The Pursuit of Ordinary a finalist in The People’s Book Prize

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02/01/2019
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The Pursuit of Ordinary a finalist in The People’s Book Prize

‘How things look on the surface isn’t always real, though, is it,’ she said, turning around and taking two steps across the path to sit down on the bench behind them. ‘It probably had cracks underneath.’

2 January 2019

The Pursuit of Ordinary a finalist in The People’s Book Prize

Writing is full of ups and downs, confidence and self-doubt. If you ever want to see a writer embarrassing himself by publishing a blog article while in the ‘low, I’m a pile of shit’ stage, read my previous blog article. I’m not linking to it here for obvious reasons.

Anyway, the point is, there are ups too. Namely,  the fact that my second novel The Pursuit of Ordinary is a finalist for The People’s Book Prize for Fiction.

I’m excited – although cautiously, so, I can’t allow myself to be too excited. Winning would be awesome but I’m realistic – so I’m focusing on the exciting black tie do in London and the fact my book is a finalist at all – which is all down to you lovely lot.

A huge thank you to all who voted in previous rounds to get it to the final – and for those of you who are voting again in this round, thank you so much, I can’t tell you how much it means to me.

Outside of this, I don’t have much of an update, I’m afraid. ‘Real life’ took over for a bit and slowed my writing for a while. I know some of you are waiting for novel three – after all, The Pursuit of Ordinary came out almost a year ago.

I am working on it, I promise. After a period of not writing at all after finishing TPO (I was emotionally wrung out from it, truth be told) I began writing very slowly earlier this year and now I’m furiously tapping away and the book is really taking shape. I’m over the 30,000 word mark and I’m excited by its potential – I hope I can do the idea justice.

To whet your appetite, here’s a little taster. Most of the characters from both Beat The Rain and The Pursuit of Ordinary pop up at some point, but not necessarily in the ways you might expect. Like the previous two novels, it’s a stand alone tale, but there are extras if you’ve read the previous two.

Bringing back Jackie is probably the most controversial of the decisions I’ve made. I think she’s a bit of a marmite character but I’m not done with her yet…


Excerpt (working title Other People’s Lies)

He met her one day while wandering into St Anne’s Well Gardens. The enigmatic woman who made his life breathable again. She was loudly singing a Nina Simone song while standing by the pond in the park, breeze ruffling her long dark hair.

            ‘Nice voice,’ he said absently, leaning against the railing and staring at the water beyond that used to have fish in but was now empty of life.

            ‘I didn’t ask,’ she replied.

He studied her face, mainly obscured by a huge pair of black sunglasses. It was impossible to work out whether she was irritated by him or was being playful until eventually the corners of her mouth crept up into the smallest of smiles.

            ‘Well, it’s a nice voice anyway,’ he said, relieved he hadn’t offended her. ‘You can’t unhear the compliment, can you? Whether you wanted it or not.’

            ‘I suppose not,’ she replied, her own gaze turning back to the water before them. Comfortable silence followed as they stood side by side.

            ‘What happened to the fish?’ Gavin said eventually, keeping his eyes trained on the water instead of the woman.

            ‘Dead, I imagine,’ she said. ‘Since the refurb.’

            ‘Why couldn’t they save them? I’m not even sure what they did in that refurb, the pond looks exactly the same as before.’

            ‘How things look on the surface isn’t always real, though, is it,’ she said, turning around and taking two steps across the path to sit down on the bench behind them. ‘It probably had cracks underneath.’

            ‘Maybe,’ he muttered, swinging around and leaning his back against the railings to appraise the woman.

            ‘What’s your name?’ he asked, holding his hand out for her to shake.

            ‘Call me Jackie,’ she said, accepting his hand with a face-lighting smile.

            ‘If you like,’ he said, smiling. ‘But what’s your real name?’

            ‘Most people don’t even ask,’ she replied before looking away from him.

            She was older than him, definitely late forties, maybe even in her fifties. Gavin had never been able to tell a woman’s age very well. When they reached their thirties, he lost the ability to make an accurate judgement without offending them. They could have been anywhere within a twenty or thirty-year window. Whatever her age, Jackie was stunning, a star from a bygone era. Everything about her, from her Sixties clothes to the oversized sunglasses on her face and the fearless way she held herself was perfect.

End excerpt.


Anyhoo… best get back to it. If you’ve read The Pursuit of Ordinary and would like to vote for it in The People’s Book Prize, I’d really appreciate it.

Also, to celebrate its ‘finalist’ status, my publisher has discounted the ebook if you fancy getting yourself a copy.

Thanks again everyone. I probably won’t blog again for a while now as I’m writing, writing, writing. 

See you on the other side.

 


Beat The Rain

Bestselling JHP Fiction title, Goodreads Choice Awards nominee, Best Debut Author

"An unforgettable story of love and loss propelled by blockbuster twists." Love Reading

Can Louise move on from the loss of her lover Tom? Can she and Tom's twin brother Adam really find a way to love one another? Or are they trapped on a path of self-destruction, moving towards a tragedy neither can avoid?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones | W H Smith


The Pursuit of Ordinary

Currently finalist, The People's Book Prize for Fiction

"Original and compelling, perfectly paced and beautifully written." Colette McBeth

After witnessing a fatal car accident, a homeless man wanders the streets of Brighton, trying to ignore the new, incessant voice inside his head. Is Dan ill or has he really been possessed? Finding the dead man's wife is the only way he'll know for sure.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones | W H Smith

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