Tuesday 7 June 2016

The Author in my Spotlight is ...Rhoda Baxter

Today I am delighted to feature the author 

on the Publication Day of her latest novel.

Choc Lit
7 June 2016

A bit of blurb...

What if you could only watch as your bright future slipped away from you?

Sally Cummings has had it tougher than most but, if nothing else, it’s taught her to grab opportunity with both hands. And, when she stands looking into the eyes of her new husband Peter on her perfect wedding day, it seems her life is finally on the up.

That is until the car crash that puts her in a coma and throws her entire future into question.

In the following months, a small part of Sally’s consciousness begins to return, allowing her to listen in on the world around her – although she has no way to communicate.

But Sally was never going to let a little thing like a coma get in the way of her happily ever after

Rhoda, a warm welcome to Jaffareadstoo and thank you for spending time with us on the publication day of your latest novel, Please Release me...

The research behind Please Release Me – or the pain of losing a perfectly good crotch joke.....

Please Release Me was a difficult book to write, because of the subjects it touched on. The book is partly about a man who is waiting for his wife to wake up from a coma. His life is on hold. He has to be prepared for the best case scenario, where she wakes up and eventually recovers; the worst case scenario, where she dies … and every other scenario in between. It’s a weird place to be.

I do a lot of my research on the internet. I read carer testimonials, watched short documentaries, spent a lot of time imagining myself into Peter’s head. A lot of the time, the research made me cry. Peter had to grieve for the future he thought he had and at the same time, prepare for a future that he knew would be harder than he’d hoped. The poor man couldn’t help but be depressed. And then, being the evil writer that I am, I made things worse for him. He learns that the Sally he knew and loved wasn’t real, that he’d been misled about a lot of things. To Peter that felt like he was losing her all over again. Not only was his future uncertain, his past was now in doubt as well. And then I gave him feelings for someone else. Like any normal person, he feels guilty about that and, because he is who he is, he tries very hard to do the right thing.

I visited Martin House Children’s Hospice (they have an open day every year) and heard a father talk about the pain of losing a child … and having to live with the knowledge that their other child has the same condition. He was very open about it all. That made me cry too.

It wasn’t all about psychology though. One of the scenes in Please Release Me sees the heroine, Grace, doing an abseil. She does this partly because she’s been persuaded to try something out of her comfort zone, and partly because she wants to impress Peter (because when it comes to fancying someone we’re all still teenagers deep down). I’ve never done an abseil, or even been on a climbing wall and it’s something I’ve always wanted to try. I had intended to go to the climbing centre in Hull and do a taster session … but life got in the way and I never did.

Instead, I spent hours watching YouTube clips of people abseiling or preparing for abseils or talking about abseils they'd just done until I felt I had a decent handle on it. I wrote the scene and got on with the rest of the book. When it came to sending the book off to my beta readers, I had a moment of doubt. Had I missed something vital? Was there anything in my description that would jump out as wrong or out of date to someone who knew about climbing?

I got in touch with the manager of Rock City Climbing Centre in Hull and asked if he would mind proof reading a scene for me to check for accuracy. He agreed. Lucky he did, because it turned out that the names of the equipment is different in the US compared to the UK and 90% of the YouTube clips I’d watched had been American. He sent me a short list of corrections, which I made (thank you @rockcityuk). The downside to that is that I had to get rid of a perfectly good crotch joke, but I’ll save that for another book.

Being in Peter’s head was tiring and, sometimes I’d have trouble shaking off the weight of his feelings for hours after I’d finished. Thank goodness I had totally bonkers Sally and lovely, kind Grace to write as well! When I’d finished Please Release Me, I felt I couldn’t put myself through quite such an emotional roller coaster again for a while, so I wrote a lighter book next. That one’s called Girl in Trouble and should be coming out in the next year or so. I didn’t get to use the crotch joke in that one either, so I’m still saving it. Keep an eye out, you never know where it’ll pop up.

Please Release Me is out in paperback today and can be ordered from all good book stockists. Click HERE for more information.


Visit her Website

Find on Facebook

Follow on Twitter @RhodaBaxter

Visit Choc Lit

Huge thanks to Rhoda and to Lusana at Choc lit for inviting me to be part of the publication day celebrations for Please Release Me..

And remember it's out now !!


1 comment:

  1. Haw, haw! I've got my eyes peeled, Rhoda. Lovely interview. Loving the book! Thanks for sharing, Jo! :) xx


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