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Angelena Boden

Angelena Boden

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Jane Davis Launches ‘Unpredictable’ Eighth Novel

Fans of Davis’s fiction have stopped trying to predict where she’ll take her writing next. Since winning the Daily Mail First Novel Award in 2008, she’s become known for writing about big subjects and giving her characters almost impossible moral dilemmas. She’s said in the past that what interests her is how people behave under pressure, because it reveals so much about them. And as the tagline of Smash all of the Windows suggests, her new offering is no exception. 

When life steals everything you love, is anger the only answer?

Says Davis, “This book started life as my reaction to the outcome of the second inquest about the Hillsborough football stadium disaster, when the ruling that had laid the blame at the feet of football fans was overturned. The expectation was that now justice had been delivered, the families could ‘get on with their lives’. My question was, What lives? 

In creating my fictional disaster, I combined two of my fears – travelling in rush hour by Tube, and escalators – plus a fall I suffered on my way to a book-reading in Covent Garden. I was overloaded, having just finished a day’s work in the city. I was carrying my laptop bag, my briefcase, plus I had a suitcase full of books in tow. The escalator that I normally use was out of order and we were diverted to one that was much steeper and faster. I pushed my suitcase in front of me and it literally dragged me down head first. Fortunately, there was no one directly in front of me, but things could have ended very differently.” 

Jane spent her twenties and the first part of her thirties chasing promotions at work, but when she achieved what she’d set out to do, she discovered that it wasn’t what she had wanted after all. It was then that she turned to writing. Her debut, Half-truths and White Lies, won the Daily Mail First Novel Award. Seven further novels, which straddle contemporary, historical, literary and women’s fiction genres, have earned her comparisons to Kate Atkinson and Maggie O’Farrell. An Unknown Woman, was Writing Magazine’s Self-Published Book of the Year 2016.


Smash all the Windows

Genre: Modern and Contemporary Fiction (FA), Literary, General fiction

‘A dazzling high wire walk through interwoven strands balanced so carefully you know you’ll never fall.’ Dan Holloway, novelist, poet and spoken word artist

‘Just fricking perfect. An all-round triumph.’ John Hudspith

‘This is an astounding read. I was completely captivated.’ Liz Carr 

It has taken conviction to right the wrongs. 

It will take courage to learn how to live again.

For the families of the victims of the St Botolph and Old Billingsgate disaster, the undoing of a miscarriage of justice should be a cause for rejoicing. For more than thirteen years, the search for truth has eaten up everything. Marriages, families, health, careers and finances.

Finally, the coroner has ruled that the crowd did not contribute to their own deaths. Finally, now that lies have been unravelled and hypocrisies exposed, they can all get back to their lives.

If only it were that simple. 

Smash all the Windows will be released on 12 April, but you can pre-order it now for the special price of 99p/99c (Price increases to £1.99 on 12 March. Price on publication will be £3.99). The Universal Link is books2read.com/u/49P21p


Jane spent her twenties and the first part of her thirties chasing promotions at work, but when she achieved what she’d set out to do, she discovered that it wasn’t what she had wanted after all. It was then that she turned to writing. 

Her debut, Half-truths and White Lies, won the Daily Mail First Novel Award and was described by Joanne Harris as 'A story of secrets, lies, grief and, ultimately, redemption, charmingly handled by this very promising new writer.' Seven further novels, which straddle contemporary, historical, literary and women’s fiction genres, have earned her comparisons to more seasoned authors such as Kate Atkinson and Maggie O’Farrell. An Unknown Woman, has been named Self-Published Book of the Year 2016 by Writing Magazine and the DSJT Charitable Trust. Jane's favourite description of fiction is ‘made-up truth’.

Jane lives in Carshalton, Surrey, with her Formula 1 obsessed, beer-brewing partner, surrounded by growing piles of paperbacks, CDs and general chaos. When she is not writing, you may spot Jane disappearing up the side of a mountain with a camera in hand. 

You can find her at: 

Website: https://jane-davis.co.uk

Sign up to my newsletter at www.jane-davis.co.uk/newsletter and get your free copy of I Stopped Time. 

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JaneDavisAuthorPage

Twitter: https://twitter.com/janedavisauthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/janeeleanordavi/boards/

 


 

Books2Read Universal Link          books2read.com/u/49P21p

Amazon.com                                     https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079MBP3WD

Amazon.co.uk                                   https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079MBP3WD

ASIN                                                      B079MBP3WD

Draft2Digital                                       https://www.draft2digital.com/book/305043

Kobo:                                                    https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/smash-all-the-windows

Smashwords                                      https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/788752

Smashwords ISBN                           ISBN 9781310986826

Apple (iBooks)                                  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1346027779

Barnes & Noble                                https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/smash-all-the-windows-jane-davis/1127938176

Goodreads                         https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38447206-smash-all-the-windows

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I Read A Book, Once.

             ‘I read a book once, by … I can’t remember now. It was about this woman whose husband who was living a double life.’

            ‘What was it called?’

            ‘No idea. It was last year sometime. Made me think at the time.’

            Fiction, unlike its more robust counterpart, non-fiction, can easily fall into the twilight zone of fragmented recall, its authors vanishing into oblivion, once the hype and spin of the publicity machine is exhausted.  

The most fashionable authors of today need to consider, when they stand before adoring crowds at literary festivals and book signings, that they, like those who have gone before them, are not permanent features of our consciousness. Some gather accolades from the grave – those underrated writers who are rediscovered and rebirthed under a Classic imprint.

            Thousands of books are stillborn the moment they leave the publishing houses, despite the promises of radio shows, TV appearances and endless articles regurgitating the story, simply because they don’t resonate with current readership trends. Success today, is as much about the author’s personality and platform as the book itself.

Whatever the fate of your newly printed novel, you can be sure it’s in the hands of a capricious reading public.  It’s almost as if we are embarrassed to say we like an unknown author or out-of-fashion style of writing, especially if everyone is devouring the latest best-seller which you really must read, if you are to be considered someone of substance. It reminds me of the time I would read Penny Romances behind the cover of an O’ level Geography textbook.

            I’ve rediscovered the works of Barbara Pym, delighting in her dark, but highly amusing observations of the lives of ordinary people in “Quartet in Autumn,” (original publication 1977), which was once nominated for the Booker Prize. It was republished in 2015 as a Picador Classic.  I understand she fell out of favour with her publisher at one point and didn’t write anything for several years. Philip Larkin described her as one of the most underrated novelists of the twentieth century. I have to agree.

A society in her name, keeps her work alive and whilst many people today would consider her writing politically incorrect  ( a bit like the radio comedies of the 1970s) and lacking a plot, her powers of observation about the detail of daily life provides an ideal model for character study.

She wouldn’t fit in with today’s editorial thrust towards manuscripts with inciting incidents, conflict and tension to keep readers on the edge of their sofas. I turned all the pages of her book this weekend, savouring each one, rather than feeling a pressure to race through to the denouement. (I do love that word).

My personal view is this – books that speak to you and maybe only you are to be treasured. Publishers can’t be indulgent with their authors since they have to recoup their investment, but there may come a time, when one or two of your loyal aficionados, talk to someone of influence and say, ‘You really must read this book. It was quite a find, ( on Amazon, in the charity shop, in the bus- stop litter bin). Books, like people, provide legacies, linking fragments of the past to possibilities for the future. One tiny sentence or phrase can be enough to create impact.

You might be long gone when that novel you birthed some years before is reprinted as a classic and nobody is saying… ‘I can’t remember the title.’

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Forgiveness

Forgiveness is when we choose to let go of negative emotions relating to the perpetrator of an action which has hurt us deeply. Built up resentment, anger and a thirst for revenge serve no purpose as they can’t change the outcome but they can gnaw away at us.

Long term anger is corrosive. It can damage the heart, the immune system and change how we think. The only reason we hold on to it is because it’s serving a purpose – usually by giving us a false sense of power. We feel it's a just form of punishment when all we are doing, is  punishing ourselves.

When this turns to bitterness, it poisons how we view the world. We forget the good that’s in our lives, as we pursue vengefulness or a pay-back for the pain inflicted.

Forgiveness is misunderstood. It doesn’t mean you gloss over the seriousness of the offense nor does it imply a willingness to forget and pretend it never happened. It means deciding not to let the pain define who you are as you move forward in life.

I love what it says in The Bhagavad Gita. ‘If you want to see the heroic, look to those who can forgive.’

It’s not for the weak and faint-hearted as it requires bravery and a strong mind to not pass down  bitterness and hatred to the next generation.

I witnessed such a shift in mind-set when I worked in Belfast on the Shankill Road in the early 2000s. The paramilitaries on my training programmes wanted their children to have a different future and that meant forgiving those who had murdered and maimed people in their communities in the name of religion, politics and territory. Moreover, it meant forgiving themselves for similar actions. That requires enormous courage and strength.

Recently I found myself in a similar position. It was time to forgive my former husband for the emotional abuse and his cruel decision to cut off all contact with his daughters for the past twenty years. Saying those few words, ‘I forgive you,’ were like sticking my tongue into battery acid at first, but as I expanded on my reasons, I knew it was the right thing at the right time. You can’t be glib or plaster on a fake smile. It must come from a place of love. In my case, it was for my daughters. I don’t want to leave them a legacy of resentment.

I’ve been told that some things are unforgiveable. Sexual abuse and neglect of children being one of them. That being said, I have talked to survivors of horrendous abuse who  explained that holding onto the anger has trapped them for too long  and it’s only by letting it go, can they be free. Heroic indeed.

Like the Dalai Lama says,'You can take everything from me, even my country, but I won’t let you take my joy'. (roughly quoted.)

Forgiveness, like death, taps us on the shoulder to remind us it’s time. Often the two come hand in hand. It’s too late to forgive ( and reconcile) at the funeral service. Think about it. If you want to be truly free, forgive someone today. It’s through compassion that we become real and true to ourselves. It might be all we have to offer. 

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Time for a Reality Check

Every year, before my birthday, I do a reality check. Being a mid-winter baby, I am prone to melancholy and need to ground myself for the coming year. It’s a salutary exercise as it means stripping away fantasies and unrealistic expectations. It’s akin to severely pruning your favourite rose bush in the hope of a more abundant crop of blooms.

Facing the truth about yourself and your circumstances doesn’t come easy to everyone. There’s a need to be conscious about what is happening in your life which doesn’t involve media influence or the rampant competition to be more special than the next. It’s hard enough maintaining being you without the exhausting mirror- gazing to seek out the next flaw that you feel needs fixing.

With so much so called fake news around, it’s difficult to know what to believe about the world, but so much easier to know what to believe about yourself since you are your best and only authority.

I am not part of that bold generation who like the laser beam to be shining on me all the time. In truth, it makes me feel slightly uneasy. However, I’m going to share with you my ten point reality check which will guide my sixty second year beginning with the least talked about. I’m not self-pitying or looking for sympathy, in case you think I am. These are the facts.

  • I am a year older than I claim. I mean, my birthday marks the end of my 62nd year on Planet Earth and the beginning of my 63rd. Same for all of us.
  • There are many things I can no longer do comfortably. One of my birthday gifts is a walking pole. Call it Nordic, Martian, what you will, but the reality is that I need support when climbing the mountain sides in my beloved Peak District.
  • My weakened eyesight and poor spatial awareness means I am a danger on the road. I can no longer fantasise about driving again. My optician doesn’t recommend it.
  • I miss going out to work. Writing at home is a lonely business. I am lonely. That’s the truth.
  • No longer as confident as I once was, I rely more on other people for validation. This year I won’t look for it from social media. Only from people whose opinions I trust.
  • For those of you who’ve ever  listened to Garrison Keillor on the radio and the tales of Lake Wobegon, “where the children are above average”, - that’s me.  I wanted to be able to hold clever conversations, be an eloquent writer, an artist… all sorts of things but the truth is… I sit at 6.5/10. Even my fitness level hovers around that.
  • I’m a decent person. I try to help people where I can and don’t expect anything back.
  • I’ve learned to accept what I can’t change and I’ve let go of controlling outcomes but I overthink. I am my harshest critic.
  • I try to listen more than I talk and I don’t offer opinions unless I am asked for them.  These days I think more about “Other” than Me. I also think about death. A lot.

My list is much longer than this, but I appreciate stuff like this can become monotonous. Reality checks are important if we are to find a level of acceptance about our limitations at any given time. This way we can clear the decks of the pressures we put on ourselves and move along our individual path, one step at a time.

It’s Blue Monday. My birthday is tomorrow. January 16th. According to the astrologers, there’s a mega planetary line up on that day. A stellium of six planets. It’s supposed to bring positive changes. That’s good. It might lift the melancholy that sits on my shoulders every winter, like a damp tea-towel.

Happy birthday to all Capricorns reading this. Keep climbing that mountain but settle where it feels the most comfortable.

Angelena  

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