When I was shut up in my studio writing the novel Teak Lord, I often thought "Wouldn't it be nice if, when this book is published, I could get some feedback from people who read it?" I'm not talking online ratings but actually meeting face-to-face to discuss ideas in the book.
This wish came true yesterday when I met the members of the Chiang Mai Women's Book Club, which apparently has been going for about 30 years, in which time they have read LOTS of books. Over a tasty lunch of khanom cheen, a local speciality, followed by pumpkin pie, I was privileged to hear their comments and try to answer their questions.
Not surprisingly, they were curious to know which parts of the novel were based on fact and which were imaginary, and we also discussed anachronisms (events or people belonging to another time) as I had introduced a few of these for fun, such as naming some monks in the book after famous Thai monks of the 20th century (the novel ends at the close of the 19th century).
One question I was unable to answer was whether local ladies wore underwear during the era (there is a scene in the book where such a garment is removed and later discovered in a compromising place). I had to admit I had found no reference to this during my research, and logic would suggest they probably didn't, so I suppose it was just a male fantasy as I described a romantic/sexual scene (chapter 14 for your reference).
Fortunately, the Book Sisters didn't beat me up for this weakness and I was able to return home in one piece, replete with pumpkin pie and the pleasure of a stimulating literary conversation. Thanks, sisters!
Just a year after the release of the digital and print editions of my historical novel TEAK LORD, I’m delighted to announce that it’s now available as an AUDIOBOOK – nearly ten hours of exciting adventures in the teak forests of a remote Asian kingdom, narrated by myself.
To celebrate its launch, I’m offering a limited number of FREE redemption codes to download the audiobook to Spotify.
Just message me or email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send back a code. It couldn’t be simpler. Since success is all about ratings, I’d be grateful if you could spare a moment to rate your listening experience too. Thanks!
Having spent much of my life outside my home country, I don’t feel I’m a typical Englishman. Yet there’s one English passion that I share, which is a love of football.
Like other kids worldwide, I spent hours as a boy kicking a ball around in the street and the park with my brothers. I was Bobby Charlton, older brother John was Bobby Moore, and younger brother Steve had to go in goal as Gordon Banks; so we were all stars of England’s 1966 World Cup victory. Many a volley I blasted over the bar in an attempt to replicate my hero’s trademark rocket goals.
That’s an overused word – ‘hero’ – but I can’t think of anyone I’ve ever known that I idolised so. I was lucky enough to see Bobby Charlton play a few times for Manchester United, alongside George Best and Dennis Law, the ‘United Trinity’ as they’re dubbed.
My best night ever was at Wembley in 1968 to watch United beat Benfica and become the first English team to win the European Cup (now known as the Champions League), Bobby scoring the first and last goals in the 4-1 win. I was hooked, and I’ve been a fan of Manchester United ever since.
Maybe Sir Bobby chose a good time to bow out, as Man Utd are currently in the doldrums, floundering mid-table in the English Premier League, with insipid performances, uncaring owners, a famous old stadium that is apparently falling apart, and little sign of change.
This really shouldn’t surprise me, as I’m a firm believer in the notion that all things must pass, but there’s something unflinchingly loyal in my support for the ‘Red Devils’ that makes me dream the return of glory days is just around the corner. Where is our new Bobby Charlton?
is a British writer and photographer based in Chiang Mai, Thailand.