A young woman walks alone through a barren landscape in a time before history, a time of cataclysmic natural change. She is cold, hungry and with child, but not without hope or resources. A skilful hunter, she draws on her intuitive understanding of how to stay alive… and knows that she must survive.
In the present day, geneticist Dr Eloise Kluft wrestles with an ancient conundrum as she unravels the secrets of an important archaeological find. She is working at the cutting edge of contemporary science, but is caught in the lonely time-lock of her own emotional past.
Dear Mr. Darwin is the story of two women separated by millennia but bound by the web of life. A timeless tale of the search for love and knowledge, it is a voyage through science and spirituality, nature and nurture, curiosity and courage.
Although partly set 70,000 years ago, this is very much a book for our times. The story poses some of the crucial questions facing us today from genetics, climate change and migration to the clash between faith and reason, while painting an intimate portrait of who we are as a species.
Alternating between prehistory and the present day, the story unfolds through the adventures of ‘Sarah,’ and the hazards of her marathon journey of migration, and of Dr Eloise Kluft, a dedicated scientist living a comfortable yet troubled existence in modern day London.
The two are connected not only by a set of archaic remains in Dr Kluft’s laboratory, but also by a sense of destiny and a desire to understand the mysteries of life. Both are pioneers, women of passion, grit and imagination, although their day-to-day lives could not be more different.
Sarah’s story is that of sheer determination as she seeks a safe haven from the disaster that has destroyed the rest of her tribe, and fights to keep her infant daughter alive. She must draw on every ounce of willpower and ingenuity, and on the skills inherited from her shaman grandmother and hunter father to live by her wits, moment to moment. Eloise is on her own mission, to unravel the genetic secrets of Sarah and to enhance the well-being and wisdom of the human race. Each is isolated and facing her own particular dangers and decisions, but each is inspired by the power of the life force and driven by love.
As Sarah’s quest reaches its climax and Eloise begins to make exciting progress in the study of her remains, both women face life-threatening events and confrontations... and one of them begins to understand that she must make a terrible but vital sacrifice.
Dear Mr Darwin stands alone as a novel, but also marks the beginning of the intended ‘Children of Sarah’ saga.
Tuesday 12th Sept to Tuesday 26th all pledges for books and other rewards up to £60 will be doubled in net value as donations across 3 Caribbean relief funds.
The snow has stopped and the wind is weakening. The horizon offers many choices, but it is the rise straight ahead that is drawing her. More draining on her dwindling reserves, but with the promise of greater protection and resources if it yields what she hopes it will. She is further south than any of her band imagined could be gained with safety but she can see that this territory once offered great bounty. It is a chance she must take, though she knows that such opportunity might also mean competition.
She is right to have chosen this way. The loose stones gradually grow into boulders and into craggy walls and then open up to weaving pathways between them. There is growth preserved within this sheltering ground. She will gather up some fallen branches to tie together and carry away, in case their journey takes them through barren land again. She senses that other kinds of life may be hiding here, though she sees no tracks yet, the snowfall is too fresh. Even so, this would be a good place to set multiple traps and wait. She takes note of all the best positions for a snare, then selects a winding walkway and pushes forward.
And then she knows that they are not alone.
Her pace quickens with her pulse. Every sense springs to readiness, blade-sharp and alert. Skin prickles over muscles that are both tight and yet ready for action. She listens beyond the breeze, smells the dusty heartbeat of the earth. This is the feeling of the chase. Except this time, they are the prey.
She has heard it, felt it, knows it is circling them… following. How big? Too big to fight. Too powerful, probably, to outrun. Is there anywhere safe to climb? But then they will have to outwait it and they can’t. It is a battle of patience she may not win. She knows she must outsmart it.
Since funding I have taken some time to fine-tune my manuscript before handing it over to my editor at Unbound for the first structural edit. That is due back just before Christmas when I will have the opportunity to consider all suggestions and see how I can further improve or correct the book, before its next incarnation.
So, on the theme of nativity / rebirth / the joy of books, herewith…
There's not much more to say right now than:
THANK YOU ALL!!!
You are wonderful people, each and every one, and I will do my very best to justify your faith in me.
Once I know more about the next steps and their timings I will be in touch. Right now there are bubbles to imbibe / get down me neckkk (scouse DNA will out.)
A crazy few weeks with the 'day job' (including the must-have IT issues when at most hectic, of course) but lovely silver linings have formed by hitting 89% funding, (including the backing of a writer I very much admire. Though of course, I madly love and admire every single person who has taken the trouble to back me. Heroes, every one of you. What's more the double your dough donations thing raised…
Ok, not real dragons (because they exist, after all) but at least a dragon's den. Ok, not the real Dragon's Den, but a literary one at Waterstone's Gower Street, in which yours truly channelled all relevant experience of pitching/pleading/presenting/performing/prostrating-herself/pity-seeking and any other relevant 'p' words to get past that so-near-I-can-taste-the-prosecco finish line.
Hello, been a bit distracted past few days with the horrors of hurricane #Irma, especally as I have a very close bond with the Virgin Islands (US and British). I am sure you have all seen the devastation, no need to elaborate on the suffering. (Several supporters here are from there and have family there, two are stranded there right now.) There are many help efforts being co-ordinated, please see…
Sooo... two new pledges, Sapien Special and Word to the Wise mean that you get a #bespoke #poem in advance of your book-in-wating! Come on, surely you know someone who needs a handful of couplets? Can't sleep without a sonnet? Needs to feel the freedom of the open verse? And it's a flamin' bargain too! Here's an example that might shame many a proper poet, but which this poor rhyme peddlar is happy…
Hello you lovely people... Don't worry, not asking for anything! Just wanted to share my 75 word story which featured on Paragraph Planet today (21/8/17). As it will be up for today only, and I am not sure when you will see this update, here is both the link, and the full paragraph copied in below. (Not that anyone as rational as us lot believe in good omens or anything, but I am loving that this…
Help her get there... or to those who already have, please share with anyone else you can think of who loves a great #story with #kickasswomen doing a bit of #science and a lot of #survival and keeping that #human #DNA going, while also doing some #loving when they can, and trying to stay#courageous #curious #coolpeople in the meantime! Get those #booklovers on board to #preorder their #holidayreading…
Facebook buddies may have already seen this, but in case it's of interest (especially to those who like to see authors torturing themselves) here's a video of a 5 minute pitch for pre-orders of the book, filmed live at a pub in Peckham. (Well it's the very nice Beer Shop in Nunhead, actually, but I'm a sucker for alliteration, so I am stretching the geography.) Thanks to the other Unbound authors…
Feeling very thankful - several lovely pledges this week and to be counted in the company of the amazing group that make up the Unbound author family (and it really does feel like a family.) And on Thursday night I get to push myself into a whole new world of abandoned pride with a pledge party in a Peckham pub (and I wasn't even trying for the evil that is alliteration. Though as evils go, it is…
...and he liked cats, apparently. More than people. Well, we are a bloody difficult, complex lot, eh? And yet extraordinary. Capable of so much, for good or bad. #Fiction #withabitofscience #butmostlystorytelling #withcharactersyoumightlike #onthehumanadventure #lifeisalwaysevolving #lovekeepsusgoing
What defines our elusive sense of coming home? My novel, Dear Mr Darwin, features a marathon journey in which the protagonist is seeking refuge far from her native terrain. She is, in essence, an exile, forcibly estranged from the familiar.
Often it is only in retrospect that a writer realises her characters have emerged not only from imagination, or hours of research, or the initial…
#humanity #courage #compassion #competition #cooperate #moreincommon #history #science #adapt #survive #nothingstandsstill
#earth #theonlylifeweknowofforsureintheuniverseishere #wearesoluckytobehereatall #ancientancestors #journey #evolution #trialanderror #astonishing #universe #lifeforce #keeplearning #keeptrying #keepsharing
How lovely to be featured on The Literary Consultancy website! (And for the experts to call my book 'excellent' ! )
(Can't recommend these guys enough...)
Thanks so much for all the fantastic reactions and support for Dear Mr Darwin so far! It's been just over 24 hours since going live and it's all so very exciting and positive. This book, this labour of love, a piece of work that I have enjoyed every minute of creating, is written and ready and raring to go! (Bar, of course the highly valued editing, input, design, advice etc., from the lovely, lovely…
These people are helping to fund Dear Mr Darwin.