Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Ask A Question Thursday

June 27, 2019


As writers we are also avid readers, not only for pleasure but for research for our story line, be it historical, geographical or even the specifics of a particular genre.

What books do you keep for sentimental reasons? Is it a childhood story book, your first writing craft textbook or something else.

I’m not talking about our burgeoning bookcase horde but particular books that you love for the memories they evoke.

I have several older books (although some were lost when I immigrated to Canada unfortunately). Grey Rabbit as you can see from the impression dates was first published in 1948. The Hiawatha book was a prize for a national art competition, my first grand prize. And the last book is about my birth place.


Why not share your oldest and most loved books in the comments?




Split Personality..?

June 17, 2013

Effrontery – definition: shameless or impudent boldness : barefaced audacity

Whilst deciding on my response to this word, I came across this wonderfully brave blog post.

I am quite a contradiction – possibly because I’m a Gemini, but who knows. From early childhood among family and people I knew I was out-going and sociable, but take me to a new environment and I became a clam. A meek little mouse. I’ll give you an example of each ‘personality.


At home and with my friends, I was always into cycle and go-cart races and building camps in the woods. Yep, I was a tom-boy, first degree. When we built camps a rival gang would smash it, then we would smash theirs. An on-going battle so to speak. Then one day the rival gang got hold of my younger brother, Simon. Well, you might as well have taken a tiger cub from its mother. I found a piece of chain (don’t ask me where I have no idea!) I was on the war path. I confronted this gang, swinging the chain and demanding they release my brother or else. As you would expect they complied. Decades later my other brother, Jon happened to meet up with one of these boys in a local pub. This grown man asked if Jon was my brother. He said yes. The next statement is word for word. “Mandy was so scary, we were all afraid of her.” Now to give you an idea of the background of these boys, most of their fathers were in prison – tough may be but not when faced with an angry girl with a chain.

As the eldest, I fiercely stood up for my brothers and sister and my friends. A trait I still have.

In complete contrast when I began secondary school (age 11) I was the shy, silent pupil in the class. Keeping out of the way of everyone. Trying to be invisible. Back at home, after school though, I was the former personality. In new situations I am still shy and retiring until I feel comfortable.

Do you have opposing traits in your personality? Have you written a character with a split personality?

Where’s Your Happy Place..?

June 5, 2013

Halcyon – definition: calm : tranquil : peaceful : happy

Where is your happy place?


With spring in full flow here on the prairie’s, the trees have burst forth with waxy new leaves, the bird’s are busy building nests and evening’s can be spent on the deck. From my writing desk I can view through the front and back of the house onto the acreage so I am surrounded by nature – perfect. Gone are the stark grey and black birch tree trunks of the winter months. Squirrels scamper about, woodpeckers are busy drumming, and butterflies flutter. There are flashes of bushy tails  and vibrant wings against the green foliage. The air is full of bird song and croaking frogs with an evening chorus from the coyotes. Life is abundant.



New Writing DEsk 003So my happy place is either at my desk with the windows open or on the deck or walking (although the walking has been curbed somewhat with my back problems of late).

As a young child, one of my happy places was actually a small graveyard – bizarre I know, what can I say I was a strange child! I would sit in the quiet stillness underneath a willow tree beside a child’s gravestone. I cannot really explain why I felt so peaceful there but I did. Most of the time I was playing with numerous friends on bicycles, go-karts, building camps in the forest or generally hanging out but sometimes I just needed that peaceful place. Maybe it was because I was the oldest child of four and I wanted some space? Whatever the reason I felt re-charged and calm after visiting my special place.

Now-a-days, I can ‘escape’ into my creative world just as easily and find happiness there but experiencing life is always fun.

Toady…do childhood memories inspire?

March 8, 2013

 Toady – definition: a person who flatters another in the hopes of receiving favors.

The-Wind-in-the-WillowsMy first thought when I read this word was Toad of Toad Hall. It was a favorite book when I was growing up – Wind in the Willows. Fascinating animal characters in a natural environment. Then the realization came that my current project is about animal characters in a forest helped by woodland sprites. Is there a sub-conscious link to my childhood do you think? I hadn’t thought of Toad and his friends in more decades than I care to mention but maybe they linger in the depths of my mind. I had thought I was writing this particular story because my parents were always very keen for  my siblings and I to understand and appreciate the natural world around us. Possibly it is a combination of the two. I have passed on my parents legacy to my children and my current project, Ockleberries to the Rescue is partly inspired by the stories I told them when they were little. Their favorite outing was always a wildlife park preferring them over zoos. The animals have so much more space to live in.

Could our current themes or genres be influenced by childhood memories and favorite books? My pal, Vikki at The View Outside discussed favorite books from childhood in a recent post so I thought it only fitting to put it here.

When you consider what you write now is there any link to your childhood? It may not be so startling obvious as mine is in regard to my current project but what are the underlying traits in your work?

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