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Sunday, August 28, 2016

To Hull and Back by Linda Swift



                                             
I consider myself an author of historical and contemporary fiction, short stories, and poetry. So why in Hull am I about to have a non-fiction book released? And to compound the enigma, a book that is predominantly autobiographical. The answer can be found in Hull. Kingstson-upon-Hull, that is, which is located in a country my forebears sought to leave many years before my birth. (At times in my stay, I understood their reasons!)


England--a country of thatched cottages, medieval castles echoing the past glory of knights in shining armor, kings and queens,  lords and ladies . As you may suspect, I am a romantic who is enthralled with the pomp and pageantry of  yesteryear. Although I realized that life no longer existed, I longed to see the remnants of the place and time I had envisioned. Not just as a "walk-through" tourist; I wanted to live there. Imagine my elation when my husband's job enabled me to do so.

Did the experience live up to my expectations? In some ways, yes; in others, no. Was I inspired to write a novel while there? Regretfully, I was not. Since I have never kept a journal nor made notes (except in my head) to use in future stories, I realized I would not be able to record my life in Hull by that means. So I chose the only realistic mode of retention; I used my letters home to family and friends to describe our lives in Hull and kept copies. Now, when enough time has passed that I feel more objective about sharing my thoughts with casual acquaintances and strangers, I'm ready to publish my Letters from Hull. (Watch for the announcement of its release soon.)



The book has a number of pictures taken in Hull (including both interior and exterior of our flat) and on some of our adventures around the country. It was difficult to choose from the many we had available and I finally selected the ones most important to me and/or my husband. I won't spoil viewing them in context with the story by offering a preview of them in this post.

These letters are not a travelogue. I have not attempted to describe the beauty and majesty of every castle, abbey, and great hall visited. Nor have I sought to praise the people who were always accepting, gracious, and helpful.  First referred to in my letters as "Impressions of England" these are my honest reactions to my surroundings. They describe my efforts to adjust to a new culture, speak the English language, and learn as much about the country of my ancestors as time and opportunity would allow. Readers have found them humorous and enlightening, but those readers have known me. As the release date nears, I obsess about the reactions of others. I did not live in a vacuum and family and friends on both sides of the pond have walk-on roles in this narration. Will they be pleased? Or will they stop sending me Christmas greetings?  I hope this book will be taken in the way it was intended--a view of Hull from one who came from the other side and has since returned to tell about it.

P.S. I did eventually write two historical novels inspired by my stay in England. They can be found on Amazon. Here are the links:


                                                                                                                                               
        









  

Link:https://amzn.com/B007H0QF4Q   

                                                                                                   
Link: https://amzn.com/B009AHTXF2 


Thank you for visiting today. Do stop in again. And please check out the links above and below for more information about my books and me.

https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Swift/e/B004PGXCTQ

26 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post, Linda. You've outdone yourself on this one. I can't wait to get my copy--my PRINT copy of this book. Since you've allowed me to read a few of these letters, I know what is in store for the readers. "Great stuff!"
    And the cover is perfect--I really like it. You and your publisher did the right thing.

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    1. Thank you for all of your kind comments, Celia. I consider a recommendation of my work high praise. And yes, I can thank Rebecca for suggesting this "personal" cover which I, at first, was opposed to. Her gentle persuasion eventually convinced me. And now it seems just right.

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  2. Oh, and by the way, I have read both Maid of the Midlands and Mistress of Huntleigh Hall. Both are wonderful historical romances.vAnd I have the print copies of both of these. See...I am a collector of books by favorite authors...and friends.

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    1. Thanks again for your praise of these two "English-inspired" novels. Maid of the Midlands includes Mary Queen of Scots in a major role (which is a no-no unless one is writing non-fiction. And another real historical person, Guy Fawkes, is prominent in Mistress of Huntleigh Hall. The latter is the next generation of the first book's characters.

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  3. Letters from Hull sounds like an interesting read. The photos would be wonderful too. I look forward to checking out your new release. Have to agree with Celia. Perfect cover.

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    1. Thank you, Karen. And I can thank Laura Shinn for creating the cover. I think she did a great job and I'm pleased that you and Celia agree. There are quite a few photos in the book as well.

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  4. That sounds fascinating! I want to ask you all sorts of questions, but I will buy the book instead. They will all be answered there.

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  5. Gerald, I appreciate your confidence in getting answers to your questions by reading the book. And I appreciate your intention to buy it even more! If you don't find the answers you expect, I'm just an email away to try and provide any unanswered questions.

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  6. Thank you so much. I hope you will watch for the book which I'll announce on FB when it is released.

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  7. I can understand your obsession with how your work will be received. You are offering up a chunk of your real life to be read and examined by those who may not know you. It's a brave thing to do. I think readers will be inspired by your letters of a life lived in another place, with another culture. Hemingway told us to write our real truth. It is that real truth, that exposure of our vulnerable selves that connects us to readers. They'll care about the England you experienced and live it through your eyes in those letters. It's a wonderful idea, Linda. I wish you every success with Letters From Hull. Having read several of your fiction books, I have no doubt this book is going to be a real treat.

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    1. Sarah, you are always so kind and your words always reflect insight and wisdom. Yes, it is scary to put yourself "out there" and this is exactly what these Letters from Hull do. They were written to family and friends and may take on a different interpretation when read by strangers. I had to resist "explaining" some of my candid comments when putting the letters together for a book. It was tempting to insert additional positive and complimentary remarks as I looked at some of my letters in retrospect; but I resisted altering the experience as I lived it and shared it at the time. I hope you are right about how it will be received.

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  8. Yay! Looking forward to this. For readers of the comments the cover image is part of Queen's Gardens - originally Queen's Dock - the building behind former dock offices. Yes, I'm from the UK, born in Hull. It is probably the only city in the country known by its river's name rather than the king who gave it its charter.

    And more of you American readers may have a connection to Hull than you realise, for the city was the major northern entrance point for emigres from Europe in the 19th century. There was a dedicated platform on the newly opened railway (Paragon Station) to enable those people to cross the country to Liverpool and embark ship to a new life.

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    1. Linda, thank you so much for sharing this additional information with readers. I am considering adding your comments re Queen's Gardens to the book's inside cover so all who read it will be informed. I was remiss in not adding a caption to the cover shown in this post. And as you and other of my UK friends read Letters from Hull, it will be easy to detect many of my sins of omission and commission! I learned a little about a lot of things and places in your country but I'm not pretending to be an authority on anything. I welcome your input and enlightenment and comments so please share them with readers. It will be greatly appreciated.

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    2. LOL! Not quite my period, LindaS, but I've found a photo readers might find interesting: an aerial view of Queens Dock in 1922 showing the dock offices at the top righthand of the image. You'll have to copy & paste. Did your feet feel damp as you were standing there??

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_of_Hull#/media/File:Queen%27s_dock,_Hull.jpg

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    3. Actually, my feet felt cold, Linda. But since the winter we were there was one of the mildest, according to locals, I didn't find it as bone-chilling as expected. Thank you for the link to the photo. I will add it to my files and use it on FB when the book is released and I am posting and discussing the book online as I did the film of Clarissa's Was when it was being made.

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    4. ooops, serious typo here. That is Clarissa's WAR, not was above. I have a bad habit of posting, then proofing. Sorry.

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  9. Old saying: "From Hell, Hull and Halifax good Lord, deliver us."
    Hell, the reason is obvious
    Halifax was renowned for the Gibbet, and public beheadings
    HULL was to be avoided because it was the location of the most horrendous Debtors' Prison in the UK .... :)

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    1. Thank you, Paul, for this fact about Hull which I had not heard before. That is very interesting information and I will look into it further. Please feel free to follow my FB page and add more comments in future discussions of my book after its release. I look forward to hearing from people in the UK, especially in Yorkshire County and the city of Hull.

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    2. Thank you, Linda, I will follow your FB page too!
      I'm based in Lancashire (RED Rose county) and we never actually "agreed" to the end of the War of the Roses between Lancashire and Yorkshire (WHITE Rose county), so Hull is on the "other side of the mountain" and therefore part of the 'Old Enemy'. In these enlightened days, the rivalry is restricted to sporting fixtures - cricket matches between Lancashire and Yorkshire are still promoted as the War of the Roses :)

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    3. I'm aware of the War of the Roses, Paul. In fact, one of my treasured possessions is a white rose pin given to me by a dear friend from Hull whose family unofficially adopted me when I lived there. My husband and I met the family on a coach tour and ...wait, I am telling too much. This is part of my Letters from Hull. When I met a small group of English authors for a farewell luncheon Valerie Wood presented me with a beautiful white rose, a reminder of Yorkshire's symbol. I hope you won't hold it against me that my sympathies are with the wrong side of the mountain!

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  10. Hello Linda, I have many happy memories of your stay in Hull and so I look forward to reading your book. 2017 KINGSTON UPON HULL IS THE CITY OF CULTURE. There are many plans in motion to celebrate this prestige year of cultural events. This is a great achievement for the city. This coming weekend is the Freedom Festival. I am going to the Holy Trinity Church to listen to my daughter singing in the Freedom Choir.

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    1. Hi Sylvia. I,too, have such happy memories of getting to know you, Linda, Valerie, and other authors of the Hull vicinity. And at that time we met, only Valerie was currently publishing books. It is very gratifying that all of us now have met success with our books. And yes, Valerie had mentioned the 2017 event promoting Hull's culture. I must admit I am more fascinated with the city's history than with its current achievements which are very impressive. I saw some of that taking place when I lived there, especially the changes at Victoria Dock. Thank you so much for your visit here and comments. And I hope you will enjoy the book.

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  12. Great blog post and I love the book cover!!! Can't wait to read and let others know about this book!! Congrats and much success with it.

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  13. Thank you, Butterfly Rose, for your nice comments and for your loyal and enthusiastic support of all my work. It means more than you know.

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