Historical Novel Blog Tour

Intro 

As an author of a mere half of a book, I feel greatly honoured to have been invited by the enterprising Tiffani Burnett-Velez to participate in her Historical Novel Blog Tour, mingling with such illustrious writers as Meara PlattDouglas HawkinsA. David SinghClaudia LongGreg MichaelsBarbara Eppich StrunaEleanor Parker Sapia. Thanks for the privilege.

Who you are, where you’re from, your writing credits

The bearded one

I wrote this bit under palms in the Brazilian jungle, sipping a freshly-made caipirinha. All nine family members – including two charming grandchildren – were visiting our daughter-in-law’s relatives for Christmas.

Born in (old) Jersey GB, my father was Swiss, my mother of French Huguenot stock. I studied physics in London and met my Finnish wife in Geneva during a research project at CERN. After many moves, we have settled in a beautiful village near Zürich, Switzerland. I’m now facing the prospect of retirement. Continue reading

I asked a Hippie for an Eagle

Kili and Kwee were real eagles. Nothing to be afraid of. Not like the fearsome AquilaAquila, who never took his eyes off you, always looking for a chance to punish you for things you hadn’t actually done.

Silvanus had spent many an hour watching them – masters of soaring – as they hunted for dormice or frogs, or repaired one of last year’s nests in preparation for a new family. Continue reading

Why the Geese?

Cerbonius and his geeseCerbonius was a colourful character — priest, refugee, hermit, bishop, bear-tamer, animal-lover, miracle-worker and sensational papal visitor — who was later canonised by the Roman Catholic Church. He is remembered for his intimate relationship with God, “a man with a venerable life, who gave evidence of great holiness”, as St. Gregory the Great wrote in his “Dialogues”. Continue reading

What’s his face?

Many aspects form a novel – plot, pace, voice, character arc, setting, backstory, etc. But a novel wouldn’t be anything without characters. And readers want to get to know the main players. Among other things, they want to discover what they look like. And that, in turn, means they want to see their faces.

I’m not good at faces. Legend has it that I didn’t recognise my mother, although we had arranged to meet outside a certain shop. Often it’s only when an acquaintance I haven’t seen for a while does something – raises their eyebrows, speaks or walks in a characteristic way – that I realise who they are; their personality shines through.

Q: How can I, who don’t notice faces, learn to describe my storybook characters’ appearance?

Continue reading

Beats, Tags and White Space

As an aspiring author, I’ve read several books on the art and craft of writing. They confused me. I didn’t even understand the terminology, let alone the principles they advocated.

There’s nothing better than jumping in the deep end and getting feedback from more experienced authors. My hesitant attempts at posting individual chapters of my book for others to critique, have taught me a lot. Continue reading