How far can a comedy go? Getting my next book ready for publication

It’s been a while since my last post, as much of my energy lately has been directed to getting my upcoming book (NOT HAVING IT ALL: A brazen comedy about the perils of midlife) ready for publication. Alongside this I’ve been musing on my next novel (radically different from this one, of course), writing a few short stories, reading what I can and rehearsing for singing in two concerts.

The cover and blurb has been agreed on (for your amusement, below is one of my early cover ideas sent to the designer – actual one is under wraps for now), the blog blitz is being sorted, and yesterday I managed to send off the post-copyedit MS to be proofed and formatted.cover NOT HAVING IT ALL idea 1A

Although it’s exciting to be sending my novel out into the world (two months to go!) and I can’t wait to find out what everyone thinks of it, I feel rather folorn at ending the close relationship I’ve enjoyed with my characters. (Much easier than real life relationships, it has to be said.) While they are certainly not angels, I’ve grown very fond of them all: the irascible, intolerant Kurt, old-fashioned therapist Mr Rowley whose latest patient Maddie is the most challenging of his career, risk-fearing insurance manager Col who works at the UK’s No. 1 Pussy Insurer, ditzy Allie who’s regretting her new life on a farm in the Australian outback – and last but not least, scientist mum Bea, who’s regularly distressed by the demands of her chauvinistic boss (the Prof), her aforementioned husband Kurt, their daughter Fran (the naughtiest little girl in Godalming) and their word-imperfect ex- au pair Katie and dog Big Ears (the naughtiest dog in Godalming).

Then there’s an extensive cast of minor characters (fewer have names now though, after I received a comprehensive style sheet from my copyeditor):

Characters Names in copyeditor style sheet

How far can a comedy go? How brazen is brazen?

A question that’s been on my mind somewhat while making the last changes to my novel. Mindful of potentially alienating large swathes of people (Scots, Turks, Australians, Muslims, lesbians… to name just a few) I’ve tweaked a few sections. However, given that NOT HAVING IT ALL will be described on the cover as a ‘brazen comedy’, I reckon I have licence to go a bit further than most ‘serious’ books. So there’s still plenty of stuff left that is bound to upset a few people…

Plus there’s plenty of ‘OMG, can I really leave that in?’ bits, especially relating to spycams and sex toys! (I’ve been wondering what Mr E will make of the book.) Also wondering about the end result of my requests for various emojis (such as those below) and character-specific fonts and colours.

 

emojis

I had so much fun writing this book, and hope that readers will have almost as much fun reading it!! This is my first (possibly last) foray into the genre of comedy. In contrast to my previous book The Girl In His Eyes, this novel is very much ‘uplit’ (uplifting, feelgood in case you’ve not come across the term), though there’s definitely a serious side, such as childlessness, workplace ethics, equality between men and women, and insider fraud. Like my last book, this one also has elements of family drama –  and unlike my last book, a sprinkling of romantic comedy.

One last thing. The book launch (for the paperback) will be held two weeks after the 28 May publication date, on 7-9pm 11 June 2019 at a Waterstones bookshop (London – Crouch End), I’m very pleased to say.  It will be a public event with limited seats, bookable in advance. I’ll do my best to make it a memorable evening, in a good way. More details later on.

Oh, nearly forgot. Here’s the official back cover blurb for Not Having It All.

Neuroscientist Bea Hudson fears she is a bad mother and that her career will be thwarted by family life. When her husband suspects Bea of having an affair with her best friend, a chain of events is triggered, leading to a crisis in Bea’s life.

Bea Hudson, a neuropsychologist living in Godalming, is struggling to cope with the challenging behaviour of her obsessive husband Kurt and their disruptive four-year-old daughter Fran. On top of this, her boss is pressuring her to get results from her research. Bea has her work cut out.

Things come to a head when Kurt goes away on an extended business assignment. While sacking staff and drinking heavily, Kurt’s insecurities run amok and he becomes convinced that Bea’s close friend Madeleine is seducing his wife and unduly influencing his daughter.

Meanwhile, childless artist Madeleine sees her friend torn between the demands of work and looking after Fran, and offers to help with Fran. But when she reveals a startling desire to her unsympathetic therapist Mr Rowley, he advises her to focus on the attention of Colin, a man she met in a lift.

Can Bea survive the demands of her career and the turmoil in her marriage without having a breakdown? Can Madeleine survive Kurt’s anger and find happiness with Colin? And can love survive marriage, middle-age, alcohol and ambition?

 Not Having It All is about a scientist torn between her stalling career and the demands of her family. With themes of trust, deception and obsession, it is a mercilessly playful take on modern friendships, relationships and family life.

 

 


6 thoughts on “How far can a comedy go? Getting my next book ready for publication

  1. Wow a brazen comedy. I didn’r know you wrote this sort of thing. I just love books that push the enevelope. Looking forward to the launch Jennie! I also really enjoyed the sneak peek into your writer’s mind. Thank you for sharing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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