My brother asked why don’t you write that story you always wanted to write?
“You know what, that’s a jolly good idea,” she answered.
That is how Barbara Ellis started writing her novel.
With time to spare after retirement in 2016, Barbara threw herself into the project of her writing her book, which takes place during the Second Boer War.
Barbara describes the process of writing as fun and says she was captivated not by the history, but by the stories people told about their experiences.
The Beacon Hill Series first volume, Scorched Earth: Volume 1, tells the story of two youngsters escaping the tyrannical and unfair prejudice against Jewish people in Russia, travelling to Sweden and from there to South Africa in the company of a young Swede, seeking their fortunes.
When the Second Boer War breaks out, their sympathies are with the young South African nation who fights valiantly against the overpowering might of Britain.
Despite defeat against the Brits, the Afrikaner nation succeeds in rebuilding farms that had been devastated by Kitchener’s scorched-earth policy.
Ellis says the process of writing the books took a few years as she had to educate herself about it first.
“I had this conglomeration of stories in my head, stories passed down to me by older people, family and former soldiers.
“Also, the difficulty I had is that I have to be motivated to write.
“I’m not one of those writers who can sit down and write for eight hours, which is horrible because you wake up in the middle of the night and a piece of the story wants to be written, so then you can’t sleep,” says Barbara.
Barbara says she wouldn’t describe the series as a labour of love, but it is full of love.
The Selection Park author, who also teaches English, says she feels relieved the series is out and has turned her attention to her other books.
Readers can find all three volumes of Ellis’ work on Amazon.