Seeing God Through the Camera Lens by Lynn Hayter @Lynn Hayter #debutbook #nonfiction #charity #cancer #acting #Christianity #actors #readers #faith #Holby City #Call the Midwife #Starwars #Eastenders #Grantchester @TheWindsors

      Review of “Seeing God Through the Camera Lens”

by Lynn Hayter

Rating 5 stars *****

                                                               

                                                               About the Author

Lynn Hayter


* Lynn Marina Hayter isn’t the name that trips off everyone’s tongues of a viewer, although you will have seen her in many films & on your TV screens. It however, does when it comes to the world of acting, as she built up her reputation within this field and is very much sought after.
Lynn Hayter has been in this career for over 20 years. She works in Supporting roles/Speaking roles and Extra roles on both our tv screens and film from everything from EastEnders to Holby City to Call the Midwife to Star Wars. This is a very small list from her CV. She has also on been in main roles. She is Christian by faith and has combined acting and her Christianity in one book, titled: “Seeing God Through the Camera Lens”.

 

                                                                              Author’s Note and Blurb

Lynn H book

“I hope you enjoy my stories and photos from my ‘other’ life. Dressing up as a child was never like this, nor was life. But no matter how you dress anything up, you have an interesting journey. Maybe some of the words here will make your journey easier.”

“Little did I know, 20 years ago, that I would have a career in film and television. Little did I know, 28 years ago, that God would use me in very simple, yet profound ways in such a secular industry. If God can use me, He can certainly use you. I hope the few stories that I have handpicked out from thousands will help you see God in your life, no matter how mundane or fancy your life is. If you let God in He  will use you.”                                                             

                                                                          The Review

The book leads the reader through stories and photos of Lynn Hayter playing many roles and is split into 16 sections, each only a couple of pages long and is a short book at 39 pages. It contains a short glossary for anyone to refer to, to provide extra understanding of some of the terms used on film sets. It may be small, but it packs a lot of quality content in about her faith and her life as an actor.

The book’s introduction gives an insight into how Lynn got a passion for film & tv. Beginning  when she was young, getting her first role in Roy Castle’s Record Breakers. She was part of the longest chorus line in the world at that time, aided by Bonnie Langford and Christopher Biggins. It was to be the first of 3 times she got into the Guinness Book of Records. Nowadays she gets many roles within some of the biggest, well-known tv dramas and films (as mentioned previously), working alongside some of the most well-known actors in showbiz.

Within each section of the book, Lynn has entered a few photos of herself in many roles -out on shoots, all dressed-up and ready for Action!!! This however is not a picture book. It has very interesting written content about being on sets and even some advice for budding actors. There is a real sense that Lynn wants people to do well in their careers, since she writes about some of the pitfalls  to watch out for. This is an actor/writer who has learnt a lot over the years and is willing to share with those thinking of entering into or are already established within the profession. She is also not afraid of writing about the realities of filming. It really does give a true insight into, not just her work (although it is about her), but this type of career in general.

Through the interesting and informative acting side of her life within the book, Lynn always shows how thankful and grateful she is to God, as well as her entire career path. This is carefully, but deliberately weaved through the pages of her acting career. There are quotations from the Bible that are poignantly interwoven with what is being said about her work and with fuller explanations. I feel she has the balance just right.

It is not a preachy book. There is no “fire, hell and brimstone”. You get the feeling that Lynn wants people to feel comfortable reading about how she finds Christianity is truly a huge part in her life and how, when she is filming, she knows God’s presence and sees the opportunities she has had and is grateful and thankful for. She also shares about how she sees God’s presence every day and explains how opportunities arise to begin conversations about her faith, pray for people or just be a listening ear. Lynn has clearly put thought and effort into making her book accessible to all. It offers encouragement and not in a fearful way. For those unsure how to build a relationship with God, she has added  about prayer and how she prays in many different places.

Overall the book is an informative and fascinating read, with photographs, anecdotes, insights and Bible quotes, all in a seamless pattern of acting work followed by how this and her faith works as one in her life. It is a very good debut non-fiction book.

* With thanks to Lynn Hayter for providing me with her photograph and allowing me to use it in my blog.

______________________________________________

Seeing God Through the Camera Lens
39 pages
Purchase points:  Email a request to Angela Cassidy: acbcassidy@aol.com
Price £4.99 plus P&P (ALL proceeds to Macmillan Cancer & The Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Foundation)
ISBN 978 – 0 – 9544814 – 3 – 8

Blog posts

Today I have a Twitter poll asking: “What time suits you best for me publishing my blogs?

options are

10am.       7pm.           8pm.

If you are following my Twitter feed, please reply there. If not, then please leave your reply in the comments. I am doing this today (Saturday) only.

Readers and followers are important to me and I’m continuously working hard to provide and to get things right for you all. I truly appreciate each and every one of you who takes time to read my blog and who follow it. I am enjoying writing it. It continuously amazes me, the kind comments I get here and on Twitter and in private messages. I appreciate every single one a lot. It’s all very heartwarming and makes me smile to see people engage with my blog. Thank you and I hope you enjoy the blogs that are still to come. I am working on one for publishing on Monday or Tuesday next week. I am busy reading more books too and seeing a theatre show soon.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

@realhughfraser @RobertDaws @urbanebooks @MorecambeVice @LoveBooksGroup #authors #actors #readers Showcasing Hugh Fraser and Robert Daws

A small Showcase of actors/authors Hugh Fraser and Robert Daws

The scene was set for an afternoon of more crime chat and the topic of conversation was “If I Were Not Upon the Stage”. This was the turn of Hugh Fraser and Robert Daws, both known for acting, but for awhile now, they have been making in-roads into the world of books. They are showing page after page, book after book, that they are successful at gauging what is interesting the public right now and that they too can write and do it well.

For those who aren’t too sure who Hugh Fraser and Robert Daws are, or are thinking they seem familiar, but haven’t yet fathomed why, without further ado, I will tell you what their previous work is.

Hugh Fraser is probably best known for playing Captain Hastings in the ITV Poirot series, the Sharpe series and for the theme tune of children’s tv series Rainbow. He has also narrated many Agatha Christie’s audio books.

Robert Daws is probably best known for cricketing sitcom – Outside Edge and hospital drama – The Royal.

I saw Hugh Fraser and Robert Daws in conversation in person for the first time ever at the Morecambe and Vice Festival 2018. They were naturals at this and seemed at ease, whether they really were, who knows, but that is the impression they gave to their audience as the atmosphere suggested, they also relaxed into it. They had a good turnout and no wonder when they gave one of the most entertaining and interesting talks. Then afterwards, it was such a pleasure to meet these two gentlemen.
So, I will continue and write about both authors separately and then together.

 Hugh Fraser

 
Hugh Fraser

*Hugh Fraser now is so synonymous with Agatha Christie, especially playing the role of Captain Hastings when ITV had the rights, but the reality is that this was a role he played, albeit incredibly well and convincingly. He has not transferred Agatha Christie’s writing or styles into his books. Agatha Christie’s books are more of a genteel mystery, trying to find out who done what to whom (although there are some pretty brutal murders in some, such as in the Mystery of the Spanish Chest, but on the whole and in-comparison, the tone is definitely different). Hugh’s series of books are more action packed with the main protagonist, feminist assassin Rina Walker, who is written in the first person and set in the 50s and 70’s between Nottinghill, London and Mexico and features plenty in the underworld such as gangsters and a drug cartel. Readers do get the chance to learn why she became a contract killer. So, as you can see, this series is much further away from any Agatha Christie in style. I would go further into the books, but I would like to take time in reviewing Stealth in a different blog and I will write more about the series there.

As I was writing and as I thought about the event more, it struck me that it is very true about what was touched upon during the conversation on the festival’s “stage” and how people do seem to like to look for similarities in such instances as this. In my opinion, the only similarities would be that both Agatha Christie’s and Hugh Fraser’s books they would both sit in the crime section and both are cleverly written for their genre. They also both absolutely have their unique place in book selections up and down the country and indeed across the world, for people to read.

It’s always interesting to hear how people get into writing books, or at least I think so. Hugh Fraser said on the panel that he had started to write plays, but really  got into writing after applying for a short course he had seen advertised and soon he was enrolled in creative writing courses with the University of East Anglia, the Guardian: Masterclass Program. It turned out he was rather good at it and his first book, Harm, was published. He has since gone on to publish 4 books in this series. The fourth being Stealth, which I am, at time of writing, over half way through reading and is available now to buy. As soon as I sat on one of many trains home, I opened the book and started reading a lot of it. It is a very good read so far. I don’t want to go too much into it at this moment in time as I shall write a review of it as soon as I can, it is definitely worth that.

Hugh Fraser will also be appearing at the Thames Art Literature Festival on 21st October. If I could go, I would. Hugh Fraser may be able to “grow 4 arms” and I may be able to seem like I can “be everywhere”, to some people with all that I do and places I visit, unfortunately I haven’t mastered the capabilities of being in many places at once. I won’t spoil Hugh’s mystique. Find a profile pic of him and you will see.

 

                                                                       

 Robert Daws

 

Robert Daws
*Robert Daws, wrote plays and co-ran a theatre. Funnily enough, he said these plays would be showing in his theatre. He still does some acting work in theatre to this day. He has also done tv and radio, as mentioned before. For Outside Edge he was nominated for Best Actor at the British Comedy Awards, which is no mean feat. He was also in Roger, Roger, Jeeves and Wooster and more recently, Doc Martin to name but a few.
Robert Daws, interestingly said writing crime novels presented itself to him, he didn’t particularly go looking to write in this genre. He went on to talk a little about his novels, which I have to say, immediately sound very intriguing. He went on to tell the audience that they were novels that had some history to them, but moved forwards to the present day. He said of this that his books, although set in the past, have consequences to the present day. It’s actually a thought provoking fact, when you think about it because everything that is said and everything that is done in life has a consequence, that’s not to say consequences are all necessarily going to be bad or good. Going back to the books however, Robert Daws said that his books are primarily set in present day Gibraltar. His latest however is set in L.A. but has repercussions in Gibraltar. His main characters are Chief Inspector Gus Broderick and colleague Detective Sergeant Tamara Sullivan. In the first novel their relationship is tested to the limit on the case they have to solve. Tamara Sullivan is on secondment from the Metropolitan Police and there are reasons why she is in Gibraltar…

In 2012, his first novel, “The Rock” made it to the list of Top Amazon Bestseller 5 times. These, when I get chance, also deserve reviewed in greater detail, especially the latest one of course.

There was a “Hidden Talent” section at the festival, which is very different and rather fun. Robert Daws’ hidden talent is singing. I think everyone was taken aback a bit about just how talented as singer he actually is. There’s a real richness to his voice when he sings and is completely in tune. Why we don’t hear more of this, I just don’t know!

 

                                                                       Agreements

Both of these actors have now turned their hands to writing as you can see. That is not to say that they have turned their backs on acting. It was really interesting to hear that neither Hugh Fraser or Robert Daws have actually made a conscious decision to write over their acting careers. If there was an acting job they wanted to do or asked to do, they would do it or they’d work on their books. They didn’t seem to favour one art form over the other.

Whilst in conversation, both of these actors/authors both compared writing to working on tv or the stage. They agreed that writing is more of a solitary process from the beginning to acting. They said in acting you are all in it together going for the same aim as a team with rehearsals, travelling and filming together. With writing it can be just you (at least to begin with), we all know that there is a collaborative process later with editors, publishers etc, but in the beginning, it is, as they both made the point of saying, essentially solitary.

                                                           Writing Characters

When reading both these great author’s books, you may notice that there isn’t a great deal of character description, they’re not overloaded with (as they discussed) a certain type of nose etc. This is because both want the reader to use their imagination.
We of course get a sense of what Rina Walker looks like on the front covers of Hugh’s books, but in the writing, the rest is very much up to the reader’s imagination. Personally I like that neither have gone into the absolute finer details of the description of character appearance, as somehow, in the way they pace their books, it would have made them a bit more laboured perhaps and the tone would have changed to something very different to what we readers are now accustomed to in these particular series.

                                                                 Conclusion

So, after an excellently interesting and entertaining talk by them and meeting them, would I see them again? If the opportunity arose, absolutely and they were most definitely worth every moment of time, which went far too quickly. It is so easy to become absorbed by what they are saying (even after seeing many events over a weekend). They brought a great sense of fun to their stage piece as well as being informative in an engaging manner. My hope would be that they will continue to pursue their writing career and hopefully they will also do some acting here and there again too.

* I give thanks to Hugh Fraser and Robert Daws for giving me verbal permission to take photos of them and for kindly allowing me to use them in my blog.

Peter Robinson on DCI Banks and Writing @Inspector_Banks @Hodder Books @EllyGriffiths @MorecambeVice #Morecambe #Lancaster #Author @LoveBooksGroup #Bookblogger From An “In Conversation with” panel

Closing the first day of the weekend at the Morecambe and Vice festival was Peter Robinson, author of DCI Banks as part of summer/autumn tour in England. He was on a panel “In Conversation” with Elly Griffiths.

Peter Robinson
Peter Robinson

 

A Little About the Author

Peter Robinson was there to promote his 25th DCI Banks book called Careless Love, which is available to purchase now. He began writing, or at least getting the series published in 1987 and writes a novel approximately once a year. He also writes stand alone novels. He likes food and wine and Scandi-Crime as well as a few US authors. He grew up in Leeds and now divides his time between the UK and Canada. He has won notable awards including CWA Dagger in the Library Award.

The Book

Careless Love UK

 

Banks and his team find themselves with two suspicious deaths. One involves the apparent suicide of a young local student, whose body is found in an abandoned car on a lonely country road. She didn’t own a car. Didn’t even drive. He also talked about the inconsistencies multiplying in this case and that Annie’s father’s new partner, Zelda, comes up with a shocking piece of information that alerts Banks and Annie to the return of an old enemy in a new guise. There is also another case which concerns a man in his sixties found dead in a gully up on the wild moorland.

Peter Robinson says that Zelda is the protagonist here and he talked of how she is a character who has been through a lot but has put herself back together again. In other words, he feels Zelda carries on and can do for a bit more time. He spoke of Banks and how he felt he too could go on a bit longer yet! He says at the end of this book, that there’s enough to say there’s more to come…
Of DCI Banks he says that he has a personal life but he is married to job. He also says of Banks, which I personally really liked and there’s something profound about it:
Banks is ordinary, but, as the series goes on, finds he is more extraordinary, which means we all are.

Setting

This book is set around North Yorkshire. Eastvale is modelled on Richmond and Ripon with cobbled market squares, which he does expand. They are familiar places if you know that part of the country, even though he has added the likes of buildings such as a college in Eastvale, which continues to expand. The thing that both amused and bemused me was that he when he was talking about the setting he mentioned that people ask him if Yorkshire really exists. I can tell you, reader, that it definitely exists in a very large part of the north of England, where there is much to see and do and many a famous author has lived and still do live in, including Peter Robinson himself who grew up Leeds, which is is one of the main known cities in the county. Other writers have too, around the county, such as Joanne Harris, Kate Atkinson, Susan Hill, the Bronte sister, to name but a few. Playwrights such as Alan Bennett and Alan Aykbourn and many a poet such as WH Auden and Ted Hughes also resided in Yorkshire. There are many writers who have written dramas for tv here too, such as Kay Mellor and Sally Wainwright.  So, as you see, it definitely exists and is a wonderfully talented county of England with its cities, which have a rich history, culture and more rural places with their rolling hills and dales. I could go on about what to do, but this is about a panel at a book festival. I will say, it’s a great area of England to explore if you haven’t already!

Music

Music within his books was touched upon and how Banks has a wide range of music tastes that can be developed, he said.
I have myself noticed there are a few series of book which use music within books and there was an entirely different panel devoted to that subject.
Peter Robinson believes that there is a playlist linking to Banks’ musical tastes on Spotify.

 “Only in a novel can you be with someone who is alone and follow them through life.”

He talked about this in the context of having characters being alone, doing things like listening to music and the reader knows. When you think about it, it is so true, only in writing can you see someone’s inner thoughts that the author wants to be revealed to a reader. Obviously too, as a reader you are looking into someone else’s world. In reality of course, alone, is exactly that, so I think this was the most profound statement made within this talk and put in a way that not all readers really think of. It can almost be something that the reader can take for granted, but when someone points this out, as Peter Robinson did, it turns it into something a bit more thought provoking…

Writing Style

Peter Robinson also spoke of his writing style, which was very interesting. It turns out that normally he does no planning, so there is no fully plotted outline, but he said writing 3 books like this means he is doing a bit more pre-planning than usual. He also said it is rare that he begins with violence, normally he begins with the time after all that would have happened, citing that the victim and place is most important. He also uses forensics to move the story forwards in his police procedural tales. He said he also likes the measured, longer sentences style of writing and talked of P.D. James also writing in this style. When setting the scene he talked about how most authors write about where they know and how he once decided to set a scene in a book in Peterborough, he didn’t really know the area, so that prompted him to do a bit of research.
To get ideas he said he looks at the world around him to keep things contemporary.

TV Success

With all his success in his writing career, he couldn’t perhaps not talk about the TV adaptation of his DCI Banks books. I was quite pleased it was brought up because I find it fascinating to find out what the author thinks about their creation being shown in visual form, once they’ve handed over the rights. He said that it was exciting at first when he heard from the TV company wanting to make his books into a drama. He had no involvement in the casting. For any who don’t know, Stephen Tompkinson was cast as DCI Banks. He acknowledged that he wasn’t how people saw his lead character in the books, but thought as the series went on, he could see Stephen being Banks, more and more as he felt that the actor brought out the character of Banks. He had however said he was a more emotional character on TV than in the books. He didn’t seem to think this was a really terrible thing though. It was just a fact and one that I got the impression he didn’t mind so terribly. What was interesting however was that he wasn’t too keen on the 3rd series due to too many changes and what was omitted from the books as they transferred the 3rd series onto screen. All in all though, certainly for earlier series I thought the author sounded good that the chance of having the opportunity for his work to be televised had happened.

Is Peter Robinson worth seeing at a literary event? I would say yes. He has interesting aspects to say to his audience and comes across well.

*Peter Robinson gave verbal permission to me for his photo to be used in my blog and for that I thank him very much.

_____________________________________________________

Elly Griffiths who I mentioned was the moderator is worth seeing. She asked great questions and allowed time for her interviewee to talk and it all seemed effortless and at ease.
Elly Griffiths is known for winning the CWA Dagger In the Library Award in 2016 with her book The Chalk Pit. She has 2 series that I know of. The Ruth Galloway novels and The Stephens and Mephisto novels.
Elly book

Duet For One. @WolvesGrand #DuetForOne @realhughfraser #theatre Rating Duet For One 5 Stars.

Duet For One is a play I saw on a very cold November in 2017 in Edinburgh King’s Theatre. This play however, is still touring and there are a few days left with tickets available in Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. When I was informed of this play touring again, I couldn’t help but think about blogging about it (and thinking that my day job doesn’t give me time to see it again). The play tells, what I think, is such an important story that isn’t often portrayed and not in the way that it is and with so much wit and humanity.

The play is written by Tom Kempinski and performed by Belinda Lang and Jonathan Coy, who replaces Oliver Cotton. Since I have not seen it with Jonathan Coy, as much as I would love to have seen it again, I have to assume his acting on stage is as strong as it is on tv. It would be unfair of me to comment on his performance as it would be all assumptions then and not based on reality. So, what I am able to do is comment on Belinda Lang’s performance as Stephanie Abrahams and the body of work.

Synopsis:

Stephanie Abrahams, a brilliant concert violinist who seemingly has it all, is forced to re-evaluate her life when struck down by an unforeseen tragedy. Faced with a truth too difficult to comprehend she consults psychiatrist Dr Feldmann and through a series of highly charged encounters is led to examine her deepest emotions and finally to consider a future without music.

Review:

This really is an incredibly well written and thought out play, that has a lot of depth, poignancy, humour and humanity within it.

Stephanie had it all and then suddenly she was struck by Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and has to find a way to come to terms with it. She ends up in a psychiatrists office – that of Dr. Feldmann, where the play takes place. Stephanie is there because she is depressed, but more than that she is very angry. Angry because she doesn’t actually want anyone to be delving into her inner feelings and her life. The audience are taken through a thought provoking journey through this stage of her life.

It sounds like a grim play, after all it’s a grim disease that takes over a person’s life and changes it. This play however shows that there is still life to be grasped. The play shows great humanity and it shows that life isn’t always black and white, just because you have MS. There are a lot of laughs to be had. It is actually a very funny play with many poignant parts within it too.

The relationship between Stephanie and Dr. Feldmann is an intriguing one and I guess, unless you have been in therapy, it isn’t something audiences see being portrayed a lot of. When I saw it, and I wouldn’t think this would have changed much, it is an intense psychiatrist/client relationship, with a lot of angry energy, projected from Stephanie mostly. The intensity is built up by a few silences and also the remarks made as well as some of the movement. Dr. Feldman wants to help, tries to be patient, but even he is only human and has limits, but gradually the audience can see a turning point.

Belinda Lang’s performance as the protagonist – Stephanie Abrahams is absolutely brilliantly done. I never feel I can praise her high enough for her performance. What is so well portrayed is the MS. I couldn’t help but watch her movements carefully and to catch all the nuances, perhaps because I was interested, not just in the story-line but to see if someone could pull it off, not that I had any doubts whatsoever, but being a person in the know about MS, it was rather close to home, more so than anything else I have ever seen. So, what Belinda Lang brings is what looks like an effortless accuracy to her performance in her movements, and a dark wit as well as showing some pain, but without lingering on it before moving on. I use the term effortless because it looks it when she performs, but really it wouldn’t be at all. There is so much energy that she puts into the performance, and with it being a two-hander with most of the focus on her, you realise that what she is doing is pure skill at such a high level. It is a brave performance and one that is pulled off exceedingly well. It is one I know I won’t forget in a hurry.

Anyone seeing this play will not be disappointed. Yes, the subject matter is dark, but the material has some light within it. You will feel the emotion, but also the humour. So for anyone wondering whether to see this play or not, I would say, just go, take a chance on it and you may find yourself being pleasantly surprised.

*At the time of writing, there were still tickets left to be bought.

 

Here I will add that if you have MS or are a carer of someone with MS needing support/advice or need to see what groups there are in your area, the MS Society  can help.