MY NEXT BOOK(S)?

 

 

JONTY'S WIN

Front cover

Completing my latest book JONTY’S WIN made life quite difficult, once I’d put in the last full stop.  You see, I have fallen in love with my main character, Jonty Greer, the hapless actor who has won 53 million pounds on the lottery. Well, who wouldn’t fall in love with a man that rich, I hear you say. 

Actually, it has nothing whatsoever to do with his money. Promise! You see, I have known Jonty for some time. He was the star in my first novel, PRETENDING, written in 2013 and it’s not the last time his febrile antics will fill the pages of a book. I am, at this moment, preparing the next episode of the ongoing chaotic adventure that is his life. Back Cover JWIt’s because he is so extraordinary, so optimistic, so completely unaccountable, that I love him. He has now become a permanent fixture in my mind and heart and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

 

 

17190949_1265474693500898_8349464218403510824_nI have this weird feeling that Jonty is destined to become a cult figure in the literary world. I’ve always been an optimist, like him.

He had a slow start in PRETENDING and speeded up in JONTY’S WIN, as he spread his exuberance across the pages.

 

Dear reader, I must impress on you, he means well. Oh, yes, he means very well. He just doesn’t quite understand real life. The life on a stage or in front of a camera or on YouTube is his reality. No-one can change that. I should know. I created him. Like the monster in Frankenstein, I have let him escape, and he will plunder his way through a series of forthcoming novels like a tribe of wildebeests on the African Plains, seeking satisfaction, fame, adoration and, because he has a good heart, love.

There is no going back. My plans to write an autobiography, a book about bees, a novel with Trump as the protagonist, have all gone up a chimney. Jonty will consume my thoughts and I guess, my life for the next few months.

Here it is: available for you to read and review and give me your hate/love feelings for the boy. Of course, you might fall in love with one of the other characters. That’s okay. They’re all pretty lovable. 

JONTY'S WIN

 

Book number two, RURAL CUT is altogether a more sombre affair.

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About to be published! If you live in rural England, this is the book for you, but read it behind the sofa, if you are of a delicate disposition.

You can get your copies from Amazon, Foyles, Barnes and Noble, Waterstones and a host of other online book shops. Also, at my lovely publisher’s site: http://www.feedaread.com

Please leave a review so I can decide whether or not to give up writing and become the oldest DJ in the West.

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Spooky read! Good for keeping you up at night.

 

MAKING A THEATRE COMPANY

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Turning Point Theatre Company

Back in the mists of time – 1989, to be precise – I wrote a play. It was called You Deserve a Good Rest. The title came out of my observations of older people who were about to plunge into the dark world of retirement.

At the time, retirement was a dirty word. Once out of the workplace, most older people were patronised and ignored. Kind-hearted souls, years younger sent congratulation cards and quoted platitudes, one of which was: ‘You deserve a good rest, dear…’

I was nowhere near retirement age at the time, but I’ve always had an annoying sense of justice and being the youngest of five, with an older mother and twenty years between myself and my eldest brother, I was aware that approaching your demise in a state of ‘retirement’ did nothing for your health or well-being.

The play looked at a man reaching sixty – the retirement age in those days (don’t laugh!) I used music, humour and a look at the history of retirement, in an hour-long production that toured my home county. I had no idea the play would be such a success, or that it would ever be produced. For this, I have to thank a wonderful woman called Margaret Willet, who at the time, was the director of Age Concern (now renamed Age UK) in Devon.

On a whim, I sent the play to Margaret and within a few days, I received a phone call from her, asking if I would like to present a performance at a conference set up by The Centre for Policy on Ageing.  The conference was at a London venue in a few months time, with Dr. Eric Midwinter coordinating the event. I was even offered a substantial grant to help finance the production. I was ecstatic and very surprised.

Sitting at a tiny desk in my bedroom, writing furiously on an Amstrad (early computer) given to me by one of my sons, that encouragement and the grant, ensured that I began to take myself seriously as a writer for the first time.

I had worked as a waitress, an OT aid, an office receptionist and all the while, continued writing whatever and whenever I could. At the age of 34, encouraged by my partner, I went to college to study drama and subsequently began working in theatre as a singer, director/performer, voice-over and filmmaker while attempting to raise four children, run a home and a husband or two. My first break at writing drama was a commission by a local radio station DevonAir. Nicky Ezer, a wonderful, innovative producer, asked me to write a radio soap opera called The Devon Lanes. Yes, you read that correctly! It focused on a family moving to Devon from up-country (as we say down here, and that means anywhere from Bristol, up!) I began writing and sometimes acting in ten minute episodes, broadcast every day, with an omnibus edition on Fridays!

I came from a musical, theatrical family and my early years were peppered with theatrical events, like sitting in the wings at Drury Lane Theatre in London, watching The King and I, with Valerie Hobson and Herbert Lom as Mrs Anna and the King of Siam. My eldest sister was playing one of the King’s wives and understudying Tuptim, the favoured wife in the harem. I was about eight years old at the time. I watched the same sister as a member of the chorus in the London production of Carousel, also at Drury Lane, this time from the front row of the stalls. I also remember vividly, climbing the stone stairs to the dressing room at the ‘Lane’, to walk in on one of the chorus girls, wearing nothing but a sanitary towel on a belt. Having seen the dreaded sight, I heard my sister shriek and then, felt her cover my eyes with her hands. It was 1953.

The performance of You Deserve a Good Rest was performed at the conference and received loud applause and a chance to discuss the action with the audience, who were mainly doctors and others working in the field of geriatric medicine. I realised, after the event was over, I was on to something.

logo4A year later. I formed Turning Point Theatre Company to carry on where my first play left off. My next project came out of the research I’d already done on the lives of retirees. It was clear that one of the most poignant and unexpected things that happened to many people at the start of, or during their retirement, was becoming a carer. This could happen literally overnight, if one partner in a couple became serious ill or incapacitated by a stroke or any of the many conditions that afflict people, now we are all living longer.

sc00098e92I attended conferences and carer’s groups and listened. Carers UK, then The Carers National Association gave me some truly mind-blowing stats. There were, at the time 7.5 million unpaid carers in the UK. This was defined as a family member or friend caring for another person. And they were saving the government millions of pounds. Sadly, the situation in 2018 is not much better, though there is more publicity on social media and in the press, as to what carer’s actually do 365 days of the year. Then, when I wrote my next play, called aptly Carers, the theatre tickets came back from the printers with the word Careers printed on them. The printer had no idea there was such a word as carer, and thought I had made a spelling mistake!

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Jane Bellamy as a carer – jumping through hoops to get help.

carersCarers received support from The Carers National Association and a substantial grant from The Prudential Carers Awareness Fund. By this time, Turning Point Theatre Company was receiving grants from South West Arts and other funders such as The National Lottery, which had just started. We toured the play in association with a number of carer’s groups across the South of the UK. After each show, the actors and a panel of people working with carers discussed the content of the play and related their own experiences, which were always fascinating and sometimes, very moving. I chaired these discussions and our wonderful stage manager recorded them in a book, with a pen; this was before iPads and laptops.

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Mike Berenger in Carers

My next blog will continue the Turning Point journey. I want to tell you all about receiving awards and how I started making films, so watch this space! Thanks for reading.

My latest book, available online at Amazon, Foyles, Waterstones and Barnes and Noble.

JONTY'S WIN

REVISION TIME

Below are the cover proofs of my second novel. It was first published a couple of years ago.

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I’ve taken the plunge and revised the book. It will be out very soon. I’m still learning my craft and it’s hard graft.

My time is limited now, since my partner became ill and I have become a carer. Writing has always been a way for me to withdraw from my surroundings, immerse myself in another world and meet new people – my characters. The beauty of this circle of friends is the way they stay silent and allow me to manipulate them, create lives and loves and stories in which they cavort about at my command. It’s bliss, it really is. They make me laugh, cry and all feel all emotions inbetween in the safety of my writing room, with no repercussions.

That’s the magic of creative writing. I started writing novels five years ago. My first book – Pretending – was a terrifying ride, rather like getting stuck on the top of the London Eye during a thunder storm.

I had no idea what I was doing, and those of you who have read the book, may feel that I am still scrabbling about, pretending to be an author. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained (so my old mum used to say) and once the last fullstop is in place, I move on.

That’s what all those life coaches tell you, don’t they? Don’t linger, don’t procrastinate on the past, move, move, move ON!

One thing that moves me along is my dog. He needs walking at least twice a day, so when the muse decides to open the nearest windoimg_4290.jpgw and flee, my lovely old spaniel is there to move me to the door and drag me, rain, sleet, snow or sun on a long walk. It works miracles. I nearly always return to my desk feeling better and full of new ideas. ( I said nearly always…) By the way, if you are wondering what that strange thing is, in the bottom right hand corner of the picture, it’s my foot. Charlie dog got very angry because I was stuck on a chapter and made him wait for his walk, so he chewed up my slippers.

If you want to follow the path of this meandering writer who keeps on trying, please read my books and tell me what you think. If I don’t like what you say, I can always walk the bloody dog! (Thanks).

Perhaps, you might like to read this one, too? Jonty’s Win has just been published. You can get your copy at www.feedaread.com or online at Amazon and other Internet book outlets. Thanks again!

JONTY'S WIN

JONTY’S WIN

My new novel is published today!

JONTY'S WINJonty Greer is an irresponsible, impoverished jobbing actor catapulted into the fraught mindset of a rich man by a lottery win. Certain that money can deliver happiness and change, he strives to give his fortune a social conscience by funding what he views as life-changing theatre workshops, initially to the young people of a small English seaside town. As insecure as he was ten years ago when he worked for The People Train Community Theatre, he summons support from his old acting buddies, Edward D’Amato and Caroline Fenton, persuading them to join him on his altruistic quest to heal and inspire the disenfranchised youth of the town and possibly, the whole world. Jonty is unprepared for the demands a vast amount of money put on him and the people around him, including the local council, the women in his life and an abused child attending the workshops. Can money alone mend the loneliness, austerity, damaged relationships and homelessness that he unwittingly uncovers? Will Jonty’s win make him a better person? Or will he and the people his money attract remain the same?
ISBN: 9781788763516
Type: Paperback

Also available in hardback. Order your copy now at www.feedaread.com

Soon at Amazon and other online book stores.