GETTING MY LIFE BACK

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Last Sunday I handed over what I fervently hope is the final version of The Shrewsbury Murders. The place was a pub called The Coach & Horses and the time was the start of Happy Hour.

No coincidence, that. After working on it all the previous week I was satisfied I’d done all I could. And boy, did I need a drink.

My editor Mike, a self-confessed pedant, asked whether I’d changed it much, or just worked through his suggestions from the first time he’d seen it. He’s a Cambridge man, and these dialogues always make me feel like the errant schoolboy who’s late with his homework.

“Well, I took nearly all your suggestions on board Mike. Particularly when you’d written things like NO VERB IN THIS SENTENCE! Or, THIS IS NOT OLD ENGLISH!

He nodded. He really did print those and several other pithy bits of advice in various parts of the MS.

“Much change in the word-count?”

“Yes: about seven thousand more.”

Silence while he swallowed, and then:

“SEVEN THOUSAND?”

This was said in disbelief, as though rather than producing something of 95,000 words I was giving him a tome a bit longer than War and Peace.

“Yes. I just wasn’t happy with some of Books 1 and 3. I’ve added to Book 2 as well.”

[TSM is divided in to three sections; each called a ‘Book’.]

“So I’ve got to read the whole thing again?”

“Well, be good if you could.”

I grasped at a straw:

“And thanks for redrafting the old English verse in Book 3; makes a big difference.”

This did little to calm him, and rapidly I caught Susie’s eye and signalled for two more.

An hour and a few beers later waters were calmer. He asked me if I’d done a blurb to help publicise it. I hadn’t, but have now. Proving I sometimes do not shrink from shameless self-promotion here it is:

     ‘The Shrewsbury Murders’ is the second novel in the Mike Ambrose trilogy that begins with ‘Project Overkill’.

     Near the end of the 10th century a famous Archbishop is finally laid to rest in Glastonbury, England. A few private possessions are buried with him. Later, when his body is being relocated to Canterbury some of these artefacts are stolen.

     In the late 16th century two friends meet in an ale house in London. They decide to embark on a journey together. As a result they make a life changing discovery, and later become bitter enemies.

     In Whitechapel, London a series of five brutal murders begins in August 1888. They are perpetrated by a murderer known as Jack the Ripper, who is never identified or caught. He is afterwards regarded as the first serial killer. Inexplicably his crimes endure in the public consciousness up to the present day.

     In Wales, following a German air raid in 1941the lives of each generation of a family line are marred by severe bouts of depression and dread. 

     In Shrewsbury in December 2011 Mike Ambrose, his partner Marcia and their close friend Claire Osbourn are hosting a Christmas party. An inexplicable occurrence at the end of it stays in Mike’s mind.

     One day they encounter Cassie, an almost penniless young woman who desperately wants to work. They believe in her and decide to help.

     Months afterwards a series of gruesome murders begins in Shrewsbury. The killer leaves a note signed ‘Jack the Ripper’. Incredibly, there are reasons to believe it may indeed be the same man.

     But that is impossible!

     Amidst the ensuing terror, happily fuelled by press, radio, and television Mike and those closest to him are themselves threatened, and have no alternative but to take matters in to their own hands.

     In doing so, they stumble on to a secret even more chilling than the murders themselves.

So there it is, and thank you for reading. It may be that Ms. J. S-C is congratulating herself on getting the world exclusive, but I doubt it. I’d still love to know whether it whets anyone’s appetite though.

But the very best thing about finishing TSM is the feeling of getting my life back. Waking up Monday morning felt like being on holiday. It still does. Once again there is time for tweets, Facebook, Tomb Raider, and best of all reading books by other people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ELUSIVE PLOT…

Don’t worry: this isn’t about me losing an allotment; it’s far more important than that. As background I’m currently at the getting my breath back stage with my new book The Shrewsbury Murders.

TSMcatalog

 

At the beginning of July I was at last satisfied with my own final edit and turned it over to a professional.

From phone conversations so far he’s liking it and I’ll certainly be making the changes he’s suggesting. Mainly they cover the need to set more historical atmosphere when it takes place long in the past, especially when outside the UK. He even noticed that in one part I’ve used nineteenth century words but more in a way they’d be used now! I’m still wondering how I missed this; I need sometimes to think more about the moment and less about dogged plot advancement.

Normally I tell him everything but on this occasion left out that I radically changed the main plot almost when I was on the last page. I’m not exactly ashamed of this but it has the ring of really bad planning and I knew I’d plotted it very carefully. So what, I wondered, was the reason?

I’ll give out no spoilers I hope but the original plot centred on the replication of a notorious series of 19th century murders in modern-day Shrewsbury. Most of the original planning focused on how to do this credibly. In addition I worked at how to get suspense into the modern setting.

There’s a problem here that I’d sum up as the temptation to write the same murders twice but with different characters. First I just didn’t want to do that; second it would be short changing the reader by taking an easy way out.

To avoid it I constructed a present day plot that begins as a fresh story that gradually and only at the margins introduces the new series of murders. It has its own dynamics and slowly starts bringing the whole thing together.

It was important of course to write some credible victims.

At a party late last year I got asked quite a lot about the first book and what I was doing now.  I said I was after victims, so’s to speak, and how useful it would be to get a few real potted histories.

To my surprise and delight some volunteers emerged when word got round and I found myself chatting in turn with about half a dozen guests. They were incredibly helpful and provided a range of personal information I could never have just dreamt up, and knew I could use despite of course protecting identities. And they wanted me to use it; some of them reminding me as the night progressed!

Now I had what I was looking for I pulled together various fragments and came up with my literary victims. I did not use everything I was told because the context often did not require it. I did so once though and I’m wondering whether those concerned will recognise themselves in the composite character. I think I’m quite happy if they do as long as no-one else does either.

The flow of the book improved with my confidence that thanks to the kindness of others I could now write far more credibly.

All went well until I had only about a thousand words to go. At that point I began to feel dissatisfied with what was coming out despite it being per the plan. It wasn’t that I was struggling with what came next; more that I was reluctant to write it.

I had no idea why, so continued but with a few different scenarios. One is a lengthy river trip sequence that replaces what would just have been a house party. I liked it for what it was but still nursed this curious sense of anxiety about the planned conclusion of the book.

I got to the last chapter and wrote a couple of scraps of dialogue that rang feeble, almost as if we’d come all this way to a very predictable destination. Maybe we’d changed buses a couple of times for variety but they still had the same number on the front.

I stopped and wondered what to do. My one inflexible rule is to produce a book that I’d want to read myself. This one hit the spot for much of its length but by no means all of it.

I’m not a natural sharer on such occasions but would have happily shared this if I could think of a way. But I’d pretty much need to get someone to read the whole thing. And that wouldn’t really work either because I needed to know why I was unhappy before I could do anything about it.

I don’t have a Fortress of Solitude and wouldn’t use it if I did. Instead I put everything away and had a couple of days not touching the book itself but just mulling things over while I did other things. I walked a bit in town, stopped for coffee, chatted, all the usual stuff. At one point I remembered I’d promised to deliver the MS within a fortnight and wondered whether I’d get anywhere close. Worse still, would it get shelved?

I didn’t want to even think of that. But I determined not to get neurotic, and not to give up hope.

I was still thinking when I went to sleep two nights later. Next morning, waking very early, I felt I was on to something.  I made coffee, grabbed a pencil and wrote it all down before I had a chance to forget it. I went back to bed, couldn’t sleep, got up and started the rewrite.

The real plot isn’t about the re-enactment of the murders at all, although they are an essential component. It’s actually about the reason the original murders remain so well known and notorious after more than a century. That is far more mysterious as an enduring mystery, and what better way to discover the reason than via a present day replication?

Relief surged: the rewrite was almost a pleasure and I delivered it a week later. But I’d love to know how, when I’d been living with the thing for about two years, I missed what my own book was really about.

Comments and any shared similar experience are welcome: I’d like to hear someone say it’s happened to them too.

What I was careful not to change was descriptions based on the information my kind party victims gave me. Not forgiving oneself is one thing; letting down a whole group of new friends would be quite another.

The cover image also remains unchanged and is attached to this blog. The text of the letter is taken from the novel.

 

 

 

 

 

44 Days & Counting! Blog Post Revisited :-)

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Dear Blog!

The venue has been booked for the launch of The Puppet Master, book two in the Poker Face series. It will be held at  The Deco Theatre http://www.thedeco.co.uk/ on 19th December 2012 from 7.30 onwards and everyone’s invited. There will be a bar and nibbles and children are also very welcome. Both books will be available as well as a free gift wrap service in the black and white Poker Face theme for anyone wishing to buy a copy for Christmas. There is absolutely no obligation to buy the book and the launch is mostly about getting people together, spreading the word about the series, and celebrating achieving something that I absolutely love with others. It would be great to see you there.

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I am running a little open and honest writing diary on the run up to the launch and I will be updating

the record below on a daily basis. Please check in and feel free to like and chat while you’re here 🙂

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12th November 2012 & 38 days to go!

To say I’m feeling overwhelmed today is like saying that on a bad day the Atlantic is a little bit choppy! The way I feel right now I could well be embarking on a swim across said ocean. I’m all greased up, toes in the shingle of some remote Welsh beach and that is about as equipped as I feel. As it stands, at the moment, I have an awesome venue and at least three definite guests; Mr S-C and the kids. I haven’t counted myself because unless more people say they are coming, and I finish the book properly in time, I’m not sure I’ll be there either!

On the plus side (I think it’s a plus side and it is book related so it must be, right?) I have started writing my launch diary!

 

11th November 2012 & 39 days to go!

I took a break…come on cut me some slack here!

 

10th November 2012 & 40 days to go!

It’s funny because today I managed to format my whole book, all 302 pages of it! I transferred it from an A4 document to an A5 document. I removed all random spaces that had found their way in and can mess up the print and also the e-copy copy. I adjusted all my indents to 0.5, unified my chapter headings and added page numbers. That took me about three hours in total and I felt well chuffed by the end, if somewhat unable to see properly! I then realised (a little too late to save my eyesight unfortunately) that if I’d increased the page size using the clever tool on the bottom right hand side of my screen, I wouldn’t have had to struggle to see the damn thing.

 

I also had a mega fab idea for the Poker Face series, and all other books I intend to get completed and published, and I am very excited. It’s a bit of a secret at this stage but it does mean learning a whole new set of skills. Wow, who’d have thought writing would be so technical. There should be a degree on how to get self published! It would not involve hanging about in the restaurant, avoiding lectures and seminars and eating beans and hash browns as was the case with my law degree. You know it was (@heather5mith) 😀

 

9th November 2012 & 41 days to go!

Still had a headache but I checked in with my thermometer and it confirmed that I was indeed NOT ill…but probably just convincing myself I was because I’ve bitten off much more than I can chew. As if I don’t have enough to do, today I have decided that I shall create a blog diary in the style of Bridge Jones to document the preparation and launch of The Puppet Master. I will be substituting alcohol for tea, and fags for Cadbury chocolate fingers. Also men will probably not be fighting over me outside an Italian restaurant but, you know, you get the idea. It will be like Bridget Jones but without all the fun! Keep tuning in! You know you really want to now! I will also NOT be wearing massive pants, which I hear is a disappointment to some 😀

 

I am backdating this (as you can probably tell) but I’m pretty sure I did some book stuff on this day in question. Oh, yes, I did. I remember now. I sent off a shed load of really cheeky emails. Only one has come back to me so far (and they have passed my cheeky email on to someone else) but fingers crossed for some ultimate cheeky success.

 

8th November 2012 & 42 days to go!

Yes the proverbial spanner in the works. I had a headache that made anything, other than telling everyone on Facebook and Twitter that I had a headache, virtually impossible. Of course the virtual community rallied around and offered me the cyber equivalent of chicken soup and Nurofen. Thank you lovely guys 🙂

 

7th November 2012 & 43 days to go!

I checked my Amazon bookshelf and realised that I had suddenly become an international bestseller since lunch…and also a liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitle bit of a liar 😀 I can confirm that Denmark, France, Spain, Italy and now Japan do not really need to appear on my Amazon bookshelf because they still haven’t bought my book. Opening up every day to be shown just how many books they aren’t buying is a little bit depressing! I’m kidding of course, it’s lovely to have you on my bookshelf Denmark, France, Spain, Italy and now Japan 😀

 

6th November 2012 & 44 days to go

OK today the venue was finally confirmed after much panicking from me. Mr S-C, the kids and I went along over the weekend to check it out and it was absolutely perrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrfect! Mr S-C said “go for it” and then I was left with the job of going for it, which sounds easier than it actually is. I was left alone for the day with my bullying mind that flitted between telling me I was rubbish and nobody would come, singing ‘Ohhhhhh noooooooo, what have you done?!’ and attempting to steal my lunch money! It eventually left me no choice but to harass my good friend, Suzanne Porter, and ask for her advice. After a lengthy inbox message, that basically went along the lines of “Just do it!” I just did it and so The Deco Theatre, Abington Square, Northampton, is now booked for the 19th December 2012 from 7.30 onwards. It is an open event and so please spread the word and come if you can. Here is a link http://www.thedeco.co.uk/  Just pretend it’s a Twilight Breaking Dawn premiere sort of thing and feel free to camp outside. I could always get Mr S-C to dress up as Robert Pattinson (AKA Edward Cullen) and I’ll run about trying to get him to kill me because I love him, my mum’s away and my dad likes fishing and arresting people. See this is why no agent would accept my synopsis…I make things sound bad!

 

Pre 6th November 2012

Stuff happened to include the birth of a book. I didn’t log anything along the way but I can confirm it was the second book in the Poker Face series. It stood at 110,000 words, approximately 20,000 words longer than the first book. We considered Finlay or Jacob for a boy and we quite liked Rosie or Tilly for a girl but, eventually, I named it The Puppet Master! Weighing in at over 400 grams it was heavier than the first and I can confirm it was painful at times and the labour quite intensive. However, as soon as I saw my book and held it in my hands I knew it was all worth it and I’d definitely do it again. I am aiming for a big, happy book family. Yay for The Puppet Master, another book has been born!!!

 

Waterstones, Kettering Video Diary – Blog post revisited :-)

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(Proof! Ha ha!)

Hey guys!

I survived yet another signing! Yes, that means you have to put up with me for a bit longer!

OK, so here are the video diaries for Saturday 13th October at Waterstones, Kettering and I would just firstly like to say thank you to everyone at the store who made us feel very welcome and offered me advice and lots of coffee to get me through the day. This signing was different because, for the first time, we opted not to sit down but for me to walk about and approach a few people. I find this really, REALLY hard to do but, like I say, we got through it in one piece. The downside of walking about was that it was kind of impossible to do a video diary without being in the way of a shelf or accidently catching members of the public so we decided to leave filming until the evening when we were back home. I had a shocking cold by this point and felt pretty rough so I’m going to use that as my excuse for the much weirdness that accompanies the next two recordings 😀

So clip one deals with the lovely questions we received surrounding me and my writing and thank you to everyone who contributed to this clip…

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I got into trouble many times for kicking the drawer in the kitchen and basically mucking about so we moved to the living room in the hopes that if Mr S-C sat on my legs I might keep still…didn’t work ha ha! May I warn in advance that Mr S-C said there was plenty of room on the camera to get this next clip but, as you will see, there wasn’t!

You get the general idea of where this was heading and it was our last question so I didn’t bother to record anything else to add to it.

Again, thank you to everyone who sent in questions because it made the filming much more fun and unpredictable  and it was quite cool attempting to deal with questions when I had no idea what was coming up! We didn’t have a hat so we put all of the names in a colander and each took it in turns to pick one. Here are the three winning names:-

Julie @RiverofTimeFan

Charlie @charlieplunkett

Victoria @vspearson

So congrats to you three and as soon as book two is available and I have an address to send them out I will be forwarding you a signed 1st edition copy of Poker Face. The Puppet Master.

Lastly one final thank you to Heather @heather5mith for popping along for a couple of hours and for interviewing me and to Mr S-C for staying with me for a few hours and for holding the camera so we could get the clips for the diary. Cheers muchly guys and just so you all know, we celebrated with a yummy curry last night. Yay!

Jess 🙂 x

The next big thing! Blog tag!

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This post is revisited!

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Dear all,

I was invited to be in a promotional blog tag by the very talented Jeri Walker-Bicketthttp://jeriwb.com/     The Next Big Thing originated from the SheWrites website and I’d just like to take this opportunity to say thank you very muchly to Jeri for tagging me and giving me the chance to chat about my work in progress. So, here goes, below are my answers to the questions.

 

What is the working title of your book? 

Poker Face II. The Puppet Master. I think! 😀

 

Where did the idea come from for the book? 

I was writing book 1 in the series and I was so into the characters that I had already started thinking about what else I wanted them to do with their literary lives. The books deal a bit with gang culture and the mafia and so there has always been so much scope for plot development.

 

What genre does your book fall under? 

It is supposed to be a YA thriller but adults have been enjoying it very much and I’m hoping I’ve kept the content tame enough for a YA market. We shall see!

 

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 

I have no idea but I would need me a handsome man in his forties (who looks pretty hot in a suit), a man in his early twenties (who also looks great smart but can carry of the cool shorts and bare feet image too) and a young woman in her teens who can go from feisty to cutey at the drop of a hat! 

 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

Alessi and Danny find 18 year old Ruby Palmer after she suddenly goes missing, but they soon realise that the girl they’ve found isn’t quite the Ruby they once knew.

 

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

Funnily enough on the day I am typing this I received a rejection from an agency, so I’d say I’m going indie all the way! It’s a good, fun ride with some fabulous supportive people. Being indie published is like being part of a community and I love it.  

 

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 

I was writing it at the same time as the first book and so, after only a few months of writing the first one, the second one was already drafted and ready for some MEGA editing!

 

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

Personally I struggle to compare my work because no matter how fab the reviews there is always a little part of me that says ‘Yeah but it’s not really all that!’ I wish I could drop that little part of me over a bridge! Oh no, I’ve just thought! If that little part does happen to go mising I will be first in line for questioning now! Anyway, Poker Face has twice been compared to a much easier to read and digest version of John Grisham by two massive John Grisham fans because there are lots of twists, turns and edge of your seat thrills. It’s a pretty enjoyable read but it’s not too complicated. I don’t quite feel worthy enough of the Grisham tag! Ha ha 😀

 

Who or What inspired you to write this book? 

Book one and the vibrant characters that just seemed to fit so well and develop in book one kind of inspired me to write book two. Book one was inspired by an agent who I desperately wanted to secure at the time, who claimed to be looking for a ‘good legal thriller.’ She didn’t take my work but I am still seriously happy with how well received it’s been. I have a little fan base and I’m living a pretty good alternative version of ‘the dream!’

 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? 

The series of Poker Face currently stands at four books and I am toying with a fifth. The thing I love most about the series is that I have kept the themes (although sometimes quite extreme or unrealistic for your everyday experiences) as realistic as possible and true to the issues and circumstances surrounding the characters. There are real life events, some very awkward and uncomfortable, but I wasn’t willing to pretend that these things don’t go on. In my opinion if I’m going to deal with an issue I needed to deal with it honestly or not deal with it at all. Characters get hurt, people suffer loses and strong bonds and relationships are formed. This book isn’t just about a bunch of gangsters shooting people up, it’s about a young girl with a trashy and abusive background finding a way forward in life, using the difficult hand she’s been dealt. She does it pretty good too.

All the best guys and I look forward to reading your work!

Jess x

  

OK the fab five that I have selected (minus the ones that have dropped out) are:-

 Victoria Pearson  (@vspearson) http://victoria-pearson.blogspot.com/

Julia Hughes  (@tinksaid) http://juliahughes.co.uk/

Charlie Plunkett  (@charlieplunkett) http://www.charlieplunkett.co.uk/

Victoria Grefer (details to follow)

Eileen Wharton (details to follow)

 

(Again, don’t ask me why these names are in different colours and some are underlined while others aren’t! I’m just surprised I actually managed to get another post up in the space of a week! Go me!) 

PS if you click on the person’s name above it should (should) take you to their website/blog so you can find out a little more about them! Go oooooooooon, do it! 😀

It’s like a guest post birthday! It’s been a year now & time for another Ripple in Time promo! :-)

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This post is a re-post but A Ripple in Time is once again on offer and free to download to Kindle, a year on from the original post. It is still very much a recommended read.

A Ripple in Time

Dear all,

I know, I know, my schedule is so hectic, what with kid’s parties, the book signing coming up, Mr S-C (bless him being all clumsy and that) the book writing and the blog…!!! Oh no the blog! The time has come, I must hand over the wheel while I have a little breakdown, and who better to jump into the driving seat than the fabarooney Julia Hughes, @tinksaid! I’ll be back (no don’t sigh! Soooooo cheeky!) but in the meantime I can assure you, you are in very safe hands. So, now, sit back and enjoy the ride…Over to you my lovely friend, Julia.

me&tink3_(2) 

 

Thank you Jess, and don’t worry, your blog’s in safe hands, promise. And off she goes, no doubt to another children’s party or to organise Mr S-C’s Father’s Day treats. Do I sound envious? Oh to be able to turn back the clock to that very special time, when the kids thought Mummy and Daddy were the most wonderful people in the world. Mind you, I still feel that way about my parents. There have been times when I’ve longed for a boring life, but throughout it all – the major highs and the places no-one wants to go – there have been two people standing solidly behind me with words of encouragement and acts of overgenerous kindness. Among the many unexpected pleasures of writing, comes the opportunity to say a small thank you to those who support without question. So my breakthrough novel is dedicated to the best parents any child could wish for, lucky me –  I won the lottery.

I also won the lottery with Jess, who answered my plea for a beta reader. Jess’s success with her debut novel Poker Face, encouraged me to publish in paperback, as well as ebook format. A Ripple in Time will be free to download to your kindle until 18th April 2013. 

Massive thanks once again to Jess, and you can bet your life I’ll be attending her book signing at Waterstones in Hatfield later this month [and she did!] eager to pick up tips from this wonderful writer, who is also a wonderful friend.

A Ripple in Time can be obtained by clicking Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Julia

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Woo hoo! How awesome is that! I’ll definitely be fifteen minutes late for the next party downloading my copy of A Ripple in Time! Come on, writing before raving…always! Thanks so much, Julia, for your lovely post and your lovely comments too.

Seriously, congratulations on your lovely new shiny paperback! It is SO exciting! I’m sure everyone will agree, the birth of a new novel or in a new format is a very wonderful thing and I’m so thrilled to be a part of it. Go you!!!

Take care from me,

Jess 😀 x

PS beautiful pic, Julia!

Please check out Julia’s fabarooney website for more of her work and posts 🙂

Video Diaries! My very first signing event at Waterstones, Hatfield. Post re-visited :-)

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Well, readers, the time came…and went…aaaaand, despite all of the panic, tummy aches and tears, I made it to and through the 23rd June 2012. I lived to tell the tale…or should I say the video diary. Now, I must first apologise because I thought that my camera (with video facility) would be fine for the occasion but it seems, even after deleting all personal photos of our recent holiday, there was not enough room to fit the four clips that I wanted. As a consequence we used @Heather5mith’s i-phone (the wrong way up) so two of the clips are either going to show up sideways or with mega blacked out borders  – but as long as they show something, right now I don’t care! Uploading to this blog has been an absolute nightmare! I even cried!

So, here goes. The first clip is very early morning on 23rd June. The kids are having a go at their interviewing skills. PS I would just like to make it clear that I do not push my daughter in this clip, I am simply trying to keep her from YouTube! She is one determined little monkey, let me tell you!

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So, we got mega lost on the way to Hatfield. The journey should have taken us  1 hour and 15 minutes, tops. However,  even with @Heather5mith’s SatNav, Mr S-C’s built in thingy on his phone and my more caveman-like printed off ‘Route Finder Classic View’ we got lost to the tune of over one and a half hours! The upside of this was that I was so fed up that my initial reservations about the whole affair had been replaced with ‘All I want to do is get there!!!’ When we did get there the staff at Waterstones were absolutely fantastic. They grabbed a table, a snazzy table cloth, advised us on the best positions, provided a fabarooney decorated chalk board and then even grabbed us all a coffee from Nero! I love the people at Waterstones, Hatfield! I will say this more than once! I must also say that Heather’s interview technique is pretty cool and she managed an artistic reflective job, which is very clever. Let’s agree that it was a complicated, technical set up and was entirely intentional. If the BBC would like to hire @Heather5mith, she is available all day Wednesday (outside of Zumba) and most evenings (as long as it’s not a choir night).

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Towards the end of the day we went for another clip but my camera held up its little camera hands and said ‘No, sorry, I clocked off at lunch time. It’s Saturday! I don’t get paid for this!’ Diva camera alert! So we dug into @Heather5mith’s hugomungo bag and caught a bit more of the day on her phone. Neither of us knew what to say at this point but we said there would be a video diary and by Jove we were going to rise to the challenge. It WAS a challenge!!!

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We packed up at 5.30pm, feeling exhausted (I’m not sure why I was as all I’d done was sit at a table all day, answer some questions, try not to do a runner and sign stuff!) It might be the fact that by that point I had consumed two large coffees, only one small bottle of water and not much else. After a farewell to Robin (not my Robin but the fabarooney Robin at Waterstones), Laura, Chris and Maisie (If I have spelt this incorrectly please let me know and I will change it – who I didn’t get to talk to but wish I had now) we made our weary way to the car park. The box of books was reassuringly and satisfyingly lighter than when we had arrived and we loaded the car for what SHOULD HAVE BEEN an hour’s drive home! Yeah I bet you’ve worked out what happens next! A slightly more stroppy video of me is what happens next, but at least (as I am not required to look at the camera in the next clip) there is no random face pulling, singing, dancing, ear tugging, lip rolling, hair touching, arm scratching or eye avoidance going on. This is the most normal clip that exists of me! The only problem I have with it is that my nose looks big sideways on and I HATE IT!!!

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This here concludes our video diary of my very first signing at Waterstones, Hatfield, and I have enormous gratitude to everyone who works there. They are absolutely fantastic! To the manager Steve Jenner (hope he doesn’t mind me using his name) for allowing me to be there, to @Heather5mith for accompanying, standing for ages and supporting, for Mr S-C for doing the very same thing along with the occasional ‘You look well cool!’ (lies) and much needed hugs and to Julia Hughes (@tinksaid) and her wonderful sons for coming to visit us, to Mr S-C’s mum and partner for coming along to say hi and having the kids for a bit, and to my fabarooney sister for agreeing to have my two children (on top of her own three) so I could get out and about and promote my work. I also would like to thank (yes I am still going on but stay tuned because this one is probably for you) all my fantastically supportive followers on Twitter and my understanding friends because, without all of you, this would nowhere near have been the most fantastic experience of my life that it turned out to be. You are all way cool and I loves ya!

Take care from me,

Jess 😀 x

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