About the Project:
My name is Calum J. Lambie, and I take sole responsibility for authoring The Life & Times of Maria Theodore, and I say “responsibility” because for me, my grandmother’s story is not only remarkable in itself, it is also not my story to tell and so I have tried to do so with a great deal of care.
The novel is based, for the most part, on true events. Written primarily from the perspective of my grandmother, Maria Theodore. I started writing it about three years after she had died, around 2009. I had become very interested in charting my family history and the more I delved into the life that Maria had led, the more I began to wish that she was here to tell it. She had always told tales in her own way and offered exciting snippets of her story, but seemed to prefer to listen to the stories others told.
The more I searched, the more my curiosity was fed. I found out some fascinating things about who my grandmother had been and what she had been through and I decided to travel to Germany eager to find out once and for all. It was here, in the town of Bocholt that I knew I had to tell her story for her, as her life had been nothing short of extraordinary. And so it began, The Life & Times of Maria Theodore was born.
At the time, I had the luxury of being able to dedicate copious hours of research and writing-time to the project and over one year managed to write approximately 35,000 words, amounting to what I consider to be about 1/3 of the total story. Whilst I was working part-time at Waterstones, I found that I was unable to sustain myself financially and the project was placed on (semi) hold - which is where it stands today. I am able to write at weekends and during holidays, but I would love more than anything to be able to write full time again and give this wonderful project my undivided attention.
I have turned to Kickstarter to ask for your support since it is you, I hope, that will eventually enjoy reading my grandmother's story.
I ask for £5,000 to fund the following:
·The self-publication of the novel, primarily as an e-book, including all associated marketing costs and the cost of running a website. Or, the costs associated with pitching my novel to eventual publishers - producing manuscripts, postage and inventive self-promotion marketing strategies.
·My sabbatical, so that I can dedicate my time to finishing the novel.
·Travel to Germany to conduct further research and research conducted in the UK.
·Other incidental costs.
I don't think words could adequately express how delighted I would be to get this project off the ground again and so I thank you in advance for your kindness.
About the Novel:
“I want it to be known that
I never set out to have a remarkable life. In fact, I never really set out
to have any kind of life at all, besides of course, a happy one.” – Maria
Though, of course, Maria Theodore’s life is definitely remarkable and absolutely a story worth telling. Born in Germany in 1921 just a few months prior to the birth of the Nazi Party, Maria’s early life was tainted by fascist propaganda and hopeless hardships. Her brother was sent to the Russian Front for refusing to Heil Hitler and her parents died of starvation when she was 18. Her first love was to be captured as a Russian prisoner of war, only to escape and be recaptured by the Allied Forces in southern France. She would meet her second love (A British soldier) whilst her first was incarcerated and flee to Britain illegally, leaving a child behind. Her life in England as a “Nazi Wh---” wasn’t easy, and what follows are tales of a working-class life in inner-city Birmingham; sharing a small back-to-back with Italians who stole from her and her family; the arrest and subsequent charge of grievous bodily harm brought against her favourite son and a lifelong harbouring of guilt for the life she abandoned in Germany.
“It still strikes me how ironic it is that it is those experiences that don’t bear the fruits of joy, but instead sow the seeds of horror, that often grow into the most remarkable tales. So with that in mind, this is me, Maria Theodore, and this is my life, however remarkable you may deem it to be.” – Maria Theodore (2016)
Risks and challenges
I never underestimate the challenge of the blank page and blinking cursor. Though, I also do try my hardest never to let it beat me and often after a brisk walk on a frosty day or half an hour spent being productive elsewhere, I can return to the page re-energised and raring to go.
Knowing that I have so much love and support behind my project will also undoubtedly keep me going when the cursor taunts me with its incessant blinking.
Finishing it on time:
This is a big concern of mine and deadlines plague everyone engaged in a project. I've battled them before, both professionally and personally (MA dissertation was a biggie), and I've never let them defeat me - so I will push the fears to the back of my mind and press on.
Getting it published:
Do I self-publish? Do I approach [more] literary agents and publishers when I have finished the novel and see if there is renewed interest? Do I publish in e-book format first? Do I...? Do I...?
There are so many unanswered questions at this stage which is a little bit scary, but I will endeavour to answer them well on schedule and the more answers I have, the less scary it will become.
Getting people to like it:
This is the one that I have least control over and whilst I have no doubt that it will be a very enjoyable read, I have to make my peace with the fact that it won't be for everyone and Life & Times will have its critics (just be kind - it really is a very good book!)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)