Many thanks to Paula Lofting for featuring The Bitti Chai on The Review. Paula said just to tell the readers something about myself and that is exactly when my mind went completely blank.
Naturally somewhat of a reclusive person, marketing The Bitti Chai and attending book fairs in general is something akin to torture for me. My family is naturally secretive and for many years did not mix with outsiders, Gauja's they call them, the Romany word for anyone who is not Romany. In fact many people did not know of our Romany background as my grandfather always feared the hostile reaction we would receive and having lived through the Second World War he was understandably cautious.
I was brought up by my Romany grandfather, the youngest of ten children, the bitti chai (the small girl). My family initially inspired the writing of The Bitti Chai but most of all I wanted to share some aspects of Romany culture with the outside world. To inform people about Romanies traditional values, strength of family ties and loyalty utterly contradicting the familiar and incorrect portrayal of this much maligned ethnic minority.
The Bitti Chai was released in paperback in November 2012 and early in 2013 as an e book. In October 2013 the ebook of the follow up The Lost Souls was released via Amazon. The last in the trilogy, The Man with Two Minds hopefully will be released late next year. I have to say that throughout the process of writing both novels I have been supported by my editor Jo Field and although I had the seed of an idea for the book Jo inspired me to carry on writing. The New Writers Group to which I belong put me in touch with a graphics company (Avalon Graphics) and Cathy Helms designed my book cover which I am constantly thrilled with each and every time I look at it. She also made a fabulous book trailer for me which I have to admit have watched over and over again, sad or what. Shortly after the release I received a B.R.A.G Medallion, an award for Indie writers and gained a great review and received much support from them.
During the Spring and Summer months I tend not to write too much as true to my roots I love horses and breed and show native ponies, Dartmoors in particular. The show season for us begins in March and carries on until October so this doesn't leave much time for writing although to be fair every day I am going through scenarios in my mind. At present my hero and heroine, Johnny and Reigneth fill much of my imagination. In fact I'm not quite sure what will come after the third book in the series about them as their characters tend to dominate much of my thoughts at present. Reigneth is truly named after my great Aunt who was born on the roadside at Rainworth, Nottinghamshire, which is pronounced Reigneth. Some of the characters in The Bitti Chai are moulded on real family members.
I am terribly proud of my family and my birthright and to me having Romany heritage is extremely important, even if one person reads my book and has a positive image of Romanies then I feel my writing has accomplished something very important.
For those of you who haven't read The Bitti Chai the story begins in Lincolnshire an area which my family travelled through extensively and eventually settled in the late 1880's. The story moves on as does the family when they move to Chagford in Devon. Chagford is a very special somewhat spiritual place for me. A place where I feel I can immerse myself in the surroundings and feel at one with nature. It was therefore natural for me to choose this place to base most of the story. Dartmoor has long been steeped in tales of ghostly apparitions and happenings and I love nothing more than to walk over the moors and climb the Tors, no matter whether it is rain or shine. In all its moods the moor is enchanting and this is the setting for my novels, a tale of ghosts, jealousy, prejudice and passion but most of all romance.
Jane is kindly giving away an e-copy of her book The Bitti Chai which was reviewed on Monday (see here) so if you would like a chance to win, just leave a comment.
blogs - www.sonsofthewolf-paulalofting.blogspot.co.uk
website - www.paulalofting.com