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Guest blogger: Esther Campion

12 November 2017

It’s early Sunday morning when I’m writing this—7.30 is early for a Sunday in my world—and I’m in one of my favourite spots in my Tasmanian home, curled up on the couch with my ‘shadow’ warming my feet. Yes, the Labradorable is up here on the couch too! I especially love this time of day when the rest of the household sleeps on and I can think.

As some of you will know, Leaving Ocean Road, my debut novel, came out in July, turning my life into what seemed like a series of interviews, author events and book signings. I will readily admit to being scared out of my wits before that first book launch here in Devonport where I actually believed I’d give myself a heart attack and had to take myself off to the toilets and give myself a good talking to along the lines of ‘Get a grip of yourself Campion … this is a wonderful opportunity and those lovely people have come out specially on this wild and woolly winter’s night just to hear about yourself and your lovely book.’ So, after a few deep breaths, I went back out and found that once I started, I loved it especially when people asked me questions. The interest and positive feedback has been very reassuring, and I am so grateful to all the people who have supported and encouraged me. As I was lucky enough to land a two-book deal with Hachette Australia, I am now hard at work on the next one where a couple of the support cast from Leaving Ocean Road are taking centre stage. Some women’s fiction writers, especially Irish ones, have a knack for linking books and keeping characters alive, while at the same time allowing the books to stand completely alone so if you haven’t read them all, the characters are still familiar to you. It reminds me of soap operas; when you miss a couple of episodes, but you still know exactly what’s going on. For me, it’s all about investing in my characters. You know the feeling when you finish a book you love, and don’t want it to end? Well imagine writing that book and all the time spent with those characters and you get the idea of how attached writers like me get to those ‘people’. I’ve already had lots of readers come back to me asking what happens to some of them!

Although I have only recently begun to consider myself a writer, the process has made me realise that I’ve actually been writing for years. Since my teens, I’ve kept a journal; nothing systematic, just thoughts thrown down early of a morning or maybe when I’m lying in bed, sometimes in those hollow hours in the middle of the night if I can’t sleep. I don’t know if many of you journal, but it can be the most therapeutic thing. I use it when I’m grappling with a problem, usually in a relationship, or when I get a flash of inspiration and jot down a few goals. In fact, I hope no one ever reads my journals as they will think I’m a man-hating yoyo-dieting chocoholic! As it happens, I also have an addiction to buying notebooks, but a friend of mine recently introduced me to a clever way of getting through the backlog that has amassed on my bookshelf over years. Have you heard of bullet journaling? A quick look on Google or You Tube will show you what I’m on about, but believe me, after two months of the practice, I am totally won over and am nearly through a whole notebook that might have taken me a year to fill up.

I’d love to hear if any of you journal and maybe why you do so. You can leave a comment below. Hachette have kindly offered a copy of Leaving Ocean Road for a giveaway. Everyone who leaves a comment will go in the draw. I’m sorry everyone can’t win it, but I will be most grateful to read all your comments. The giveaway will close on 26 November.

A massive thanks to ARRA for their support for Leaving Ocean Road and the opportunity to connect with the Australian romance reading community.

If you would like to follow me, here’s the link to my author page on Facebook.

Leaving Ocean Road

Twenty years ago, Ellen O’Shea left her beloved Ireland to make a new life in Australia. Now a popular local in a small coastal town, but struggling to cope with the death of her much-loved Greek husband, Nick, Ellen finds her world turned upside down when an unexpected visitor lands on her doorstep. The arrival of Gerry Clancy, her first love from Ireland, may just be the catalyst that pulls Ellen out of her pit of grief, but it will also trigger a whole new set of complications for her and those she holds dear.

Home is where the heart is – but where exactly is home? Can Ellen and Gerry’s rekindled romance withstand the passage of time, family, young adult children with their own lives, and the shock disclosure of a long-held secret that will put all their closest relationships at risk?

Set in Ireland, Greece and small-town coastal Australia, Leaving Ocean Road is a warm-hearted, poignant story about treasuring our memories while celebrating our new beginnings.

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. lynette williams permalink
    13 November 2017 8:25 am

    I have read this book —couldn’t put it down until last page –LynW
    please don’t put me in the draw as I have copy

    • esthercampionhotmailcom permalink
      13 November 2017 9:38 am

      So good to hear Lyn! Thank you for your support and generosity 🙂

  2. Yvonne Bartlett permalink
    12 November 2017 9:44 pm

    My mother just recently died and whilst going through her paperwork I found both her and my fathers daily brief entries in lots of journals. I think bullet journalling would have been right up their alley and would suit me too as I have continued to write brief entries into her journal. Sometimes just little notes re her friends and their lovely comments about her.
    Thanks for the your new book and the journalling information.

    • esthercampionhotmailcom permalink
      12 November 2017 10:02 pm

      Thanks so much Yvonne. Very sorry for your loss. Your comments made me think of my own children coming across my journals in the future. I hope my musings are a comfort to them as your parents’ words must be to you 🙂

  3. janbettridge8 permalink
    12 November 2017 8:20 pm

    I have kept journals for years…love writing in them ♥ , but often wonder should I destroy them before I “drop off this mortal coil” 🙂 I also have an addiction for buying notebooks! Must explore the bullet journalling. I have also followed The Artists Way and loved it.
    I loved your book Leaving Ocean Road, which I was lucky enough to win in a previous competition…so please leave me out of this draw, and some other lucky person will be able to enjoy a great read. So look forward to your next book Esther…keep up the great work 🙂

    • esthercampionhotmailcom permalink
      12 November 2017 9:19 pm

      Thanks so much for your insights and encouragement Jan. Interesting about destroying the notebooks! You reminded me of an exercise I did with a group once about what you would take if you had to leave home quickly. Journals were up there for me but now I believe they are a bit like mindfulness … of the moment. As long as they help while we’re here!

  4. Erin permalink
    12 November 2017 5:31 pm

    I keep a journal sometimes, for years it was every day, but as life got busier, and I got more tired, that extra time before bed just seemed like too much of a hassle. I do miss it though, and all my lovely notebooks are just sitting there on the shelf, waiting for me to fill them, so will have to try to get back into the habit.

    • esthercampionhotmailcom permalink
      12 November 2017 5:52 pm

      A kindred spirit re notebooks! Thanks Erin. Hope you find your journalling happy medium 🙂

  5. Pauline Wood-Bradley permalink
    12 November 2017 10:51 am

    Hi Esther I don’t keep a journal. I loved Leaving Ocean Road and can’t wait for your new book to hit the shelves. 🙂
    Please leave me out of the draw as I’d love it to go to someone who hasn’t already been enchanted by your storytelling.

    Pauline

    • esthercampionhotmailcom permalink
      12 November 2017 2:50 pm

      Thanks Pauline. That’s a lovely gesture re draw. Your support is very much appreciated:)

  6. Gerard Morgan permalink
    12 November 2017 10:39 am

    Nice one Esther, I like the notion of you curling up on your couch with your ‘shadow’. Yes, I also keep a journal, although mainly while on holiday and as I usually travel alone my journal often seconds as my travel companion. I write as if it will be read by someone else one day but after 26 years of holiday journals I have re-read only a tiny fraction of the originals. I also keep a ‘home’ journal that like yours acts more like a poor man’s therapist – these will be bequeathed to my now 6 year old grand niece! These have been very sporadic and tend to dry up when I’m feeling very dissatisfied with me. Very recently, however I’m trying a new tack also. K a friend of mine, suggested I try a daily 3 page scribbling session first thing each morning i.e. even before my bowl of Weetabix. Well, I’ve been doing it now for about 12 days so we’ll see how that goes. I’m intrigued by your bullet notes idea, I’ll check it out and see if I can fill all those little notebooks with good quality paper that I’ve accumulated in the last couple of years with the idea of filling them with effortless prose!
    Stay friends with your characters and I’ll shortly introduce myself to them also, once I have finished the copy of Moby Dick I bought last Saturday in Vibes and Scribes. Best Wishes, Ger

    • esthercampionhotmailcom permalink
      12 November 2017 3:01 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to put your thoughts down here Ger. I’m just reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron who used to be engaged to Martin Scorsese (useless aside). She recommends morning pages which sounds exactly what K has advised. You’re right … it may well be the poor man’s therapist but if we’ve managed to stay relatively sane for this long there must be something in it! Very honoured to be next in line to Herman Melville on your reading list 🙂

  7. 12 November 2017 10:00 am

    Hi Esther

    Lovely post and I have to say fabulous book I have read this one and can highly recommend it. It is not put downable 😀

    Have Fun

    Helen
    Leave me out of the draw I have a copy 😀

    • 12 November 2017 10:51 am

      I forgot to say I don’t keep a journal maybe I should

      Have Fun

      Helen

    • esthercampionhotmailcom permalink
      12 November 2017 3:07 pm

      Thanks Helen. Very generous of you. I can see bullet journalling working for you … for writing your reviews and keeping track of all the reading you do 🙂

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