By Haydn Corper
|Haydn Corper at the offices of SilverWood books |
holding the first printing of his book.
An exciting moment for all authors!
“This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it.”
So said Eric Maria Remarque in the opening to his famous novel about the First World War, All Quiet on the Western Front.
When I set out to write my own war novel, The Scent of Lilacs, I did so knowing that death is not an adventure; war is not an adventure. It has become a cliché to say that war is hell; and it is. But even in hell there are some lighter moments, I suspect.
Depictions of war can be one dimensional: unrelentingly gruesome; or gritty; or satirical; or yes, even adventurous. The challenge in writing about war is to depict the mixed reality, as much as one ever can: to convey the awfulness yet also to be realistic and acknowledge that amongst the blood and mud and suffering there is also companionship and, yes, fun.
Nightmares are grim; waking from a nightmare is a relief, knowing that the terror is gone and that it wasn’t real anyway. The fall of Nazi Berlin to Soviet forces in the spring of 1945 was a nightmare; but also the end of a nightmare. It was the end of Hitler’s regime. But this nightmare had been real and it left a grim legacy; it had not gone away completely. The aftermath was in many ways just as bad.
(Central Berlin shortly after the surrender to Soviet force)
Footage of the fighting for Berlin, posted on YouTube by 'darkborn2000'
Haydn Corper served in the Territorial Army for several years during the 1980s
So far so useful, but then how was I to take my readers with me? Most of them, perhaps all of them, would have no direct experience of war. Should I lecture? Preach? Bombard them with facts? Of course not. The Scent of Lilacs is a novel, a story; not a history book, not a seminar. Another cliché: I did not tell the story; my characters did. Five of them, ordinary people, not one great or powerful. I let them run the show: it is their book, not mine.
I found that another cliché is true; you do not always know what your characters will do or say. I had a book plan; it changed. No war plan, they say, survives contact with the enemy; it changes as the situation develops. So too with my book. As the battle raged my characters often did what they wanted to do, not what I had planned for them. After a while I felt I was watching someone else’s documentary, not following my script.
Sometimes, the thoughts and feelings of those I wrote about surprised me; or perhaps, it is more accurate to say, the thoughts and feelings they expressed through me.
The nightmare unfolded as nightmares always do; unexpectedly and I did not know how it would end, except in general terms. When it did end, I was relieved but, like the characters, also a little anxious, not knowing what might come next.
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Chill With A Book Award
by Pauline Barclay
September saw the launch of a brand new award, Chill with a Book AWARD.
The Award is exclusively for indie authors and authors with small indie publishers. It is designed to promote the best books from indie authors.
Indie authors write some of the best reads in out the market place, but due to a number of constraints their work is not always as visible as authors published with large publishing houses, yet many of these authors deserve as much, if not more, recognition.
For those who know me, understand I am very passionate about supporting indie authors, I am one myself and know from personal experience how tough it is to gain recognition and a large following whilst sitting down and writing the next novel, and that is why I have created Chill with a Book AWARD .
I want Chill with a Book AWARD, not only to gain a reputation for recognising great reads, but for authors to feel proud to receive the accolade. However, the AWARD is not for everyone, it will only be honoured to the best.
How the process works:
Once a title has been accepted for consideration it will be read by a number of Chill’s readers and checked against the following criteria…
Were the characters strong and engaging?
Was the book well written?
Did the plot have you turning the page to find out what happened next?
Was the ending satisfying?
Have you told your friends about it?
Readers have clear instructions on how to arrive at their evaluation.
Authors must understand that a book accepted for consideration for a Chill with a Book AWARD does not guarantee it will receive the AWARD.
Authors of books accepted for consideration will be notified directly whatever the final decision.
Awarded books will be promoted on Chill with a Book’s web site, Chill's Pinterest board, Chill's Facebook page and Twitter
A small fee of £16 is charged for each book accepted for consideration payable via Paypal (the fee is for the purchase of Kindle copies for readers and any balance left used to maintain Chill’s web site)
There are limited places each month for books to be considered and if you are interested in submitting your title, please email Pauline at firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance.
Chill with a Book’s decisions to accept or reject a book for consideration is final.
Chill with a Book's decision to award a book or not is final.
It is an exciting time for Chill with a Book and indie authors and I look forward to seeing great, well written reads sporting the coveted Chill with a Book AWARD button on every book shelf.
For more about Pauline and Chill with a Book AWARD click on the following links: