Archives for My Novel: ‘Ignoring Gravity’

IGNORING GRAVITY #3

This is the 3rd instalment of ‘Ignoring Gravity’ about identity detective Rose Haldane. To start reading from the beginning, please click on the category ‘My Novel: Ignoring Gravity’ in the right hand menu. When he didn’t answer, she looked up. He was staring at her as her university professor had while waiting for her to answer a question about which he knew she didn’t know. “You know, being in control of your own destiny? Making your own history?” Shut up Rose. Journalism rule number one: don’t put words into his mouth. “Destiny?” He leant back in the swivel chair. “That’s an interesting word.” Boy is he confident. Arrogant. She hated arrogant men. “I wouldn’t say I’m in charge, the bank is. I just have a new boss.” His voice was strong, as if he was answering the questions he expected to be asked. Every now and then he glanced down at a paper in the folder he’d laid open on the coffee table. A briefing paper supplied by his PR, she guessed, a list of predictable questions and answers. His smile just about reached the edges of his mouth but fell short of his eyes. Politeness guarantees boring copy. Journalism
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IGNORING GRAVITY #2

This is the 2nd instalment of ‘Ignoring Gravity’ about identity detective Rose Haldane. To start reading from the beginning, please click on the category ‘My Novel: Ignoring Gravity’ in the right hand menu. Nick Nick Maddox, managing director of Biocare Beauty, was sitting at his desk thinking about face cream. In particular, the failure of bottling machinery at the Scottish factory which manufactured his best-selling Natura-Refresha Night Flower serum. Should he shift production to Devon? Or cross his fingers that the machine would be fixed in time to fulfil his export order to France next week? At that thought he leant back in his chair and allowed himself a small smile of achievement. Me, exporting face creams to France. It’s like selling an English striker to a Brazilian football club. Having made the decision to trust the Scots, his mind shifted to the press interview with a financial journalist which was due to start… he glanced at his watch… five minutes ago. He sighed. It was the last in a schedule of PR interviews about his management buyout of the company. This was his least favourite part of the job, talking City talk with business journalists wearing expensive suits with
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Categories: My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #1

This is the first instalment of my novel ‘Ignoring Gravity’ about Rose Haldane, identity detective. 1968 There was a sharp slap followed by a cry, the sound of an animal echoed in my ears and my soul and my empty womb and didn’t fade. “4lb 3oz. Girl. Write it in the Statement Book then take it away.” * 40 years later Rose Someone took her by the arm, forcing her to sit down. Breath warmed her cheek. She was ice all over. She could see nothing, nothing except one word written in the diary. Adopt. Suddenly pain, starting at her cheek and spreading through her head. Again, and again. Each slap beat that word deeper into her unconsciousness. Adopt. Rose Haldane fell off the edge of the world. * Three days earlier, her life had taken a turn for the better. It was 10am on Thursday morning and Rose was sitting on a sofa the size of a generous double bed. Black, low, leather, polished steel feet, it was positioned on one side of a glass coffee table bigger than her kitchen. Opposite was a black leather swivel chair that screamed ‘executive.’ She sat gingerly on the sofa, lowering her
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Categories: My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

‘Ignoring Gravity’… in the graveyard

“Just as the church clocked struck seven, Rose was walking through a wooden gate and along a grass path fringed by weeds and wild flowers, past gravestones, past rambling brambles and ivy. Some graves were neatly kept, grass clipped, headstones scrubbed. She stopped for a moment beside the graves of her mother and grandfather, laying shoulder to shoulder in the early morning sunshine.” [excerpt from ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby] Coming soon… ‘IGNORING GRAVITY’ #1 – the first instalment of Rose Haldane’s captivating story.
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‘Ignoring Gravity’… sisterly love

DIANA’S SISTER, KATE INGRAM “Oh Rose, look at this.” Lily held a photograph of their mother and Aunt Kate. The sisters stood side by side at a barbecue. Rose recognised the style of dress her mother was wearing from the contents of the wardrobe now: a round-neck, knee-length pale-coloured shift. Rose would have laid bets that it was lilac. Kate’s long wavy dark hair was plaited with beads and she wore a paisley crinkly skirt with tiny bells sewn along the hem. Rose could almost hear them ringing.” [excerpt from ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby] Coming soon… ‘IGNORING GRAVITY’ #1 – the first instalment of Rose Haldane’s captivating story.
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‘Ignoring Gravity’… diaries, secrets…

“Rose held the book for a moment before opening it at the first page. The handwriting was easy to read: tiny, italicised script, every letter carefully formed, every serif perfectly angled in relation to the full shape of the letter. A very neat version of the script familiar from every birthday card her mother had ever given her. Each diary entry was headed by a date, underlined precisely with a ruler, written in blue ink.” [excerpt from ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby] Coming soon… ‘IGNORING GRAVITY’ #1 – the first instalment of Rose Haldane’s captivating story.
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‘Ignoring Gravity’… Mum, Mummy, Mother

ROSE’S MOTHER, DIANA HALDANE “Diana’s clothes hung in the wardrobe organised by colour. Rose took the turquoise Liberty-print floral blouse off its hanger, sniffed deeply. It smelled faintly of moth balls. She was surprised at the sudden swell of tears in her eyes. Lily gave her a sympathetic pat on the back. Rose admired her mother’s strong conviction about what colours suited her and wished she had that discipline: nothing red, brown or orange was given rail space. Three old-fashioned hat boxes balanced on top of a heavy brown suitcase; how typical of their mother to use hat boxes.” [excerpt from ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby] Coming soon… ‘IGNORING GRAVITY’ #1 – the first instalment of Rose Haldane’s captivating story.
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‘Ignoring Gravity’… Rose, the identity detective

“She fell forward slightly as the door opened leaving her finger suspended in mid-air. She smiled at the woman who stood on the doorstep who looked about Rose’s own age except for her eyes, which by right belonged to the face of a very tired 70-year old at the end of a long day. ‘Hello. I’m Rose. Rose Haldane. My mother lived here, in the Sixties. I wondered if I could have a look around?’ ” [excerpt from ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby] Coming soon… ‘IGNORING GRAVITY’ #1 – the first instalment of Rose Haldane’s captivating story.
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‘Ignoring Gravity’… sisters, sisters…

ROSE’S SISTER, LILY LODGE “Lily put the jars of marmalade and Marmite back in the fridge, then swallowed her daily folic acid and zinc tablets with the last mouthful of lemon and ginger tea, rinsed the mug and set it to drain. It was her favourite mug, bone china with the Japanese kanji for ‘peace’ picked out in chains of daisies, lupins, bluebells and buttercups. Not as traditional Japanese as peonies or chrysanthemums, but she loved it all the same. William gave it to her soon after they met. The only way she knew what the kanji meant was because it was explained on the price ticket which William had forgotten to remove.” [excerpt from ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby] Coming soon… ‘IGNORING GRAVITY’ #1 – the first instalment of Rose Haldane’s captivating story.
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‘Ignoring Gravity’… Rose, the journalist

“Rose walked through the revolving doors into reception, breathing deeply of the overly-cleansed highly-perfumed air of the two-storey glass lobby. It was preferable to the smell outside: jammie shortbreads were coming off the conveyors at Butler’s Biscuits today. It was Friday.” [excerpt from ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby] Coming soon… ‘IGNORING GRAVITY’ #1 – the first instalment of Rose Haldane’s captivating story.
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‘Ignoring Gravity’… who is Rose?

ROSE HALDANE “There were hundreds of varieties of rose and some days Rose certainly didn’t feel like she merited the association, though she preferred the name to Rosemary. “I’m a flower, not a herb,” had been her standard retort as a child. Sam called her every derivative, every bastardisation, including Roz, Rosa and once even Rosalind, Shakespeare’s heroine. This insulted Rose the most, she preferred Beatrice’s wit. ‘Rosalind’, she’d written in a sixth form essay, ‘was rather wet.’ Her teacher had scrawled across the bottom in green ink: Subjective. Prove it. Facts not assumption.” Coming soon… ‘IGNORING GRAVITY’ #1 – the first instalment of Rose Haldane’s captivating story.
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‘Ignoring Gravity’: coming soon

Sandra Danby’s first novel is the story of four women, two generations… 1960s Two sisters… Diana, logical, controlling, desperate to be a wife and mother. Kate, an actress and rebel. As different as two sisters can possibly be… 2000s Two sisters… Diana’s daughters Rose and Lily. Rose is a journalist, stuck on a treadmill writing about gluten intolerance and fearing she’s too old to get her big break. Lily, butterfly-minded, happily married, desperate for a baby. As different as two sisters can possibly be… Two diaries… The discovery of a diary reveals a secret hidden for a generation: Rose was adopted. Who were her parents and why didn’t they want her? She uses her journalistic skills to get to the truth. But what is the value of truth when a secret happened so long ago and the people involved are dead? Can the sisters put aside their differences to discover the answers? In the course of a year, Rose will become a detective though she will never solve a crime, attend a murder scene or chase a burglar. She will be a detective of identities. But first, she must discover who she is. ‘Ignoring Gravity’ is the story of Rose
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Categories: My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

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.

Choosing the title for ‘Ignoring Gravity’

My first novel Ignoring Gravity had a variety of working titles, but was generally referred to as ‘Rose’. This was both in my own head, and by my family and friends. “How’s Rose?” they would ask, as if she were real. And of course, to me, she was, she still is despite having completed that first novel and embarked on the sequel. Finally, I have to thank Philip Larkin. I still have a Word document entitled ‘alternative titles’. Most were based on the themes of adoption and identity, nature or nuture, central to my story. Some corny, all just plain wrong. The Dark Secret Ancestral Voices Most Secret Rose Finding Rose Losing Rose The Searcher Father Unknown Singularity  And then one day, leafing through Collected Poems by Philip Larkin, I read this poem. I had read through goodness knows how many poetry anthologies, looking for inspiration. As soon as I read ‘Love’, I knew I had the title of my novel, Ignoring Gravity. Thank you Philip Larkin. “The difficult part of love Is being selfish enough, Is having the blind persistence To upset an existence Just for your own sake. What cheek it must take. And then the unselfish side –
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Categories: My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity' and On Writing.