Inspiration and making it happen with Siobhan Daiko

Today I am delighted to be hosted on The Write Romantics blog, and thank them so much for having me.

thewriteromantics

Siobhan 3Today we’re delighted to welcome Siobhan Daiko to share her writing journey with us and, hopefully, to bring a little bit of Italian sunshine with her. Over to you, Siobhan…

I’m really honoured to be hosted on the Write Romantics blog today. Thank you so much for having me! I met Jo online two years ago and have been enjoying reading the posts ever since. So it’s fab to be here.

Writing wasn’t something that I’ve always done, unlike most other writers I know. Yet I’ve always been creative. My father was an artist and encouraged me to paint when I was a child. I loved it, but I was also a linguist, and that’s the direction my life initially took.

My passion for writing only started when the empty-nest syndrome kicked in. My son had left for uni and an old friend had become a published author. Naively, I…

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Asolan afternoon

I’m re-blogging a post I wrote just over a year ago to tie-in with a excerpt from “Lady of Asolo”:

“The drive from Aunt Susan’s village, Altivole, took about twenty minutes. Fern found a park, then reached for her rucksack. She took in the sight of the Rocca, its fortifications etched against the azure sky, and decided she wouldn’t go there today; she didn’t feel up to the climb just yet. She’d have a leisurely stroll and find a quiet place where she’d paint.
Within minutes, she was sauntering down the Via Canova, the sun warming her bare arms, guidebook in her hand. Reading that she should “glance up Vicolo Belvedere, at the corner of the bakery”, she did so. The book said there’d once been a Jewish Ghetto there. Not any more, though. Wonder what happened to it?
A mansion painted the colour of terracotta rose up on her left. Apparently, it used to belong to a famous Italian actress. Fern strolled under an archway, and caught sight of an elegant palazzo with gold lettering on a wooden sign saying Hotel Villa Cipriani. She peered through the wrought-iron gate into a lush garden, planted with an array of salmon-pink geraniums.
Next door stood an old house with a balcony, mullioned windows, a portal, and a massive doorway with a shutter and bolts. Recognition rang like a bell. Why? Fern gave a frown and told herself to keep focused.
Nothing familiar about the small church on her left. Putting the guidebook into her rucksack, she stepped into the building and sat on a pew at the back. This isn’t quite right, I do know this place, but something about it is different.”

Siobhan Daiko

The view from the garden bench reminds me that we haven’t been to Asolo for a couple of weeks. The town is what drew my parents to this part of Italy in the sixties, and persuaded them to buy an old farmhouse nearby for their retirement. Every day, I stare at the ancient military fortress, La Rocca, on the farthest crest to the right. It whispers to me of the time when, from the 14th to the 17th centuries, the fort represented part of the defense system of the Venetian Republic.

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We set off at midday and park in the main square by the Caffè Centrale,which is owned and run by Lele and Ezio, my late step-father’s cousins.

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In the Piazza Brugnoli, we look up at La Rocca from a different angle to the one at home, the sky so blue and cloudless it seems to go on…

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Lady of Asolo by Siobhan Daiko

The latest review of “Lady of Asolo”.

Heavenly Good Books

I have received I gifted copy of this book from the Author in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb:

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My thoughts:
In the story we meet Fern, a young woman, who is visiting her aunt in Italy. Fern is looking for something to help her keep Sanity after the tragedy in which she has lost her fiancé, Henry. She find her remedy in painting and while looking for landscapes, buildings to paint she feels like she is floating. During this episodes she finds herself living in a body of Cecilia, a lady from 16th century. At the beginning she is confused. She starts to question her sanity and does not believe in spiritual world.

Fern and Cecilia, are totally two different characters, where Cecilia want love, passion and lust, Fern is closed and scared to live, in my opinion. Where language and sentences in Cecilia’s world were perfect for her…

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Letter K April A to Z Challenge #AtoZChallenge

Kate is featured on Rosie Amber’s blog today. Thanks for hosting me, Rosie!

Rosie Amber

Day 11 of the April A to Z Challenge, my these is characters from books I’ve read plus some audience participation.

Letter K is for Kate Wolseley from The Orchid Tree by Siobhan Daiko

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The Orchid Tree is a historical drama set in Hong Kong. The First part is from 1941 – 1945 during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during WWII. Fifteen year old Kate Wolseley is British and lives with her parents on The Peak. When the Japanese invade and the governor surrenders no one can quite believe what happens.

Once the Japanese have taken over, Kate and her family are moved to the Stanley Internment Camp, an ex-prison. Conditions are poor and food soon runs very short. Kate makes friends with Charles Pearce a half Chinese boy as they queue each day for water and attend lessons together. The descriptions and imagery are very thought provoking as…

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The Bela Vista Hotel, Macau

I’ve just updated this post about the Bela Vista in Macau, one of the settings for “The Orchid Tree”, and thought it worth a re-blog.

Siobhan Daiko

These photos are of my father, Douglas Bland, taken during my parents’ honeymoon in the Bela Vista Hotel, Macau, in May 1949. This hotel features in my novel, The Orchid Tree.

Here’s an excerpt:

“After loping along an avenue lined with banyan trees and up a small hill, they arrived at the Bela Vista. Higgins was leaning against the door frame of the elegant nineteenth century mansion. ‘At last,’ he said, holding a cigarette between his thumb and forefinger and flicking ash.

James settled his fare. It was only five minutes past eight; he wasn’t late. He lengthened his stride and followed Higgins through the foyer, up a staircase to a mezzanine floor, then past a reception desk and bar.

In the restaurant, the smuggler got up from his seat and pulled out the chair next to him. ‘Let me introduce myself properly,’ he said in heavily…

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