What gives Gloria Morgan her first idea for a story?
This is why she began to write Kinmers Lea.
"Legend has it that Kinmer was one of the knights who came from France to fight with William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The reward for his services was a lea of land - hence Kinmers Lea, which over the years has come to be known as Kimberley, where I live.
My interest in the Norman conquest goes back a long way. My parents lived in the small town of Battle, near Hastings - in fact, my dad is buried there. I was deeply moved when I first visited the site of Senlac Field - 'the lake of blood' - where the actual battle took place.
Many years later, on a blazing hot day, I stood on the battlements of William the Conqueror’s castle in the town of Caen in Normandy, in northern France.
William built the castle in 1050. In 1066 he invaded England and took the victory at Hastings. No foreign army has ever invaded England since.
It was an emotional moment for me to stand there and think about big turning points in the history of the world.
I was with a Swiss friend who didn’t understand what it meant to me. She studied Swiss history at school, not English history. She’d never heard of William the Conqueror or the Battle of Hastings.
“Who was William the Conqueror?” she asked me. “What did he do?”
How do you begin to explain to someone how a foreign king and his army of knights on horseback changed life in your country forever in unimaginable ways?
My book Kinmers Lea is, in part, an attempt to answer my friend’s question.
And you might just notice the one small bit of Swiss history that I know, slipped into the story where it seemed to fit perfectly.”
This is what inspired her to write Dream Me Home:
"Bonnie and Tilley were two real dogs – beautiful Border Collies. They didn’t belong to me but I knew and loved them both. Very sadly, neither of them had long lives. This is the alternative version of what might have been.
Bonnie and Tilley have a special place in my memory and in my heart. I wrote this story so they would never be forgotten."
What about Shan and his little friend Kit?
"I visited a family who had two pets exactly like Shan and Kit. They were such a comical pair, they made me laugh out loud. But they played together so sweetly, with real affection between them, that you couldn’t help loving them. They kept popping back into my head, just asking to be in a story. There was a sheep farm in the area, and a monastery. It’s delightful countryside that I hope I’ve captured in my descriptions."
Where The Ducking Stool came from
"I love who-dun-its and I had wanted to try my hand at writing one for some time. It's quite complicated because before you start to write anything you have to know exactly how it ends - who the victim is, who the murderer is, how they get found out. So really, you have to plot the story backwards and then when you have all the elements in place, write it forwards. It was a very long time in the planning stage but I think that careful work paid off and I'm very pleased with the finished book.
The Ducking Stool is set in 1944 and is centred on two children who are evacuated from London because of the war. I'm a great admirer of 'Goodnight, Mister Tom'and my story is set in the same era. I'm keen on Agatha Christie, too, and I'd like to think I've managed to combine those two aspects in this book."
Cassie, the Story of a Rescue Dog
"When I fetched Cassie from the rescue centre I had no idea what a journey we were both beginning. I had previously had two Border collies, one some years after the other. I had given them both a 'second chance' home but both had previously been much loved family pets.
It was very different for Cassie. She comes from working stock and had lived her entire life on a farm. She had never been inside a house or on a lead. When the farm was sold it caused a huge upheaval in her life. Adapting to being a domestic pet was not easy. Collies are intelligent dogs and she learned quickly but she is a very sensitive animal too, and sometimes her fear of her new surroundings has been hard for me to watch.
Over our first 6 months together we came to love each other very much and I wanted to tell her story, because I am so proud of what she has achieved."
A bit of inspiration for every day
These words, by the German poet Goethe, exactly sum up Gloria Morgan's feelings about life:
Whatever you can do - or dream you can -
Just begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
Could there be a better way of saying GO FOR IT ?
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