A very personal review of Jiddy Vardy

Claire Platt and me

A very dear and close friend, Claire P, sent me a lovely text after reading Jiddy Vardy. I’m going to quote it as a reminder how important the support of family and friends are to writers and how much I appreciate all who have bought the book and said all the kind things you have. And the added bonus is, I can hear Claire’s voice in these written words. And hear her love of the North whilst knowing its reality. When people bring themselves into what they write, that means so much more treasure. Thank you Claire.

I’ve finished JV!! I absolutely loved it! It was such a pleasure reading it and I could spot ‘you’ throughout the whole thing. I love what a strong, feisty, earthy lady she is and how it helps young and old people explore identity.

I also loved how it evokes such amazing images and experiences of the beautiful, cold, cruel, warm North and how you conveyed such a love of the sea. I also loved how it explored the notion of right and wrong and there’s no simple answers. Such a treasure. XXX

 

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Learning from friends and strangers

We’ve had friends staying with us for the past two nights. These friends have lived in places all around the world. Nick is from the UK, Fiona from Australia. They have 5 kids and they have lived in London, Paris, Australia, Italy, Canada, India and Germany. As far as I remember.

It was been so interesting talking with them about the way different countries do things and what they place as important and where they are heading. Of course, we talked about Brexit too and the UK.

What strikes me is the importantance of travel. How educational it is. It shows us different ways of being.

If only countries learned more from each other, taking what works and hopefully making it work for them. We are all people, most of us live in communities and if we don’t, what are we missing by not doing so? What can we gain? As individuals, can we bring what we learn into our lives?

German taxes for health are high. But healthcare is available to everyone and it stretches wide. Well-being and Preventive medicine are huge because the state sees that this angle saves money. Drugs aren’t applied as a matter of course, well-being, arts, movement, dance, other therapies are given….as part of the system. So practitioners don’t have to seek out clients, those in need are directed through the medical profession towards them. The well-being of the individual is the well-being of the community.

The UK lost this with the rise and focus on the individual. America in general focuses on the individual. Fiona says that Australia is going this way.

I want to focus on the well-being for one being the well-being for all. W I want us all cared for so that the health of us all, mentally and physically improves. I feel the UK is very sick at the moment. I want us well.

Books can be like travel. They teach us about different worlds and different ways of being. Travelling in our minds and hearts.

The best thing? Travel and reading! Now that’s a way to spend the summer…RE

Final thoughts on Rebecca

Robin Hood' Bay July 2018 Ruth 069

Finished Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca this morning. Manderley as a character is as strong as ever. Hints of foreboding perfectly dropped in. The intermingling of the narrator’s emotions and the action perfectly co-existing.

But a slight concern about the judgement on others coming from our un-named narrator, Maxim and some of the others, but mainly from her. Of course, this is very human, very true in that sense, but the viewpoints of good and bad behaviour without looking beyond this, slightly tainted the reading nearing the end of the book.

Of course, Rebecca is cruel and selfish and hard. And these attitudes are from a different time of place and is it fair to judge out of context? See? I’m doing it? Most of us do! I’m not going to get bogged down with it, but it raised the issue slightly for me.

And Maxim. I’ll just say that so as not to give plot spoilers.

And it made me think about Maxim and Rebecca, their courtship and marriage. Maxim had forebodings before the wedding, but others, and her beauty, convinced him otherwise. Then they struck a bargain. Difficult, but Maxim did it. The trouble started when Rebecca changed the bargain.

Feel that happens in life. When you agree a set of rules, way of being with another, could be friend, family member, or partner but when one of you changes or changes your behaviour, then trouble starts. Great for story-telling! The status quo is no more!

It also reminded me of Mr Rochester and Berthe, his wife, in Jane Eyre. Rochester had misgivings before the wedding, but others, and her beauty, convinced him otherwise. Then the status quo changed.

Made me think about the way women, wives, in particular are portrayed in literature, serving a purpose, being the one who destroys, the one who ruins everything. All as a catalyst for the story. It’s a great tool for doing that.

And that made me think then about writers. All serves our purpose. Just thinking about me as a writer and what I do with characters. And how I use them.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Daphne Du Maurier

Feels odd. Why haven’t I read all the Daphne Du Maurier novels before. I’ve only read Jamaica Inn and that was many years ago. I have seen the films of many of her works and I can hear the Joan Fontaine’s voice from the old black and white film with Lawrence Olivier as I read. The film is faithful to much of the dialogue, but the book holds so much more besides. Manderlay shines as a character in its own right, in fact Du Maurier is a master at describing place. She takes her time, we are immersed in the world she creates and the slow drip of what is lurking in the mist, or below the surface or hidden in a character’s secret is perfectly paced.

It’s strange reading it after finishing writing Jiddy Vardy. Du Maurier merges how the main character feels with all that is going on and she does it emotively and sublimely. So smooth and we understand every emotion. Frustrating, yes, but that is the character. She is shy, she is out of her depth, out of her world. Finding her place.

Jiddy Vardy is very different to the narrator of ‘Rebecca’ but they are both in a world that isn’t where they think they belong.

And she describes something I’ve never heard of before. She doesn’t say ‘out of the corner of my eye…’ You’ll have to read the book to know what she does use instead of corner. And it makes sense, the corner being the point by the nose, not the other edge…

I’m learning so much from Du Maurier’s prose and story telling. When we find that click, that connection with what we want to read and want to write, it’s like being on a different plain. I just want to sit and read Rebecca. If I plough through all I need to do, hopefully later in the day, I can sit on the swing seat in the garden, in the shade and finish it. Just changed gear. The story is entering the next phase.

An extra date on the Book Blog Tour!

#Interview with #author Ruth Estevez @RuthEstevez2 @ZunTold

Hi all!

I have the pleasure of welcoming Ruth Estevez to Chat About Books today.

Ruth Estevez

For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?

My name is Ruth Estevez. I was born in Bradford, in West Yorkshire but moved when I was two to a village in the country, where I had a free childhood, playing on local farms, making dens and exploring. At the same time, I went to the Methodist Sunday School, took part in Eisteddfods, which are festivals of song, dance, drama and all things creative. From a young age I learned ballet and fell in love with dancing.

After a degree in Drama and English, I’ve worked first in theatre, then television, followed by associate lecturing in short film making and now at The Portico Library. I live in Manchester and feel completely at home here. I’ve written scripts for drama workshops in remote schools in North Yorkshire for a Theatre-in Education Company, for stop-frame puppet animated Bob the Builder and for one off short films.

Meeting Coty was my first novel, published in 2007 about my great aunt who worked in the perfume industry in the 1920s.

My first YA novel, Jiddy Vardy has just been published. It is set at the end of the 18th century in a remote and secretive smuggling community in North Yorkshire and follows a young girl as she tries to come to terms with where she belongs and who she is while also learning about smuggling. It’s a tale of growing up but also questioning the rules and rule makers.

Where did/do you get your ideas from?

I got my idea for Jiddy Vardy from a local book on smuggling in Robin Hood’s Bay. I tend to find ideas in newspaper and magazine articles or even photographs. My novel Erosion came from a photograph in The Yorkshire Post newspaper showing a chalet toppling on the edge of a collapsing cliff.

Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?

Me, if anyone!

How do you pick your characters names?

Jiddy Vardy was a real person, so I kept her name. I collect names from graveyards and any I hear and think, oh, I like that! Otherwise, if a name doesn’t come immediately to a character, I don’t worry about it, but know the right name will come as I’m exploring the character and the story.

Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?

Make notes – characters – location – map out the plot – start writing – plot changes – edit – edit – edit.

Who are your top 5 favourite authors?

My top favourite authors change. Right now, they are Daphne Du Maurier, Tracy Chevalier, Simone de Beauvoir (who I need to re-read) Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende.

If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I’m a member of a Writers’ Group with some great authors and I love talking with them. I can ask them anything and I know I will get a considered answer. I don’t think I want to meet any other author I admire because I feel everything I need to know is in the books they have written. Asking questions would spoil the magic.

Were you a big reader as a child?

Yes!

When did you start to write?

I enjoyed writing at school from a young age though didn’t quite realise what it was about it. After visiting The Bronte Museum in Haworth (we lived nearby) and seeing the small books the children made, I made my own and began writing more. A friend and I wrote some little books called The Adventures of Ruth and Clara while we were at Primary School.

If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?

I wouldn’t presume to do that though there are a few books where I’ve felt let down by the ending.

Is there a book you wish you had written?

No. I’m glad I’ve read them and I can learn from them.

If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?

Saying Yes.

If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?

I’d invite Robert Kinkaid from The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller. We’d bring a flask of fresh coffee and I’d take him to photograph abbeys and bridges and rivers in Yorkshire. We’d sit by the water, in hot summer and talk. And photograph. And just be. It will be September, and an Indian summer, reflecting the end of our time together. He’s the last of the cowboys, the last roaming individual representing freedom and open spaces and lack of materialism. I’m getting all nostalgic thinking about our time together before it’s begun!

Tell us a random fact about yourself.

I have a scar under my chin from when I had an abscess removed when I was 10.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on my next YA Novel called The Monster Belt. It’s set on the island of Formentera and in Yorkshire. One character attracts monsters, the other is desperately seeking one. The Monster Belt is an area between two latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere where the majority of monsters and mythical creatures are found.

Tell us about your last release?

My last release was Erosion. It is set in a remote chalet park on the North Yorkshire Coast. The local council is going to evict the remaining residents but they have nowhere else to go. They have been given a deadline and they are desperate. The question is, what would you do when everything around you is eroding and you have nothing left to lose?

Do you have a new release due?

I’m aiming to finish The Monster Belt by October, then start the edits for a release June 2019. That’s the plan.

What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?

For Jiddy Vardy we had a private launch at The Portico Library in Manchester which was wonderful. It was in the middle of my Book Blog Tour and Becca of Pretty Little Memoirs made a playlist of tunes I sent her from when I was approximately 17, and we played that. There are flowers and bubbles and cards too. And conversations.

How can readers keep in touch with you?

My website: http://www.artgoesglobal.wordpress.com

Email: ruthestevezauthor@gmail.com

Twitter: @RuthEstevez

Facebook: @RuthEstevezM

Instagram: ruthestevezwriter

Is there anything else you would like us to know?

That I think Historical Fiction is important because it gives stories another layer. It can also keep people and their stories alive. After The Monster Belt, I’m writing a ghost story, but after that, I want to write a story based on a small incident that happened to my grandmother. I think these stories that take us into a different world need telling. Recently, Ruta Sepetys’ Salt to the Sea reminded me of that.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Ruth 🙂

Jiddy is a survivor. Rescued at birth, she grows up in Robin Hood’s Bay, a village harbouring a dangerous secret. Just as romance blossoms and Jiddy finally feels like she belongs, figures from the past threaten to tear her world apart… A thrilling tale of one girl’s search for identity and love, set against a backdrop of smuggling…..

Buy link…..

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jiddy-Vardy-Ruth-Estevez/dp/1999863305/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1530276909&sr=1-1

Enjoy!

#Interview with #author Ruth Estevez @RuthEstevez2 @ZunTold

Many thanks to Chatabout books for asking these questions. Great way of making an author think about what they have written!

Chat About Books

Hi all!

I have the pleasure of welcoming Ruth Estevez to Chat About Books today.

Ruth Estevez

For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?

My name is Ruth Estevez. I was born in Bradford, in West Yorkshire but moved when I was two to a village in the country, where I had a free childhood, playing on local farms, making dens and exploring. At the same time, I went to the Methodist Sunday School, took part in Eisteddfods, which are festivals of song, dance, drama and all things creative. From a young age I learned ballet and fell in love with dancing.

After a degree in Drama and English, I’ve worked first in theatre, then television, followed by associate lecturing in short film making and now at The Portico Library. I live in Manchester and feel completely at home here. I’ve written scripts…

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