My thanks must go first to the ancestors and especially to my father, Lloyd Hughes-Owens: you infused me with a love of words, history and research and made learning a joy from my earliest days. You were so bound yourself by the restrictions of patriarchy, yet you encouraged your daughter to aim for the stars. You also inspired me to ‘come out of the closet,’ by showing me what the world lost through you keeping your poet and story-telling soul under wraps. I know you are smiling as Nights of the Road rides onto the public stage and that you are enjoying the read.
I give thanks to the spirits of place and to three special places on our beautiful planet Earth.
Corfe Castle: my blood thrilled when I visited you first with my dad as an eight-year-old. Thank you for reappearing in my life and requiring me to write about you. I’m not sure we are done with each other yet.
Corsica: thank you for helping me learn to turn inward from an extraverted lifestyle. Thank you for reminding me how deep storytelling runs in my blood. And thank you for your granite strength and beauty that inspires stories still to come.
California and the City of Angels: thank you for the sunshine and the crazy spirit of optimism that makes every one of us living here think we have a great book or a film inside us, and every other one of us get on with trying to write it.
A batch of thanks goes to providers of images that have inspired.
Burke Wallace: thank you for being good to look at on my book cover and in real life. And thanks for musical fun in the Why Lie days.
Tracy Cianflone: thank you for spending hours on a hotter than hot day and using your artist’s eye and camera to capture those irrepressible characters of Burke and the Why Lie band members. You provided just the picture needed to bring the modern day element of Night of the Road to life.
The National Trust: thank you for preserving the portrait of Frances Coke, Viscountess Purbeck, for making her accessible for the public to enjoy at Ashdown House and for giving charming and efficient service when providing me with the license for image use
Mike at http://www.dt6.biz . Thanks for your photography skills and for your generosity in giving me rights to use your haunting dawn image of Corfe Castle here on the website and on the book cover. It matches exactly the mysterious spirit surrounding Nights of the Road. Thanks too for your constant practical and moral support as I have stumbled through learning about self publishing and book cover design.
For an Oxfordshire born-and-bred girl, a special place exists for some Oxford acknowledgments.
A couple of kind people checked out details of Frances Coke’s burial at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin in Oxford. Penny Boxall, thank you for checking the survey records for a plaque. Alan Simpson, thank you for providing the exact register entry, as well as for a beautiful snow-filled scene, reminding me of my former identity as a management consultant high up above the city on Shotover Hill.
Nicola Cornick: you’re one of the unexpected gems that this ride with Nights of the Road has yielded by way of new friends. Thank you for your encouragement, for inspiring me with your own writing journey http://nicolacornick.co.uk/meet.php and for volunteering at Ashdown House, as well as writing a wonderful blog about the National Trust property that cares for Frances’ Coke’s portrait. http://ashdownhouse.blogspot.com
The biggest bucket of thanks is for friends and family who give my life meaning.
Madeleine Kingsley, writer and editor, journalist, counselor and friend of fifty years: you have been there to share, celebrate and enrich the journey at so many milestone moments of our life. Thank you for being with me for this latest adventure, for shining the light of your wisdom and for sharing the warmth of your heart.
Will Keyser: thank you for feeding me useful tips and ideas on self-publishing. Your indefatigable energy to support and ‘bring to market’ whatever you start ( http://startupowl.com ) and your continuing curiosity to explore new horizons have been a role model for me ever since a job interview one long-ago cold winter’s night turned into a twenty-one year business and family partnership. I feel blessed that our friendship endures as we each take our new paths.
My far flung family in Australia, Corsica and Ireland, Jim, Elena, Alex, Martini, Aron, Lorcan, Tiger Lily, Rebecca, Aebhe, Fran, Ed, Tom and Joe: you all are the reason I stay around when winds blow chill and the au dela beckons. I wish my arms were long enough to reach around the world and hug each one of you in person daily. Having so many of you come and stay during part of this recent Nights of the Road journey leavened my writing days and kept me anchored in the world that exists beyond my pen. Watching you grow and go and follow your individual stars is my great delight.
My son, Mark: thank you for being a gracious website host and for holding the lantern as I wade through the intricacies of WordPress. Thank you too for sharing a great Nights of the California Road Trip. http://www.thetemplespace.com
My granddaughter, Sienna: thank you for being, and for being the reason I write now for the world to read.
And Mark, last and also first, my beloved drummer man and life partner: thank you for your unstinting enthusiasm and whole-hearted support for me always, even when you have no idea what it is that I am doing or writing. Thank you for giving me the space I need to reflect, write, and roam far and wide, and for always being there to come home to. Thank you quite simply for being the love of my life. And for feeding OJ the cat, who deserves a thank you all of his own.