Tall ships and stars…
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
Sea-fever by John Masefield
There’s a lot to be said for being self-sufficient, especially if you’re a solitary ‘seafaring’ author. 2015 was a terrific year for me in all its meanings, including the negative. For the first time in my life, and after 39 years of relatively calm marital waters, I found myself living on my own after my husband, Pete, did not survive major cardiac surgery.
We only had about 10 days to come to terms with the gravity of his condition, but, as he’d come through several other serious medical procedures in the past 5 years with flying colours, were fairly hopeful. Our luck ran out basically. The day Pete was in surgery, I was driving home from another hospital appointment, when I heard on the radio that my great literary hero, Terry Pratchett, had also died peacefully at home that morning, after a very public struggle with early onset posterior cortical atrophy dementia.
I lost both my heroes within 24 hours. I like to think that the day after, Pete and Terry met up on the newcomers’ orientation tour of the ‘better place’ I know they both went to, and had a little chinwag at the bar. They both loved a pint of ale and a good brandy. This whimsy, thankfully, set me off on a more positive terrific track, after I emerged from the usual state of numb shock that comes when the hub of your world is taken away. My family and friends were wonderful in helping me cope with the ‘arrangements’ – I know that Pete would have loved his funeral, and his final resting place, out in the garden beside the pipe fountain that he never quite found the time to move from the garage, where it had been gathering cobwebs since we bought it over 10 years ago.
That was us really – mañana; pole, pole (slowly, slowly); smell the roses… So, facing life without Pete has been a terrific challenge. For the most part I’ve come through pretty well, but of course I’ve had to make some changes. Most have been towards getting practical matters in order so I don’t have to worry about them, which includes some major changes to the house. That hopefully will be finished this summer with the installation of a new extension that will incorporate my ‘dream’ study and library.
Which is why I’m facing 2016 with lots of positive terrific feelings, because I’m so proud and confident of doing more than just surviving the last 11 months. My health isn’t great, but I’m gradually making improvements, and some of the building work will help towards that as well. I’ve kept my mind busy too – RRBC was been at the forefront in that respect, with all the different new activities that have been introduced this year, not to mention my joining the governing board, having a MoW and a BoM slot and getting my act together on my blog (janhawke.me) and on the social networks. As an author, I’ve grown my platform, my audience and been getting great reviews; have a solo anthology-memoir to be published in the Spring, and generally ‘got myself out there’. The one thing I haven’t done is much original writing (the anthology’s a collation of previous work) – but this is about to change! Having been beavering away at all these facets of my life, I’ve finally got to the place where I can draw a deep breath, having cleared all the decks, and walk onto my terrific new vessel to set out on an awfully big adventure. The work in progress beckons mightily, and I couldn’t be happier as I slip my moorings and set out to sea, following a star of my own making!
You’ll find out more about that later in the week!
Author Bio: I live near Launceston in Cornwall, UK with Toby and Benji the Springer Spaniels – it’s a tie between us all as to who’s maddest, but as I outrank them in being weird anyway it’s not open to debate really. I’m physically lazy with things that don’t hold much interest for me (so that’s mostly housework and, increasingly, cooking…), but I love where we live, mainly because I chose it for being so quiet and off the beaten track, very close to the moors and quite near to the sea. I also love books, both to write and to read, the latter of which can be very eclectic (I enjoy Julian Barnes, Kate Atkinson, Jeanette Winterson and will happily admit to Jilly Cooper too) but in the main I’m heavily into SF&F, particularly Tolkien, Terry Pratchett and Julian May, although I can pass on Zombie Apocalypses fairly easily… …how I’ve chosen to write about Africa for my first novel may be something of a surprise to my friends, but if you read it you may find that all of the above information manifests in there somehow!
Book Blurb: Milele Safari back blurb – Milele Safari – An Eternal Journey …twines around a single day, in an unremarkable border village that snuffs out the lives of four people and shatters many others, only to draw the survivors back to a different time and, perhaps, a hope of atonement and peace. Step out on the journey and discover an Africa that could have been, is and might one day come to be.
Book links – Amazon (print & eBook) – http://www.amazon.com/dp/0992747201/
Barnes & Noble (print only) – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/milele-safari-an-eternal-journey-janette-mary-hawke/1117529970?ean=9780992747206
Milele Safari blog – http://milelesafari.blogspot.co.uk/p/taster-1.html
Social Media links
Twitter – @JanHawke
Facebook Author page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jan-Hawke/386239624841750
Author blog – Jan Hawke INKorporated http://janhawke.me/