Archives for trees

How Tracy Chevalier writes

Tracy Chevalier “My husband, Jonathan, is a trustee of the Woodland Trust; he’s been going on about them [trees] for years. Slowly, it’s sunk in.” [in an interview with the ‘Sunday Times Magazine’, March 6, 2016] Sometimes, as a novelist, true life ends up creeping into the story without you realizing it. Tracy Chevalier is a go-to author for me. She has always written from life and has been described as a ‘method writer’ as a reflection of the depths to which she will research a subject. Famously she explored Victorian attitudes to death for her novel Fallen Angels by becoming a tour guide in Highgate Cemetery in London, and studied weaving for The Lady and the Unicorn. So I wasn’t surprised to read her quote about trees. She is referring to her latest novel, At the Edge of the Orchard. In 1830s Ohio, James Goodenough and his wife Sadie argue about which type of apple trees to plan. He wants sweet apples for eating, she wants sour for cider. Read my reviews of Tracy Chevalier’s other novels:- The Last Runaway At the Edge of the Orchard Read more about Tracy Chevalier’s novels at her website. See how these other
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

The tree that Rose and Wanda climbed

At the age of five, Rose liked climbing trees. Specifically, the tree outside Grandma Bizzie’s house. One day, she discovered a way to get two pieces of home-made lemon cake: invent an invisible friend. Wanda. Here’s an excerpt from Ignoring Gravity. “Given the choice, Rose would have lived at Grandma Bizzie’s house. She loved the sycamore, its five-pronged leaves which looked like a green giant’s fingers, the delicate yellow-green flowers that dangled like earrings in the spring and the winged seeds which fluttered in spirals to the ground in the autumn. One day she was sitting on the first branch, wishing Lily liked climbing trees, when Bizzie brought out a glass of squash and a piece of homemade lemon cake with runny icing on top. “Rose patted the air next to her. ‘Never mind, it’ll stop bleeding soon.’ Her friend Wanda, she told Gran solemnly, had slipped down three branches and had a long scratch on her leg.” This is the tree which inspired the climbing scene, except it is on Wimbledon Common not in a street in Richmond where Rose’s fictional grandmother lives. It has a wide branch with space for two small girls to sit. It was easy
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Categories: Book Love, My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity' and On Writing.

The symbolism of trees

The tree as a symbol for family history research is well known and I use it throughout Ignoring Gravity. The family tree, the networking of roots and branches, stretching wide, unseen beneath the earth and hidden by leaves, is an ideal image for the twists and turns of Rose Haldane’s heritage. Trees are everywhere.Trees also symbolise life, fertility, the seasons, the passing of time, and renewal. They appear throughout literature and art. One of my favourite paintings is by David Hockney, a scene painted a few miles from where I grew up in Yorkshire. Bigger Trees Near Warter, measures 12×4 metres and was painted outside in six weeks, then completed in the studio. Hockney used digital technology to assemble a computer mosaic of the picture, comprising 50 individual canvases, so he could step back and see it as a whole. It features two copses, a sycamore tree, buildings and early flowering daffodils. The concept of a tree of life has been used throughout religion and mythology, alluding to the interconnection of all forms of life throughout nature. Trees appear in history too, ancient oaks were often used as meeting points for rural councils. Much of England in the 13th century was covered
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Categories: Book Love, My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity' and On Writing.

‘Ignoring Gravity’ and the oak tree

This is the oak tree on Wimbledon Common which inspired the design of Ignoring Gravity’s front cover. The tree stands alone on a quiet part of the common, tall and spreading. It must be hundreds of years old, oak trees can live in excess of 1000 years. Its canopy spreads wide and offers shelter from rain and sun. One day, as I sheltered from the rain, I noticed the pleasing effect of leaves against the sky. Next time you look at an oak tree, remember my front cover design! To read what other readers are saying about Ignoring Gravity, click here.   ‘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: A #tree on the front cover: IGNORING GRAVITY #books http://wp.me/p5gEM4-Y9 via @SandraDanby
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Categories: My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity' and On Writing.