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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

THE GIRL WITH THE RED SCARF

I've decided to contact agents in hope of representation for my next novel. I'm currently at the first draft stage and usually, after all the work that goes into writing, choosing covers, and the marketing that must be carried out I've self-published. However, I feel differently about this one.

When I started to write it I expected to continue on the road that I stepped out onto two years ago. Is it really two years? I can hardly believe it. I've written three novels, and two novellas. The novellas I wrote for fun because I wanted to try everything...explore every genre, but the novel I'm writing at the moment means a great deal to me.

It's about a boy adopted from an orphanage in Sarajevo by an English couple and his experiences as a guy in his twenties when he tries to find his biological parents. This becomes very important to him when he meets the love of his life by chance in a London park. Was it just chance, or that indescribable something that leads one person to another, pushed by the hand of fate?

I decided to write about adoption and the inevitable questions regarding parentage because my dad was raised in a children's home in the 1920s. Before he died ten years ago he asked me to try to find information about what happened to his mother, Carrie. I didn't hold out much hope. My father and his brother were raised in India until Dad was about eight years old. They lived in absolute luxury. They each had a nanny, and his mother and stepfather employed servants. They lived in a palatial home, a life we probably wouldn't recognise ourselves unless we're watching films or reading books about that time. For reasons yet to be confirmed their stepfather sent my grandmother, my dad, and his brother back to the UK to certain poverty. They returned to Wandsworth, an area of London where my grandmother was born, and were very poor. When they returned to England they were penniless. My grandmother was unable to care for her boys because she had to find work, so they were sent to live in a children's home on the east coast of England. The culture shock must have been horrendous.

It took a very long time to find my grandmother, but eventually I did which meant I could tell Dad what had happened to her and how much it meant to her that he and his brother were safe if not totally happy. I can't tell you how glad and relieved I was to have been able to find the information he needed. It meant that before he died he knew for certain his mother loved him. I have the letters she wrote to the orphanage begging to see her little boys. The authorities were so strict in those days. The letters are heart rending.

So, THE GIRL WITH THE RED SCARF is very important to me. Below is a graphic of how I see Ellie, the girl Tom falls in love with. If I'm fortunate enough to find an agent or publisher it will probably never be used, but I keep it beside me. It keeps me going because it embodies the essence of the story.
I hope you like it.
What keeps you going?
Lots of love
Valentina xxx


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