Today, Tilbury Talks To… John R. Cowton. Welcome John. Please would you introduce yourself?
I’m retired from my career working in Mental Health as a registered nurse, but even during my busiest times, I have always managed to find time to read a book. I love the crime genre, but also enjoy historical fiction. I’m also an aspiring writer and am known to write the odd story or two when not reading, which isn’t very often.
What went through your head when you first decided to start your book blog?
I have been reviewing on Amazon and Goodreads for some time whilst struggling to keep a ‘writer’s’ blog going. I say struggling, because I had reached a point where I believed I had nothing more of value to say. I don’t think anyone can read a book and not have an opinion about it, so there was always something to say. It became clear that it was time to start again, so I started a new blog with a new name. There is a button on my new blog which links to my old blog for those rare occasions that I have something else to say. But, essentially, I have evolved into a book blogger.
What are the best and worst things about being a book blogger?
The best thing is I feel I am making a connection with the author of the book I have just read. I then try to let them know through social media or email that there is a review out there. The reaction is usually good. When a writer has given me great pleasure from what has been written, I would hope I have reciprocated by giving the writer pleasure with my positive feedback. If I didn’t like it there would be no review at all, because I don’t make claims to be a professional book critic. Just because I didn’t like what I have read, somebody else probably loves it, so who am I to assume the position of judge and jury. I’m just a reader who likes to give back.
The worst thing is when I doubt myself that anyone could be the remotest bit interested in what I have to say. I don’t mean the author, but other readers. Continue reading
An eight-year-old child witnesses her mother’s secret, and knows that from that moment life will never be the same.
After Molly, her mother, dies. Alison uses her legacy to make a film about Molly’s relationship with a man she had known since she was a teenager. What hold did this man have over her mother? And what other secrets was her mother hiding?
Castles in the Air follows the life of Molly Ripley through the eyes of her daughter Alison. From Molly’s childhood in colonial Hong Kong and Malaya; wartime adventures as a rookie office girl in the far east outpost of Bletchley Park then as a young nurse in the city; tangled romance and marriage… to her challenging middle-age when demons from the past seem set to overwhelm her.
One reason Don and Cissy had been against sending Molly to school so far away was that they spent their working lives listening to and intercepting messages sent by the Japanese naval fleet. Privy to this classfied information, they were convinced that a war with Japan was inevitable. In December 1941, just as Molly was sitting her School Certificate, the school girls heard some ominous news on the radio:
We were all greatly encouraged when we heard of the arrival of the mighty battleship, Prince of Wales and cruiser Repulse and all thought they would soon ‘sort out’ the Japanese. Then we heard on the news that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbour on December 2nd 1941, thus drawing the Americans into the conflict – to be followed by air raids on Singapore. Most of the children not taking School Certificate had been sent back to their homes.
December 2nd was, in fact, the date that Prince of Wales and Repulse arrived at the Singapore Naval Base with great fanfare. The attack on Pearl Harbour took place 7th December, 8th December in Malaya, at the same time as the first Japanese bombing raid on Singapore. It was 4am in Singapore when Don and Ciss were woken by the air raid sirens. Their worst fears had come to pass. Their darling Molly was hundreds of miles away. All they could do was pray she would get home safely, but as a former Royal Marine, Don would have known only too well what perfect cover a remote jungle region could provide for an advancing Japanese land invasion.
This week I thought I’d talk about the best film adaptations from books. My top 5 are all books that I’ve read and enjoyed, and films that I think have have done justice to those books. I’ve chosen a range of genres and age ranges. Have you read the same books and watched the same films as me? Here are my choices:
Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King
The Shawshank Redemption was published in a collection of novellas by Stephen King called Different Seasons. Titled Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, it was made into a film in 1994 staring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins as two prisoners trying to survive the corrupt prison system whilst planning to escape against all the odds.
Although a novella, the film is one of the longest adaptations of a King story. It is one of my favourite films because of how well suited the actors are to their roles and how it doesn’t stray away from the original, utterly compelling story.
Tilly Trotter by Catherine Cookson
Tilly Trotter is the first in a series of books about the life and struggles of Tilly. She has been brought up by her grandparents and is thought to be a witch by the village locals. This first book focuses on her early life and is what the film is based on.
Catherine Cookson is one of my favourite authors, and this adaption of the book was superb. I enjoyed watching the story come to life and was really pleased that it stayed true to the book and didn’t add any extras for a more ‘dramatic effect’. Continue reading
After living in Oxfordshire my whole live, Royal Navy service apart, I’m now about to move to Cumbria on the North West coast of England. The change of scene has got me thinking about the fiction that has been, and still is being, created in the area I’m moving to.
One of the most famous authors to have lived in Cumbria was poet William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850) . He was born in a village called Cockermouth and then later lived in Grasmere with his wife and children. His most famous collection of poems (The Prelude) wasn’t published until after his death by his wife, Mary. At the time, very little was thought of these poems, but since then they have been considered some of his best work. Visitors to the area can go to both the house he was born in, and the cottage he lived in as an adult. Continue reading
Oxfordshire is an English county which is full of fiction. It is also where my upcoming novel, The Revelation Room, is set. I’d like to share with you some examples of other authors and fiction based in Oxfordshire:
Authors from Oxfordshire:
– Agatha Christie is famous for Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot.
– C. S. Lewis wrote The Chronicles of Narnia.
– J. R. R. Tolkien is famous for the Lord of The Rings trilogy.
– Philip Pullman is well known for His Dark Materials.
– Griselda Heppel writes children’s fiction including Ante’s Inferno.