And so, here I am, back in the shed. Oh, in a good way, obviously, I’m not locked in – look, door opens and everything – and there are still biscuits. Although I must say, I think she’s hidden the HobNobs, I can see crumbs everywhere but all I’ve got is a Jammy Dodger...
Anyway. I’m not here to talk about the lack of oaty goodness, and it is very good of Debs to allocate me this cushion on the floor. No, I’m here to tell you about my latest novel, Starstruck which, as we speak, should be rolling its way off THE presses and making its way to a the retail outlets, ready for the grand release on 01 September.
What? I hear you cry, so soon? Yes indeed, my hungry friends... ’tis but a matter of less than three weeks away! And, if you fancy a taste of heat and dust (items with which this summer has been sadly underendowed if you ask me), then this is the book for you – set in Nevada, where the sun is hot and there is no underendowedness of any kind.
A small snippet, to allow you to MEET a couple of the characters as they meet each other...
‘Oh. My name’s Jack, by the way. And you’re…?’
‘Skye. Skye Threppel.’
‘Well, Skye. Here’s to hiding from the world.’ Jack picked up another glass from next to the laptop and raised it, seeming to toast the screensaver picture of purple-heathered moorland, as though he was blocking out the Nevada desert with a picture of home. Then he plonked himself on the floor, knees drawn up. The only chair in the room was in front of the laptop and covered in papers, so for want of anywhere else available, I sat on the bed.
‘Are you? Hiding from the world?’ I asked, jiggling my wine between my fingers.
‘Ah, now there’s the question.’
‘I know. That’s why my voice did that going up at the end thing,’ I replied a little sharply. I was nervous and being nervous made me edgy these days, and defensive. ‘Maybe I should write the conversation down for you.’ Jack seemed nice, a little tense perhaps, but the raw feeling of connection that we’d shared earlier had ebbed and I was concerned that maybe I’d imagined it. I couldn’t always trust the way I felt, when those feelings were built on memories or associations I could no longer recall. It was as though my body reacted in certain situations without my mind having any kind of control and I was very conscious that this made me easy to take advantage of.
He made an appeasing gesture, holding his hands out and spilling some of his drink on the T shirt. ‘Point to you. I’m still struggling with the lack of dramatic convention.’ He sipped and looked at me over the rim of the glass.
I felt the blush start again and the edgy sensation that my nerves had all been driven to the surface.
‘Maybe I should go. Rather than sit here and force you to make conversation.’
‘Maybe.’ Jack rested his glass on his knees and looked up at me. It might have been my imagination but I was fairly certain that what was in his glass wasn’t wine. It was too clear, too transparent. ‘But I’d quite like it if you didn’t.’
Despite the Valium I could feel my skin growing clammy and my hands had moistened as though beads of blood were seeping through the palms. ‘I ought...’ My voice sounded croaky and about a hundred years old. I cleared my throat but it didn’t help, just made the air thicken around me so that I had to concentrate on breathing.
‘What is it you’re frightened of, Skye? You look terrified right now, and no-one’s ever found me that scary before – arrogant and self-righteous, yes, scary, no.’ His head tilted to one side. ‘Panic attacks worse when there’re lots of people about, yes? And yet being alone, closed in, scares you too. Am I getting warm?’
Suddenly uneasy at the intensity with which he was looking at me, I drained my glass in one gulp. ‘I’m not scared. It’s stress related, I get... when I’m a bit... when things are different, when I don’t know what’s going to happen next, sometimes I get panicky. But it’s not that, I’m just worried that Felix will wonder where I am.’
Jack stood up and refilled my glass. ‘Do you want me to leave the door open? Will that help?’ He was looking at me with an expression that seemed partly compassion and partly curiosity and I hated myself suddenly, which surprised me. Hated this pathetic, helpless Skye with her inabilities and her carefully modified behaviour. ‘I’m guessing the panic attacks have to do with feelings of loss of control,’ he tilted his head to one side, stubbing out his nearly completely smoked cigarette without taking his eyes off me. ‘You might feel better if you know you can run whenever you want. A bit more in control of the situation. And if Felix comes back, you’ll be able to hear him.’
I gave a short, tight nod and he snicked the door off its latch, propping it open with a lone trainer. ‘Thank you.’ I could feel my airways relaxing. ‘It isn’t you, I’m sorry, they think it’s something to do with the accident, the head injury, it’s been over a year and a half and I still can’t…’
‘Oh, and there was me feeling special.’ Jack grinned and his face was suddenly attractive.
So. There you go. I hope you enjoyed that taster... more of a HobNob than a Jammy Dodger, I think you’ll agree. And thanks again to Debs for allowing me in here to chat to you all. Now, I’d better go and ... hang on, the door opened a moment ago... must be stuck...
If you’re reading this blog, please send help, a locksmith and HobNobs...
Jane Lovering is, we are assured, real and not a cover for the McVities biscuit advertisers. She writes books, which, now you come to mention it, do seem to have a lot of biscuits in them, has five children (largely raised on biscuits), and has taken to keeping chickens (to dispose of the excess biscuits). She also works in a school, in a job which doesn’t feature biscuits at all. She is often described as ‘quirky’, and cannot understand why, since everybody loves biscuits.
If you've been following Jane's blog tour you'll know about the competition to win one of three copies of this fab book. If now, here's how it works, follow Jane's blog tour to be in with a chance of winning one of the three copies, together with some delicious Montezuma chocolate and pick out the word in capitals and write it down. Each succeeding blog will have another, or maybe several capitalised words and each one of those must be noted. When the tour is over you should have a collection of words which you then have to put in to a sentence, which will form a question. You then e-mail the answer to Choc Lit.
Although we're part of the way through The Starstruck Blog Tour, you can visit the previous stops to find the words you need to take part and then carry on with the final two stops after this one. They are as follows:
18 July – The Nut Press
25 July - LoveRomancePassion
01 August - Dizzy C’s Little Book Blog
08 August - Katy Little Lady
11 August - Novelicious (for my review, but no words for the competition!)
15 August - Debs Daydreams In the Plotting Shed
22 August - Lucie Wheeler
29 August - Choc Lit Author’s Corner
Starstruck is Jane's second novel is published by Choc Lit pm 1st September. You can pre-order it from Play.com, Amazon UK, or The Book Depository.