Free on Kindle 19th-21 January 2023
A Peace Series Novella
Behind The Scenes
Free on Kindle 19th-21 January 2023
A Peace Series Novella
Behind The Scenes
Confused, out of sorts; Devan’s day isn’t going well. From the bathroom, his bedroom to a bar. What exactly is going on?
A JAmedia.uk Production. A Punam Farmah Film.
Devan Coultrie Collection: Peace Novella Series
Retreating to Peace UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0773NCCLW US: https://amzn.to/2My4p9https://amzn.to…
Postcards from Peace
UK: https://amzn.to/2Gijv4s US:https://amzn.to/2FjFWmQ
Peace Betrayed: A Peace Series Novella
UK: https://amzn.to/323m6FH US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZRT5RP5
19th January has a special place in my diary, on calendar. It is the date whereby Devan Coultrie was released into the universe in Retreating to Peace: A Peace Series Novella.
My second piece of non-fiction, but my first foray into the world of writing romance. There was a bit of romance in Fragments, but not a great deal.
I joined the Peace Novella Series group. Our task was to write stories based upon the fictional town of Peace, Montana. The town, a brain child of fellow author S.H. Pratt. The idea of romance appealed. Especially having written Fragments. I felt as though I had something left in the tank; I fancied writing something different. There were rules, a contract; not a problem. A novella, sweet, fade to black etc. All sensible stuff.
I inked up my fountains pens, I cobbled together a plan. I was literally making it up as I went along.
Who was this fella? Devan Raaj Coultrie, a former hedge fund manager who was born and raised in Rugby, Warwickhire. He was heart broken, a bit of a rebel and wanted to start again.
On the other side of the universe. He would be the centre of his 100 acres in Peace; he was going to a big hitter and perhaps wear a tux. There’d be a bit of South Asian Culture in there. No way, no how. Was this fella going to hit all the boxes on a Romance Writers trope bingo card.
He wasn’t going to be the average male romance book character.
And man alive. I read a few by of preparation. I worked my way through a fair few Mills and Boon’s. I looked at the data. There were very few male characters of South Asian origin. Many were feckless playboys, who were fly-by-nights, who left broken hearts, and sometimes babies in their wake. Oh, and would drop their kit at the sight of a heaving bosom to rip bodices. There was some aristocrats, royalty, you get the idea.
We didn’t yet have Hooch Baron.
Plus, as a therapist, I tutted, rolled my eyes at the traits that these fellas had. There are far too many for me to critically evaluate and assess with the application of therapeutic modalities and theories in this post. Alas, this made me think.
Devan Coultrie, was not going to be a door handle. He would also keep his kit on. Mostly.
The women in his world. They’d be different too. They too, wouldn’t be the conquests, the trembling bottom lip….tokens of characteristics. There’s Aditi, Avni, Aida…that’s a lot of A’s. Oh,and his sister-in-law, Libby. They would be present, realistic and of value. They’d have an authenticity to them, and not the typical ‘brittle’ quality that is so common.
Funny thing though. Aditi gets some interesting reader reactions.
Remember, how I mentioned the Peace Novella Series. Well. I did something. I met them, a few of them. In….drumroll….MONTANA. Now this is the stuff of romance. Who, because of a fella, books an adventure, takes a flight….erm. Me.
S.H. Pratt, or Stef! Created, hosted the inaugural Big Sky Book Event in Billings, Montana.
Let’s have a bit of flashback right here
“Why write books sat in Montana?”
“Have you been, do you plan to go there?”
“Sure, maybe. Why not? I mean, never say never. This is me. I got to Reykjavík and back.”
And, back to the present. I went. Because of Devan Coultrie.
I met Stef, Ariel, Jenn and Susan. In 3D. And we were the Peace Novella Series Authors. I heard the radio jingle that mentioned the international contingent. Jenn, bless her, looked at me. “That’s you!” she said. I nearly fell to the floor.
I’ve done a fair few interesting things, because of Devan Coulrie.
There was the book launch in the Gunmaker’s Arms, as Storm Dennis raged.
Storm, bloody, Dennis.
I will never forgive the British Weather and because of that one night.
The Gunmakers and Devan, have history. Way back when, I stood near a pillar during a reading event. I read Costume Drama. That is where Britain met the hooch Baron.
I was petrified that day. I even had Lee Benson and Martin Tracey roped in to read. JA Media had the mic’s, the PA. I read from all three Devan books. Yeah, by 2020, there were three.
This was proper, Vive Le Hooch Baron.
It gets better. JA Media is a big part of the Devan Coultrie Journey.
Somewhere in between the two 2020 lockdowns. I volunteered to make a film. JA Media planned to work with local authors, to make films. Only, it would need a script. Human beings too. I taught myself how to write a script. We then needed a cast.
JA Media and I, had to find them. The human beings that would be Devan, Aditi, Mike the Barman….we needed locations.
We found Devan. There was a lot of stress. I mean, who wants to work on something that’s a huge leap, and for free? There was no budget for this. Then, with the magic of social media and also A.A.Abbott sending out a re-tweet.
Habemus Une Devan.
A certain Vimal Korpal, was cast. He’d be donning the Dr.Martens.
The Dr.Martens. The minute he put those on. I didn’t keel over; I was leaning against a wall, clutching my director’s folder. There it was again.
Habemus Une Devan.
Vive le hooch baron
I will never forget Vimal uttering Devan’s lines. I was only just able to stay say on my chair-I didn’t have my bond villan chair at that time. Oh, and the grin! He had Devan Coultrie’s grin.
The Hooch Baron. That was him, the other side of zoom.
That’s hard to wrap your imagination around. The fella who for years has been inside of a book, inky squiggles. Was all very real. Then came the rest of cast, the crew. Through the magic of the Universe. We had a cast/crew. Make Up Artists, Production assistants.
Even Ruby the dog was part of this experience.
We shot the movie. Over three days, during the highs and lows of the pandemic. Through, around everyone’s real life, real job commitments. There was rain, snow, heat waves…..samosa chaats, pizza and of course, biryani.
I had to conquer my fear of motorways to edit the movie with JA Media.
I’ve danced around the Bond Villain chair to the Devan Coultrie Theme tune. That’s a nice feeling.
There was the big, whoop do moment of releasing the poster. I knitted that hat….
As I write this, I am days away from the fifth anniversary of Devan Coultrie going live. It’s been an interesting five years.
Without Devan, his saga and the Peace Novella Series, a lot might not have happened. I’d probably still be avoiding motorways, to be honest.
Not sure yet when the movie comes out. It will. I promise. In the mean time, go read the books.
And once more. For everyone.
Habemus Une Devan.
Vive le hooch baron
Was my turn again on the New Street Authors Advent Calendar.
For the moment, there is only one Devan Coultrie Christmas Story.
A JA Media Production.
A Punam Farmah Film.
Devan Coultrie Is Unwell.
Based upon the story by Punam Farmah from the Peace Novella Series.
So here we have it! A poster for a project that I has been such an adventure to be part of. There are quite a few people who are part of this. Lots of people to thank!
To think that the screen play was written and completed during Lockdown 2.0. That was when we had to find a real life Devan, the rest of the cast and locations. We did it though!
The film is and was, made in Birmingham. The Cast and Crew are local to the West Midlands. As such, our locations are very local too. Part of the film was shot in the iconic Gunmakers Arm’s in Birmingham. A pub that has a special place in my heart and the Devan Coultrie Journey.
Shall get back to you, with further details!
The days have become longer, the sun is shining-mostly!- and there is a chance for some downtime. Downtime makes for a cracking opportunity to catch up on reading. From the graphics above, you can see that there is something of a diverse range on offer. There are the two gardening books, one romance novella, a two novels and series of short stories.
With June and July, the growing season becomes apace. If you have more courgettes than you know what to do with, or really want to know about Aloo gobi-that’s spuds and cauliflower, then those are for you.
Retreating to Peace and Postcards from Peace are my contributions to the Peace Novella Series. A stable of different authors awaits if you fancy having a look at the rest of the series. With RTP, Devan Coultrie arrives in Montana with something of a broken heart. There is follow up in Postcards as we get another look into his life.
Fragments is a great big of six inter-related stories as it considers what happens when we lose the people- and animals-that shape our worlds. Kangana sees Gorbind-he appears in Fragments-have a no straight forward romance. There are also snatches of Birmingham, with Lucifer from the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery making an appearance.
Click on the image above and download your copy. Don’t forget to join in with the facebook event as well.
Apologies for not being around. There has been a lot going on, not bad, I assure you! This has made gardening and writing a bit more challenging. The next few months are shaping up to be both interesting and busy, but I am still around, not disappearing or dropping off the proverbial radar.
Not sure quite what gardening or when it will occur. In the mean time, the ink pens are in action and writing projects are happening.
Just wanted to remind you, of the books and there are quite a few now! If you wanted a bit of advice and guidance beyond the blog, there is the ‘yellow one’ and the ‘little green book’ that will help make things a little less confusing.
And if you fancied something completely different and not in the least bit gardening related, there is Fragments and also Retreating to Peace. Links to your right.
All of the books are available in both paperback and ebook.
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.
This is the first time that Devan will have had anything to do with the celebration of Thanksgiving. Being born and bred in Britain, he is experiencing something rather new and different as he makes his home on Peace. Montana. There will not doubt be some new traditions developed as Devan continues to build his life in Oakview.
2017 Copyright Punam Farmah
“You didn’t shoot the damned thing, now did you?” Aditi’s words rose to a squeaky crescendo of incredulity.
Devan tutted, shaking his head. “God, no!” he exclaimed. He had moved his ‘phone from his ear slightly. There was a sharp scratchiness in Aditi’s voice.. “I just drove out to the farm; must have window shopped for at least forty minutes,” he continued closing the ‘fridge with his elbow. He was making tea and needed milk. “Did my best to look for the one that looked the least psychopathic-”
“I want that one!” squeaked Aditi; she was now chortling quite loudly over the line.
“Pretty much,” Devan agreed. “Waited in the café type place; I read the paper whilst it was, you know, despatched.” He pulled a face at the thought of the turkey being sent to meet its maker. He was a dipped in the wool omnivore, but had never thought about what went into killing his dinner before. “All I wanted was fresh turkey. I wasn’t going to get a frozen butterball thing that if I got it wrong, would give me food poisoning.”
Aditi was now laughing almost uncontrollably; her chortling crackled across the miles between them. “Food poisoning versus ethical eating, you’ve lost me on this one,” she said drawing in a deep breath to compose herself. “I once tried to go vegan, only I fell down at scrambled eggs and a full English.”
Devan chuckled quietly as he filled a kettle with freshly drawn water. “That I remember,” he stated placing the kettle on its base and dropping a tea bag into a mug that he had set aside on the worktop. “I deliberately asked you how you wanted your eggs.”
“Wasn’t the eggs entirely, sweetheart,” Aditi chimed in. “I caught the scent of smoked bacon wafting up the stairs from the kitchen, and that was it. It was Goodnight, Vienna. What is your plan then; this turkey day a dry run for Christmas, proper?”
“Sort of,” he replied. “I didn’t plan to use it all, since it’s just me home alone. Might do now, though, all this talking of food. I’m here, you’re all the way over there.” Devan let out a deep, resigned sigh. As he exhaled, he felt the twang of his figurative heart strings. “Christmas proper, would have you being here. You, I would roast the whole stupid thing for, throw in the trimmings. This turkey day is all about being thankful. Thankful, and not in the typical, British, stiff upper lip, tea and biscuits way either.
Devan jabbed a teaspoon into the teabag that swirled around in his mug. Unscrewing the top of a milk bottle, he poured a splash into his tea, stirring it until golden. Clinking against the ceramic, the sound of the teaspoon briefly punctured the silence between them.
“Is there much going on in town?” asked Aditi, her words gently breaking what felt like a cloying heaviness.
“Probably,” Devan replied, lifting his mug to his lips and noisily taking a mouthful. “I haven’t got a clue to be honest. My plan is to stay at home, watch all the Thanksgiving movies that I can find. Eat myself into oblivion; drink my way through leftover bubbles.”
“Hardly thankful then!” shrilled Aditi; there was even a rather loud snort of derision. That’s moping, Devan. You made it through Halloween, give this a shot too. Try being thankful properly. Be thankful, that you and I claimed one another. Be thankful, that the nurses at St.Vincent’s didn’t brain you for being a stroppy patient. Be thankful that you are happy, healthy and have a home in Peace. Dunk that biscuit in your tea, Coultrie.”
“Now that’s an idea,” Devan laughed and put his hand to the biscuit barrel next to the kettle. “And yes, dear, no, dear; whatever you say, dear. Oh, look, a gingersnap.” Smiling to himself, Devan did as he was told. He dunked the biscuit and munched half of it. “I am thankful for all of the above; especially for the item at the top.”
He heard Aditi stifle a yawn across the line. “You, Ms.Rao,” continued Devan, the second half of the gingersnap dunked and thrust into his mouth. He took a moment to savour the flavour being gulping it away. “I’m thankful, and for you. I don’t think I have ever been so thankful for a fellow human being.”
“Not just a fellow human,” tutted Aditi, suddenly sounding very awake. “I’m the one that you pledged your whole life to. Not as romantic as ‘I love you’, but I’ll take it.”
“I do,” whispered Devan, his memory harked back to Halloween. “I love you. More than I can say. Slush and I, Aditi, aren’t exactly bedfellows, hence the clumsiness.”
“No, but you and I are,” Aditi whispered back. “Just keep that in mind for me. I don’t actually have leave left for Christmas, what with the extended sabbatical.”
“Christmas,” repeated Devan. “I hope you do make it, the whole family is coming. You, Aditi, are part of the family, a big part of it. I’ll get through this first. I will practice being thankful. I’ll roast the bird, see how much of it I can eat. You ever had turkey burgers, or turkey curry for that matter?”
“No, yet, no,” there was an altogether way tone in Aditi’s reply. “I will imagine from a safe distance. I will try, Devan, to get to you for Christmas.”
Feeling his stomach flip, Devan could feel a tight knot of sadness form and sink to somewhere near his ankles. “It’ll be lonely this Christmas,” he said softly, “And without you.”
He heard Aditi yawn again and bit his lip. “I should go, and play with the bird,” Devan quickly cleared his throat, once more slurping his tea. “The free-range, not so cuddly one,” he added, closing his eyes tightly as the line crackled with tears.
“Give it a good stuffing,” sniffed Aditi, her words were only just audible. “That much you have my permission for. Provided you save all the cuddles for me. Go, go be thankful. I love you.”
Unable to respond, Devan quickly hung up. He too was about to start sniffling. He knew that Aditi was right. There would be no moping. Draining his tea, he planted his mug firmly down upon the worktop.
“Okay then, turkey,” he said loudly as he rubbed his palms together. “Standby, I am coming to get you.”
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