Tag: books (page 1 of 2)

HOW MUCH OF THE WRITER IS IN THE STORY?

COLIN FALCONER, FACEBOOK, BEST SELLING AUTHOR, ROMANCE, ADVENTURE, HISTORICAL FICTION

Come and join me at the Falconer Club, for selected excerpts and to get free Exclusive Review Copies of my books. JUST CLICK THE IMAGE!

People often ask: how much does a writer put of themselves in a story?

kindle bestseller, amazon bestseller, top selling romancePerhaps it depends on what story means to you. For me, stories are a very personal thing. The first ones I ever heard were about my own family. I couldn’t have been more than four years old.

My mother, you see, was quite the storyteller. She must have been, because all these years later, I still remember the smallest details of many of her tales.

She used to tell me about her life growing up in the poorer parts of East London. She didn’t have the easiest life; she was one of nine children and her father, who I never met, was a violent alcoholic.

So although my own family are Cockneys, not Irish, much of the research for Kitty O’Kane was very familiar to me. I already knew, for instance, that the women who lived in the slums scrubbed their doorsteps every day; my mother had long ago explained to me that just because you lived in a tenement was no reason to let your standards slip.

After all, what would the neighbours say?

And it was no co-incidence that Kitty’s father was a bully and a drunk. I couldn’t have imagined him any other way, even if he only played a cameo in the book.

My mother remembered to her dying day the beatings he gave her and her siblings. In later years, she often wondered aloud why my grandmother never left him.

She seemed to forget that my gran lived in a very different time, and in a very different society. There was also a psychology to it; Gran didn’t think she deserved any better.

Kitty’s story completes the circle; it is about a woman who takes back her own life, and discovers her own sense of being worth something in a forbidding world.

Which means that although there is a lot of my mother and my grandmother in Kitty O’Kane, my own daughters are in her, too. Kitty O’Kane’s journey takes three hundred and fifty pages; in real life it took four generations.

For all the similarities, it is still fiction. My grandmother was never a maid on the Titanic, she never witnessed the Russian Revolution first hand, as Kitty did, or the Siege of Dublin. But she did see the worst of East London and she did get through the Blitz.

Her daughter, eyewitness to it all, finally recounted the stories to a wide-eyed three-year-old boy; they were tales of tough times and hard people and about finding a way to survive long enough to find love at the end of it. When he grew up, the little boy took these bits of soft fact and molded them to something solid in his imagination.

So to answer the question: how much of the writer ended up in the story?

I suppose you would have to say; in the end, quite a bit.

When fiery and idealistic Kitty O’Kane escapes the crushing poverty of Dublin’s tenements, she’s determined that no one should ever suffer like she did. As she sets out to save the world, she finds herself at the forefront of events that shaped the early twentieth century. While working as a maid, she survives the sinking of the Titanic. As a suffragette in New York’s Greenwich Village, she’s jailed for breaking storefront windows. And traveling war-torn Europe as a journalist, she’s at the Winter Palace when it’s stormed by the Bolsheviks. Ultimately she returns to her homeland to serve as a nurse in the Irish Civil War.

During Kitty’s remarkable journey, she reunites with her childhood sweetheart, Tom Doyle, but Tom doesn’t know everything about her past—a past that continues to haunt her. Will Kitty accept that before she can save everyone else, she needs to find a way to save herself? Or will the sins of her past stop her from pursuing her own happiness?

colin falconer, sleeping with the enemy, fury, jerusalem, freedom

COLIN FALCONER

Colin Falconer, romance, adventure, bestseller, historical fiction

Come meet me at the Falconer Club, for exclusive excerpts and the chance to win copies of my books. JUST CLICK THE PICTURE

 

TELL ME A STORY

COLIN FALCONER, FACEBOOK, BEST SELLING AUTHOR, ROMANCE, ADVENTURE, HISTORICAL FICTION

Come and join me at the Falconer Club, for selected excerpts and to get free Exclusive Review Copies of my books. JUST CLICK THE FACEBOOK LOGO AT TOP RIGHT!

“Tell me a story.”

Like kids all over the world, my daughters loved me reading them a story every night before they went to sleep.

At that time, in movie theatres right across the world, couples settled down with buckets of popcorn as the lights went down, thinking the very same thing.

“Tell me a story.”

Only they asked Steven Spielberg or Jonathan Demme to tell it to them.

My daughters are grown now. Jonathan Demme is gone.

But there are other daughters, other movie-goers …

When did humans first start saying: “Tell me a story” ?

The first graphic novel started with someone scrawling some figures on a cave wall thousands of years ago.

photograph: Clemens Schmillen

The actual genesis of the first audio book was the campfire; the first listeners were dressed in animal skins.

Long before human beings could even read, they were telling stories.

In the millennia since, stories have been variously carved, scratched, printed or inked onto wood or parchment, silk or bark or palm leaf, stone and clay.

These days stories – in some cases, the very same stories – are now recorded digitally, to be read or watched as moving pictures.

The medium has changed – no, it has multiplied – but whether it’s an audio-book or a play or a movie or an eBook or a hardback you can hold up to your nose and sniff for the complete sensory experience – it’s all just a way to provide the very thing that all human beings crave: narrative.

But why? Why do we all consume stories, every day, and in such prodigious quantities?

Psychologists tell us our brains are wired for story.

Even those of us who have never learned 3 Act Structure – and that’s most of the world – understand it, expect it and respond to it.

Without 3 Act Structure, Mister Darcy and Batman and Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella would not have become such a vital part of western culture. (Or in the case of Cinderella, almost EVERY culture.)

Originally, it is believed stories evolved as a way to teach younger members of a tribe notions of morality, about good and bad.

For example, a Native American tribe called the Chippewa told their ankle biters a story about an owl who snatched away naughty children if they did not behave. Most other cultures have similar Santa Claus or Bogeyman myths, with a similar theme and purpose.

But story is more, much more, than this.

Narrative became a way to look for and explore the meaning behind human existence. It is a mirror that shows us who we are, where we come from and where we belong.

We are not talking Booker Prize; we are not just talking JM Coetzee and Margaret Atwood. Narrative is story, any story.

Because telling stories is absolutely central to what it is to be human.

Some people say that Facebook, Hollywood, mobile phones and the Internet have put narrative under threat. Not a bit of it. The medium is not important. (To say otherwise will have us mourning the end of cave painting.)

It is content, not delivery, that shapes us and the culture we are a part of.

A thousand words can paint a picture.

Depending on the message, stories can be used to instil tolerance or breed hate.

For instance, do the stories we learn, the ones we carry with us, teach us to turn the other cheek or take an eye for an eye?

One theme is found in Leviticus and Exodus; the other is from Matthew’s Gospel, (the Sermon on the Mount). Both are from the Christian Bible, ‘the greatest story ever told’.

Both stories are re-told over and over today, with modern plots and themes, in a thousand ways, in plays and movies and novels.

The stories we tell ourselves reflect what we believe, but they can also persuade us to change our minds.

In the fifties and sixties John Wayne told us one story about the plains Indians of North America; more recently, Kevin Costner told us quite another story.

Stories are never just entertainment. From Cinderella to Pretty Woman, Jack and the Beanstalk to The Hunger Games, even the simplest of stories has a message. They explain the world to us; they shape our view of it.

It’s why that little voice inside us whispers to us every day.

“Tell me a story.”

That’s why, in the beginning, there was the story.

The End.

 

COLIN FALCONER, FACEBOOK, BEST SELLING AUTHOR, ROMANCE, ADVENTURE, HISTORICAL FICTION

Come and join me at the Falconer Club, for selected excerpts and to get free Exclusive Review Copies of my books. JUST CLICK THE FACEBOOK LOGO AT TOP RIGHT!

 

colin falconer, bestselling author, international, historical romance, historical fiction, romance, adventure

COLIN FALCONER

WHAT IS STRONGER – LOVE OR HATE?

Colin Falconer, romance, adventure, bestseller, historical fiction

Come meet me at the Falconer Club, for exclusive excerpts and to get Advanced Review copies. JUST CLICK THE PICTURE ABOVE!

What is stronger – love or hate?

Not everyone will have the same answer, depending on their life’s experience so far, their view of the world and life itself.

But it’s a question that intrigues me, and led to the writing of SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY.

Because who are we really? We have an identity imposed upon us; we don’t choose whether we are born black or white, rich or poor, Muslim or Christian. It’s just an accident of birth.

Yet 7 billion of us cling to these identities as if they describe who we are.

But who we love – well, that can be a choice.

romeo and juliet, romance, love storyLasting love often happens when two people find the best version of themselves.

But what happens when the person who is most like you in the world is unlike you in every other way? When they are born to someone you have been taught to hate?

Where then, does the heart lead?

Shakespeare first posed the question in Romeo and Juliet. (Though I still have a problem with two horny teenagers actually challenging the status quo over a period of three days.)

Still, that story, as metaphor, has imprinted itself on the western psyche.

But four hundred years later the question remains; if we are brought to the edge, as my two lovers are in SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY, do we follow the tribe – or do we follow our hearts?

Palestine 1933 — Jews flood into the country fleeing persecution in Europe, settling the land that has for centuries belonged to the local Arab muktars.

Sarah Landauer and Rishou Hass’an are divided by the barbed wire of the kibbutz and by their religion yet still fall in love. But as tensions rise in the country, the two are torn apart.

A decade later, Sarah works for the Haganah, the outlawed Jewish intelligence service; Rishou is in Jerusalem, trying to stay out of a war he does not believe in. But as the whole country descends into chaos, they find each other again, and cannot stay apart.

Then the British leave for good, and the Jews and Arabs prepare for the final battle of Jerusalem. Sarah and Rishou meet in secret, keeping their affair hidden even from those that they love. But finally, they must face their final agonizing destiny, forced to choose between their love for each other and their loyalty and duty to their own people.

What is the right choice?

romeo and juliet, romance, love story

 

colin falconer, sleeping with the enemy, fury, jerusalem, freedom

Colin Falconer, romance, adventure, bestseller, historical fiction

Come meet me at the Falconer Club, for exclusive excerpts and to get Advanced Review copies. JUST CLICK THE PICTURE ABOVE!

 

FROM AUNTY IVY TO AN OPIUM DEN IN FANG

COLIN FALCONER, FACEBOOK, BEST SELLING AUTHOR, ROMANCE, ADVENTURE, HISTORICAL FICTION

Come and join me at the Falconer Club, for selected excerpts and to get free Exclusive Review Copies of my books. JUST CLICK THE FACEBOOK LOGO AT TOP RIGHT!

My primary school teacher’s name was Mrs Boyne.

classics illustrated, Colin FalconerShe once told my mother at a parent interview: “Your son is a complete dreamer. He’ll never amount to anything in this life.”

I still think that was a pretty harsh judgment on a seven-year-old.

I was, and am, a dreamer. She got that bit right.

It was about second or third grade that I first read Jules Verne’s Michael Strogoff. To get my hands on it, I had to endure a slobbery wet kiss from my Aunty Ivy, but I considered it well worth it.

By the end of that first afternoon, I was hooked on classic literature. Continue reading

THE BEST 43 OPENING LINES IN NOVEL WRITING HISTORY

COLIN FALCONER, FACEBOOK, BEST SELLING AUTHOR, ROMANCE, ADVENTURE, HISTORICAL FICTION

Come meet me at the Falconer Club, for exclusive excerpts and to get Advanced Review copies of my books. JUST CLICK THE FACEBOOK LOGO ON THE RIGHT!

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover.

best opening lines, Hemingway, Dickens, Austen, novelA good cover may make us pick the book up and think about buying it.

But it’s the first lines are crucial in helping us decide whether we are going to keep reading or not.

For my own part, I’ve read plenty of good books whose first lines I don’t remember.

I even tore out the first three pages of one of my favorite novels – The Poisonwood Bible – when I came to re-read it. (Thank God I persisted that first time. )

But all in all, you can never underestimate the power of a good opening line.

Here are 43 of the best in Literature: Continue reading

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