Sunday, July 22, 2007

Great Big Blog Party 42 Iris Gower

It's a special delight and honour to introduce you to the fabulous lady who is today's Guest Blogger. Those of you who have visited here often will know that I make no secret of how much the BM and I enjoy our visits to Wales in the summer - and how much we love taking part in the wonderful Writers' Holidays in Caerleon. We've been back so often now that it doesn't seem like work, even though we've both run courses or give a Main Lecture while we're there. But what we love most about Caerleon is that it's a writers' event with heart. And at the heart of Caerleon are three special people - the organisers Anne and Gerry Hobbs - and the hugely successful Welsh novelist Iris Gower.
I invited Anne and Gerry to blog here but they are always so very busy at this time of year - organising this year's Caerleon event which starts again on July 29th. And Iris is not at all used to blogging. But I managed to persuade her to write me a small message and offer one of her great books as a prize as part of the celebrations.

Iris Gower was born in Swansea and she draws the inspiration for her books from the rich history of the sea side town she loves.

Iris had her first best seller in 1983 with the publication of COPPER KINGDOM a tale of hardship in the gruelling heat of the smelting works on the Hafod Bank of the river Tawe. It was a book of human passions, of poverty despair and finally triumph and it continues to be reprinted and held in the libraries. Iris is the only Welsh writer in the top ten Welsh library list of lends and in the national list Iris is solidly in the top hundred.

Folllowing the sucess of Copper Kingdom Iris went on to write a best selling book every year and so established her reputation as a writer of excellence in her genre both here and overseas. Iris's sales run into millions of copies. Iris's latest book ACT OF LOVE about the old time music hall in the Palace Theatre in Swasea. The paperback edition is due out in July as is her new hardback BARGAIN BRIDE.

The writer of historical fiction was honoured for her impeccable research by the awarding of two honorary fellowships one from the University of Wales Swansea and one from The Institute of Higher Education in Swansea. Iris is now working on her new novel entitled 'Fool's Gold' that deals with the goldmining history of Wales.

I met Iris on my very first visit to Caerleon - a pint sized, flame haired lady who is full of life and spirit that I only saw dimmed when she suddenly and tragically lost her beloved husband. But three years later, when she met Peter, the brilliant smile came back to her eyes and her lips . I was thrilled and honoured when Iris and Peter made the long journey from Swansea to Lincoln to join my Writers' Weekend and 50th title celebration last month. With typical Iris style she charmed everyone there including my twenty-something Offspring! I'm so looking forward to the end of next week when once again I'll be heading for Caerleon and a week at Writers' Holidays - and I'll be meeting up with Iris and Peter and everyone else again.

As I said, Iris is new to web sites and blogging, but I was delighted when she wrote a small message and offered a prize as part of my Great Big Blog Party.

Hi to all Kate's reader and to mine I hope. Iris Gower - me - has a new book out and that will be free to any reader who sends me the most interesting comments on my wonderful country of Wales. Act of Love came out on July 2nd and is in paperback right now.
Congtatulations to Kate for the publication of her 5oth novel I think I have only written 30! Now not being a wizz kid like Kate I'm not sure if my website address is or try both. I hope to hear from readers soon I'm new at blogging and need the practice!

Love to all,


Iris Gower

Note from Kate - Iris's web site is HERE

IRIS'S GIVEAWAY: A copy of Act of Love - which I will personally get Iris to sign when I'm with her in Caerleon next week
GIVEAWAY QUESTION: What does Wales mean to you - if you've visited this beautiful country, what do you love best about it, or if you've never been to Wales what would you like to see most - where would you like to visit? And what images do you imagine when you think of Wales?


Ayla said...

What does Wales mean to me?

Wales is my home, im a born and bred cardiffian myself, and its where i get all my inspiration from. Not having ever travelled far afield, i find myself wondering to and from places in Cardiff and imagining the fantastic worlds i write about.

I would love to visit brecon and the Gower, snowdon, places like that, i've been to caerleon twice myself, but i never knew there was a writers workshop there!
Something to look into for next year.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Wales means my father's heritage. I would looove to visit some of the beautiful castles in Wales and if possible, stay at one. A three month castle-seeing tour sounds about right. :D

And I would love to find my father's family that still live in Wales. I have no idea where they are located, but I would search for them once I landed there.

Hugs, JJ/Blue

ilona said...

To me Wales is a great place to live and grow. Love and laugh and generally be happy.

Because Wales was the place my husband grew up and the place he bought me to as a young bride. It is also the place where my two youngest children were born and the place my own parents retired to. I wouldn't live anywhere else now (and this is from a person who has travelled all her life until finding Wales).

juliemt said...

Hi Iris,
I live in Malta and your books are hugely popular here in libraries. I've never been to Wales but it's a place I'd love to visit. I imagine that it's a country full of rolling green hills, mist shrouded valleys and marshes and a wonderful lilting language that's like music to the ears.


Dena said...

I've never been to Wales or Europe,I would love to that's for sure. When I think of Wales my thoughts are about what I've read in books. Old castles and beautiful lands with people very proud of their heritage.

diane said...

I would love to visit Wales. This country has natural beauty, romantic castles, rolling moorlands and the Gower Peninsula. Incomparable setting.

jenna said...

Wales is a fascinating and intriguing country which can mesmerize you with its unique beauty. It weaves its spell upon you and never lets go.

joelle said...

Wales would be a wonderful place to visit since it has so much history and diverse areas. To travel through the mountains and then to see the various peninsulas would be a memorable experience. Romantic sights which would be alluring and gorgeous, long nights during the summertime.

Virginia said...

I have never been to Wales. I have never traveled out of the US but would love to. When I think of Wales I see a lot of large castles and proud people. I would love to go through the castles. We have proud people in the US, but not large castles. It would really be something to see.

annie said...

When I think of Wales I see sparkling water, green rolling hills and valleys and a wonderful mystique to this fairytale place. The castles are provide a romantic interlude to this special background.

sabrina said...

Wales is a country of contrasts. Mystical beauty with a rainforest climate which is gentle and kind to the inner soul. Green and rolling countryside with castles and lovely romantic scenic vistas.

pearl said...

Wales means a very unique place called Portmeirion. A fairytale site which was a dream. Surrounded by the greenery of the hills and valleys and the presence of water we are in a rare place of incredible beauty.

josie said...

I have never visited wales ,but if it is anything like it is described in iris gower books than i would love to visit it someday as it must be truly breathtaking


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