Friday, May 6, 2022

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: Shadows of Time by Jackie Meekums Hales @jackieihales @GoddessFish


Shadows of Time

by Jackie Meekums-Hales

GENRE: Women's Fiction


BLURB:


Maggie’s daughter, Cathy, is a successful business woman in Australia. After the failure of a relationship and her mother’s death, she returns to England for the funeral, hoping to rekindle her childhood sense of carefree life in the Yorkshire countryside. She is confronted by revelations about Maggie’s tragic past, which has a legacy of loss overshadowing her family’s present and future. As Cathy and her sister June unravel the truth, her mother’s story unfolds in a flashback to 1945. Life for the young Maggie before they were born reflects the world of mid-century attitudes towards women who dared to have a baby out of wedlock. The illusion of the Maggie her daughters knew is dispelled.


Meanwhile, two young women explore family history, and fate takes a hand. Three families are linked through coincidences and circumstances they did not know they shared. Cathy must decide how far, and for what reasons, she allows herself to live in the shadows of the past.


Excerpt:

The wind was roaring down the side of the house and through the chimney, and the daffodils were bending their heads in submission. It might be nearly spring, but that news did not seem to have reached the village yet. The smell of burning wood always brought back memories of bonfires at the bottom of the garden. Cathy's thoughts lingered on bonfire nights at the farm next door, when the children had ridden down to the middle field on bales of hay on a trailer pulled by an old tractor. How simple everything seemed then.

Cathy sensed that June’s tense shoulders meant she was steeling herself for something unpleasant. Cathy was busy trying to work out how to ask her what was wrong, when suddenly, staring into the flames, June announced, “We may have to sell the house, you know.”

Cathy heard the words but didn’t believe she had. “What?”

We may have to sell the house. The solicitor phoned today about the reading of Mum's will. The house may not be ours, Cathy. We may have to move.”

WHAT?”

Stop saying what! It seems that someone has appeared out of nowhere since Mum died. Something about someone else being entitled to something. I don't know the details. I’ve been dreading telling you, and I didn’t want to say anything in front of the twins.”

How on earth could that be? I don’t believe it! There can’t be anyone else, can there? There must be a mistake!” She felt the cosy, comfy world she had come back to claim crumbling to ashes and dust.


Interview with Jackie Meekums-Hales

How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?

I became involved with genealogy when I started collecting my mother’s and father’s memories on tape, back in the 1990s. My dad told my sister and me oral histories of his family, and when information started to come online after Dad died, I started searching for support for his stories, such as one about someone losing the family home on a turn of a card. I was in my twenties in the 1970s, when women were fighting for equal rights, so I was acutely aware of the social injustice women suffered. I watched television programmes about tracking down long- lost family and finding out about ancestors, and the issue of mothers giving up their babies was becoming publicly recognized in recent years. The themes of loss and “Me too” began to come together, and it seemed that people could carry the baggage of the past into the present, with the impact stretching on into the generations to follow.


What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

I wanted to highlight some of the social injustice suffered by women, often in silence, and to explore the impact of a hidden past on the present.

I think others might be the best judge of how well I achieved this, but I hope I gave a voice to those women who are scarred by their experiences and the children who never knew their birth mothers. For a generation a little older than me, there was little chance of reunion.


What was the hardest part of writing this book?

The hardest part was working out the order in which to organize the chapters, when I was switching from one character to another or one time to another. Where should I put the flashback?


What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I enjoyed creating the characters and weaving their stories together. I felt as if I got to know them.


Were there alternate endings you considered?

I could have written a different ending, if I’d made Cathy decide to stay with her sister, but I decided that she had been on a journey to self-knowledge and understanding, and that wasn’t where she belonged. I also considered how she would behave towards Bob, but I wanted to stay true to her character, one that had learnt not to trust men, so it couldn’t all be a happy ending.


Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?

I did my research online, so I didn’t actually meet anyone other than people I already knew. No character in the novel is anyone I knew in real life, but there were aspects of relatives, friends and acquaintances that were embodied in some of them. The people I “met” were those I uncovered during my family history research. Their stories included my great-grandmother, who lost all three sons in the First World War. There were my grandmother’s twins, with only one surviving, twice. There were women who were pregnant when they got married, one of them 15 and giving a false age, in a time when they didn’t dare to have a baby out of wedlock. There were those who’d emigrated to Canada, or Australia or New Zealand. I uncovered so many stories about women in my family, and my own sister had polio in the 1950s. I knew two older girls, when I was a teenager, who had to give up their babies for adoption, and the emotional consequences of that for them. I knew women who’d had miscarriages. I had to research the details of the history, but the human stories belonged to people who were part of the past.


What genre of books do you enjoy reading?

I enjoy reading books that explore women’s characters, rather than women in romances. There is a wide range, and they could all be called women’s fiction. There are books like “Miss Benson’s Beetle” by Rachel Joyce, “Grandmothers” by Salley Vickers, or “A Single Thread” by Tracy Chevalier. I loved the quality of the writing in “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens.

I can’t write them, but I do enjoy detective novels, especially if they challenge me to work out who committed the crime. Peter Robinson and Ian Rankin spring to mind. I’ve enjoyed Richard Osman’s “Thursday Murder Club” books, maybe that bit more, because I’m 71 and not ready to sit back and get old!


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Jackie is a member of the Society of Authors, whose debut novel Shadows of Time was the fulfilment of an ambition nurtured during her working life as a teacher, inspired by her research into her own and others’ family histories. She has been writing as a hobby since childhood, contributing to poetry anthologies since her undergraduate days and being a Poetry Guild national semi-finalist in the 1990s. She has also written short stories for friends, family and students. Since retiring, she has contributed to Poetry Archive Now (2020), with 20-20 Vision, uploaded to YouTube, and has had poetry and flash fiction published online by Flash Fiction North. One of her flash fictions is to appear in an anthology, having been selected from entries during the Morecambe Festival 2021. She had a creative memoir, Shelf Life, published by Dear Damsels in 2019, a precursor to collaborating with her sister on a creative non-fiction memoir Remnants of War, published in 2021. She writes a blog about her walks and thoughts in the Yorkshire and Somerset countryside.

Twitter ~ Blog ~ Goodreads ~ Facebook



 

Giveaway:

$25 Amazon/BN GC 




Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.


6 comments:

Jackie Meekums-Hales said...

Thank you so much for hosting today. I do hope visitors enjoy reading about my novel, and what inspired it. I look forward to any comments from avid readers. Best wishes, Jackie

Jackie Meekums-Hales said...

Thank you for hosting the tour today. I look forward to any comments visitors would like to make, or any questions they might have. Best wishes, Jackie

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Sherry said...

I really like the excerpt and the cover.

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a good book.

Jackie Meekums-Hales said...

Thank you for your encouraging comments, Sherry and Rita. I hope you’d enjoy reading the book. Best wishes, Jackie

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