Love Stories, World Wars, Armistice Day & why I wrote The Tin Heart Gold Mine

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Books, Migration, Mining, Politics, The Tin Heart Gold Mine, War, Zambia6 Comments

Today 11.11.2017 is Armistice Day. Next year is the centenary of the end of World War One. On that day the German East African army was undefeated. It only surrendered on 25.11.1918 two weeks later. The surrender was signed in Zambia at Mbala (Abercorn),- check out the website – all those fascinating facts link to The Tin Heart Gold Mine

Love and War stories

Ruth Hartley smiles at the camera. Her expression is friendly, pleased and engaging, inviting contact.She wears light-rimmed spectacles, a red-brown ribbed roll-neck top with a dark green-and-cream patterned pinafore over it, as well as ochre earrings and a black-and-ochre necklace.The Tin Heart Gold Mine is, first of all, a love story. It is the love story of Lara and Oscar and it is the love story of Lara and Tim and it is also a story set in Zambia, a place I love,  which in the book I call Chambeshi. I have other agendas as all writers do – I wanted my story to show something different. In The Tin Heart Gold Mine there’s a new angle on Africa – war is part of it as it was of my life.

 

By the way – this is  a photo of me smiling. I’m not giving up writing, even if it is tough – it won’t let me – I have to do it.

 

The Tin Heart Gold Mine and the War Cemetery

One of Otto Dix's war paintings: An armless soldier uses his foot to play cards with two soldiers who have lost their legs. All three men have very damaged faces—one has a rubber tube to near his ear, another has a metal plate covering his lower jaw.

Painting by Otto Dix of WW1 survivors playing cards

It was a tin heart nailed to a tree on a 1914 – 1918 war cemetery in Zimbabwe that was the germ for this story. Read More and Comment …

We are all made of stories, we make stories and we are stories

Ruth HartleyBooks, Reading, Storytelling4 Comments

I want to give up storytelling

The photo shows a laptop on the right, a large screen in the centre, blue and white mug of tea, yeoow post-it notes and pens in front of a sunny window and full bookshelf.

Ruth’s work station with large screen, mug of tea and post-its.

I want to give up writing – my efforts are going nowhere – nobody reads my stories – it’s such hard work – I can never be good enough – I spend all my days doing it  – and I do it alone  – shut away in my study  – tapping away at a keyboard – deleting – editing – rewriting – what for? Why? For you? For me?

Stories will not give me up

But stories can’t give me up because I am a story too and stories made me and make me. The stories that made me are millennia-old and these are the same stories that made you. These are the stories that were sung, shouted, danced, whispered, written down,  were secrets, were saved and were banned Read More and Comment …

Parisot Literary Festival – writers, readers, books, stories – a weekend of pleasure and good company

Ruth HartleyArt, Books, illustration, Reading, Reviews, Storytelling, The Tin Heart Gold Mine, Writing, Writing Process1 Comment

Good company and pleasure at Parisot 82

What better company can there be? A delightful French village called Parisot, the well-organised Parisot literary festival with good companions, excellent food and wine – and BOOKS!! John and I enjoyed ourselves so much that I failed to get photos of the people I met and so you’ll have to do mostly with pictures of books. I have one good photo of John and me enjoying the opening event which was taken by my friend, Ginster. I was smiling at a group of schoolchildren who, together with their teacher and a French writer and illustrator, Thomas Scotto, had created two books for the event which had been published and were on sale there. There’s a great video of the weekend here which gives the flavour of the event.  The festival worked so well for everyone and especially writers and readers – Read More and Comment …

Finding readers for ‘The Tin Heart Gold Mine’ – Lara’s London and Mandela’s statue.

Ruth HartleyBooks, Storytelling, The Tin Heart Gold Mine2 Comments

London’s South Bank Centre and the River Thames

Writers write about what they know. Even an imagined world must be thoroughly experienced and known to the author of a book.

At the start of The Tin Heart Gold Mine, Lara, the main character of the book, lives in London and in a part of London that I loved, so naturally I used my own experiences as settings for the story. On a recent visit to the city I took some photos of the places known to Lara that are mentioned in the book and I thought that I would take you on a journey to introduce you to some of Lara’s London. Read More and Comment …

Book clubs and choices, likes and dislikes, readers and reviewers

Ruth HartleyBooks, Reading, Reviews, Storytelling, The Shaping of Water, Writing, Writing Process5 Comments

What do writers want?

The image shows the writer from behind as she stares at her screen and holds a blue and white mug

The writer writing a post for her blog and holding a mug of tea

What do writers want? They want readers.

They want money and recognition of course, but they want readers most.

How do they get readers?

Well – they need sales. How do writers get sales?

Writers need an agent, a publisher, a good deal of luck and a huge amount of energy so they can do the hard work of marketing and they also need positive reviews – lots of them. Do writers get what they need or what they deserve? That’s another question altogether!

 

Lovely book clubs, readers and writers

Six people sit around a luncheon table, looking at the observer,

The book club at lunch. From left to right, Ruth Gillian, Val, Graham, Emma and Sigrid.

I love my book club and all the readers in it. Do you know why? Read More and Comment …