Chapter One – Dog Days
Sara, as bemused as the fictional Lord Littlemore’s guests appeared to be, slammed the book shut.
Was this really the book she had agreed to translate?
Could this really be the fruit of all her efforts to find a French publisher languishing for want of a good translator?
Had she signed too quickly and without paying enough attention …?
I don’t want to spoil the suspense for those of you who might be contemplating reading ‘Last Step’, by including a synopsis, however if you would like to read the full premise of the story, simply click on the book image.
I don’t think I would be able to help myself, given the number of questions those opening first lines have raised.
The book which Sara has been commissioned to translate, is obviously quite bad, judging by her reaction in slamming the book shut and I am left wondering if this frustration has anything to do with the way in which subsequent events will unfold?
WHAT IS ‘BOOK BEGINNINGS’ AND HOW CAN YOU JOIN IN THE FUN ?
Would the first few lines of your book make you want to read on?
If so, would you like to share them with us, (without revealing too many spoilers of course) ?
Click here and visit your host, Gilion @ Rose City Reader
You can then leave a link to your own book beginnings post, or just browse for some great reads, there are always plenty of new authors and titles to be discovered.
Don’t forget that Gilion and all the other contributors to this meme love to hear from you, so why not leave a comment or two at the same time?
I can’t wait to do a little blog hopping myself and check out all the great Book Beginnings you have!
MEET THE AUTHOR
This time at BBOF, I would like to combine those intriguing first lines with a short guest post, in the form of an extended biography, as presented by the book’s author, Gwyneth Williams. This is very much a personal account of the interesting life she has led and the experiences she has had along the way to publishing this, her first novel and I wanted to share it with you.
Hello! I’m Gwyneth Williams.
Let me tell you a little bit about myself
I am quite ancient and now widowed. I was born in Wales and when I moved to Exeter, Devon, aged about 4, I already loved books. My brothers and most of my cousins started reading at a young age. My parents sent me back to Wales for a few years during the war, as Lord Haw-Haw was threatening to bomb Exeter. The separation was not always easy, but I always had lots of books and read whenever I could. Even at mealtimes. Eventually, I went back to Exeter, to the Bishop Blackall School for Girls. The Headmistress, who was God as far as we were concerned, said to me one day that I always obeyed the rules, but that it was clear that I didn’t necessarily respect them.
I took an Honours degree in French and German, then started studying law whilst working for LCC and Crown Agents, both of which have now gone the way of all flesh. My studying included some time in a French lycée, then in a French university.
I married a Frenchman, moved to France, had two children, both girls, then during the Algerian War of Independence (otherwise known by the French as an exercise in Pacification), my husband and I moved to Canada. Basically I have always taught literature in French from European, West Indian and African countries, as well as Canada.
My main function here in Canada, however, has been as a feminist, which I believe I may have been from birth, without realizing it. Certainly my parents never ever encouraged me to leave school or university nor did they consider that I should rush out and get married. I must recognize here the support I got from my husband who, after a certain astonishment at finding himself married to a militant feminist, decided that I was right and that he should do as much as he could to help change the world… I taught for many years in a university in Montreal where we had a strong programme in Women’s Studies. I naturally focused more on French-speaking women writers from across the world. I was active in many ways in the university, serving on grievance committees and tenure appeal committees.
Without blowing my own trumpet too much, I have, throughout my career, won several awards for my work for equality and justice for all, particularly for women, as well as for my contribution both to the recognition of women immigrant writers in Quebec and to the recognition in the rest of Canada of current literary currents in Quebec.
Upon retirement, I continued my humanist and feminist activities, as well as some academic writing. But I couldn’t keep the detective novel out. I started writing stories when I was little, but I never had faith in them. I always assumed that I would never be able to write real books or stories. Indeed, as a university professor, it took me a long time to undertake academic articles and submit them for publication. They were always accepted, so I guess I wasn’t so bad after all. Then one day, I made the big decision, sat down and wrote and wrote and corrected and wrote. It was work but it was most enjoyable work.
My daughters and grandchildren have also encouraged me, with their ideas, their excellent proof reading and editing, through to publication. So here I am, starting a second volume of Sara’s activities.
My own taste in reading has been, and still is, very eclectic. I may love both the more traditional detective stories and the later thrillers, particularly but not exclusively by women, but I must add that I truly adore plunging into the first-class humorous novels that were so characteristic of British writing in the 20th century and are still being published today.
I enjoy films and have a special affinity for old-fashioned cinema, with stars such as Ida Lupino, Peter Lorre, Humphrey Bogart, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Eve Arden, Steve McQueen, Sidney Greenstreet, and so many more. Those were the days when women were strong and knew how to defend themselves.
I also enjoy cooking, very much in the French and Italian styles but I also like to resuscitate old English recipes and share Welsh recipes inspired by my mother and maternal grandmother.
In fact there are not many things that I refuse to enjoy, so I hope you will find the same enjoyment in my writing.
Fans mean everything to me. Writing for pleasure is extremely satisfying but having readers enjoy my work and want to read more is just wonderful and means so much to me. I love the interactivity and always look forward to hearing from, and writing for, fans!
Let me leave you with a quotation from Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote.
Writing the book is nothing ; the hard work comes when you have to promote it.
I do think writing is also work, but promoting it is not such a delightful activity!
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