Although the announcement has been made on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter I have yet to let you know that the sequel to Our Doris is complete.
Indisputably Doris will be released on Thursday 31st August.
If you go to Amazon you will see that the book had a previous publication date of 1st July, however, I unexpectedly have had a lot of overtime at work since I first submitted the book to Nielsens. Therefore, I had no choice to push the book back so as I could properly give it the attention it deserves.
The official blurb reads: The second in the series of monologues featuring Mrs Doris Copeland of Partridge Mews, atomic housewife, and owner of a rock bun recipe that can make the most secure dentures shudder.
Join her once more as she battles Pandra O’Malley for her position as chairwoman of the WI. Her campaign brings her up against flu, would-be elves, and a bake sale that may just be a cover for more nefarious means.
Told from the perspective of her long-suffering husband ‘arold, it’s no wonder he spends so much time down The Hare and Horse.
I’m very aware that this book has been a long-time coming. The first book only took me four months to write, yet the second has taken over two years. And with good reason.
Indisputably Doris was incredibly difficult to write. I received some strong comments about the first book, they were exceptionally good compliments that I’m grateful to receive, however they left me feeling as though I wouldn’t be able to replicate the tone. I had no idea how I’d managed to craft the book in the first place, and felt as though I were back at square one, as though I had never written anything before.
After I wrote the first book, there was question as to whether I would be made redundant from my job – eventually I managed to find a new position within the company, but those few months of uncertainty were enough to leave me feeling low – with the move came the guilt of having kept my job where others lost theirs.
We also had some bad news within the family at the start of last year and all of the things reached the point I call the period of unfathomable sadness. The very thought of writing left me exhausted and sad, to the point that I gave up writing to re-evaluate what I wanted to write.
I honestly believed I would never write again.
It didn’t bother me.
Once I allowed myself to return to writing, I only wrote poetry and short snippets of prose. After a few months of trying to figure out what sort of writer I want to be, I ended up returning to the world of Partridge Mews.
This time, however, I wished to include things in the book I’d been too scared to write about, matters I thought to serious to include in a series of comedic monologues. I have taken risks and although there’s some trepidation as I worry that folk will despise the book, I’m glad to have written what I wanted to write, rather than what some might have expected.
I’m currently emailing libraries to see whether they’ll let me hold readings there. You can check out my Events page for more details. If you’d like me to come to a library near you, please feel free to contact me or your library and I’ll see what I can do.
There’s also a Goodreads page if you’d like to add the book to your Want to Read Shelf.
I am proud of Indisputably Doris and am most excited to share the story with you.
Until next time, that is all.
I’ve been asked before now whether I will write fantasy again and therefore chose to answer that question in video form. I hope that it is informative of who I am and have been as a writer and what you can expect in the future.
Until next time, that is all.
On the 20th June 2015 I released my first book Our Doris at Macclesfield Library. I arrived with my mother half an hour early to set up the room, meeting my good friend Lindsey on the way. (She crossed the country for me and proved just how good a friend she is.) Incredibly nervous, I envisaged no one arriving, and being left to share cakes and books with my family.
I had spent the best part of Friday baking in preparation. I made a Victoria sponge, a lemon sponge, a chocolate gateau and a carrot cake, mentioned only because I want bragging rights. They were rather thin sponges and I question the use of 1970’s cook books, but folk offered compliments on them.
Once we reached the library we embarked upon a quest to get the Meeting Room ready in the half hour I had before my guests arrived. There was something of a mad dash in my mind because the tables weren’t as I had envisaged and there weren’t enough chairs – I’d asked for fifty and there were only about ten but we found a caretaker and he was kind and fantastic and he took the book I was donating to the library and honestly I wish I’d found out his name because he was kind enough to help an incredibly nervous writer and not complain.
My earlier torment that folk wouldn’t arrive was non-founded when a lot of people arrived. Well thirty-seven, but since I was only allowed fifty people in the room I was happy. Rosie and Liz, my uni friends came to see me, as did more friends and family and folk from work and Weight Watchers – I count them amongst friends as well but I wanted more space to brag.
Then the launch began.
I introduced Our Doris and thanked everyone for helping me. I know that writing is a solitary pursuit but the actual act of putting a book together takes a whole host of planning and preparation and without my friends I would be nowhere. The people that I wanted to thank were there – I’ve mentioned them on the blog before, and they know that I thank them. Some people I thanked because I saw them around the room and I wanted to thank everyone individually but a lot of the time it’s just being grateful for support.
Once my rambling speech was over I chose to read the first monologue from the book ‘Slugs’. I developed a nervous dry mouth and was exceptionally glad for my glass of water. And fortunately enough I used full stops so had chance to breathe. The reading seemed to go well.
Alas, I didn’t have enough time to mingle as I sold out of books and had to sign them, but this is not a complaint. Folk managed to speak to me and being amongst friends no one wants you to fail. Questions were asked and answered – there’s a question that’s plaguing me at the moment, but I’m planning on answering it in a later blog post so that won’t be answered here.
Honestly, the launch went as well I had hoped and then some. There was this wealth and depth of support I hadn’t expected. I’ve always had this anxiety that people expect me to fail, or want me to fail in some way and I sold out of books and was able to celebrate a book that I have released myself. Our Doris is self-published and that meant having a lot of faith in my own work and my own ability as a writer.
I’m twenty-two, I have a lot more to learn about the publishing world and writing in general and it’s a world I want to be part of. Our Doris is a book I am incredibly proud of and I am prepared for bad reviews and for it not to sell but it doesn’t stop the aching hope I have in my chest that we will be successful. I want to show to the world that I can write and I can write well.
Whether I can or not is up to you, now.
Until next time, that is all.
Our Doris £6.99
In April 2011 I joined the Macclesfield Creative Writing Group, a new writer’s group in my hometown. Over the last years I have written various snippets of prose that have arisen from the writing bursts we embark upon each week. I used to find writing freely for fifteen minutes incredibly difficult and one week in a burst of inspiration I started one of the writing bursts with the line, ‘Our Doris has developed an unhealthy obsession with slugs’ and wrote a page about a long-suffering husband who is relating his experiences in the form of a dramatic monologue. Over the next few weeks I began to write about Doris and her husband as she went about her day-to-day life, usually with the story relating to the writing burst we were given that week.
Doris grew into a character similar to Hyacinth Bucket with more curse words and the wherewithal to throw dictionaries at reporters who don’t stay on topic. A regular cast of characters grew and as time went on I had created an entire village of characters. These characters stick in my head like family as I remember each story they’ve related through Doris.
The first flash monologue was published in the group’s anthology Macc Writes back in 2012. Bread can be viewed on Youtube, and on this blog. Since that first monologue, I have performed more monologues around Cheshire, at chapels and libraries, Seven Miles Out in Stockport and most recently at Knutsford Library as part of their Writer’s Forum where I shared the floor with Madeleine Keefe, Mollie Blake, Zara Stoneley and Joy Winkler.
Now after almost four years of living with these characters, I am exceptionally pleased to announce that Our Doris will be a book.
In summer 2015, you will be able to read all about Doris’s endeavours to become fifth house in the local garden safari. You’ll get to meet Violet Grey, husband to the philandering Doug Grey. Doris’s mortal enemy, Janice Dooley of Little Street. And at the heart of it all you’ll meet ‘arold, the gentleman who tells of his wife’s endeavours; after fifty years he’s got a bit of an idea how to deal with her.
The monologues have been expanded, characters have been added and the plot has grown beyond anything I could have hoped for when I first wrote that paragraph of ‘Slugs’ back in 2011.
The book will be available to purchase via www.variousaltitudes.com and from certain independent book shops throughout Cheshire. Closer to the time of publication, I will hold readings where you’ll hear the monologues in action and have the opportunity to buy the book there and then.
Next week I will write about my decision to self-publish the book, but for now I want you to know that I am incredibly excited for the future. I hope that you all enjoy Our Doris because although the book has been difficult at times, and I have worried about my own skills, and despite the fact that life can so often get in the way, it has been an absolute pleasure to write.
Until next time that is all.