Spotlight on Sarah Colliver, Author of the Peggy Rodman Series

Lomogram_2013-05-30_08-32-48-PMA big welcome today to Sarah Colliver, author of the first two instalments of the Peggy Rodman Series, Echoes of the Past – Harry and Echoes of the Past – Eloise. Sarah has kindly agreed to share her thoughts on the inspiration behind her writing and tell us about her blog where she shares her photographs, short stories and poems with readers. Scroll down after reading this post if you would like to read my reviews of the Peggy series. Thank you. Tina 🙂 Now over to Sarah…….

Echoes from the Past – Harry” was my first attempt at sharing any story I have written. I was inspired to write it during the painful time after I suddenly lost my dear Mum and it helped me through the dark days. My relationship with Peggy developed and I continued writing about her using the area I live in for inspiration. The feedback I received was positive and encouraged me to publish the second instalment on Amazon.  Writing “Eloise” – the second part of Peggy’s story was a totally different experience from the first and as I wrote the unfolding twists and turns I was on a journey of discovery myself, just like the character I was creating.  I have recently completed part three, “The Lost Children” and begun a final fourth part. I hope to eventually bring all four parts into one novel eventually.  I tend to correct people when they say I have written four stories as in my mind they are very much one story but in three parts.

Having grown up in Surrey, moving to the Forest only 4 years ago, I am daily surprised and inspired by the beauty surrounding us. We remain determined not to take the spectacular views and changing colours for granted. The seasons here are like a theatrical show with the drama of winter; the dawn of spring; the emerald backdrop of summer and the gilded trees of the autumn. Each act never failing to take your breath away as you stroll through a part of the forest amazed at the changes Mother Nature commands.

I have two sons, like chalk and cheese, who are growing up before my very eyes; a supportive husband who still manages to make me laugh after 18 years and the other two members of our household are my Dad and our crazy beagle – Jess! We muddle along together and generally try and laugh more than we cry.

My hobby is creative writing and I’ve decided to try a more structured approach to it now that my boys are more independent, to see where it takes me. The main thing is I write because I enjoy it and am hoping to continue improving along the way. If anyone gets pleasure from reading my stories, then I am one happy lady!

If you would like to find out more about my writing, you can find me on ‘Facebook’, “Echoes from the Past – Peggy Rodman“- If you stop by I would LOVE to hear from you with your comments! I also have a blog on ‘WordPress’ where I post various items from photographs, short stories and poems to ramblings on everyday life, so head on over if you are interested! I am always keen to hear how people feel and relate to my characters, so please do let me know.

Where you can find me:

http://sarahcolliver.wordpress.com

Amazon UK

Amazon US

https://www.facebook.com/EchoesfromthePast

Echoes from the Past – Part 1- Harry and Part 2 – Eloise (The Peggy Rodman Series), Sarah Colliver

513LlSIAKoL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-067Peggy’s Deductions Help  Spirits Find Peace at Last

These poignant and uplifting tales describe how Peggy Rodman, a wife and mother, uses a new found gift to help  lost and confused spirits make sense of their past and reunite with their loved ones. At the same time Peggy finds some comfort from her own grief at the death of her dear mother. Although both tales brought tears to my eyes, they both ended on a positive note and I found them to be inspirational and uplifting reads in their examination of love, loss and reconciliation in this life and the afterlife.

In Echoes from the Past – Part 1 – Harry, we are introduced to Peggy, the heroine. Peggy has recently moved into a cottage with her husband and two boys.  In the run up to the move Peggy’s mother was taken ill and died.  Peggy is struggling to come to terms with her grief, whilst helping to support others such as her dad, who lives nearby and her two boys who have started a new school. Three months after the move, whilst exploring the area around her new home, she discovers a secret place where she meets a young man called Harry, who she realises lived over a century ago.  Peggy recognises that she has developed a rather extraordinary gift – the ability to interact with spirits of the departed. Harry’s memories of his life are confused and he has become tied to this earthly plane. Peggy helps him to remember and find peace at long last, moving on to be reunited with his loved ones. At the same time Harry’s actions encourage Peggy to find her own peace and start to come to terms with her mother’s passing.

The character of Peggy, a wife and mother, with hopes and fears we are all familiar with, is one which is easy to empathise with.  Peggy is a gentle and thoughtful person, who is very much in tune with her environment and takes pleasure in engaging her senses. She is happy and secure in her relationship with Ed, her husband, and adores her two school age boys. However, she is in a dark place, deeply grieving for her mum, and her ability to communicate with those spirits who remain tied to this world is new to her.

Harry is a lovable character. He is confused and is shocked when Peggy helps him to realise that he is in fact dead and recognises that Peggy is from a time that is not his own. At first he cannot recall much of his life and feels desperately sad. However, with Peggy’s help he is encouraged to make sense of his flashbacks to his past life and eventually his death, enabling him to reunite with his family in the afterlife where he can find happiness again.

Both Peggy and Harry comprehend that something extraordinary is happening and that they have been brought together for a reason. They have a strong physical and emotional connection, which neither understands. I enjoyed the fact that for a ghost, Harry appears very corporeal indeed, like a living breathing person. Indeed, there is reference to Peggy feeling his breath on her cheek, as well as being the recipient of his touch, hugs and kisses. Peggy feels guilty about the attraction she feels for Harry and Harry also feels guilt for he knows that he was happy with his wife and children when he was alive.  Their shared experience of grief enables them to gain comfort from each other.

The story has some mystical, almost fairy tale qualities, especially in how the author describes Peggy’s secret place. I particularly enjoyed the presence of the dove throughout the tale, which I read as a symbol of love and peace and representing a link to the afterlife. For the most part the author’s writing style flowed readily and quickly drew me into the plot and the characters. I would have liked to know a little more about Peggy’s relationship with her husband Ed, which seems very close and loving and hope that this will be explored further in subsequent instalments. I am also curious about Peggy and Harry’s special attraction to one another and wonder if we will be seeing any more of Harry as Peggy’s story unfolds.

I found the tale a very thoughtful and touching read in how it explored the deep emotions connected to death,  grief and  the afterlife. I liked the way that the story concluded and found it to be an inspirational read.

In Echoes from the Past – Part 2 – Eloise, Peggy is getting her life back on track after her mother’s death, whilst a8201da7e24b0a20e32f0e.L._V400995341_[1]-002becoming reconciled to the responsibilities of her special ability. Her joy of life is returning and, at her husband’s suggestion, she applies for a job in Gloucester. It is there, after attending  her interview, that she encounters the troubled spirit of Eloise, who has outstanding issues to resolve before she can pass over peacefully. Peggy is more than happy to assist, especially when she hears her heartbreaking tale. Once again Peggy uses resources available at the local records office to identify some truths previously unknown to Eloise. She also helps Eloise to  remember what happened, helping her to reconcile the past and to reunite with her loved one.

Eloise is a fascinating character, who lived in the late 1800’s. We learn that she was well educated and wanted to contribute to society through working in an area often reserved solely for men. Unusual for a woman of her time, she was able to find work in the offices of the local match factory. Her story focuses on a romance between her and a young man called Charles. Her unfinished business concerns events and misunderstandings which arise soon after she weds him – I will not reveal any more than that as it would spoil the plot for those wishing to read the series.

In this instalment, Peggy grows in confidence and relishes the fact that she can offer help to the troubled spirits she seems to draw to her. We also learn more about her husband Ed and Peggy’s relationship with him. Eloise’s experiences of struggling to justify her role in the workplace as a woman in late Victorian Britain were interesting to reflect on. Peggy comes to realise how lucky she is to have the freedom to work and be a a wife and mother without society judging her harshly. I found the issues raised to be very thought provoking and the conclusion of the tale an uplifting one.

As with Harry’s story, I could sense that the author had carried out a lot of local research into the time and places that her characters inhabited.  This added to my reading experience and added depth to the characters and the narrative. Once again the tale was an emotional one and I welcomed the fact that Peggy was able to help Eloise find peace at last. The two instalments flow almost seamlessly into one another and should be read in order. I am looking forward to the next instalment of Peggy’s story, The Lost Children and the fourth and final instalment which is planned. I recommend the Peggy Rodman Series to those who like to read about the paranormal and explore, in a sensitive way, the issues connected with grief and loss and the veil between the world of the living and those departed.

Reviewed by Tina

To read author Sarah Colliver’s post, in which she talks about her inspiration behind the Peggy Rodman Series, click here.

Author Sarah Colliver’s website/blog http://sarahcolliver.wordpress.com

The Peggy Rodman Series on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Find Sarah Colliver on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EchoesfromthePast