Friday, October 30, 2009

Oldest and youngest

Close to 2,000 people have now downloaded at least one of my books (it helps that the first one's free). Beyond the fact that something about my writing has caught their attention, I don't usually know anything about them. But just sometimes a reader contacts me or leaves a review, and then I'm lucky enough to learn a little more.

A while ago a reader told me that she'd lent her copies to her neighbour's seventeen-year-old daughter, who'd devoured each book in a day. This lass is the youngest reader I know of so far, although one very keen lady (she read all four books, then went back to the beginning and read them all again) has told me she can hardly wait for her daughter to be old enough to share them. Her daughter's only ten, so it'll be a few years yet.

And just this week I heard from a lady who so far holds the record as my most senior reader, at seventy years old. What I found particularly delightful is that this is her first time reading an e-book, and she read four in a row - all mine! And just like my seventeen-year-old reader, she read each one in a day. Here's an extract from her wonderfully enthusiastic review:

An avid reader of thousands of books spanning 70 years and this was my first experience reading an eBook. Thank you for an enjoyable 4-day ride! Each of the four books in this series were read non-stop except for the necessary few breaks one needs. whew! WELL DONE! If I could give you ten stars I would!

I love the fact that readers of such different generations can relate to my characters, and I love the way e-books overcome the tyranny of distance to make my writing available to anyone with a 'net connection.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Going too far for art? "Method writing" laid bare

My characters have a way of being very real to me, but perhaps I identify with them a little too closely at times. I've sometimes had migraines when a character complained of them (mind you, she's always complaining), and when another character was having repeated pregnancies I started suffering the Worst Cramps Ever. But my most recent experience is, I think, the furthest I've gone yet.

I went for my annual check-up. My GP did the usual bits and pieces, then pulled out her stethoscope to listen to my chest. And she went "Hmm..." And listened some more. And said, "I think you may have a heart murmur."

Now, I'm blessed with excellent health. I had an ECG years ago for a job application, and my heart has never given me the least pain, other than metaphorically. My response was to laugh. And then, because my GP is a lovely lady and very easy to talk to, I told her why I was laughing. You see, I'd just given one of my characters a heart murmur - and in her case it was no laughing matter, as she was pregnant. In 1907, a weak heart in a pregnant woman was highly dangerous.

I had an unexpected bonus from sharing this with T. She worked for several years in one of the Pacific Islands that New Zealand has close associations with. Rheumatic fever is common there, and it often leaves a legacy of a damaged heart. Many of the first-time mothers T. was caring for had heart murmurs as a result of rheumatic fever. In a third-world country, this is almost as dangerous as it was in Edwardian New Zealand. We had a fascinating, albeit short, chat.

Oh, and my heart? It turned out that the "heart murmur" I'd caught from my character was a phantom one. I had a few interesting tests at a cardiologist's, and the most interesting thing noted was that I have a very slow (in a good way) heart rate.

I'll have to be more careful about what I put my characters through, though.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Website

I have a website with some background information to my novels. Snippets of New Zealand history, as well as a description of the geographical setting.

The site is here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lost in Translation

Scanning the 'net for news of myself (yes, I admit it. I do this), I found a review of Sentence of Marriage. Well, sort of. The site in question seems to have picked up the wonderful review I got from WorkingGirlReviews, pushed it through an automatic translator and back to something approximating English. Now that I've stopped being completely convulsed with laughter, let me share the joy.

The original is here

And the mangled version is here.