Sally must deal with the grief of losing her father, a man she knew very little about. After the funeral she takes time out to be alone and reflect on her life.
To find out the truth about him, she first has to make amends with her estranged mother and half-sisters, who she hasn’t spoken to for almost twenty years.
In the meantime, Mr Leriche from Interpol opens a fascinating old case file, about a stolen painting potentially worth millions. Before long Sally finds herself in the middle of a criminal investigation. Having discovered she is the sole beneficiary to her father’s estate, she must decide whether to develop the business or walk away.
Reflections is an emotional journey.
I’m pleased today to be part of the blog tour for Reflections by Eleanor Smythe, published 1st December 2015, and available via Amazon in the UK and US. Sadly – because I rather liked the look of it – I just couldn’t find time and space to read this one, but I’m delighted to welcome author Eleanor Smythe to Being Anne…
Welcome to Being Anne – would you like to introduce yourself?
Hello Anne. Thank you for the interview opportunity.
What can I tell you about myself that may not have already been said. Let me start with my name. Eleanor is in fact my middle name, I chose to use it because of it being a family name, which goes back five generations. I thought my grandmother would have been very proud of me. She died when I was 5 years old, but I remember her always having a book in her hand. She looked after me whilst my mother worked. I remember being forced to have an afternoon nap enabling her quiet time. She’d lay beside me reading and I’d eventually drift off into the land of nod. I recently spent several weeks with my mother and realised she’s just like my grandmother, never without a book.
I married quite young, had my family (5 children) and then studied at university, becoming an Occupational Therapist. I’ve studied various religions, in search of truth and have certificates in all sorts of complimentary therapies. A curious mind one might say, however I practise none. I remained an Occupational Therapist until I retired at the end of 2014.
I really like the look of Reflections. I’m particularly attracted by the description of “an emotional journey”, and I’ll be adding it to my reading pile. Would you like to tell me a little more about it? Why should people read it?
Sally is a character that has been around for a very long time with me. I first wrote and completed her story about 5 years ago (Perceptions). It started with her life in Portugal and how she’d become discontent. She and her husband owned and ran a very successful restaurant business, Her children had grown and left home and she was beginning to suffer with empty nest syndrome (I guess you could call it that). At the same time she became very preoccupied with wanting to know who her father was. However to do that she’d have to make amends with her estranged mother and half sisters. Her husbands infidelity eventually tips the balance. That and the fact that he was unable to accept news of their youngest son being gay. Sally boards a plan back to UK and goes in search of her parents. That’s the unpublished book.
Reflections tells the story from a different perspective. Sally has known her father 2 years when he dies. The first half of the book is about her grief and how she reflects on the emotions and past events(already mentioned). Her mother isn’t the uncaring person she’d always believed her to be.The mystery behind her father reveals the emotional love affair between two young people(her parents) who were forced to part.
The second half is about how she deals with the future, knowing her father is only a small part of the package. There is also a criminal element to the book, a painting worth millions has gone missing and the culprit needs to be found.
Why should people read it… Now that’s a difficult one. Why should they? Well, they don’t have to . No-one should do anything because they think they have too, reading should be for pleasure. However if they have a curious mind, they might like to read a book that has a few surprises. It is an emotional journey through Sally’s life but it does have a happy ending.
Tell me a little about your path to publication – what issues have you encountered without the support of a publisher? And do you have any advice for others on how to overcome them?
Oh dear, now this is a big one for me. It really was by fate and coincidence if you believe in any of that. Issues encountered for me, were about the ignorance I felt and my lack of knowledge. The actual process of being an Indie author was a big unknown for me, I didn’t even understand what it was. I still struggle with the technical side of things. I’m learning all the time. I’ve recently taken lessons to improve my knowledge and ability with the computer I use. It does so much more than I realised.
My journey to publishing started when I was invited out to dinner with a friend, and introduced to a woman she knew. She asked me what I’d been doing with my spare time, and I told her about the first book I’d completed(Perceptions), explaining that I had no idea what to do with it. At this time I was bit of a dinosaur when it came to online anything. I didn’t have a Kindle and wouldn’t have dreamt about reading a book if I wasn’t holding it. She told me about another author Suzy Turner and agreed to introduce us. Having had a conversation via email, I ended up meeting Suzy purely by chance in a department store, whilst out with another friend.
From then on Suzy took me under her wing as it were, attempting to teach me about the cyber world and social media. Convincing me that Facebook and the like, would be a good thing. I dipped my toes in and have been doing doggy paddle ever since. Due to an emotional set back in my own life I stopped writing and didn’t publish my first book. Suzy however continued to encourage me. I eventually completed another very different book; The Other Side of Town and published In March 2015 and then In December 2015 Reflections.
Suzy is still my great compass and gives me encouragement, as do my newly found FB friends. I think being honest about what we don’t know enables us to learn. The advice I give is never give up, people are there to help if we ask and don’t be afraid of your own success. I may not be a well known author but I am nonetheless a published author and that in itself is success.
I see you started writing fairly late in life. How did you start – was it something you’d always wanted to do? And when the moment came, did you just sit at your keyboard and write?
I’ve always scribbled away with poems and short stories, nothing serious and often just throwing them in the bin, not believing anyone would take me seriously. The best part of my working life was when I had to write reports. My colleagues thought I was crazy but to me it was great writing about other peoples lives and situations.
I began writing seriously when I retired. Missing my work I needed something to focus on. One day I just decided to create a persons life story and that was it, I got the bug. Often I have an idea that turns over and over in my mind before I actually write a word, and then I just build a life around the idea.
And how do you write – are you fitting it round a busy life? Ah, I see you’re living in Portugal now…
I’d like to say that I sit regular hours at the computer, but I don’t. My husband is also retired so we have a very active social life. I’ve just taken up line dancing (don’t know why I’m admitting to that) and I love to go out with friends for coffee and shopping. We’ve just acquired a motor home and plan on taking ourselves off on more trips. Hence my new blog about Dolly, just a bit of fun and to help me build on my skills. Having said all that I do have times when I just have to sit and write for hours, Its like a little gremlin that can’t sleep. That’s when I work hard because the ideas are flowing out of me and I have to maximise on that, before I become an empty vessel again.
Do you plan to remain independent, or is it your dream to secure that elusive big publisher book deal?
I think being independent brings its freedom but also the hard work. In my case marketing is a real issue. As I’ve said I’m not confident when it comes to the technical stuff. I Imagine having a big publisher might take away some of that pressure, but no doubt it would bring other issues. Horses for courses I guess. I’m happy as I am but would be lying if I said I didn’t want to sell more books or get more reviews. It’s a personal challenge now to improve and I can only do that with feedback.
What writers do you admire? if someone said “your writing reminds me of…”, who would you like them to mention?
I have to be honest and say I don’t actually have a favourite author that I admire. It would be much fairer to say that I enjoy a variety of books by various authors. I do however have admiration for anyone that pursues their dreams what ever it might be. It takes courage to never give up on a dream. If someone said my writing reminded them of another author… I’d ask them why. I don’t try to emulate anyone else nor do I try to copy another style. I write from my heart with a free flowing imagination and hope that people will see my work for its own merit.
So where will you go from here – are you already working on the next book?
My next book is well underway. Pink Hair and Murder will hopefully be out late spring/early summer, depending how much tweaking is needed. I’ll also need to have my editor and beta readers on board to coincide with my plans. It’s a story about a group of elderly neighbours, who support each other through some tough times. Irene has an accident with hair colour, hence the pink hair. Past infidelity comes back and smacks them in the face and greed leads to murder. I can’t tell you more yet.
After that I have plans for a book based on a true story… That’s going to be the tough one. All my books are about emotional journeys, how people over come life trials and set backs, the true story will be reaching way down into my soul. I keep wondering if I can pull it off… Won’t know if I don’t try. Success is in the effort.
Thank you Eleanor! And with more thanks to her and tour organiser Brook Cottage Books, I’m very pleased to offer one lucky reader the chance to win an Amazon gift voucher for £25 (or equivalent). Here’s the rafflecopter for entry:
Eleanor Smythe was born in the east end of London but struggles to call it home as she moved away in her teens, and continued to live in various parts of the UK. After raising four sons, she went on to obtain a degree in Occupational Therapy. Although she took the opportunity to work in various medical settings, her greatest passion was working with clients within the community, where she claims real life takes place.
Now retired and living primarily in Portugal Eleanor has more time to pursue her love of writing. Always intrigued by the way in which individuals cope with life’s challenges and how they overcome the twists and turns of life, her stories embrace inner emotional turmoil that her characters might feel. They are brought to life by showing humour, tragedy, conflict, betrayal and emotions that many of us face daily. Her debut book, The Other Side of Town continues to receive positive reviews while her second book, Reflections, was recently released.
Eleanor and her husband’s love of travel has led to the recent acquisition of ‘Dolly the Camper Van’. Dolly will enable them to pursue their individual hobbies of fishing and writing in new and exciting environments. Eleanor will be blogging about their adventures as well as inviting others to share their own.