Sunday, August 14, 2016

Christina Hollis: Fast Forward, Reverse...and Writing

The Man In Grey
When I was a teenager, the world was full of old people. Now it's crammed with kids—including Son No. 1, resplendent in his new suit and ready to start in the sixth form next month while I'm still trying to lose the baby weight. Where does the time go? Breakfast comes around every ten minutes in this house, and there are only 131 shopping days to Christmas!

A century ago today, my grandfather (along with thousands of other soldiers of the Great War) was fighting near Baghdad. It was his way of thanking the British Empire for saving him from the poisonous mud of the Thames  (you can read more about that here). Fewer than a hundred years ago, horses and carts outnumbered motor vehicles, and the only planes were made from string and matchwood held together with crossed fingers and good luck. The phrase "wing and a prayer" originates in World War Two, but I'll bet there were no atheists in those earlier aircraft, either.

These days we think nothing of hopping on a sturdily-manufactured plane and crossing the globe for work, or on holiday. What my grandfather looked back on as The Good Old Days of army life (three square meals a day and three—yes that's three!—sets of clothes: one on, one in the laundry, and Dress Uniform) is far beyond living memory. I look back fondly to pre-internet times, although whether the past was quite as rosy in real life for either Gramps or me is a moot point. I hated school, and left as soon as I could.  I dived straight into various office jobs, which at the time were all cauldrons of ambition, powered by Darwin's edict of survival of the fittest.
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Throwing off the shoulder pads and power-perm to become a writer was the best thing I ever did...but that doesn't stop me getting a bit misty-eyed when I look back on those days. It was only when I included some of my real-life office experiences in His Majesty's Secret Passion that I remembered what a cut-throat business keeping your name in front of the boss could be.  Writing all the other bits of the romance reviewers call "thrilling" and "...highly sensual and shimmering with emotional intensity" was a whole lot more fun. All that, and Grecian sea and sun, too!

Going back to talk of our grand old family tradition of carefully avoiding following in a parent's footsteps, my children look on learning as their lifeboat (although they've come close to capsizing now and then). They put their trust in paper qualifications, rather than luck and native cunning. I don't blame them. Especially when Son No. 1 looks so smart in his new suit!

When she isn't cooking, gardening or beekeeping, Christina Hollis writes contemporary fiction starring complex men and independent women.  Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and she’s sold nearly three million books worldwide. You can catch up with her at, on Twitter, Facebook, and see a full list of her published books at
Her current release, Heart Of A Hostage, is published by The Wild Rose Press and available at  worldwide, and from in the US.

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