Friday, 3 February 2023

Rhapsody in Black

 Ever had an heirloom passed down to you, something made of gold? I have. "That belonged to one of your ancestors," I was advised. The object was a ring. I had it valued but decided not to sell it because, after all, it did belong to one of my forebears. 

When I had the ring valued, the jeweller, scrutinising the hallmarks, revealed that the ring was made in Ireland. This created great interest because of what my father told me some years before he died.

"It's family hearsay that we had an ancestor in The Charge of the Light Brigade. So I was told, his last name was Macgoran." Dad and I were interested in doing family history research. We would go to various record offices and afterwards we'd stop off for a pint. Beautiful treasured memories. Anyway, dad and I never came across any information about an ancestor being in the charge, but I did a few years later. Private Thomas McGorrine, number 1332, of the 13th Light Dragoons was posted as missing presumed killed in the charge, but he was found to have been wounded, and was in the hospital in Scutari, which was under the supervision of Florence Nightingale. Having found that information, the Irish ring took on great value. I had its size adjusted and, because my own wedding ring was lost, I began to wear the ring. 

So, these hand-me-downs sometimes link us to our ancestors and if it wasn't for those people, we wouldn't be here, so objects, whatever they are, sometimes take on a special value and meaning to us. 

This is the theme of my latest novel, Rhapsody in Black. It's a historical novel telling the history of the owners of a spade, from when in 1768 an apprentice in a Black Country forge mill made it as his apprentice piece. It is a compelling story, telling of the lives and loves of the owners, their experiences, and sometimes their hard struggle to survive. The book finishes in modern times, the ending being based on fact. 

Give it a try. You can get it either as an eBook or a paperback. The link's on my website.

Sunday, 24 July 2022

The Way Things Were.

Ever done any family history? If so you might have been to your local records office to check up on a snippet of information you've been told about a character that was supposedly part of your family some generations ago. 'He was in The Charge of the Light Brigade,' family hearsay says. 'He married into our family and they possibly lived in Birmingham.' So you start following the elusive trail of information, using the name of the person and the street name where he apparently lived. You check the census records trying to confirm the address. You sift through marriage records, and birth and death records, but you find nothing. However, the investigative flame bringing history alive is lit and you don't intend to extinguish it.

A few weeks go by and you need to do some carpentry in your shed. You place a piece of wood against the bench-stop and open the chest of tools, the chest that was your father's, and you take out the wooden plane. The blade is still sharp, just as your father left it. You look at the plane. It is valuable to you, sentimentally, and you caress it, thinking of your father. You remember him using the plane, it must be fifty-five years ago when you were young and he made the conservatory. You wonder if his father gave him the plane. You ponder the history of the tool and picture your grandfather holding it, working with it and you wonder where he got it from . . . was it his father? How the years go by and the people come and go, leaving their little patch of light on the scene of this world.

You have got the history bug so much by now, and so has your wife, that you decide, for your forthcoming holiday, to go 'Down Devon', to where some of your wife's recent ancestors came from. No 'Might have been' about those people because your wife went 'Down Devon' when she was a six-year-old to a particular place that sounds fascinating by her description of its isolated beauty. When you reach the place there is no encroachment by modernity since the old times. Near the ancient water mill, your wife stands again on the bridge over the river that she stood on when she was a young girl. The place is still as she remembers it, other than one feature. The cottages she stayed in on the hill at the side of the lane are no longer there. You scramble up the hill and reach the flat area at the top. The place is now covered with ferns and long grass and patches of bramble, but beneath the undergrowth, you see a dull yellow-coloured object covered by grass. You reach down through the grass and pick up a brick, part of the house your wife stayed in, now long since demolished.

That is when the next set of novels comes to your mind . . . this time they will be historical novels that will convey the value of those people no longer with us. These novels will tell of their experiences, their struggles and their triumphs over adversity and they will speak of the mark they leave upon society and upon us, their descendants. You begin writing, and some months later you finish the novel, hand a copy to your beta readers, and design the cover. You are excited. In just a few weeks the first novel of the set will be published. 

Until next time,

Keep well,

JJ 

http://www.jjoverton.com/

Friday, 2 October 2020

In the Beginning

number of years ago I had the idea of writing a novel. I had been interested in writing for a long time but work and generally 'getting on with life' had taken precedence. That changed one winter evening when I sat down and began to write chapter one of the science fiction novel that was to become ‘Leofwin's Hundred’, book one of a series I would call 'The Grid Saga', and in short order I used the Wix website builder to create the website, www.jjoverton.com

 

Here's how the story came about.

I was interested in the concept of the passage of time and how it affects us and our surroundings. Could there be a unique way to alter time that I could use as the central concept in my book? Would it be possible to travel to times in the past? and what would the interaction be with people living, for example, a thousand years in the past.

 

I developed a small group of central characters, Jem Dearden, Mitch Doughty and Professor Julia Linden-Barthorpe. These three characters, along with a select group of associates, would belong to a covert group named SHaFT, (the SHock and Force Team for justice). I added an elemental character into the mix who was Tomahawk Shahn of Offchurch. He made his entrance as a companion to Jem Dearden. 

Tomahawk is a wolf with Black Alaskan Wolf parentage, and he is big . . . real big.

The Forest of Arden, which in ancient times spread all over the 
English county of Warwickshire, figures as a potential backdrop to this story which takes place across the ages. In the forest there is an alien presence, which, although only implied in the first part of the novel, becomes desperately needed as the theme of the Leofwin’s Hundred story develops. 


That's it for the time being folks. it's enough to whet the appetite. Read the book. It's got great reviews and you can buy either the print or the ebook versions of the novel through my website, www.jjoverton.com/ Anyway, please check back to the 'Mystery and Imagination' blog regularly. I shall delve further into the world of The Grid Saga, and talk about information to do with writing, and other interesting subjects. 


But please be patient. The 'Mystery and Imagination’ blog is in the process of being developed. I want you to have the opportunity to write on the blog too and that facility will be added. I'm sure you've got plenty of interesting  things to say that will add useful content to the blog.


Until next time,

Keep Well,

JJ.