Round Robin

Most novels have an easily understood point to make to the reader, do your stories ever have more subtle or intuitive themes?

This month’s question contains an assumption – Novels have an easily understood point.

I’m not 100% sure that they do. Occasionally you’ll read a novel where the author constantly reminds you of the hero or heroine’s reason for being unlovable/depressed/hyper and very irritating they are. My preferred read is one where it slowly becomes clear that the hero or heoine struggled through a difficult or inadequate childhood or relationship or period of employment.

In my early work there were one or two characters whose inadequate childhood consisted of being given too much. Having no boundaries can be as difficult to surmount as having too many, I think.

Daisy in Daisy’s Dilemma is one such. She wants to marry John Brent and when he falls into her hands discovers, actually, that would be a great mistake. It’s the discovering she’d be in the wrong that makes Daisy’s story.

Coming up to date, my most recently published novel is contemporary and it deals with less flighty issues – bankruptcy, alcoholism and a life’s passion (for cooking). Here, I would agree I’m making use of subtlety and intuition. Why did Rosalie fall under Steve’s spell? She discovers why when she sees how he brings savvy businesswoman, Agnes, into line, too.

I think when you’re writing romance the reader might expect either a happy ever after or a happy enough for now – and I don’t disappoint on that score. The journey, however, does contain those more subtle and intuitive themes. Mariah (of Mariah’s Marriage now available in some libraries) has a strong social consceince and fights to save her apparent enemy from domestic abuse by her brother. It’s the below the surface themes that add colour and depth to characters.

My fellow authors, below, also have thoughts on this subject and you may like to read theirs.


Connie Vines

Judith Copek
Diane Bator
Fiona McGier

Dr. Bob Rich

Victoria Chatham
Helena Fairfax
Rhobin L Courtright


Diary of a Writer – Lockdown casts a long Shadow

I walked out this morning because from around lunchtime my online life is pretty full.

Firstly, and sadly, there’s the funeral of one of my late Mum-in-Law’s indomitable cousins. It’s a generation that keeps on going: keeps on giving and this lady isn’t the last of them in our family.

Then there’s the Badminton chat.

Then, YAY!, the Edinburgh Writers’ Club re-starts. Looking forward to identifying familiar faces and perhaps some new: and to hearing Mason Cross talk about life and writing.

The walk this morning displayed Rosehips rather than roses. They are lovely, but also yet another reminder of a year in so many ways lost. Also heard but not seen, were the local children out enjoying their morning playtime break.

How, regular readers may ask, is the GH project going? Well, I’m now at the stage of looking to buy the remaining ones for kindle. Will probably start with These Old shades.

The virus is very much out there and DH is cancelling yet another 2020 family event. We are all in this together, but the togetherness looks a bit separate from here.


Diary of a Writer – September Prompt

The power of the sea is awesome but, as this picture tells us, can take time. How many years would it need for the waves to carve this bridge from the bank?

I’ve been on a holiday. First vsit for me to the islands of Tiree and Coll in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides. Tiree week blessed by wonderful weather, Coll more mixed, but “We weren’t kept in…”

The depth of this wall indicates that Tiree’s weather isn’t always benign. However, the modernised thatched cottage was a delight and very comfy. A lot of reading was done, but not so much writing – I was on hols. However, the endless beaches, the history implicit in the surviving thatched cottages, the opportunity for skullduggery in the excellent bird hides (we saw a male hen harrier) and the more modern story-lines underpinned by paddle-boarding expeditions, whale-watching boats and arriving in a small plane were rich fodder indeed.

Coll is more undulating and has ‘Big Hooses’ – called castles in fact. As I’ve said before, place haunts my subconscious. I really enjoyed walking among the castles and their outbuildings – some of the most extensive I’ve encountered and much of the complex now turned into holiday accommodation. The castles are both still privately occupied so tours weren’t an option. Sigh!

New Breachacha Castle, Coll

Boswell and Johnson were entertained in this one, though, so I might be able to learn a little about the interior from them.

Our actual berth on Coll was in the newly extended Isle of Coll Inn where we were blissfully content in a re-furbished room and so well-fed. Excellent local seafood and fish formed the mainstay of the menus and as I enjoy both, but don’t really cook seafood, that was also a delight.

Many of us will by now have taken tentative steps back to pre-Covid normality. I feel priviliged to have made this trip and mentally both rested and stimulated by it. I hope all of you will find the confidence to start going out again. Scary, I know. We did find the hotel very safety conscious, the ferry operators likewise and there was the wonderful Mhor 84 to break the journey where social distancing was also much in evidence.