Monday, 14 May 2012

What did I forget to say?

So, if you've been following the plot you will know I was on  BBC Surrey radio last week
Listen up 2.10 – 2.30 10 May !

Perhaps you have been to a recording studio for a live broadcast. With me, it all seems fine until I am driving back home and thinking, ‘Oh, but I forgot to say … this … and this … and this.’  All I can do is just sigh. ‘What can be done? It’s all over now.’

But there is something that can be done!  In blogland.  Of course!

Leading on from my reference to the late, sadly missed, Miss Read, I would say also how, personally, I like to know how characters earn a living, their deep-down worries, struggles, their weaknesses, their flawed relationships – what makes them credible, human and people I can feel sympathy for. On the other hand, it is also crucial that we like the main character in a book; I once thought this did not really matter, so long as he or she seems believable and real, but I see now that if the reader does not find the protagonist to be in some way admirable or likable, then that reader will probably not care much about what happens to them! There would be no emotional experience in the reading of the book.

But where a book does not gloss over such matters, I like a style that makes me smile – maybe not romcom or ROFLOL, like village life in the Vicar of Dibley, but definitely as an aid to laugh at life, warts and all. I hope my novels do that. Nobody wants to read a depressing story, even if it does touch on thorny issues.

So as with my first two novels, Gypsies Stop tHere and No Gypsies Served, Appley Green is not a fantasy world. Their very titles imply a rocky road. However, as I did say in my interview, with these novels readers liked the setting, the ‘village-good-feel-factor’. If you know these books you will be aware there are some thought-provoking, controversial issues that divide the village community. If you go to the Surrey Heath Residents Blog and put my name in the Search box – you may be surprised what comes up, where fiction fuses with fact! (I think this link does it for you)

The Shades of Appley Green story is about how a mother of two comes to finally confront her obsession. It is also a love story and - it has an unconventional but sublimely happy ending. This is something I failed to tell the radio listeners and, without spoiling your reading pleasure, I can say that much – where’s the harm? Indeed, I am a featured author in the wonderful writers' group Love a Happy Ending  I did not find a chance to mention either this group or another fantastic team of authors, Famous Five Plus Take a look at these websites if you are interested in the direction the publishing world is going; brave, talented, supportive writers who are getting on with it – writing, publishing/being published, promoting, selling and being read!

or get your paperback here:  

or here:

In Basingstoke Waterstone's on Saturday, 12 May, where I met some lovely people! Were you there? or in Sutton on 31 May?

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Small package of big news from Appley Green land

Tomorrow I am on BBC Surrey Radio talking to Joe Talbot as his Tea 4 Two guest. You can catch this around 2.10 pm. Maybe I shall talk about how I came to write novels and when it all began. I don’t know yet! I have been to  the Guildford studios three times now, I think, as well as doing telephone interviews, but before it was on the Breakfast Show, usually talking about nitty-gritty Gypsy issues. This time I have a full 20 minute slot to talk about Shades of Appley Green. Wow!

Since the launch of Shades of Appley Green back in March, I have had a wonderful holiday in Japan and managed to squeeze in book signings in Woking, Godalming, back to Camberley and Farnham. This Saturday, 10 May, I am in Festival Place, Basingstoke., Hampshire On Thursday, 31 May I shall be in Sutton for the first time, a bit further away, but still in Surrey. There is a 'dear old chap' with Parkinson's in Shades of Appley Green, indeed he is a key character, and I used to work for what was the Parkinson’s Disease Society (now Parkinson's UK) in Basingstoke and Farnborough areas – I actually retired the day before the launch of  Gypsies Stop tHere in 2008. Off to Dorking on 29 June and will be at the Tilford Rural Life Museum for Romany Day on 30 June.

Tilford? That reminds me, did you know the book cover photo was taken in Tilford, Surrey? And the missing arm of the park bench was allegedly pulled off by a Gypsy horse tethered there!! You heard it first here - or maybe at The Barley Mow in Tilford! 

Also on 16 June I will be at the Love a Happy Ending event Summer Audience in my old school, Sir William Romney’s, Tetbury – you know? Down the road from Highgrove. See the programme, if you are a reader of books, a writer or an aspiring writer and fancy a trip to the delightful Cotswolds. Tetbury is a truly beautiful place and I was blessed to be brought up there.