Friday, February 09, 2007

Everyone Needs a Harry

I had the most wonderful compliment paid to me the other day. I'd given a copy of Pastures New to my neighbour (who's a nurse) as I wanted to check that I'd got medical details right. She very kindly liked the book, but best of all she said, of my character Harry, "Everyone needs a Harry in their lives."

Harry is a pivotal character in the book, and based as he is on my two dads, (he's not the same, but I've drawn on aspects of both their characters) I was dead chuffed. The other nice thing she said was she thought the character had been drawn with love. I hope so. As I genuinely love him too.

I didn't tell mil that Harry was based partly on fil when she read the book, but afterwards, when I mentioned it, she did say she found him familiar. I had actually thought he was more like fil then my own dad, as I've made him a keen gardener and, like fil, he goes to lots of army reunions (my own father was in the navy). However, when Mad Twin read it, she immediately spotted likenesses to my father, which I hadn't even noticed were there, but once she'd said them I realised immediately she was right.

I have just been writing an acknowledgements page - I hope I'm not going to sound like a gushing actress at the Oscars, but I have heaps of people to thank and I'm fretting I'm going to have forgotten someone.

And I also had to provide a dedication.

I've thought long and hard about this. Really, in truth, my first novel ought to be dedicated to my husband, for his stonking support over the years I've been an aspiring writer.


I did dedicate the marathon book to him, and my next novel concerns a dentist, so that has to be his too.

And this one is really so much about love and loss, and moving on.

My neighbour is right. Everyone does need a Harry.

I was lucky enough to have two, though sadly they didn't get too see my name in print.

So the book has to be theirs really.

I agonised about what to say, as I wanted to say something meaningful but not corny.

In the end, I decided simplicity was the key.

So this is what's going in the front of the book.

For Joseph Henry Moffatt and John Douglas (Roger) Williams, for sharing their wisdom

I hope they can read that in heaven...


liz fenwick said...

you made me cry. look forward to reading it.

Jane Henry said...

Actually, Liz, I made me cry! My dad died nearly twelve years ago, and my fil four (his anniversary is next week, same day as no 4's birthday) - so it's not as though this is a recent loss. But I've been struck recently how although the initial sharp and deep grief goes away, somehow that sense of loss deepens as time goes on. At least it does for me. I think perhaps I miss my father more now then I did at first. I'm not entirely sure why. Don't know what he would have made of my book, as I doubt it would have been his cup of tea, but I'm sure he'd have been really pleased. It's his fault I'm a writer probably as he was an English teacher and books have been my blood from so early I can't remember when they didn't feature.

Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

I think your dedication is perfect, and I bet your husband does, too.

Jane Henry said...

aw Bec, what a very nice thing to say! Spouse hasn't seen the dedication, but he knew I was doing it. He loved my dad just as much as I loved his, so I think he understands why this book isn't his. It must be very early with you. It's very late with me... really must go to bed!

nutmeg said...

Hi Jane. Just catching up on over a weeks worth of your posts. Glad to read that you've got at least 1,000 words in. When I had to write literature essays for university I found that once I was satisfied with my introduction I could move on. The momentum started after that.

I very much like your dedication. Simple and beautiful. When you write you "... had to have a dedication..." was this a requirement of your publisher? I did not know you had to put one in. I love reading your blog. I feel I will learn about a whole other side of the book world - the side that actually produces the things!

Jane Henry said...


Thanks for saying such nice things! Sorry I misled you slightly - I don't have to have a dedication, I was asked if I wanted one and to acknowledge people. Am slightly embarrassed about my acknowledgements page as it is vast, but I have had so much help from so many people over the thousands of years since I first arrogantly decided I would write a novel, I want to thank them all. Have probably forgotten some one important!

Faithful Soles said...

Beautifully stated. I lost my mother to breast cancer 19 days before I ran my first Boston Marathon in 2000, and as I have told everyone, she is the only one who got to see me from start to finish. If you get a chance, please visit my running web site, Faithful Soles. I have a categorized and searchable Running Blog Database on there and would appreciate it if you would link your blog to it. I also have my own blog, but most of my information is on the main web site. I look forward to returning to your blog and reading more of your writings. Best of luck with the book.

h&b said...

It sounds wonderful - i'll be sure to look it up and buy it, if only to boost your sales !!!

Plus, you made me cry.
And it sounds like something i'd want to read.


Jane Henry said...

Aw h&b that's really nice of you. Sorry it's a bit of a wait - it's not coming till September. Am just about to thrash through the copyedits... somehow. Given that kids don't go back to school till Tues, I've arranged to meet a friend that day and I'm meeting my super lovely editor on Wed, I'm not quite sure how I'm going to fit it in...

liz fenwick said...

Jane, I think the loss becomes more real later on....if you know what I mean. the holes get bigger. There is more to share and the closer we get to their age the more we think we understand them...not really sure if I am making any sense.......might be jet lag. Good luck on the copy edits and lets crack on this week with the words.