Virna’s attempted rape – a reading

I’ve tried something new – a reading from my WIP, in which the runaway slave girl Virna tells Silvanus how she came by those ominous lashes. If you watch to the end, you’ll even see what she looks like…

Here’s the link.

I’ve done this in aid of a Philippine project to make books available to the general public by opening libraries in public schools around the country.

#ReadOutLoudChallenge @nbsalert @georgia.cua @clare.weiner @sabrina.haslimeier.3

Silvanus’s Treks

I just discovered a map Silvanus must have made, showing his treks across Ilva. How do you like it?

Treks

Actually, it was made for him by a brilliant cartographer in Russia, Polina Vorontsova.

Translating English into English

I’m afraid she did exactly what I feared. Much to my grief, the good lady editor said my book was unworthy. And she begged me not to take steps toward self-publishing, like finding someone to design a cover for it.

‘It’s far too long. The plot is all over the place. Most of the action happens off stage. It doesn’t resonate with a young adult readership. And it’s too preachy.’

I was devastated.translator

One point she made, which others have also mentioned, was that Cerbonius‘s archaic speech didn’t work. I had given him that antiquated argot because I wanted him to come over as old and provincial. But if it didn’t work, it needed to be changed, I told myself. It needed to be translated from English into English.  Continue reading “Translating English into English”

Why the Geese?

Cerbonius and his geeseCerbonius was a colourful character — priest, refugee, hermit, bishop, bear-tamer, animal-lover, miracle-worker and sensational papal visitor — who was later canonised by the Roman Catholic Church. He is remembered for his intimate relationship with God, “a man with a venerable life, who gave evidence of great holiness”, as St. Gregory the Great wrote in his “Dialogues”. Continue reading “Why the Geese?”

Pillage and Rape

I’ve come to a juicy episode, part of chapter 6. And the strange thing is that I feel deep emotion for the character I’m creating. The chapter introduces a runaway slave, whom Silvanus finds in the woods. Listen to the story and let me know what you think…

“Aren’t you afraid of Jupiter and Mars and all the others? Do you pray to that god of yours?”

“Well, yes, but I don’t really know much about him.” I notice tears forming in his eyes and his voice begins to tremble. “My Mother used to talk a lot about him. Before they… killed her.”
Continue reading “Pillage and Rape”

In the steps of San Cerbone

TicketsAt long last I’ve planned my next trip to make friends with Silvanus and Cerbonius. It means travelling not only over 700 km south but more than 1440 years back in history. It promises to be exciting.

Unfortunately, I’ll only be a week on Elba, and that will probably pass quickly. For most of the time I’ll be in Marciana, coincidentally over San Cerbone’s Day, 10th October. I wonder what I’ll learn from him…

My Preciousss!

Poverty is a major issue in the life of Silvanus’ family. It’s hard enough to find food each day, let alone being able to afford new clothes, tools, or – in the case of Dad, Cornelius – a fishing boat.

Together with poverty, there is often a deep-set longing for riches. If only I had the money…

  • … I’d buy new shoes
  • … I’d go to a proper school
  • … I’d travel
  • … I’d be able to marry, support a family.

So it’s not surprising, when Silvanus happens to find a cave full of crystals, that he gets excited and begins to dream big… Continue reading “My Preciousss!”

Little Eli

I love it when Silé calls me ‘Little Eli’ – although I’m only two years younger than he. Whenever we can, Lucilla and I like to play board games or make necklaces and bracelets with beads. Otherwise we’re often romping with the boys, Lucy’s brother Pontus, Ruddy Rufus – don’t tell him we call him that! – and Silé.

Continue reading “Little Eli”

Silvanus

Hi. I’m known by my friends as Silé, but my full name is Silvanus, after the god of the woods. In 571 A.D., when this story starts, I was just 14 years old. I grew up on the south-west coast of Elba in a tiny village, dominated by Mount Aquila with its eagle-shaped outcrop.

Continue reading “Silvanus”