Thursday 28 March 2013

Guest Author ~ Janey Fraser

I am delighted to welcome the author



Was I the only one to chuckle about the news that teenagers don’t want to learn about sex any more. They know all that, apparently. But what they do want to learn in schools is how to be a good parent.

What a fantastic idea! The irony is that when we were young, we all thought we could do it better than our own parents. I, for one, distinctly remember thinking that when I was a mother, I would not make my children take their shoes off as soon as they came through the door/eat liver/wear sensible shoes. Now, too late, I can see why my mother was right about the first and last.

‘What do you reckon makes a good mother, then?’ asked my daughter coyly. OK, here goes.

Giving unconditional love. Telling a child that you’ll love him/her whatever happens, is very comforting.

Setting boundaries. This actually goes with the above. We all need guidelines whether we’re football players or parents.

Taking time to listen at the most inconvenient times. One of my children once asked me what ‘intercourse’ meant when driving through Milton Keynes. I managed the first but got completely lost at the tenth roundabout as a result.

Not saying ‘In my day’. Things have changed. Thank goodness for that.

Not imposing our own dreams on our children. Just because we always wanted to do something and didn't do it, doesn't mean they have to do it instead. Similarly, why should they follow in our footsteps? They’re their own people.

Teach them to budget. Explain how bank statements work and holes in the wall and why it is that if they blow it immediately after pay day, there isn't always going to be someone to bail them out.

Teach them right from wrong. This may seem an obvious but through my work, I know of people who were taught at their mother’s knee to fiddle credit cards. Wrong can also be not taking change back if you’re under-charged.

Be kind to others.

Creating a warm, stable home. This doesn't always mean having two parents.

GIVE YOUR CHILD CONFIDENCE. Children who are told that they can do something (instead of being constantly criticised) or that they are beautiful (even when they’re not) grow up to be adults with self-esteem..

The list is endless, isn’t it. And as I wrote it, I was horribly aware of all the times when I hadn’t done these things.

‘You’re a great mum,’ said one of my sons when reading this.

Really? ‘Yeah. Well apart from when you yell at us for not taking our shoes off and make us eat your rubbish veggy lasagne and try to make us wear stuff we don’t like….’

Happy Families


Janey Fraser

Published by Arrow, Random House. £6.99

More about the book....

When Vanessa, Bobbie and Andy get together at the local parenting class at Corrywood School, their lives are set to change for ever.

All three of them need help. Fast!

Bobbie’s children don’t listen to a word she says and her workaholic husband is never home. Even worse, her mother is bringing a new boyfriend to visit: the notorious Dr Know, who dishes out hard-line parental advice to the nation. Can parenting classes save Bobbie’s bacon, not to mention her marriage? And what do you do when your mother is about to marry a man you hate?

Meanwhile, Andy’s wife has been asked to run a parenting class at the local school. But when she scarpers, he’s left to run it himself and look after their two teenage daughters – who aren’t as perfect as he’d thought. When one of his childhood enemies signs up for the class, Andy is forced to confront the demons of his youth. The poor man needs a shoulder to cry on. Who better than Bobbie, his wife’s sister in law?

Enter Vanessa, a sparky young gran who’s found a new lease of life through her second-hand designer shop and internet dating. Her life is definitely on the up; especially when she meets Brian who might just be the One. But then her six-year-old granddaughter is deposited on her doorstep along with a message from Vanessa’s estranged bohemian daughter. “Please bring up my child” begs the note. This time, she’s determined to get it right, whatever the cost..

A family comedy, Happy Families is published by Arrow, April 2013


Janey Fraser always dreamed of writing novels in a country cottage with lots of children, a dog and a pony. Unbelievably, most of her dreams were answered although not without some rather large hiccups along the way (until she married the best man from her first wedding). After a career in women’s magazines interviewing celebrities like Julie Walters and Nigel Havers, Janey wrote several non-fiction books about childcare including ‘Tidy Your Room; How to get kids to do what you want’. Unfortunately, she has never quite succeeded in doing that with her own three. She has also written a series of children’s books, including ‘When Mum Was Little’ and ‘When Gran Was Little’. Janey has appeared live on breakfast television, talking about her books, and has also been on numerous radio programmes including Woman’s Hour and The Learning Curve. She also writes short stories for magazines; runs writing courses; is a regular speaker at literary festivals including Winchester and Guildford. Her recent hobby is belly dancing, much to the horror of her children. She also loves making up limericks – many of which are in her latest novel.

AM I THE ONLY ONE? is the copyright of Janey Fraser and is part of a series. For more details, visit Janey’s blog at

Thank you Janey for taking the time to visit Jaffareadstoo - we wish much success with your new novel Happy Families and hope you visit us again soon.

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