Archives for My Novel: ‘Connectedness’

Connectedness: published today

Today is the day… Connectedness my second novel, book two in the ‘Identity Detective’ series is published. Here’s what some of the early reviewers have said: 5* “Although this is a follow-on novel from the first, Ignoring Gravity, it could equally be read as a standalone. Sandra Danby does not rely just on the story of the search carried out by her identity detective, Rose Haldane, but builds up a detailed and believable picture of the life of her main character Justine. Well written with realistic characters and the setting out of the story in a carefully and balanced way, I would highly recommend this novel.”  4* “There are deep thoughts on life and surroundings that are recognizable to all of us. Eventually all comes together in a heartfelt ending. Connectedness is a gripping story of love, loss and the human struggle to be your one true self. An amazing read.” To celebrate the arrival of Connectedness, Ignoring Gravity is free to download here. TODAY only. So what’s ‘Connectedness’ about? TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, ARTIST JUSTINE TREE HAS IT ALL… BUT SHE ALSO HAS A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY EVERYTHING Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Connectedness'.

Connectedness: coming soon

I’m so excited that Connectedness my second novel, book two in the ‘Identity Detective’ series, will be published on May 10, 2018. This tale of art, adoption, romance and loss moves between now and the Eighties, from London’s art world to the bleak isolated cliffs of East Yorkshire and the hot orange blossom streets of Málaga, Spain. So what’s it all about? TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, ARTIST JUSTINE TREE HAS IT ALL… BUT SHE ALSO HAS A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY EVERYTHING Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face. Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for 27 years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds. Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her
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Categories: Adoption and My Novel: 'Connectedness'.

‘Ignoring Gravity’ and other writings

I’m now re-drafting Connectedness, part two in the ‘Rose Haldane: Identity Detective’ series, with publication scheduled for late 2016. This is the story of Justine Tree who as an art student gives up her baby for adoption. Almost 30 years later, she asks Rose to find her lost daughter. I’m in the middle of fact-checking the manuscript and my next task is to re-visit Malaga, Spain, where Justine was at art college. I need to check details of locations including Plaza de la Merced, where Justine lives… … the Cathedral, where she sells her paintings to tourists… She lives in an apartment in a building like this… She finds Malaga an inspiring place, particularly the influence of the Moors on architecture. She loves the colours, the shapes and derivation of pattern and the texture and use of materials such as brick and tile. But Malaga is also the place where her life takes an unexpected turn… love, poverty, pregnancy. What happens in Malaga influences her life in ways she can never predict. To make sure you don’t miss the publication of Connectedness, sign-up for my newsletter here for advance information. And don’t forget to read Ignoring Gravity first!   ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra
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Categories: Book Love, My Novel: 'Connectedness', and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

Rose Haldane: not just one book but the first of a series

Ignoring Gravity is the first novel in a series about Rose Haldane ‘Identity Detective’. Rose, a journalist, discovers she was adopted as a tiny baby, and Ignoring Gravity tells the story of her search for her birth family. The story is told from her point of view, so we see the diaries and documents she discovers, we experience her anger, pain and sense of betrayal. But the adoption triangle includes so many more people than just the adoption baby. So in the Rose Haldane series, I will be exploring the story of others involved in adoption. The second book, Connectedness, focuses on the experience of a birth mother, who gives her baby away. The story rejoins Rose and her sister Lily two years later, but the main focus of the tale is on Justine Tree. Her mother has died and she is bereft, but Justine’s grief is double-edged. When she was an art student in Spain in the 1980s, she became pregnant.  The Yorkshire-born artist, now famous around the world, is desperate to find the secret daughter she gave up for adoption. Justine and Rose meet at an interview about Justine’s latest art collection. The two women connect, so much so that
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Categories: Book Love, My Novel: 'Connectedness', and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

Applying the rules of art to writing: making art is an act of discovery

“If you are dealing only with what you know, you may not be doing your job. When you discover something new, or surprise yourself, you are engaging in the process of discovery.” Excerpt from ‘101 Things to Learn in Art School’ by Kit White So this is clear: push the boundaries. I agree with this to a certain degree. Familiar can be safe, predictable and boring on the page.  If you discover something new, something that excites you, and you can transfer this to the page, then you stand a better chance of exciting your readers too. I’ve been learning about art, as research for my character Justine Tree in Connectedness. I know a bit about art but definitely have my comfort zone. So I’ve been making a conscious effort to visit exhibitions of artists I know nothing about, styles I am unfamiliar with. Shows I’ve been to include Damien Hirst, Leonardo da Vinci, Paul Klee, Joan Miró, Constable Gainsborough Turner and Kurt Schwitters [top]. I have my member’s card for the Tate, the Royal Academy and the V&A. I eat cake in their members’ rooms, I know the location of the ladies loos. What have I learned? I’ve certainly
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Categories: My Novel: 'Connectedness' and On Writing.

Reading for research: Breakfast at Sotheby’s

Philip Hook is an art dealer. He has spent 35 years in the art market, first at Christies then at Sotheby’s, so he knows his stuff. As soon as I heard about this book I put it on my ‘to-read’ list. It’s about the art business, about what sells and why, and what doesn’t and why. It is a fascinating insight into the world of art, written in an entertaining, informative style that is never too dry. Hook mixes in art trivia and some of his own mishaps with an authoritative account of art and money. Does an artist’s back story have any effect on the price his work fetches? Why do some artists not make the big prices until they are dead? Are the portrayals of artists in literature accurate, or stereotyped? What difference does it make if the subject of a portrait is smiling, or solemn? For me it was interesting on two counts. First, because my protagonist in Connectedness is an artist; so Hook is writing about Justine’s world. Second, because of the many parallels between the creative twins of art and writing. There are sections on artists who write, creativity block, and artists as characters in
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Categories: Book Love, My Novel: 'Connectedness', and On Researching.

Reading for research… ‘Run’

When you are writing a book – not even writing, but at that early stage of tossing around ideas in your mind – sometimes you read something which sets your creative juices flowing. Run by Ann Patchett did that to me. My first novel Ignoring Gravity was written and I was well into the planning stage of its sequel Connectedness. Some characters were continued from the first book, but I spent a happy time considering new characters, spending time with them, coaxing them along, seeing them become real. It was at this point that I read Run, the story of Bernard & Bernardette Doyle an American couple who, after the birth of their son Sullivan, are unable to have any more children. They adopt Teddy, and then his older brother Tip too. It is a story about family, biological and non-biological combined. The phrase that leapt off the page at me was this:- “‘They could have gone to someone else,’ she’d always said to him. That was the part of it she never could get over; that these sons who were so unquestionably hers could just as easily have gone to another home, a different fate. But what they never said was
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Categories: My Novel: 'Connectedness', My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity', and On Researching.

I agree with… Michèle Forbes

Michèle Forbes “In retrospect, it was obvious it was something I knew and it had resonance. I was born there, grew up there, and I felt I had to reconnect with the place. I guess there is something of a preoccupation because I left; there is almost a guilt.” [in an interview with ‘The Bookseller’ magazine, September 20, 2013] Forbes was born in Belfast and her debut novel Ghost Moth is set in Northern Ireland. Although she was keen to avoid it being labelled as ‘a book about The Troubles’, she felt compelled to write about the place of her birth. I understand the feeling that draws a writer homeward. One of the two key protagonists in my second novel Connectedness was born in Yorkshire and grew up where I grew up. I didn’t plan it that way, somewhere along the road of character development, writing exercises, putting myself into Justine’s head, I realised she came from East Yorkshire, like me. It was fact. That wild eastern edge of Yorkshire which juts out into the North Sea and is battered by the bleakest of winter weather shaped Justine as it shaped me. It drew me to explore how landscape impacts on
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Categories: Book Love, My Novel: 'Connectedness', and On Writing.

Reading for research: Lucky Kunst

I admit to a wry chuckle as I see the double-takes from my fellow passengers on the Easyjet flight from Malaga to Gatwick. My reading material for the 2 ½ hour flight is Lucky Kunst: The Rise & Fall of Young British Art by Gregor Muir. I’m still researching for my second novel, Connectedness. I’ve come to Malaga to tread in the footsteps of my character, artist Justine Tree, as she treads in the footsteps of Picasso.‘Freeze’, the 1988 art exhibition held by 16 Goldsmiths art students in a London Docklands warehouse and organised by Damien Hirst, first launched the yBa’s into the fusty art world. It wasn’t until 1992 thought that Charles Saatchi introduced the phrase ‘Young British Art’ with his exhibition. From then on, the 1990s were the time of Cool Britannia when artists and pop singers were invited to 10 Downing Street. This is Justine’s time too.I made Justine older than Hirst, Emin, Whiteread, Lucas etc. She graduates from art college in London in 1984 and is noticed by Charles Saatchi in 1993 when he anonymously buys three collages from her collection ‘Blues I, II & III’. In 1997 he exhibits two pieces from Justine’s next collection, ‘The
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Categories: My Novel: 'Connectedness', On Researching, and On Writing.

Flash fiction: Migraine, again*

Cochineal, crimson, carmine. Scarlet, vermilion, madder, magenta. Justine’s head was so full of red hot pain and every shade of red was there. Blood red, fresh and dried. Cherry Coke. London bus red. Chanel Rouge red. English postbox red. When she woke, she was sitting in the dark beside the studio window. Her headache was gone, her head felt tender and vulnerable as it always did after pain. Outside the London sky was dense black, the February clouds hiding the stars. Upstairs, Tinkerbell rang. © Sandra Danby If you like flash fiction, read these stories:- The Ten Questions Left or Right Redbreast/Before * excerpt from Connectedness, second in the ‘Identity Detective’ series, to be published in 2017. First in the series, ‘Ignoring Gravity’ is available now. ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press] Buy now And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Justine’s headache includes every shade of red: MIGRAINE, AGAIN #flashfiction via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-qd
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Categories: My Flash Fiction and My Novel: 'Connectedness'.