Happy Family: bloggers’ reviews

Screen Shot 2020-01-27 at 18.07.26Happy Family has completed its blog tour and the results are in. Huge thanks to all of the book bloggers, and to Anne Cater who arranged the tour.

Blog tour reviews:

You can read other reviews of Happy Family on Goodreads and Amazon – and if you have read the book, please leave a review too. They all help.

Happy reading.



IMG_8374I had a great day today. Helen Ottaway, Karen Stewart and Sheila Hedges invited me to their On-Air Book Group and gave me the platform to discuss An Other’s Look and crowdfunding in general – and they gave a big shout-out for where to pledge. It was so enjoyable and I will definitely be listening to their book group next month.  Thanks to everyone at Frome FM for making me very welcome.

FromeFM is a Frome based non-profit community radio station run by Frome Community Productions CIC. Produced by over 100 members, it broadcasts new programmes every month online and on 96.6FM. FromeFM provides niche music programmes; Frome focussed debates and reportage; sustained support for and coverage of the work of community groups; and radio for children.

It’s just great.

Frome FM (96.6FM)

If you fancy some lunchtime conversation, tune into the Frome FM Book Club (96.6FM or online) on Friday, 27th April, at 1pm. I will be talking about An Other’s Look and how I came to write it.

I’m doubly excited about this because we’ll also be discussing Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick and The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen. My book in such exalted company!

The Wrong Story Blog Book Tour

The Wrong Story, is going on a blog book tour. Here’s the poster with its itinerary. I’ve asked it to send postcards. Do you think I should have a tour T-shirt made up?

The Wrong Story Blog Tour Poster

By the way, if you want to help its sibling to get out there and join it, there’s still time to pledge for An Other’s Look at https://unbound.com/books/an-others-look/

Reviews and comments

Version 2One of the things I’ve learned (and am still learning) is that once a book has been published, genuine reviews on book sites such as Amazon and Goodreads are like gold. If anyone has read The Wrong Story and liked it, a review on either of those sites would be hugely appreciated. Thank you! And to those that have already written reviews, huge thanks too. You can find out more about The Wrong Story and how to get hold of a copy by clicking here. And you can find it on Goodreads by  clicking here.

A Sublime Sleight of Hand (or Why I Love The Comforters)

UNKNOWN WRITER: It is almost sixty years since the publication of Muriel Spark’s debut novel The Comforters (1957) and for me, it remains one of the finest metafictional novels of all time – all because of one simple, almost casual, feat of literary genius.

SCEPTICAL READER (yawning): Not the G-word again.

UW: Yes, the G-word again. Have you read the book?

SR: Maybe.

UW: Well, just in case, The Comforters tells the story of Caroline who has the apparent delusion that she is hearing her thoughts and actions being typed on an unseen typewriter by an entity she comes to call the Typing Ghost. After some resistance Caroline accepts her status as a fictional character but calls into question the competence of her author. She decides to take control of her own destiny by making notes of the narrative she overhears in order to write her story herself.

SR: So what? I’ve seen that conceit lots of times: an author’s intention to write a novel that is obviously fictional because the art of telling a story that they seek is exactly that – to tell a story and to be seen to be telling a story. End of.

UW: True, but look what Spark does (and barely breaks sweat as she does so): she… hang on, I’m going to have to shout… SPOILER ALERT – I’M GOING TO MENTION THE END OF THE NOVEL. I RECOMMEND YOU READ IT YOURSELF AND THEN REJOIN THIS POST.

SR: That was loud.

UW: Sorry. Anyway, what Spark does is this: she takes her fictional protagonist, Caroline, out of the novel and makes her the author of the book that we, the readers, hold in our hands.

SR: What do you mean?

UW: You have to bear in mind that The Comforters is written in the past tense, so all that happens has happened, even though it is an unfolding story for the characters.

SR: This is going to get complicated, isn’t it?

UW: Yes. So, as I said, Caroline can hear the words of the omniscient narrator. Her boyfriend, Laurence Manders, discovers the notes she’s been taking and writes to her saying that he resents the prospect of being a character in her novel.

SR: I don’t blame him.

UW: Me neither, but you see, we, the readers, see the words he writes but he destroys his letter before Caroline can see it.

SR: Right…

UW: And the novels ends (SPOILER ALERT AGAIN): “and he did not then foresee his later wonder, with a curious rejoicing, how the letter had got into the book” (The Comforters 188).

SR: I see…

UW: One sentence of sublime genius. A fabulous literary sleight of hand.

SR: I don’t get it.

UW: The implication is that Manders later reads a book that Caroline has written in which his letter appears even though he destroyed it before she could read it. That book is The Comforters. Caroline is a paradox. She is both a character in, and the author of, the unfolding events in The Comforters. She is the Typing Ghost that she can hear, and she is the author of the narrative that we are reading.

SR: Uhhh…

UW: To quote: “She was aware that the book in which she was involved was still in progress … and now she was impatient for the story to come to an end, knowing that the narrative could never become coherent to her until she was at last outside it, and at the same time consummately inside it” (The Comforters 165-166). How good is that? That’s why I love The Comforters.

SR: Ah.