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Tell Your Own Story

The Bowes Inheritance by Pam Lecky

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Article by Pam Lecky ©.
Posted in the Magazine (Tell Your Own Story: , ).
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“As a writer you must live a lot of your life in your head,” a friend said on hearing that I was writing a novel. “Oh no,” says I, taken aback. But it made me pause and think and to a degree she was right. As an only child I spent a lot of time alone (not necessarily lonely) and turned inwards. Words and music create safe worlds that you can escape to. Even now, if life is being a tad awkward, I retreat to the safety of words and music. And from the safe haven of imagination the stories have a habit of emerging – often unbidden, clamouring to be unleashed.

There were a lot of influences in my childhood and the earliest one that I can remember was television. Historical dramas in particular caught my attention, even though at that young age I didn’t really understand the stories. Ah but the costumes, the architecture and the way people behaved – something clicked. My father was a great reader and encouraged me to be as well; as a child and a teen I devoured books and I mean devoured. Then Dad bought me the complete works of Jane Austen and a foundation was laid. For those familiar with the 19th century world, I think I actually became a bluestocking! I munched my way through classics, dined on crime and mystery (P.D. James my absolute favourite – what a fantastically twisty mind that woman had), and supped at the feet of Georgette Heyer’s heroes and heroines.

pam_lecky 200x279The urge to write has always been strong. As a teen I wrote a lot of angst-ridden poetry that, thankfully, will never see the light of day, dabbled in some newsletter journalism and then life kind of took over for a while. It was only when my third child was born, and I took a career break, that the notion of writing a novel popped into my head. It was a challenge – could I finish one? I did and enjoyed it so much that I continued to write. But for myself. In a dusty folder on my laptop reside many unfinished masterpieces. We’ll say no more about those …

Two years ago I started a new story. It had a beginning, a middle and an end (always a good thing), but there was no flesh to its bones. I knew I wanted it to have an Irish flavour, but with a new angle perhaps. I have always been fascinated by the complex relationship between the Irish Ascendency and their British counterparts and that, and a wrangle over land, seemed a good place to start. It was only as I started to research, that the story took on a life of its own. Sub-plots popped up, often influenced by real events that I read about from old newspapers, books and on-line blogs. What started out primarily as a love story became tangled up in Irish history, Fenians and the Lake District! The Bowes Inheritance was born.

But oh dear, it was a premature and rookie typescript that I sent out (yes, it hadn’t been professionally edited at all). It came back rather battered and I was gutted. I realised that by sending my manuscript out too soon I had possibly burnt my bridges with regards to agents. What to do? In desperation I sought advice from an author friend, Ciara Geraghty. She suggested going to Inkwell for advice and editing, that I should attend book festivals and publishing days and generally get to know what the industry was about. Ciara’s advice was pivotal. I emailed Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin at Inkwell and sent my manuscript to them for a structural edit. Of course, I had every novice mistake in there that it was possible to have and had to spent a great deal of time rewriting, editing and proofing again, but my editor felt it was a strong story. I decided to self-publish. I read up on the topic, set up a blog, joined twitter and created a Facebook page for the book. I joined Facebook groups for historical fiction writers – a great source of advice and help, as it happens. I was advised to find a copy-editor who specialised in my genre. Thankfully, I found Hilary Johnson in the UK. She really liked the story and urged me to publish; now my confidence was up. It was time for my book to go out into the world to survive or flounder.

Self-publishing is a very real option for someone in my situation. I have come to it in a roundabout way but I’m very glad I did. This is where I have to confess to like being in control and self-publishing is incredibly powerful. My experience has been positive. Ok, I will confess to one weekend of pulling my hair out trying to get to grips with a print on demand template, but I conquered it. And now my book is sitting on Amazon waiting to be read. I had a lot of fun writing and researching it and I fervently hope that comes across to the reader.

So my friend was right – I do live a part of my life in my head. But that is the source of my stories and I finally have the confidence to invite the world in to my inner world and share them. A heady concept, if you will forgive the pun.

(c) Pam Lecky

About The Bowes Inheritance

England, 1867- A Game of Chance and a Property Lost. Who could have known what the consequences would be?

Fifteen years later, Louisa Campbell, living in genteel poverty in Dublin, Ireland, is more than surprised to learn that she is the new owner of Bowes Farm. When she arrives in England, she discovers that her nearest neighbour, Nicholas Maxwell, wishes to continue a vicious feud over her land and that the uncle she has inherited from was not what he seemed. When a Fenian bombing campaign comes close to home, Louisa finds herself a prime suspect and must do all she can to protect herself. But who is really orchestrating the Fenians’ activities? Will Louisa have the courage to solve the mysteries that Bowes Farm holds? And most importantly of all, will she ever be able to trust and love the man who is surely her sworn enemy?

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Pam Lecky hails from Clontarf, Dublin, Ireland, and now lives in north County Dublin. A married working mum with three children, a dog and two cats, her life is hectic. Pam studied horticulture with the RHS, loves music and photography, and has been an avid reader from an early age. A huge fan of historical fiction and crime, particularly when combined, she finally decided to set free the stories battling for release in her head. She has a particular fascination with all things 19th century, from food and clothes to architecture and social history. If there was time travel, she’d be the first to sign up and there are no prizes for guessing what time period she’d travel to.

The Bowes Inheritance is her debut novel, and is available on Amazon, pick up your copy here!

You can learn more about Pam, her book and follow her blog at www.pamlecky.com, and twitter @pamlecky.