"West of the Moon" is about a war. Who wants to read more about war? I don’t. So why did I write about it?
Because this is really about the nobility of the human spirit. I’ve always had a penchant for people who do not measure success monetarily. I love people who care about other people, who want to alleviate pain and suffering in a world too filled with pain and suffering.
After living in Mexico for 7 very happy years, I had moved back to the states for family reasons and was depressed to the point where I had such a writer’s block that for months that turned into a couple of years I could think of nothing to write about.
Finally my dear agent, Meg Ruley, phoned and said, "You’re probably not going to like this idea, but how about a sequel to your first book. It was wildly popular." A sequel to East of the Sun?
The more I thought of it the more I liked it. I could return to Africa, a continent that had fascinated me for as long as I could remember. What was happening in Africa now? I love research, so I started researching what was happening in that part of the world where I’d left that heroine. Dr. Courtney McCloud .
I’d left her ten years ago, the man she loved unwilling to be part of her lifelong dream of living in a remote outpost of South Africa, helping tribal natives who had never had medical care. Courtney was a second generation African, having been born in Zimbabwe to Andrew McCloud, a British engineer and his wife, Caroline, also a native born African. Carolyn was born in the Congo to a medical missionary, the famed Mother Lili and a Nobel Prize winning novelist. Courtney’s African roots are deep.
East of the Sun left off where Courtney chose helping tribal Africans to a better life over a comfortable life with the man she loved. Her grandmother, the famous Mother Lili, now in her 60s, decides to accompany Courtney and life the life she lived forty years ago by building a small outpost in the middle of Zimbabwe. Okay, I thought, what’s been happening to them and to Africa over the last decade?
I wanted the sequel to stand on its own but also tell readers of East of the Sun what had happened in the last ten years.
I had to introduce new characters, new men for my heroine, villains, interesting people. And wherever I looked some place in Africa was at war, but no place had been at war longer than Mozambique, which had been engaged in a 17 year civil war. No one even knew who was fighting for what, but the killings and mayhem were inexorable.
I had long been interested in "Doctors without Borders" and aimed to have a medical unit like that, except it did not travel from one country to another. I wanted to be as true to the country of South Africa and Mozambique as possible. I wanted to capture, again, the country which became as much a character in my novel as the people.
I found characters leaping into my life without invitations. Names jumped out at me in the dark. Simon Oliphant. Where did that come from? Quentin Coopersmith? Tina O’Rourke?
From the previous book Sister Mara kept coming back and Courtney’s father and then there were the elephants and the bloody war...and they all tumbled at me until I had to sit still and begin sorting them out, these people who had burst into my consciousness so that I saw them and heard them and was privy to their thoughts.
And I had to do what so many men throughout history have had to do. I had, at last, to deal with a war. Not something I would voluntarily do. Yet here I was doing it, and I wasn’t quite sure why, except it gave me a chance to deal with nobility of the soul and some of the loveliest parts of being human as well as humane. I could think about and write about things that matter to me, the environment, preserving wildlife, I could write that the greatest reward that givers get is in the giving. I could write about friendship, always a subject dear to my heart. I could write about love and how and where it grows. I could write about people who devote their lives to making sure that others suffer less, about people who make a difference on this planet of ours. And in giving, they grow. Oh, I could have fun writing about so many things that matter to me.
So, I wrote about all this that I care about so passionately with a war in one of the poorest and least known countries on earth as the background.
When I finished writing it I felt satisfied.
All of us love to hear compliments. Thank you to all the Fans out there.
From a reader:
You have given me so much to think about after reading five of your books. They are:
The Moon Below
Deep In The Heart
The Back Of Beyond
When I start reading one of your books, I can't put it down. I have stayed up until after 5:00am reading your novels. I get them from my local library as I can order others written by you through them.
I know that you now make your home in Mexico, and do you plan to write any novels about Mexico?
I am an almost 84 year old widow, who after working 54 years outside the home, and raising five children have a lot of time to read.
I have several other authors that I enjoyed reading, but your writing has made me really understand the rise of China.
I just wanted to let you know how much your writing has meant to me, as well as, it has filled many hours of what would have been loneliness. Thank you!!!!!!
I am a huge fan of Barbara Bickmore. She had me with "East of the Sun". I've been waiting for "Stairway to the Stars". I am so glad to have her on Kindle now. As always her characters are vivid and unforgettable. Bickmore is meticulous in her historical research. I learned a great deal about the early years of the twentieth century. Fascinating. Alex is a heroine for the ages yet is a woman with whom we can empathize. She's a role model for all of us. Never bitter about the lemons thrown at her, she works hard to make lemonade at each toss. In giving to others, Alex grows in stature herself, and at the end finds a cause that will help change the world for the better. Like all of her others, Bickmore's novel is an inspiration to me.
"Stairway to the Stars", like all of Barbara Bickmore's novels, are heart-warming, epic sagas with strong, loving and committed heroine's like thie novel's Alex. These women overcome tragic obsticles to accomplish amazing feats. I loved following Alex in her titled but love-less marriage, in a cold, war-torn English Castle, to saving French children during the war and ultimately being honored by the United Nations. This book is more than an uplifting read. I look forward to reading her ebook version of "The Moon Below"!
A fun romantic tale of rags to riches..covering 4 generations of a family living through events that changed their characters and the world...
I loved this book. It is a heartwarming story about a fascinating period of our history.
In 1990, The Moon Below by Barbara BIckmore was first published. The Moon Below is the sweeping saga of Hallie Morgan, who, in the early years of the nineteenth century, sailed halfway around the world, not knowing where she was going, to join a man she had seen only twice, when she was a child. Here she would find a country that brought her soul to life, a sun-drenched land of opportunity, peopled by convicts that England had no room for at home. She, along with the prisoners and ex-convicts, would help found a new country, a new continent, and begin the sheep industry that would make the continent famous.
Here she led others to freedom. Here she fought for justice and the plight of women who walked off the ships that brought them to this new land. If it had not been for her, they would have lived lives of poverty and abuse. History tells us that single-handedly one woman actually did all this. But I have given these attributes to my heroine who has a far different personality than either of the actual historical women on whom I base this sprawling novel. Australia, in the early 1800s, was a land of unbelievable opportunity, big skies, animals and natives like the world had never seen before, of seemingly endless land, wide open spaces and surreal landscapes. It fostered cruelty as well as hope, love as well as tragedy, opportunities that were surprising and never before experienced by anyone, any place.
BARBARA BICKMORE wrote her first short story at seven, and wrote stories from then on. Her dream to become a published writer came true when EAST OF THE SUN was published in 1988. Her Cinderella writing career took off and she takes her readers to times and places that most only dream of.