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The Lost Queen by Carol McGrath #Review

  We travel back to the 12th Century for this gorgeous historical novel, The Lost Queen by Carol McGrath . It was published by Headline Accent on 18th July. 1191 and the Third Crusade is underway . .  It is 1191 and King Richard the Lionheart is on crusade to pitch battle against Saladin and liberate the city of Jerusalem and her lands. His mother, the formidable Eleanor of Aquitaine and his promised bride, Princess Berengaria of Navarre, make a perilous journey over the Alps in midwinter. They are to rendezvous with Richard in the Sicilian port of Messina. There are hazards along the way - vicious assassins, marauding pirates, violent storms and a shipwreck. Berengaria is as feisty as her foes and, surviving it all, she and Richard marry in Cyprus. England needs an heir. But first, Richard and his Queen must return home . . . The Lost Queen is a thrilling medieval story of high adventure, survival, friendship and the enduring love of a Queen for her King.   My Thoughts

Meet the Author: Gabrielle Yetter #Giveaway

 


 

Today I am delighted to welcome author, Gabrielle Yetter to Books, Life and Everything to talk about her writing life and her latest novel. Whisper of the Lotus. It is a contemporary fiction book set in Cambodia. I also have a great giveaway for you with the chance to win a paperback copy of Whisper of the Lotus. Details on how to enter are at the foot of this post.

Welcome to Books, Life and Everything! Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself and how you started as a writer?


As far back as I can remember I’ve always loved to write. English was my favourite subject at school so when my career guidance teacher suggested I study journalism, I didn’t hesitate. After completing my studies, I was hired as a reporter on The Star, South Africa’s largest daily newspaper, and soon had my own column. I later moved to the entertainment section where I wrote film and theatre reviews, restaurant critiques, and personality profiles, and discovered how much I enjoyed learning about what makes people tick. At the age of 22, I travelled to the US with my best friend and ended up staying more than twenty years. I owned a dining guide in San Diego, worked for an international newswire service in San Francisco, Washington DC and London, and worked for a luxury travel agent and video distribution company in Boston. I also spent six months working at Club Med in Cancun, and in 2010 moved to Cambodia with my husband, Skip. No matter where I was, I always wrote something: freelance articles, press releases, childrens’ stories and journals. Not only was it a way for me to communicate with family and friends back home, it was an outlet for my emotions and a way to chronicle my journeys.

What are you interests apart from writing?

Top of my list is exploring the world and learning about different cultures. I took my first flight when I was six months old and never stopped moving. I was born in India, grew up in Bahrain, finished my schooling and worked in South Africa before travelling to the US. Then, after honeymooning in Thailand and falling in love with Southeast Asia, Skip and I quit our jobs, gave away most of our belongings and moved to Cambodia to volunteer and write. After almost four years there, we travelled around Asia then started housesitting around the world, caring for people’s pets and looking after their homes. In four years, we stayed in 31 different locations, and those experiences are some of the richest I’ve ever had. Not only did we see some beautiful regions, we met many delightful people (not to mention their animals), all of which provided insights into different cultures and lifestyles that shaped the way we see the world.

My other hobbies include hiking, cycling, golfing, and reading.

 Tell us three surprising things about yourself.

1.       My first job was as a reporter on The Evening Post in Port Elizabeth (South Africa) where I wrote a column entitled, “Action Girl”. This made it possible for me to take flying lessons, go up in a hang glider, scuba dive, and swing on a circus trapeze so I could write about the experiences. (I chickened out when it came to skydiving).

2.       I’ve eaten tarantula, snake and crickets when I lived in Cambodia.

3.       I performed in the waterski show as the top of the pyramid when I worked in Club Med, Cancun.

   Tell us about your latest book without giving the plot away.


Whisper of the Lotus
is about the journey of a young woman who meets a mysterious old man on her way to Cambodia who changes the direction of her life. She’d originally planned on visiting her best friend and enjoying a foreign holiday but instead finds herself exploring dusty back alleys and mystical pagodas in search of a missing person and ultimately discovering the real reason for her journey. Part mystery, part self-discovery and Buddhism, and a little bit of magic, it’s a story that is wrapped up in the sights, sounds, and smells of the exotic Asian country that I grew to love.

The story came about after Skip, and I moved to Cambodia to experience a new way of life. We were accepted into a volunteer organization and posted to Phnom Penh to work for NGOs (non-governmental organizations). We knew nothing about Cambodia but soon became overwhelmed by the kindness of the people and the eccentricities in this part of the world. Living there wasn’t always easy and every day presented new challenges, but those experiences will live forever in my heart. In Whisper of the Lotus, I write about some of those experiences and include places, sights and sounds that became part of our life. I’ve also included some of the characters I met while living there, one of whom is SomOn, a Cambodian tuk-tuk driver who became a friend. SomOn showed us sides of Cambodian life that we’d never have known about and his character and actions I describe in my book are almost identical to the person we knew.

Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?

Throughout the years, I’ve written a variety of articles, books, and publications – both fiction and non-fiction – and the easiest parts are those that come from my heart. When I wrote Whisper of the Lotus, I became fixated on capturing sights, smells, sounds and people I knew so well and I loved bringing them to life on paper (or on a computer screen). I spent hours thinking about them and how they would act, when I was out walking, cycling, sitting on a plane, or looking through the window of a bus, and I was constantly making notes on my phone or notepad when new ideas struck me. Some of the characters are based on real people and it was fun capturing their mannerisms and recalling their unique qualities. At one point, however, I realised all my characters were one-dimensional (either good or bad), so I went back and blurred the lines to make them more realistic. I have to say I particularly enjoyed writing nasty characters as I let myself go to town.

The most difficult? Definitely editing. Cutting out words, paragraphs or entire chapters felt like a dagger to my heart and there were times I felt I just couldn’t do it. So I forced myself to slow myself down and take one step at a time (my tendency is to do things fast) as I knew that was the only way I could get the book into better shape. My editor, Michelle, inspired me when she told me she enjoyed the editing process, so I tried to take on her attitude and find a way to like it. I never reached that stage so I created a separate Word document and pasted all the edited material into it so I wouldn’t feel I’d lost it!

Thanks for dropping by today, Gabrielle. It is fascinating to find out a little about your writing. Good luck with your novel! 

Book Spotlight

Charlotte Fontaine's dead-end life lacked excitement so she impulsively  booked a flight to Cambodia to visit her best friend. She never imagined  that sitting on a plane, struggling with her fear of flying, might lead a  chance encounter with Rashid, an old man whose tragic secret would take her  on a mystery tour of discovery.

In a land of golden temples, orange-clad monks, and smiling people,  Charlotte discovers nothing is as she'd expected. She also never imagined  the journey would take her back to the night when her father walked out on  the family.And who was Rashid? Was he just a kindly old man, or was there something deeper sewn into the exquisite fabric of his life? 

  • Publisher : Meanderthals Publishing (22 Oct. 2020)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 366 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 099623702X

Book link: Amazon UK 

 About the Author

  Gabrielle Yetter has lived in India, Bahrain, South Africa, Cambodia, England and the USA. She worked as a journalist in South Africa, owned a dining guide in San Diego, wrote a cookbook about traditional Cambodian desserts and freelanced for publications and online sites in the US, The Netherlands, South Africa, and Southeast Asia.

In 2010, she and her husband, Skip, sold their home in the US, quit their jobs, gave away most of their possessions, and bought a one-way ticket to Cambodia.

In June 2015, she co-authored Just Go! Leave the Treadmill for a World of Adventure, with Skip. In May 2016, she published her first children's picture book, Ogden, The Fish Who Couldn't Swim Straight followed by Martha The Blue Sheep in 2017.

She lives in Eastbourne, England and her first novel, Whisper of the Lotus, was released in November 2020. 

You can follow Gabrielle here: Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  

Giveaway (UK only)



To win a paperback copy of Whisper of the Lotus, just Follow and Retweet the pinned Tweet at @bookslifethings and good luck!




 Closing Date is March 13th 2021 and there is one winner.


*Terms and Conditions –UK only.  The winner will be selected at random via Tweetdraw from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.



Comments

  1. This would be awesome win it sounds like a great read 📖🤞

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