Shifting Time

Hello Lovelies,

What an interesting week it has been! I’ve had a major breakthrough with my current WIP and I’m right on track with my word-count goal for this month! I also went to a sort of flea market (I suppose you would call it) and discovered a few literary treasures! Nearly all of them are in Hungarian, however I found one children’s book written in German from 1938 (prior to the outbreak of WWII in 1939), a Hungarian translation of Jerome K. Jerome’s “Three Men in a Boat”, a Hungarian translation of August Strindberg’s short story “Historical Miniatures” from the early 1900s and the most favourite of my findings -a translated copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death”.

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A German children’s book from 1938
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“Three Men in a Boat” by Jerome K. Jerome
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“Historical Miniatures” A Short Story by Swedish writer August Stringberg, published early 1900s

I didn’t believe it to be real when I first saw it, it’s not a first edition by any means (the short story originally was published in 1842 in a magazine) and this edition is in the form of a small booklet and was printed in 1919. From doing a little research, it seems this booklet was one of 12 translated “classics” that were offered for sale in Budapest. Each short story included both the original story, int he language it was first published (i.e. English, French etc.) as well as the Hungarian translation. Being published in 1919, this would have been during the time when Hungary was reeling from the aftermath of WWI and depending on the exact date of publication, could have been during the time of short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic or perhaps it was published in late 1919 when the Kingdom of Hungary was reestablished. Hungary was a very unsettled country in the aftermath of WWI, so to find this classic as a relatively intact bilingual edition (all pages are there but damaged around the edges) buried in a pile of books ranging from the early 1900s to the present was quite a find!

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A Bilingual edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death”. This edition published in 1919.

This little market adventure has also given me a little inspiration for my current WIP and I can feel a piece of the story falling into place. There’s nothing like immersing yourself in history in order to gain some inspiration and in keeping with that theme I also visited the Budapest History Museum in Buda Castle. There was a section of one of the permanent exhibitions that included furniture and items from the early 1900s, perfect inspiration for my current WIP! Looking at the family dining table, the writing desk and the other bits and pieces, I began to imagine József and his surroundings, the things that he did, where he might sit to eat his supper, the possibilities and imaginings are limitless.

I’ve also changed the opening of my WIP, in order to have a better lead in to the main narrative. This will also help to link József’s story with Rose’s, which actually occurs some years after. By making this change, I’ve found that the story is beginning to flow a lot more freely, the words are coming without me having to try and force them. So it seems at this point that I have made the right decision.

“Rules such as “Write what you know,” and “Show, don’t tell,” while doubtlessly grounded in good sense, can be ignored with impunity by any novelist nimble enough to get away with it. There is, in fact, only one rule in writing fiction: Whatever works, works.”
Tom Robbins

So for now, I’m going to go with Tom Robbins’ advice and stick with whatever works! And as long as it is working, I’ll keep going with it!

As a treat for reading this far I have a little sneak peek into some of the changes that I’ve made, remember this is still very much a first draft and who knows how much of it I’ll actually delete before I’m satisfied with it!



József sat in the small chair next to the girl’s bed, matching each small, short breath she took with his own, counting. She was still breathing, still alive. At least that was some sort of reassurance, perhaps he had found her in time and had not completely failed her altogether.

It was the early hours of the morning, that moment between night and day, the moment when the light of day is trying to chase away the darkness of the night and there was much darkness to be chased away on this day. His shoulders and back ached, he had no notion of how many hours he had been sitting in that chair, but he knew the chair seemed a lot softer when he first sat. Yet still, he continued to sit, despite the assurances of the Sisters that they would keep vigil and contact him should there be any changes. He couldn’t help but feel responsible for the girl, so he stayed. The shoulders of his solid frame, slumped slightly with exhaustion. Despite his obvious exhaustion, his body emanated a sense of strength, physically, mentally, emotionally, coming from within. He wasn’t a young man, he was old enough to be the girl’s father and if it wasn’t for the vast differences in their physical appearance, it was surely what this scene appeared to be – a father, who was beyond exhausted, keeping vigil at his daughter’s side, hoping that through mere strength and stubbornness he could grant her the strength to fight and the will to live.  


© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


I Want to See the World

Hello Lovelies,

I’ve written before about the unique ability books have to transport you anywhere and everywhere. With a good book in hand time, space and distance are not a concern. A well written book has the ability to take you places you’ve longed to visit and also places that you’ve never even thought existed. Whether these literary places actually exist or not is not of concern, in your mind you’ve been to many different places, in many different times in the past, the present and perhaps the distant future.

Even though we have travelled to many different places in our minds, with the help of a good book, sometimes it only leaves you longing for more. Sometimes you still long to experience the “real thing” and the book itself does nothing but spur on your desire to see the world.

You see, last week for my birthday one of my closest friends bought me the first volume of the Outlander series on DVD (thanks Jess!), as she understands my appreciation for a man with a great accent. The books by Diana Gabaldon, that the series is based on, have been on my TBR list for quite some time, but as the list kept increasing I haven’t actually gotten around to reading them. After watching the first few episodes I am totally hooked, but not just on the good looks of the men in kilts and the great accents, but also the setting of the series – the Scottish Highlands.

This got me thinking about other places in the world I would love to explore with my family and I came up with a list of sorts I would like to share with you all. Some of the places on the list are inspired by books, authors and works of fiction, others are there for other reasons which I will attempt to explain.

Salzburg and Vienna, Austria

Salzburg, Austria                    Image courtesy of Flickr CC Dimitry B.  

These are two places I have longed to visit since I was a little girl and first saw the movie “The Sound of Music”. Of course I loved the musical element to the movie, but I was also in awe of the beautiful locations included in this cinematic classic. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have seen this movie and also the number of hours I have spent on the internet Googling the story of the real Von Trapp family, as well as the locations used in the movie. I also really would love to say, “In the morning, I’m going to Vienna,” just like Captain Von Trapp.

Scottish Highlands, Scotland

Scottish Highlands. Image courtesy of Flickr CC Kristel Jeuring
Scottish Highlands.
Image courtesy of Flickr CC Kristel Jeuring

I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with Scotland in general, the history, the kilts, the accent, the Loch Ness Monster and of course the beautiful Scottish Highlands. After watching Outlander, my fascination with Scotland has only increased and I would love to be able to explore the region with my family, you can call me sassenach, I won’t take offence.

Hill Top, Cumbria UK

Hill Top, UK Image courtesy of Flickr CC Yvonne Eijkenduijn
Hill Top, UK
Image courtesy of Flickr CC Yvonne Eijkenduijn

If you’re not familiar with Hill Top, it is the beloved place where Beatrix Potter took inspiration for many of her stories and characters. As a lover of many of the classic Beatrix Potter characters and tales, Hill Top is definitely anothere place I would love to explore in person.

4. Château d’Ussé, France

Image Courtesy of Flickr CC Cristian Bortes
Image Courtesy of Flickr CC Cristian Bortes

Once upon a time, a princess slept for 100 years. The Château d’Ussé provided the inspiration for Charles Perrault’s tale, now commonly known  as Sleeping Beauty. You don’t have to be a writer to appreciation the fact that this picturesque castle was the inspiration for one of the most memorable fairy tales, in fact Charles Perrault is credited with laying the foundations for the development of the entire fairy tale genre.

Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, Buckinghamshire UK

Image courtesy of Flickr CC marcus_jb1973
Image courtesy of Flickr CC marcus_jb1973

Roald Dahl, author of Matilda, The Twits, The Witches, The BFG, James and the Giant Peach and countless other magnificent pieces of literary brilliance. Any lover of literature cannot deny the indelible mark that Roald Dahl has left on the literary world. I’ve recently began sharing some of Roald Dahl’s brilliance with my seven year old daughter and my boys love watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the original film with Gene Wilder. I cannot wait to hopefully explore this wonderful museum one day and even though the webpage says the museum is aimed at 6-12 year olds, I’m pretty sure the adults would love to explore this great destination as well.

Bran Castle, Transylvania Romania

Image courtesy of Flickr CC Voyages Lambert
Image courtesy of Flickr CC Voyages Lambert

Bram Stoker’s gothic novel, Dracula, was inspired by the legends told of Prince Vlad III, known as Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Tepes), who is said to have lived in Bran Castle. I love places that have a story to tell and Bran Castle is definitely one of those places, perhaps not the same story Bram Stoker had to tell, but a very interesting story nonetheless.

Hans Christian Andersen Museum, Copenhagen Denmark

Image courtesy of Flickr CC Eugene Phoen
Image courtesy of Flickr CC Eugene Phoen

Having grown up with many of Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved fairy tales, such as The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, The Emperor’s New Clothes and so on, visiting the childhood home of such a magnificent writer definitely had to make my list of places to see.

Venice, Italy

Image courtesy of Flickr CC David Henderson
Image courtesy of Flickr CC David Henderson

Like I’ve said, I love a place with a story to tell and I think Venice would have many great stories to reveal from its past. As the setting for Shakespeare’s Othello, I believe Venice would offer a wonderful world of inspiration and history which anyone could enjoy, although I have heard that it does smell a little.


Vajdahunyad Castle Hungary. Image courtesy of Flickr CC Bruno Girin
Vajdahunyad Castle Hungary.
Image courtesy of Flickr CC Bruno Girin.

Those of you who know me, would understand why the entire country of Hungary has been included on this list, in fact you might even be asking why it wasn’t first on the list. Well, perhaps I was saving the best for last or something. Hungary is a country steeped in tradition with many beautiful sites, castles and rich history, making it an ideal place of inspiration for just about any writer. In fact, as I’ve already said, Bram Stoker’s gothic novel Dracula was inspired by the stories and legends of Vlad the Impaler, from Transylvania. Transylvania at the time was actually part of Hungary. The country of Hungary has a rich and colourful history and the legends and fairytales of each region are fascinating. The legends of vampires is often said to have originated with the legends and stories of Vlad the Impaler and Elizabeth Bathory (Báthory Erzsébet), more commonly known as Count and Countess Dracula, two separate people in Hungarian history, whose lives gave fuel to the legends and myths of vampires.

IAs you may have noticed, I am very much a lover of history and I’m always interested in the stories and history of a particular place or location. Some of the locations on this list are purely for ‘fan girl’ reasons and others are for reasons of inspiration, exploration and adventure. This is by no means a definitive list, but simply a short list of some of the places I would love to explore.

Now it’s over to you, what ‘bookish’ places would you love to visit?



© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Whole New World

Hello Lovelies,

One of the truly amazing things about writing (and reading) is the unique opportunity to explore different worlds. Books have the unique ability to transport us through time and space to different worlds and times. While constantly researching the setting for Lonely Hearts and the other books in the series, I have had to wonderful opportunity to not only explore different places, but also to explore a completely different time period.

Lonely Hearts is the story of Rose, beginning in The Rocks in Sydney Australia in February 1935. As part of my research I have not only been exploring The Rocks and Sydney as it was in 1935, but also what the world was like in the 1930s. Through my research I have been shown a whole new world, seeing places I never knew existed and in the words of Princess Jasmine I’ve found, “A dazzling place I never knew.”

CLip remains the property of Disney Animation Studios

What is even more amazing about this new world, is that it is the world that my grandparents grew up in and it has been amazing to gain a glimpse into the world of their early childhood. My grandparents were born in England in the early 1930s and my grandmother will be celebrating her 80th birthday next month!

The thirties was a truly interesting and glamourous era, despite the recession caused by the aftermath of WWI and The Great Crash of 1929 (now known as The Great Depression)  it was a time of glamour that was influenced by Hollywood. The age of the cinema allowed for people to escape from the reality of their everyday lives for a moment and stars like Joan Crawford, Myrna Loy and Greta Garbo influenced the fashion of the day.

From Flickr Creative Commons User -The Bees Knees Daily
From Flickr Creative Commons User -The Bees Knees Daily

The 1930s may now be known as The Great Depression, but I think the women of the era missed the memo and the fashion changed from the straight line dresses of the twenties to a rediscovery of the female form, fashion was flirty without being too revealing, with fitted waist lines and often full skirts, occasionally puff sleeves and shoulder pads in contrast to the fitted waist. Crossover and v-necklines were very common with skirt length being mid-calf for day wear and ankle length for evening wear.

Flickr CC -genibee
Flickr CC -genibee

I really am completely enthralled by this new world I have discovered and I can only hope that I pass on the findings of my discovery to my readers.

“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”
Anne Lamott

Now I leave you with a short excerpt from Chapter 2 of Lonely Hearts, enjoy.


As József escorts Mr Heath to the shop front, he pauses in front of the counter I’m sitting behind, I stand and smile politely, pushing aside my wayward thoughts, “It was a pleasure meeting you Mr Heath, I hope your meeting went well and that we’ll be seeing you around every now and then.” I fib, knowing exactly how well the meeting went. He smiles his swoon-worthy lop-sided smile, “Rose, please it’s Thomas and yes very well indeed, but I think you already knew that didn’t you?” I give a small embarrassed smile as he leans in closer, mere inches from my face, “And believe me Rose, the pleasure was entirely mine.” The instant he steps back I feel bereft, as if I would do anything to feel him that close to me again, his breath caressing my cheek. As I attempt to restore my composure, Thomas extends his hand towards me in offer of a handshake. I gingerly extend my hand towards his, still embarrassed as the thought of my extended handshake earlier this morning comes to mind. Taking me by surprise, he gently grasps my hand, caressing my knuckles with his thumb and kisses the back of my hand causing me to shiver involuntarily, “Until next time.”…

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Quest for Knowledge and Understanding

Hello lovelies,

Welcome to another post.
Last week I spoke about setting the scene and introduced you to “Heath Manor”. I was going to share with you a description of Heath Manor from the perspective of Thomas William Heath, but I haven’t done much writing in the past week so that will have to wait until later, so stay tuned.

This past week I’ve been doing some research and character development, including the creation of the Heath Family Tree!

Through my research I’ve come to realise that I do not know much about the era in which the main part of my story is set. As I have said in previous posts, the setting for my story came to me as a dream, (I know, ultimate cliché) and your subconscious is limited to your own knowledge. So I have been doing a lot of research about the 1930s and I am beginning to gain a small insight into the era.

I want to know everything that there is to know about my characters. I want to know what Thomas’ favourite music is, what his relationship with his grandmother is like and how he met Maggie. I want to know what Thomas sees when he looks at Maggie, what type of clothes Maggie wears, how she does her hair and how her style and fashion differs from her grandmother-in-law.

The questions are endless, some of the answers are locked within my mind, waiting for release, other answers require research, lots of research!

I have already begun this research, with the help of Google. I have also enlisted the help if my own grandmother, who was born in 1934, who has been going through some photos of her mother’s that I cant wait to have a look at!

I thought I might share with you a few things that I have learnt about Thomas William Heath.
• His parents migrated to Sydney, Australia with his grandmother before he was born
• He was born May 13th, 1910 (a Friday)
• His parents, William John Heath and Emily Louise Heath, died in 1918, during the Spanish influenza epidemic, leaving him in the care of his grandmother Agnes Mary Heath
• He is from an aristocratic family, even though the family is wealthy, Thomas is a grounded person, who wishes to work for a living, despite his great inheritance.
Some of the details I have of Thomas are very specific but I still have a lot of work to do, other details I have of Thomas I have purposely left out, as I don’t want to give away the whole story! Some details about Thomas are just for my eyes only. As Thomas is the narrator for the majority of the story, this is the character I need to know best, I need to completely understand this character if I am going to be convincing in my writing.

The picture on this post you may have seen on my Facebook page, it is of a woman holding a typewriter ribbon. When looking at the photo I notice the poise and posture, the way she stands with confidence and touch of elegance. Her hair is impeccably styled, adding a hint of glamour and grace. This picture intrigues me and there is much I do not know about this picture and the era it is from, something I intend to rectify.

So here’s to happy research and the quest for knowledge and understanding.

Until next week, lovely people,


Image courtesy of SMU Central University Library

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.