|Head of Zeus
My thanks to the publisher for the invitation to this blog tour
Londoners Eleanor and Edward Hamilton have wealth, status, and a happy marriage—but the 1929 financial crash is looming, and they’re harboring a terrible, shameful secret. How far are they willing to go to protect their charmed life—even if it means abandoning their child to a horrific fate?
Eleanor Hamilton is happily married and mother to a beautiful four-year-old girl, Mabel. Her wealthy husband, Edward, a celebrated war hero, is a leading light in the burgeoning Eugenics movement—the very ideas that will soon be embraced by Hitler—and is increasingly important in designing education policy for Great Britain.
But when Edward and Eleanor’s otherwise perfectly healthy daughter develops debilitating epileptic seizures, their world fractures. Mabel’s shameful illness must be hidden or Edward’s life’s work will be in jeopardy and the family’s honor will be shattered.
When Eleanor discovers Edward has been keeping secrets, she calls into question everything she believed about genetic inferiority, and her previous unshakeable faith in her husband disintegrates. Alarmed, distressed, and no longer able to bear the family’s burden, she takes matters into her own hands.
On Today's Blog Tour Stop I am delighted to have an exclusive guest post from the author
Here are Louise's writing tips
It is very easy when writing a first draft to feel what you are putting on the page is never in a million years going to match up to the books you read, admire, and aspire to write. Try to remember that all those beautiful books were once rough first drafts that possibly bore little resemblance to the finished product. Every book goes through multiple drafts, and has input from many people, from beta-readers to agents and editors. It really does take a small village to produce a book!
Related to that, I would also say, don’t try to fix everything in the first draft, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes and experiment. Subsequent drafts are for layering, improving, adding and deleting. Even if you are a planner, when writing the book it is fine to go ‘off plan’. Sometimes this can lead to great things! When writing The Hidden Child, I never planned to include epilepsy itself as a character. One day I just had the feeling this could work, and I decided to write a section as ‘him’. That character has indeed remained a part of the book. Sometimes it doesn’t work. I tried originally to write from a very young child’s point of view but getting into the head of a four-year-old simply wasn’t working, and all that ended up being scrapped. Never be afraid to throw words away – cutting things out can improve the book as much, if not more so, than adding to it.
I would also advise not being in too much of a hurry. I think this is a mistake many new writers make, including me! I finished the first draft of my debut novel, which truthfully took several years to write, and was so keen to send it off to agents that I did so much too early. Of course, rejections followed. It took another two years of getting a professional editor’s report, an extensive rewrite and several more edits before I sent it out again. Only then was I successful in obtaining my agent. Never be afraid to get other opinions on your work before trying to submit it. If you can afford a professional editor to look at it that is one option, but not a necessity. An avid reading friend or two who you trust to be entirely honest is also just as valuable. Be prepared to listen to advice or thoughts about your work. It can always be improved, but not every opinion from others may be correct. You should trust your own judgement as to whether you think they have a point or not.
Finally, do remember to be proud of all your achievements along the way, however small and insignificant they may seem. Our brains are programmed to keep moving the goalposts and what once would have seemed an impossible dream can, once it’s been achieved, feel suddenly like not an achievement at all.
Remind yourself of where you were, and where you are now, and be sure to celebrate all the steps in between.
Louise writes twentieth century historical fiction, based around unheard voices, or from unusual perspectives.Louise lives in Surrey with her husband, children, two naughty cats and small dog Bonnie, who is the best writing companion she could ask for. Always at her side when she writes and listens most patiently when Louise needs to talk through a tricky plot problem. She is currently working on her third novel.
Twitter @FeinLouise #TheHiddenChild