Thursday, 17 April 2014

YESTERDAY is here!

Anyone would think it's my first book, not my twelfth!  But I'm making no apologies for the excitement I feel on the launch of YESTERDAY - my first book that's set in the 1960s.

It's available from today (17 April) on Amazon for Kindle or Kindle app – and you can purchase it here now, for the launch price of £1.99.

YESTERDAY is the story of Cathy, an ordinary teenager growing up in the Sixties, who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time during those turbulent times. The events that follow will haunt her for the rest of her life, until – forty years later – she has to revisit her troubled teenage years, face her memories and try to work out what actually happened back in 1964.

But as well as being set against the backdrop of the Sixties, arguably one of the most socially interesting periods of recent history, YESTERDAY is also very much a story about growing up, about friendships and love affairs, relationships within families and the fall-out of bigotry, jealousy and revenge – all of which, of course, have affected every generation since time began. So I hope the story will appeal to all readers, not just those of us who remember seeing the Beatles live in concert and riding motorbikes or scooters in our leather gear or our Parkas!  

There’s already been a lot of interest in YESTERDAY in the media, with several magazines and newspapers publishing articles I’ve written for them about my memories of the 1960s, the Mods and Rockers, and how I used those memories in writing the book.
And I’ll be talking about the book on BBC Radio Essex on Tuesday 22 April at 3.30pm.

I’m also appearing on a blog tour where there will be interviews, pieces I’ve written about YESTERDAY and the 1960s, and some book reviews. Here are the details of the tour if you’d like to follow it:

17 April: : Review and interview

18 April: Feature about my best Sixties memory.

19 April: Review, and feature about growing up in the 1960s.

20 April: Review, and feature about the global influence of the Sixties decade.

21 April: Feature about why I wrote about the 1960s – a decade of changes.

22 April: : Interview

23 April:’s-blog : Interview

24 April: : Interview

25 April: : Interview

You might also like to catch up with all the latest news and gossip about YESTERDAY on the Facebook page

So please go and have a quick look at Amazon UK  here - or browse the Kindle store for YESTERDAY now while it's available at the launch price of £1.99!
And as this book is so different from all my others, I’d love to hear readers’ reactions. If you enjoy YESTERDAY, please give me some feedback by leaving a review on Amazon.
Thank you - and happy reading!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Writing from personal memories

I've been asked several times recently, during the lead-up to publication of my 1960s themed novel YESTERDAY (being published next week), whether I wrote the book using my own memories of the period. Of course, I'd like to pretend I'm not old enough to have any such memories, but I'm not vain enough or deluded enough to bother trying! 

The answer is yes - of course, a lot of the fun of writing about the era was the fact that I was a teenager myself back then. And yes, the heroine of my novel - Cathy - is a girl of about the same age I was then, growing up in the same area of Essex, even going to a school which was similar to mine in some ways. So it's natural for people to ask me (as a newspaper interviewer has in fact just asked me today) whether I based Cathy on myself.

In fact, I didn't. Not consciously. But as all writers of fiction will be aware, there's quite a fine line between writing a story based on our own memories and experiences, and writing something that's almost autobiographical. That's why we have to be so careful when writing fiction which has been inspired by real life stories concerning friends or acquaintances - they might recognise themselves, however much we try to disguise them, and they might not be happy about it!

Cathy's story is not my story. So although the background details of her life - the fact that she was a Mod, and a Beatles' fan - were the same as mine, this isn't particularly surprising as nearly all young girls in 1963-4 were Beatles' fans, and most teenagers were either Mods or Rockers, or at least sympathetic to one side or the other.

But the serious things that happen to Cathy and the other characters in YESTERDAY didn't happen to me - they are my invention. Cathy's family is nothing like my family and her friends are nothing like my friends. By placing her in my home town, and at my own age, it was easy for me to imagine myself walking in her shoes, experiencing the things she went through - and I hope this, as well as all my memories of 1960s events, music and fashion, has given the story an added dose of realism.

You can catch up with all the latest news and gossip about YESTERDAY on the Facebook page for the book.

I wonder how many other authors have written novels based on their own personal memories?