Hahaha! I should have guessed about the phone reception! It is like that in parts of Greece too, especially the more remote areas. I often have no reception in the village where my mother-in-law lives.
Still, it is a work of fiction, and doesn’t have to be strictly accurate. I know there are some geographical details that are changed in order to better fit the story too. I wanted it to have a modern feel and appeal to the average pre-teen who has grown up with modern technology and can relate to these things.
My relatives in Wales live in the towns and they have decent broadband, but I must admit I didn’t ask them about reception in Blaenau. I did send a relative there to take some photos for me to help me get a feel for the place - I have been there, but it was years ago now. He didn’t mention his smartphone reception though!
Anyway, I am very glad you are enjoying it so far. You are right about the language - I don’t talk down to the children. I use normal language, perhaps slightly more enthusiasm in the characters than I would for adults. I do the same with my own children, as I think this is a way to help them to enrich their vocabulary. Perhaps this is my background in language and translating coming through.
Thankyou for your initial feedback. I think I might do the Christmas story differently and have less use of smartphone search engines!
Look, I’m not saying her smart phone won’t work all over that area, just that it wouldn’t in the part of Scotland I live in and I know there are ‘not spots’ in Gogledd Cymru as well!! Now I have finished the book and I really did enjoy it!! It taught me a lot about how young people use their technology!! I will not send a review to Amazon as I honestly think an excellent review from an old woman like me would put your intended audience right off the book!!! Oh, just one point… on Gower, you were more likely to get a phone signal on high ground, it was on the coast and in valleys where you lost it!!
Thankyou, henddraig. I am very glad you enjoyed my book. I am not really worried about the phone reception thing - as I said, it is a work of fiction after all.
Next week I am going to start seriously researching Welsh Christmas. I might start a separate thread on it. In June, just the time to be thinking about Christmas!
I totally take your point about fiction, but… twice I have found my enjoyment of a story reduced because it was set in a place I know very well and it became clear that the writer did not!! For kids who live in or visit the places you write about, I do think it helps if you can try to find out from friends/relations near the area, if this or that detail is right!! Also, some kids actually choose to visit an area based on what they have read and can be very disappointed!! (Not just kids, adults weren’t happy that a chapel mentioned in a well known book did not have a crypt as described!!!).
I think the author has the privilege of literary licence, and also places do change.
Having said that I personally like books set in real places, and if the book is interesting enough, I will go out of my way to visit the place and try to imagine the action taking place. It obvously depends on the type and quality of the book though.
I take your points about the places. This is in fact the first time I have departed from real details regarding geography - the otherbooks were extremely accurate on details of the places. I will get my cousins who still live in the area to go through my Christmas story for me to make sure I haven’t departed too much from the truth. I don’t want readers to be put off from enjoying the story and I do want them to be encouraged to visit Wales!
Diolch yn fawr iawn, Millie!! I really was trying to be helpful, with exactly that in mind. I hope you didn’t mind my going on and on. I really did enjoy your book, which is why I thought it worth commenting!! Especially as your target audience can really enjoy searching out & seeing ‘for real’!!! I once wrote a story for a little boy who was being helped with his reading by my ‘auntie’. He had a very literal mind and only like facts!! So I gave him a story set in our village with people he knew and showing how useful readung could be!! He liked it, so I felt it had been worthwhile!!
You have been very helpful, henddraig, diolch i TI yn fawr iawn!
I do intend to set my Christmas tale in a geographically accurate setting in Wales. Incidentally, I have heard from another source now about readers being encouraged to visit the place. I set my first book in Alexandroupoli in northern Greece. An old school friend of mine bought it for her children, who are about the target age for it. She told me they were discussing going on a family holiday to Greece, perhaps one of the Greek islands, when her daughter said “Couldn’t we go to Alexandroupoli instead and see where Lucy was?” So perhaps reading material can have more influence than I expected, and I really do need to bear this in mind.
You haven’t been going on and on - I appreciate the feedback. Especially from someone who is not an encouraging member of my extended family, all instructed by my granny to tell me how wonderful my work is. Nice, but not very helpful! This is much more constructive.
Well, thanks for that!! But I felt a bit guilty because I have only ever been an amateur writer, whereas you are published!!! (I was published by Star Trek fanzines!!!).