My guest this week is an author of historical fiction. Over to you, Laura.
‘Everyone has a story inside them,’ were words I had heard a thousand times and they became all the more frustrating as each year passed with nothing to show for my efforts beyond a pile of discarded ideas. No story seemed worth telling and I embarked on a teaching career, leaving my dreams of becoming an author on the back burner. ‘If I couldn’t do it myself,’ I thought, ‘at least I can teach others and inspire a passion for literature and the English language in them.’
Typically, it was in the midst of my teaching career when I had no time for anything else that the idea for Carmela came in to fruition. I wrote small sections in snatched moments and the characters did begin to develop but when I left teaching in 2017, they really took flight and the story unravelled around them. I published in April last year and have been fortunate enough to see some success with this.
Carmela is a work of fiction based on a true story. The two main characters, Carmela and Angelo were real people – my great-grandparents – who lived in Italy in the late 1800s. Carmela was raised by the monks of Monte Cassino and Angelo, a poor farm boy would risk his life twice a week making the journey in to town to learn how to read and write. The story follows them through key years of their lives through love, loss, hope and mystery as the reader learns just how closely entwined their lives really are. The story is told from different perspectives, allowing the reader to make predictions and experience twists in the tale.
The hardest part of the writing process was trying not to offend. I knew Carmela and Angelo’s family would eventually read what I had written and I needed to ensure I portrayed their characters in the way people living today, remembered them. The story developed itself around me but it was the characterisation I spent time agonising over. As a result of this, the whole process from start to finish took me just under five years to complete but seeing Carmela in print, means that every second was worth it.
The process of writing Carmela really was an adventure and it has inspired another idea that I am currently researching and developing. For me, writing, very much like reading, is an escape but you get to create the world you escape to. The saying really does ring true: ‘If you can’t find your escape on the shelves, create it.’
Here’s a review from Amazon,
My thanks to this weeks guest for a great post. I hope you all enjoyed it.
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Have a good week,
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