Monthly Archives: September 2016

Charlotte Bronte

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Charlotte Bronte was born on 21st April 1816 at Thornton, West Riding of Yorkshire, England.

‘Since 1857, when Elizabeth Gaskell published her famous Life of Charlotte Bronte, hardly a year has gone by without some form of biographical material on the Brontes appearing—from articles in newspapers to full-length lives, from images on tea towels to plays, films, and novelizations,’ wrote Lucasta Miller in The BronteMyth, her 2001 history of Brontemania.

I read Jane Eyre when I was eleven. I reread it constantly that year and it is still on my bookshelf and  read every year. I read Elizabeth Gaskell’s Life of Charlotte Bronte some years later having found it in a second hand book shop in Sydney. To me it was the definitive book on Charlotte Bronte’s life.

Yet now, after reading reviews of Charlotte Bronte written by Claire Harman for the 200th anniversary of Charlotte’s birth I might have to change my views when I read it. ‘It does not have new truths to impart but instead gathers up the best of what has been written before’ says a review in the Guardian on 31 October 2015.

I enjoy Victorian literature for it’s often gothic tropes and the gothic has informed part of the narratives in my own writing.

As a child I read about Scottish heroines locked up in castles, dark and gloomy and cold. Castles are more often thought of as being in Europe or the Middle East but I discovered one in the far north Queensland rainforest of Australia. This led me to writing Castle of Dreams. I’m sure the books I read in childhood have been absorbed by osmosis for when I visited the castle ruins at Paronella Park I also imagined a graveyard (perhaps similar to the graveyard at the parsonage) and a tower covered in rambling vines and I included both in my story.

The Bronte Parsonage 

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Storytelling has always been part of every culture since the beginning of time and I look forward to exploring the Dreamtime stories in our Australian Aboriginal culture. What a wealth of magic and mystery waiting for me to read about.

Chapter 38 Conclusion which includes one of the most famous lines in literature.

CHAPTER XXXVIII 

Reader, I married him. A quiet wedding we had: he and I, the
parson and clerk, were alone present. When we got back from church,
I went into the kitchen of the manor-house, where Mary was cooking
the dinner and John cleaning the knives, and I said –

‘Mary, I have been married to Mr. Rochester this morning.’  . . .

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Charlotte Bronte died 31 March 1855 (aged 38)
Haworth, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Notable works: Jane Eyre, Villette.
Spouse Arthur Bell Nicholls (1854–1855; her death)

Have a wonderful week of writing, reading and magic.

Elise

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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get ideas for novels?

This is a copy of the Poe I found in a second hand bookshop. I refer to it in my WIP. The other is a copy of a book with pressed flowers.

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I typically find ideas in different ways: old books I come across, stories from family or friends, places I visit, research I do for stories that lead to other interesting facts I can use in a novel, historical events. The inspiration for my WIP came from a book my daughter found in Elizabeth’s Bookstore in Perth, WA. Someone had pressed flowers between its pages and that led me to create a botanist in my story.

Where do you write?

I write at a desk facing the window. I can happily listen to music while I am writing or have complete silence, it makes no difference to my creativity.

Where do your ideas for characters originate?

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They mainly come from my own imagination. I research whatever it is that defines each character: a talent, a hobby, a job. By a character having something that defines them it makes them come to life in the story. One character in my WIP is botanist another a painter another a housekeeper who runs a tight ship. One makes cheeses, another restores antique books, even a minor character is a good seamstress.

What authors do you like to read?

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My reading tastes are a broad church:

I read popular fiction: romance, historical, crime, and literary novels if they tell a good story. To me the essence of a good book is its story.  My books are character driven but I also try to write an intriguing story; one that will keep my readers turning the pages.

A few of my favourite authors.

Australian: Henry Handel Richardson, Kate Morton, Lucy Treloar, Geraldine Brooks.

British: Daphne du Maurier, A. S. Byatt, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Mary Stewart, Nancy Mitford, Sebastian Faulks, Pat Barker.

American: Edith Wharton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pat Conroy, Anais Ninn.

I come from a family of book lovers and have inherited the reading gene. Nothing beats opening a new book, reading the first line and knowing the book will stay on my bookshelf forever.

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Have a great week, reading, writing, and dreaming.

Cheers Elise

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First Day of Spring

Today is also publication day for Castle of Dreams in the UK. September the first is the first day of spring in Australia and the first day of autumn my favourite season in the UK.

Thanks to those of you who have reviewed Castle of Dreams and have written about it on social media and have enjoyed reading it. Writers are a supportive bunch!

Photos taken by my son of the wildflowers on the acreage around our house up north in Western Australia. The house faces the Indian Ocean and the wildflowers in spring are beautiful. 

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Happy First Day of Spring

Elise

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