About me - but not too much
Let me start with...
My Somerset thriller APPLE QUEEN
Shocking secrets come to light in an idyllic Somerset village when the new Apple Queen is crowned.
Crime novel, horror story and thriller in one, Apple Queen taps into the old pagan beliefs of rural England and digs beneath the surface of apparently harmless village customs. The annual wassailing ceremony, which is supposed to guarantee a good crop of cider apples, is not all that it seems in Southcombe.
Vera, a recently widowed Swiss teacher has taken a sabbatical year in Southcombe so as to be near her daughter Nadja. The reader is shown with psychological precision how Vera is gradually drawn into village life, but at the same time a series of sinister events leads her to suspect that there are dark forces at work, even that Nadja may be in danger. The gardens in front of the neat and tidy houses are perfectly manicured, people are polite and helpful, and they love nature, but it all seems too good to be true.
– – “Everyone was nice in the village, everyone loved and admired Nadja and lost no opportunity to show it. But that was only the surface... Never before had Vera felt so uncomfortable and so threatened in the midst of this cosy, almost saccharine British ‘niceness’.” – –
Vera begins to piece together the background to a series of deaths in Southcombe, all somehow connected with the wassailing ceremony. She just lacks the missing piece in the jigsaw that will help her to establish the link between the deaths and allow her to save her daughter. That can only come from a young man who has escaped from Southcombe and is hiding in northern France – and only if he can overcome his terrors before it is too late.
The book is available on amazon.com or, if you want a signed copy, directly from the author (£8.50)
* * *
And the author, painter, photographer?
Instead of speaking about myself, about where and when I was born and what I have done in my life so far, I prefer to focus on and share with others what is important and dear to me:
First of all my three children, who live in Switzerland, my partner and many friends all over the world.
Books: Can't imagine a life without them. The books I would take to the famous island are: Keats's Poetry, Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse, Novalis' Hymnen an die Nacht, Christoph Ransmayr's Die letzte Welt , Marcel Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu (yes, really, I like his work very much and also it is so long that it would keep me busy for ages on that island) - and if my suitcase was big enough hundreds more books.
Art: Caravaggio, Lucien Freud, James McNeill Whistler, Gwen John, Edgar Degas and - again - hundreds more. Japanese woodblocks, Islamic art and architecture in general and the art of the Haida and Kwakiutl Indians in Canada/North America.
Travel: anywhere and always - with a preference for the Indian Subcontinent, deserts and all the unfortunately now unsafe Muslim countries.
Languages: I wish I could learn them all. I speak a few well, a few others not so well and unfortunately thousands not at all. I find languages fascinating, they are windows to other worlds and other ways of thinking and challenge ours, which is always good.
Colours: I love all colours, but if I had to name a preference it would probably be turqoise, or navy blue, or sunflower yellow, or mint green, or... or...or..., I guess it depends on the day, the season, my mood, the moon or... or... or...
Animals: Birds, definitely. And cats.
Food: Just about everything, from Lebanese to Italian and from Peruvian to Vietnamese. Every country and every culture has interesting food to offer, and I am always very curious to try it out.
Illusions: Peace in the world is one. Becoming wiser with age another.
Last and really least:
Music: A difficult chapter in my life; Bob Dylan - ALL his songs - I can enjoy, but not much else.
Before settling in Somerset (UK), I lived in Switzerland, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand and Italy.
I used to paint when I was young but later switched to writing. Now I do both as well as photography. Right now oil and pastels are my favourite mediums, but that can easily change.
Exhibition venues in Somerset in the last two years: Crowcombe Church House, Taunton LIbrary, The Chapel in Cotford St. Luke, the Gauge Museum on the West Somerset Railway Station of Bishops Lydeard, Ilminster Arts Centre, the Brewhouse in Taunton, The Old Brickworkshop in Wellington.