In three days time, Retreating to Peace goes live. My contribution to the Peace Series of Novellas will finally be out there, and available to be read. Over the last few weeks, I have been reflecting on the whys, wherefores, whathaveyou’s of having written it.
When first undertaking this writing project, it was a case of why not, what have I possibly got to lose? This could be a really useful learning experience, you might actually get something out of this. I had finished Fragments, and I felt a little listless; I needed to write something else to fill the void left behind.
Having never written a romance before, this was taking a plunge and then some.
In being accepted to participate, I had to then come up with something; I needed an idea! There had be something, that would be plausible with the premise of a fictional town called Peace in Montana.
I had to think about my own perceptions, experiences, my understanding of fiction, and also the genre of contemporary fiction.What immediately struck me, was how about writing a character that had an Indian background, or a part Indian background. I don’t recall reading a romance, where there was character from a BAME background.
There is BAME literature; it is rich, vibrant and under-rated. It can be found, and it offers a really good insight into realms within literature that are otherwise undiscovered. I dare you to read something by Meera Syal, by Satnam Sanghera, go find Benjamin Zephaniah; read something you perhaps otherwise wouldn’t.
Writing this novella, was about extending horizons, creating awareness and sharing. Sharing and also celebrating diversity. There was also some rebellion in there, in not wanting to write something of a Bollywood drama.
With Retreating to Peace, I have resisted the urge to call it a Bollywood drama. This book is nothing like the telenovellas with all of the Levi Strauss token characters, interesting camera angles and doof doof soundtrack. It does, however, borrow cultural elements that I am aware, that I have experienced within my universe. Even the short-stories that have been Seasonal Peace Spin offs, have had some Indian cultural element in them. I took great pleasure in writing Devan’s Diwali story, and sharing what Diwali means to me, to the characters that I have developed.
What I didn’t want, was to write a novella that echoed what is expected, thought of as being in a Bollywood movie. Whilst writing, I read ‘Devdas’, and recall wanting to throttle the characters whilst trying to process the social, historical and cultural issues raised. I have seen the film, the one with Shah Rukh Khan and not one of the other 13 versions made by Bollywood. I had wanted to read this for years, and it was a real eye opener to eventually do so.
I convinced myself, and felt quite vehement; I didn’t want to write a Bollywood movie in a book. There are no dance numbers or sparkles in this book, sorry, but but no.
When looking at the cover, I remember trawling through images trying to find something, trying to find someone that corresponded to the description and presence of Devan Coultrie and Aditi Rao. (This really was a challenge, and already strained my view of not putting people on the cover.) I found myself re-thinking, questioning what my perception and understanding was of diversity. A process that I had already gone through to some extent when developing Fragments, only it was a bit more focused this time. Diversity in writing, reflecting real life and the society that I live in, matters to me and in turn impacts upon what I produce.
I was really quite glad when the marketing team came up with a teaser that rather made me smile! Looks altogether quite glamorous really.
I enjoyed writing and developing Retreating to Peace, and truly appreciative of being accepted into the project. I did want to write something different, and this is definitely different compared to the gardening books and also Fragments.
In 2017, I made my first foray into fiction. Having written two non-fiction books about my allotment, this was something of a challenge in being very different. In all honesty, I really enjoyed writing both of the allotment books; there was a huge learning curve that really did open my eyes. I have learned lessons with each book, and hopefully continue to do so as things progress. No one book is perfect, and there is always someone who will offer you feedback to that effect. The broad plethora of writing out there, would suggest that you are never going to please everyone. Start with pleasing yourself, see what happens.
That said, seeing and hearing people enjoy the allotment books is a wonderful experience. It is validation, yes. That something I have produced is out there, that it is being engaged with, and there is value to it.
There is a wonderfully romantic notion, that writing is easy; that writers of any description, do nothing but lounge around navel-gazing, smoking cigarettes, drinking tea and occasionally put pen to paper. I can tell you now; that is not the case, that could not be further from the the truth. I don’t smoke, navel-gazing does my head in, but I do like back to back cups of tea.
Then there is the idea of why write?
Well, why not?
There is just something about a pen, a notebook, a day dream and marrying it all together. All that day dreaming is of no use in the depths of my cerebellum; if released from there, it might actually have some use, some one might benefit from it in some shape or form.
I’ve been writing since I was fourteen, and on anything I could get my hands on with rather curly handwriting. Nineteen years later I still have the loose leaves somewhere, and I look back them with lovely, rose tinted glasses. Some of the stuff is in my opinion, altogether strange; however, I wouldn’t change it, I wrote it and for reasons only known to the universe. I still write Star Trek fan fiction; it was and is an wonderful immersion experience. Anyone who tells you that fan fiction doesn’t count as literature, could do with a broader scope on their bookshelf.
In previous posts, I have explored why I wrote ‘Fragments’. I wrote it because of family bereavements, because loss(in many different forms, not just death) had become a big part of my world and I was trying to make sense of it. Compared to the allotment books, it is bigger, beefier and quite literally not so rosey. Don’t get me wrong, there are happy endings in there; I couldn’t bring myself to write abject, bleak, misery. What I wrote about was being human, or in the very least, trying to understand being a human and the relationships that we form. I’ll be honest with you. There are some parts of ‘Fragments’ that actually make me cry, and I wrote those bits! I can’t read them-I did, when crafting it, I had to force myself to do so-there are others, which make me smile, and I’m glad to have written as not many others might have.
With 2018, I am making my second foray into fiction. I have also broken my own self-imposed rule of not having human beings on the cover; so far, we’ve had insects and pastel art. This next foray, is continued diversification and into contemporary romance. It is actually rosy, unlike ‘Fragments’ so it does have some sunshine like the allotment books. Again, there has been learning; there has been further, very instrumental development and growth.
Over the last three months, I have posted bits and pieces about ‘Retreating to Peace’. I wanted to share the excitement that has been a big part of this project and how much that means to me. Hopefully, you will have seen the teasers and things.
Yes, this is different. To gardening, to grief. Proper diversification, and then some.
Yes, you read it correctly; contemporary romance.
Romance as a whole, is huge! It is a big slice of the literature pie, the indie publishing pie as well.
Here I am, a minnow-a gardening one-in a big pond, with lots of established fishes.
I couldn’t tell you why I took this plunge. Only, that I wanted to keep writing after having finished ‘Fragments’. I must have taken one week, perhaps two, before stumbling across the Peace Novella Series. This felt the right thing to do, the universe was sending me signals of some kind.
Plus, as with the other three books, what could I possibly have to lose?
There are some things, that as I was writing ‘Retreating to Peace’ were a big part of my awareness. Things, that have most likely shaped the production of it, and I haven’t really put them out there before.
First, I chose to write a male main character. He’s not that much older than me, he is taller though. Most people are to be honest. Plus, I didn’t want to write a swaggering Alpha Male who saves the universe whilst having a fragile ego broken by a heaving bosom.
Second, he’s of mixed heritage. I would not, do not wish to, label Devan Coultrie as a Person of Colour. That label sets my teeth on edge for a whole armada of reasons that I won’t go into here. I managed to shoe-horn Anglo, Indian and Scottish into development.
Third, not all romance is about rainbows and butterflies. I know, that seems an oxymoron, Thank goodness for Happy For Now.
Fourth, I spent my whole childhood watching Bollywood Movies. There are lots and lots of Bollywood/Indian cultural things mentioned in RTP. This is why, I took great pleasure in writing Devan’s Diwal story. Oh, and I have yet to find a would be Indian inspired romance. Trust me, I know who Meera Syal is as well as Anita Desai and Arundhati Roy. I may never scale their great heights, but a girl can dream, eh?
More novellas are on the way!
The next Peace Novella will be released very soon. So I am very happy and very proud to herald the imminent arrivals of ‘What Peace remains’ by L.C.Fenton and also ‘Reclaiming Peace’ by S.H.Pratt. These are the third and fourth novels respectively in this bumper series and continue to set the scene and build up what we know about Peace, Montana.
This promises to be a really exciting, fresh and vibrant development in romance, and I do hope that Peace travels as far as it can. There are so many different characters, different stories and vibrant happenings that occur in this series, I am confident that there will be something for everyone in the pages of Peace.
As October approaches there will be four different novellas live on Kindles across the universe. Four, with lots more due! I have to sit on my hands for a bit, before my own contribution is released.
There will be paperbacks available too, at a later point; I will endeavour to keep you appraised of that happening. The idea of Peace on a bookshelf does sound and feel rather cool.
In the meantime, below are the imminent releases and also a reminder of the titles released already. Go have a look; read, review, share!!!! Help Peace progress, and for the Peace Universe to reach frontiers new.
The death of her grandfather is the excuse Maggie Foster uses to retreat from her life in New York. Taking over the running of his law practise in Columbus, she is asked for help by her childhood friend, John Thoreau, who is accused of the attempted murder of local heavyweight, Brett Harrington, Jr. Despite her attempts to defend her latest client, he refuses to tell her anything about the incident, or events surrounding the fight. Determined to help him regardless, she learns things about small town life and herself, allowing her to find the peace that she thought had deserted her.
All Dexie McBride wanted was to go home… to the people she loved. Driven from Peace, Montana by the greed of BJ Harrington and the nightmare of his son, Brent, she has spent years searching for a way back to her home. When news that her mother is dying reaches Dexie, she knows her best chance to return home has finally come.
As she mourns her mother’s death, Dexie struggles to repair friendships that have been neglected for ten long years, especially the one with her best friend, Draven “Dray” Palmer. With Brent threatening vengeance and her relationship with Dray hanging in the balance, Dexie must wage a deadly battle to reclaim her life, her home, and Peace.
Don’t forget the other ones!
I rather cherish the memories of standing in Mum’s kitchen holding my own books in my hands. Each time, there has been a smile as to having worked hard and crafting something that I am very proud of and ultimately would like to share with others. I am not writing anything at the moment; my pens have temporarily fallen silent and are reflecting on new possible stories.
I am also involved in a project called the Peace Series That link will take you to the Facebook page. There is even an event that will hopefully plant Peace firmly on the map. My contribution is scheduled for release early in 2018, and is currently being polished.
There were plans to write a cookbook! Plans being plans, this is on pause; I will get around to that eventually.
For now, I have three books in circulation that I am genuinely proud to have written and developed. Two, are primarily to do with gardening and cooking; with this year being a poor year on the allotment plot, they are a reminder of good times, of fruitful times.
Then there is ‘Fragments’, which is my first foray in to writing fiction. This does not mean I have abandoned my green plot. Simply that I have decided to add an additional string and broadened my horizons a little more.
Bit of a heads up. This is not a fluffy book with hearts, rainbows and butterflies. It’s not a textbook either!
Above are a selection of passages from Fragments, these touch on the six different stories that are interwoven to paint a picture of how loss and bereavement may effect us. The people and their experiences are varied and diverse; I wanted to write stories that could be seen to reflect and represent the world around me and to some extent how I see it.
I like my book; I am however, very biased. It is seeing and hearing that other people have picked it up, read it and invested in it that truly makes me feel less biased.
You can find the ebook here . For paperback, click here. If you happen to be in the USA, you can even walk into Pipe and Thimble in Lomita, California to buy a copy! The store is the only place on the globe that actually holds any of my books right now. That in itself is a tad mind blowing.
If you do invest in a copy, of either version, then please share and leave the review. As a non-traditional, self published author, I am a cog in the Indie publishing world. Reviews help that universe expand, allowing books that we wouldn’t ordinarily come across become more visible. This expansion then allows myself and other Indie authors to be stumbled upon with our works being shared.
Just to let you know, that for the duration of the growing season-til October-ebook/kindle versons of both #Plantpottales and #SowGrowEat are reduced in price.
‘Playing with Plant Pots’ is now priced at £1.99. You can find the link on the side or click here.
‘Sow, Grow and Eat’ is now priced at £2.00. The link is also on the side or click here.
The paperback versions remain the same if ordered via amazon.
You can however obtain paper copies from me at a reduced priced(whilst stocks last) via PayPal.
Sow grow eat is priced at £8 plus £2 P+P
Plant pot tales is priced at £6 plus £2 P+P
Simply get in touch via Social media-twitter, instagram, FB or drop me a line via email: pfarmah AT hotmail DOT com. -Enter the email manually, as I don’t like spambots and you don’t want them either!