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Where do you get your ideas?

Some novels spring into mind from a single scene, or even from a single line (“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”)  Ed McBain claims “I start with the title and go on from there.”  My latest novel, Mother Naked, lurked beneath the surface for years; the idea of fictionalising incidents from my mother’s real life had thrust its head up (only to be pushed back down again) for at least a decade. So I asked myself: Did I really want to do this?

Many writers plunder their lives to make their novels – though how exciting can one writer’s life be?  It may explain why, for some, their lifetime output of novels is in single figures. Until now I have not been tempted – for two reasons perhaps: first, I am a private person with no desire to share my secrets and, second, I think fiction is something you make up.

Whenever I’ve told parts of my mother’s story to friends they’ve responded with “you couldn’t make it up.”  Well, that’s a challenge to any writer. One I have finally accepted.

My mother belonged to what is now a lost generation: born in the First World War, married in the Second, and dying in the first Iraq war. (During, rather than in that war, I hasten to add. She was not a participant.) But in my novel I shall not let her die. She will live on into the present day and see her hundredth birthday. The novel is set on her hundredth birthday, at a party to celebrate, a party to which you are invited, and at which you will meet Ruth’s dysfunctional family.  You’ll meet a lord, an anarchist, a narcissist, a woman who is no stranger to the scandal pages, a vlogger, a so-called child-bride (of thirty-five) and at least two millionaires (though what’s that nowadays with property prices as they are?). You’ll notice that almost everyone disapproves of Ruth and her colourful past – but might the others have secrets of their own?

All, of course, will be revealed.

MOTHER NAKED is available as a paperback from Amazon: H E R E
Kindle downloads of all my books can be had direct from Amazon: Russell James page
And you can watch the glorious (3-minute) video trailer, one that has Hollywood agog, right HERE!

For this novel I wrote a diary of my sometimes halting progress and put it up on line in a Writer’s Diary. Each week’s entry would take less than a minute to read – and the whole thing is still there. You have only to click here.


This is a blog about books and writing in which, I hope, the emphasis isn’t too much on me (he said, after writing the plug above) but instead is on books and writing generally. You’ll see a roll of book-related pages which, if you’re reading this on your PC, will be on the right and, if you’re reading on a tablet, phone or other device could be anywhere.  You’ll know where to find it on your screen!

The latest News and Chat is in the And to Begin section, while older pieces are filed under JottingsWriters may like to look at some musings on the writers’ life (mainly but not exclusively Crime Writers) collated as We Writers or at the How To Write A Damn Good Novel section, while pretty well anyone interested in books (and if you’re not, why are you here?) might take a peek at some attractive Ephemera of the Book Trade, a selection of Victorian Writers & Poets, some examples of Victorian Ways or the Have You Met? section, introducing some curious literary characters. And don’t forget Life, the World and Everything. Why not flick over and take a look?

But why am I telling you this, when with one simple click you can see any of these sections for yourself?

CWA Members BadgeIn summary then, this is a blog for writers and readers, for people who love books. (Though if you do want to know a little more about me or about any of my 20 or so books, check my website at Russell James ).

Most of my books, including those in Kindle versions, can be found at Amazon, by clicking here: Amazon

Whatever else you do, please check back in to BOOKS MATTER from time to time. You never know what you’ll find.

Russell James




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