Today I am hosting the lovely C.J. Bentley on my blog. She is here today to talk about her brilliant book ‘The Shield’ and she’s very kindly written a guest post about her inspiration for writing ‘The Shield’.
So without further ado:
Inspiration for writing ‘The Shield’
It was when our grandchildren were staying with us during the summer holidays a few years ago in the evening. We had exhausted our saved supply of favourite children’s books as well as our imaginations making up stories each night at bedtime. Our grandson was eight years old. His two older sisters wanted to watch a movie and he was tired so requested a bedtime story and to be taken to bed. I had the idea we might find something to read online so Googled a site for stories for eight year old boys. What came up I deemed unsuitable for bedtime reading for an eight year old, I couldn’t find anything that didn’t feature zombies, vampires, or farts.
As I returned to Dubai later that summer to pack and move our belongings to Qatar, (my husband’s job taking us there) and having retired from my work in an International School, my ‘me time’ was spent making notes for the long ago ‘germinated seed’ of an idea for a children’s story, (which then led to other germs) being planted in my brain and so ‘The Finder’ series was born. I had made the decision not to work in Qatar and initially I had plenty to do with the unpacking and making a home in the lovely villa my husband and I had chosen to live in for our time in that country. We enjoyed our beautiful walled garden and I started to grow vegetables, something I had not been able to do living in Dubai with only a balcony to our apartment. I started to write, I had spare time on my hands for the first time in my life. Being a wife, mother and then grandmother, working throughout my life with children my time was used up by everything I had to do with being all of these things.
Now time was mine and apart from keeping the villa clean and growing the vegetables I decided to write the kind of stories I would like to read if I was aged nine to thirteen, adventure stories, meeting people in different times as time travel has always fascinated me. Old objects fascinate me too, as I hold something old I find myself thinking about who owned and used it and so the ‘germ’ for these stories grew. As I find myself writing one book in the series the next is forming in my imagination and so on as I travel down this new road as an author. I am currently writing book four in the series ‘The Ring’ lost in 1330 by an Arabian Princess and which takes place in the Middle East.
The ‘germ’ for the first in the Finder Series came from a memory I had when I was ten years old fishing in the local stream with a friend. We found a medieval shield in the silt under the water during the summer holidays. It took us a long time to remove it from its resting place as the silt was deep and it was well covered. It was dirty and heavy and we didn’t know what to do with it so we chose to put it back. My story was taken from this memory about what could have happened if we had chosen to keep it and take it home. As far as I know the shield we found is still under that stream. This summer whilst in the UK and with the help of family and friends with a child’s metal detector we tried to find it but the topography around the stream had changed over the many years in between and we were unsuccessful. We did visit the local museum mentioned in the book and a Curator informed us that yes around where I used to live as a child there had been a medieval settlement so the chances of a shield being discovered were high. We may return at some stage to try again, this time with a higher class of metal detector, more men with spades and even greater research.
It was interesting for her to confirm that the time I had decided to set ‘The Shield’, 1340, was a time of great unrest in Northern England with the Scots invading down as far as York where most of the story takes place. The first three lots of King Edwards were each kept busy trying to stop the Scots from venturing further south. I become totally immersed in the time I set the stories and I love the history. I try to make each time come alive for my readers and this is the main reason why I love to write now. I love the creativity of sitting down at the laptop, I never fully know which way my imagination is going to take me, I don’t plan in great detail as I write, I have the idea, do a lot of research for the time chosen and then sit at the computer and write. It is only when reading back to myself, (always out loud) that I wonder at the process, I find it all very exciting. As I continue to write book four the ideas for the next book are forming in my imagination so my notebook is continually being added to. I feel at least another two in the series before the last book which will complete the adventures full circle.
People lose their belongings. That is a fact of life. It can happen by accident, but sometimes it can happen when you put them in a very safe place and forget where that safe place is. Not many people are good at finding them again. A young, gutsy girl with a kind heart, who’s searching for her own identity growing up in the 1960s, just happens to be very good at finding things. Can she be the one to help return whatever is lost – anywhere and at any time – to its original owner? With the help of a beautiful yet mysterious wise woman and a chivalrous knight she does just that. She finds and returns his shield, lost in battle, which unbeknown to her holds a secret that is important to his King, the safety of the Kingdom and the life of the daughter of his best friend.
The Shield is the first story in The Finder Series, taking our heroine on extraordinary journeys back in time. Her first adventure takes place in Medieval England in 1340 where she meets King Edward III, his wife Philippa and their son, who will later become the Black Prince.
Purchase from Amazon UK – Amazon link
About the author: Originally heralding from the North of England, C.J Bentley has travelled extensively and enjoyed living in a variety of countries across the world from Dubai to Doha, Qatar and now the countryside in the South of France. A background in teaching and childcare she has always enjoyed creating adventure short stories. However, it was when she became a grandma and with her grandchildren growing up that she discovered that books seemed to contain only stories of vampires, zombies and farts that she decided seriously to take matters into her own hands and put pen to paper which today she calls The Finder Series.
Website – https://www.cjbentleyonline.co.uk/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/CJBentleyAuthor/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/CJBentleyAuthor