“Shadows on the Grass” came out as an e-book in January and after the first flurry of excitement, there’s time now to sit back and reflect on the whole process.
This book has taken many, many years to write. Not because I am a slow writer, quite the opposite in fact, but because it started out life in a very different form.
Back in the day I was interested in writing historical novels, I was also, at more or less the same time, researching my family history.
My parents came to England after WW2 and settled in a country that was totally foreign to them. Because at that time Poland was behind the Iron Curtain they had very little contact with any of their relatives and neither did we. Curious to know more I began asking questions and listening to the stories my mother told about her childhood.
Some of this material was incorporated in the original version of “Shadows on the Grass” a long shambling novel that had no real centre, or any particular theme. I remember finishing it one snowy December day and rewarding myself with a glass of vodka, then putting the manuscript away in the box along with all the research I had done on Polish history.
Of course what I should have done was to get feedback and start on the next draft, but somehow I had lost impetus. Life got in the way and it wasn’t until some years later that I took it out again, decided there was something in what I had written and decided to give it another go.
The first thing that went was the structure. Instead of following a chronological narrative, I went for a series of flash backs so that the story of the Dzierzanowski family would be told through the view point of three main characters. Grandmother, mother and daughter. And so a theme emerged, the relationship between the three of them became the focus of the book.
In nineteen sixties Bristol seventeen year old Kate is torn between the new sexual freedom and her rigid Catholic upbringing. Her parents have high expectations of her; she however is determined to lead her own life.
Mimi her grandmother is dying. In her final hours, her cousin the princess keeps watch at her bedside. Born in the same month in the same year, the two women are bound by their past and a terrible betrayal.
Meanwhile, caught between the generations, Hannah Mimi’s daughter struggles to come to come to terms with her relationship with her mother and to keep the peace between her daughter and her husband.
She too must find her own way in this foreign land in a new post war world, where the old certainties have gone and everything she knows has been swept away.
Thanks Steve for hosting me on your blog. If you would like a copy of “Shadows on the Grass” here’s the Amazon LINK