My guest today is a returning guest to Patricia’s Pen. Valerie Poore visited earlier in the year to talk about her memoirs. She’s back to let you know more about her novel writing. Without further ado, it’s over to Valerie.
Getting creative with the truth
First of all, many thanks to Patricia for letting me loose on her blog again. Back in April, I wrote about writing memoirs, which is what I mostly do. But what isn’t widely known is that I’ve also written two novels—well, sort of.
To be honest, I’ve cheated a bit as I’ve chosen the easiest and most liberating way of writing fiction. How? Because both my novels are largely fact.
Let me explain.
Unlike most real novelists, I can’t say I chose my genre; neither of my books falls into any particular category. I just wrote them because I didn’t have enough material to write non-fiction.
My first novel was The Skipper’s Child, a cat and mouse adventure set on the European waterways. The story’s main character is Arie Kornet, the son of a commercial barge skipper. The secondary characters are his family: his father, mother and two sisters. Then there’s a young Russian stowaway and a small host of sinister characters who are after the luckless Russian for reasons I won’t go into here.
But why did I write this story in the first place? Well, my Dutch partner really is a skipper’s child. He grew up on a barge travelling through Europe in the 60s. When we met, he told me numerous fascinating anecdotes about his early life, including snippets about his father’s wartime activities. I was so intrigued by these stories I wanted to write about them, but I knew there weren’t enough tales for a biography. So I decided to weave them into a plot of my own making.
The Kornets are my interpretation of my partner’s family. To me, they are real actors in a fictional drama. Their way of life, their routines and how they interact with each other are all based on my partner’s memories. The plot—being that of the family’s efforts to help the young stowaway—is pure invention. For me, it was a gift to be able to write the adventure in which these ‘real’ characters took part.
But what about my other novel, How to Breed Sheep, Geese and English Eccentrics? In a nutshell, this is a story I created around my own life as a smallholder in England’s West Country, after leaving university.
The main character, Maisie, is fictitious, while all the others are based on composites of people in my past. The animals, though, are completely real; so are the scrapes they get Maisie into. As for the plot, it is my fantasy of how I’d have loved my farming life to develop. And that’s where writing it as a novel was so liberating; I could simply recreate my own life. It was huge fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I’m now writing another novel, and again it’s based on my own life, this time in South Africa. In fact, by combining my real-life experience with creative fiction, I’m cheerfully rewriting history. I have to say it’s both exciting and stimulating, and I’m loving it!
Valerie has a special promotion on for her books at 99p/99c – Pop over and grab yourself a bargain on the following links:
About Valerie Poore
Val Poore was born and raised in England but at the end of 1981, she moved to South Africa where she and her family lived for nearly twenty years. She adored South Africa, but had to return to Europe in 2001. Since then, she’s been working as a freelance ESL writing skills teacher in the Netherlands. Val shares her time between a 120-year-old barge in Rotterdam and a cottage in Zeeland, both of which seem to take an inordinate amount of time to maintain. As a distraction from teaching, she writes and has written a total of eleven books.
Amazon Author Page