#ChocLitSaturdays Author Guest Post featuring Liz Harris on the catalyst of inspiration behind “The Road Back”.

Posted Saturday, 7 June, 2014 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Guest Post by ParajunkeeLiz Harris

Proposed Topic: What is the catalyst of inspiration for your story The Road Back? As this topic was first inspired by a suggestion of Ms. Courtenay last week during #ChocLitSaturdays (the chat!), in which I felt she had a great idea to talk about the catalyst which inspires the creation of stories and perhaps even, the catalyst inside the stories themselves.

Although I am working on extra features to include with forthcoming book reviews for ChocLit novels being featured lateron this month (esp on behalf of Christina Courtenay & Sarah Tranter), I was quite happily surprised by how this particular Guest Post was knitted together rather spontaneously and on the spur of inspiration which spun out of a #ChocLitSaturdays chat! The chats which are hosted to compliment my #ChocLitSaturdays blog features, as a way to expand the dialogue past what is posted on my blog, by taking the book discussion online and allowing more readers to participate in the bookish delight therein, I am finding that the chat itself is both uplifting and inspiring to those who attend either weekly or each chance they are available to participate! This is one instance of seeing how the joy of the chat is allowing us to engage directly with each other in a conversation which endears itself to expanding our conversations not only inside the stories themselves but into the heart of what inspires the stories to be written in the first place! For the Hostess of the chat, I could not be happier to see how the chat is transforming our lives by giving us the breadth of what is discussed and shared each week!

Let us take a moment to see how an unexpected photo album with snapshots of India, led to where The Road Back took Ms. Harris as she created its central heart of the story!

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The Road Back by Liz Harris
Book Synopsis: When Patricia accompanies her father, Major George Carstairs, on a trip to Ladakh, north of the Himalayas, in the early 1960s, she sees it as a chance to finally win his love. What she could never have foreseen is meeting Kalden – a local man destined by circumstances beyond his control to be a monk, but fated to be the love of her life. Despite her father’s fury, the lovers are determined to be together, but can their forbidden love survive? A wonderful story about a passion that crosses cultures, a love that endures for a lifetime, and the hope that can only come from revisiting the past.

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}: The catalyst Liz Harris

found as inspiration for creating “The Road Back”! :{

It’s an easy thing to tell you the catalyst for The Road Back – it was the album compiled by my late uncle after his visit to Ladakh in the 1940s. While stationed with the army in North India, he’d managed to get one of the few authorised passes to visit Ladakh, an Indian province north of the Himalayas, and on his return to England, he’d assembled his photos and notes into an album, and given it to his daughter, my cousin.

Photo Credit: Harris Famiy Ablum provided by Liz Harris
Photo Credit: Harris Famiy Ablum provided by Liz Harris

But to wind the clock back a little …

I’d been writing for several years, hoping all the time that I would one day be published. Always in the back of my mind was the advice I’d been given by several agents; namely, it’s not enough for an unpublished author to write well – there must be something original about their story.

Have you ever tried to come up with something original? If you haven’t, take it from me – it’s the hardest thing to do. In the end, you just have to give up the mental torture of looking for something that’s not been done before, and get on with writing the best book you can, hoping that it will ultimately grip the agents and editors who read it. I’d written one paragraph of a new novel, and the telephone rang.

At the other end of the line was my cousin, who now lives in Australia. She wanted my help with finding a home for the album compiled by my uncle after his trip to Ladakh. That was the first time I’d ever heard of Ladakh and I had to look it up in an atlas to find out where it was.

Happily, I was able to help her with the album and it’s now in London, in the British Library. I had the album for two weeks before handing it over to the Library, and I read it from cover to cover, and fell in love with Ladakh. I knew that I had to set a novel there, both for the natural attractions of the province and also because just as I hadn’t heard of it, lot of other people wouldn’t either, which meant it would be original.

From the very start, I knew that my heroine, Patricia, was born in the 1950s and brought up in Belsize Park, a part of London I know well. I saw her as a lonely child, living with parents who’d been torn apart by grief over a tragedy that had happened to the family in the past. She’d been sitting in my head for some time, waiting for a moment to come out. This was her moment.

But I didn’t yet know my hero, Kalden. All I knew was that he was born and brought up in a Ladakhi village in the Buddhist part of the province. While I waited to ‘see’ him clearly, I carried on researching Ladakh . And then one day, I read how the lack of rain had influenced the roles played by the different members of the family, and I felt a powerful surge of excitement. I knew I had my story!

Liz Harris

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comAuthor Connections:

 Personal Site | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

First of all, I want to thank Ms. Harris for composing an extra Guest Feature on the fly inspiration of the next #ChocLitSaturdays topic of discussion! I appreciated her willingness to add an anchor for not only the book discussion that was going to take place for this week’s gathering, but as a way to bridge the discussion back inside the book itself! The main reason I wanted to request The Road Back originally stemmed from a conversation we had shared on Twitter through DMs. When she had told me of how her path had crossed with Mr. Dexter and how he had reacted to her first ChocLit novel, I knew I wanted to read the book that granted all the others to come forward afterwards! Sometimes the enthusiasm of another reader can ignite an inspiration for someone else to pick up a novel and find delight inside reading it themselves. The story of how writers support and encourage each other where Ms. Harris lives and works as a writer was part of the curiosity for me, as I have not yet found that same level of acceptance in my own life and wanderings as a writer. I find the most support and sense of community online (especially since I went on Twitter!), but to find a way to knit together with writers in real life is one of my fervent hopes and goals as a writer who loves to read an eclectic variety of literature!

Family albums always delighted me as a child, as they were windows of insight into the past – conversation starters which would not only inspire the ability to keep the living histories alive and well in my family, but they were little portals of insight into a different time of living. I loved gaining the knowledge of how life looked as it was lived in the past, as much as aligning the photographs up against the stories which were happily told and hungrily consumed by a girl who always ‘loved stories’ such as I! I loved finding out that the album page shown in today’s Guest Post by Ms. Harris stems from her Uncle’s trip to India! Talk about a country I always was fascinated with and intrigued to learn more about — I even appreciate their style of story-telling in motion pictures, where it combines the dreamstate sequences with the emotional heightening of dialogue and drama. The fact they combine musicals into nearly all of their Bollywood films is another plus in my book! There is a strong draw as well towards India, as I have held a deep appreciation for Buddhism since my early twenties when I first started researching the collective works of His Holiness the Dalia Lama and of Thich Nhat Hanh.

To have learnt that a photo album about a place not yet known could be the catalyst of discovery towards tapping into characters whose story could only be told if the keystone piece of their ‘place’ of locale could be brought to the surface truly clicked inside for me! I felt the same way as I was discovering where to ‘set’ my multi-generational saga in 2008 (the Nano novel). I, too, agree that the hardest part in writing is the originality of our stories to resonate with an audience. That is singularly the most daunting prospect of a writer, and yet, I agree with Ms. Harris on the level that we each have to follow our instincts and our hearts. We have to go where we are led to go with our stories and with our characters, even if by some serendipitous hope the story we pen may or may not be entirely original against the previous ones already in print; perhaps there is a kernel of uniqueness inside what we pen that merits the publication of its tale. We have to strive to always remain true to ourselves whilst we honour the characters as they alight in our hearts.

This was such a beautiful testament of the path a writer takes to create their story and how the creating of stories is oft-times hinged on the moment a catalytic impulse takes us somewhere wholly new and different!

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This Author Guest Post is courtesy of ChocLitUK,

ChocLitUK Reviewercheck out my upcoming bookish event and mark your calendars!

Previously I reviewed “The Maid of Milan” by Beverley Eikli

& coming up next is “The Road Back” by Liz Harris.

This Guest Feature has an accompanying chat today | Join us!?

#ChocLitSaturdays Twitter Chat & Blog Feature of Jorie Loves A Story
#ChocLitSaturdays Twitter Chat & Blog Feature of Jorie Loves A Story

((update on Friday)) : The chat will be featuring a Guest Co-Host as I fell ill two days ahead of #ChocLitSaturdays which put a stop on my readings and preparations for not only “The Road Back” review but for my review of “Mrs. Poe” which was meant to go live on Friday. Therefore, I have chosen Bairbre (one of the Special Guest Contributors of JLAS) to step into my shoes and take the reins of the chat! I am hoping to make an appearance, but I am going to yield the tweeting bits to Bairbre. This will be her first tweet chat, but she is used to the platform of IMs, so I do not foresee any problems. I was offline on Thursday & most of Friday, to where cancelling was not something I felt I should do. Teas and heaps of rest are helping my recovery, but I did not want to disappoint anyone for #ChocLitSaturdays.

Especially as I will be taking a hiatus next Saturday, the 14th where there will not be a chat at all, as I will be celebrating my birthday! :) The next #ChocLitSaturdays chat will be on the 21st of June!! I am planning to post my review for “The Road Back” by early next week, as I finish reading the story alongside Mrs. Poe; in case anyone was wondering about either book review. I am going to wrap myself inside “Flight to Coorah Creek” & “The Silent Touch of Shadows” as well, as I wanted to read Romances ahead of my birthday. As I physically gain my strength back, I cannot think of a better way to pass the hours than curled into story full of strong characters, a dash of intrigue, and a bit of romance! Can you!?

Similar to blog tours where I feature book reviews, as I choose to highlight an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog. I provide the questions for interviews and topics for the guest posts; wherein I receive the responses back from publicists and authors directly. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them; I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers.

{SOURCES: Author photograph, Book Covers for “The Road Back”, as well as the cowboy picture were provided by Liz Harris and were used by permission. The Book Synopsis for “The Road Back” and the ChocLit Reviewer badge provided by ChocLitUK and used with permission. Guest Post badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. #ChocLitSaturdays Twitter Chat Badge created by Jorie in PicMonkey. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all. "I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story) more >> | Hire me as a betareader | Policies & Review Requests
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Posted Saturday, 7 June, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, India, Indie Author, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Romance Fiction

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2 responses to “#ChocLitSaturdays Author Guest Post featuring Liz Harris on the catalyst of inspiration behind “The Road Back”.

    • Ms. Donna Marie,

      I am finally able to get through The Road Back as I was delayed a bit due to life issues arising that I could not find the proper hours to delve into the story until now! I am hoping to post the full review of my observations before the next #ChocLitSaturdays chat which is on the 21st of June @ 11am (EST). If not, I will surely be posting it lateron that day, as I want to get back on a more regular schedule with my ChocLit reviews!

      Everyone has been quite kind and lovely in allowing me a bit of extra time to spend with the stories! I will respond directly to your enquiry over the weekend – but yes, on the onset, it sounded like a very compelling read to me too! I love stories which push our emotional envelopes!

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