such a thing, sir. My master here says that you and your sister do indeed have a gift with fire.’ He pauses. ‘Although he and I, of course, would question your history. […] ’

(If you are inspired to read the novel you can obtain it HERE.

I hope you are entertained and enjoy it. Let me know.)


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