My guest on Friday Reads today is Richard Gould. Richard is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and has dropped by today to tell us about his latest romance novel, Jack and Jill went Downhill.
Jack and Jill Went Downhill
The story of two young lovers who happen to be called Jack and Jill.
Jack and Jill meet on Freshers Big Party Night at university and for both it’s love at first sight. The relationship flourishes during their student years, but it’s not quite as comfortable when their studies are over and they move to London to start work. Way back when they first met, they shared the joke that their names were those of the nursery rhyme. Down the line, they fail to recognise that their lives are matching the plot. Jack falls down, Jill comes tumbling after, and their relationship is on the rocks. Can it survive?
Available from Amazon
R J Gould writes contemporary fiction, using humour to describe past, present and sought after relationships. His characters, some highly eccentric and some plain ordinary, are trying to make the most of their lives while carrying heaps of baggage. A male perspective on romance, while not unique, is unusual, providing a refreshingly original viewpoint according to his female readers.
He lives in Cambridge and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. His novel ‘A Street Café Named Desire’ was short-listed for the 2016 Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Award. This novel, together with ‘The Engagement Party’ are published by Accent Press. ‘Jack and Jill Went Downhill’ is currently self-published.
I asked Richard to tell us a bit more about himself
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
No, it all started about fifteen years ago with an idea about different perceptions of the same event that I wanted to get down on paper. This turned into my first novel. Initially (I told myself) it was just for me, but once I’d completed it, I was keen to publish. It was a short while later when I realised I wanted a career as a writer. Not too long ago, I came across some short stories and poems that I’d written in my teens, so perhaps the foundation was laid earlier than I imagined.
Has any author inspired you?
So many, I couldn’t identify a single greatest influence.
What do you like writing most?
Romance, though if the genre ‘Relationships’ existed this might be more fitting for what I write.
I’m a male. Although not unique, this is unusual because when it comes to the Romance genre, women dominate. Most Romance writers are female, most readers are female, and plots frequently centre on the female point of view. In my novels, I tend to flip the traditional Romance plot by having an insecure male seeking a relationship with an alpha female, his path fraught with all the difficulties typically thrust upon the female within this genre. My readers are predominantly women, and their feedback suggests that a male take provides an interesting insight into relationships.
Do you have a special place for writing?
I have a note book with me all the time and I’m jotting down ideas and taking notes anywhere and everywhere. But the actual novel writing is done on my PC at home by choice, as it’s close to my post-its, printer and of course, coffee machine.
Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Definitely a pantser. I know the beginning, the end and a few key bits in the middle when I start writing. Even my characters aren’t fully formed at the outset – I like them to grow with the plot and at times have the exciting experience of sensing that the characters are telling me what they want to do next. I think this approach works well for books about relationships, but it depends on the genre. If I was writing a crime novel, it wouldn’t work.
Is your writing ever inspired by your family or real life incidents?
Often an initial idea is generated by a real-life event or observation and then the characters are allowed to run wild as the plot unfolds.
What are you writing at the moment?
Two novels, both humorous contemporary romantic fiction.
I’m at the final edit stage of Nothing Man. This covers a year in the life of a lonely man with desperately low self-esteem who is nurtured by a woman he meets, she the other driver in a minor car accident. It turns out that he’s anything but a nothing man.
I’m about two-thirds of the way through the first draft of Bitter, confused and grumpy: a romantic tale. This novel is about a couple who appear to be competing as to who can have the most embarrassing mid-life crisis, much to the exasperation of their children.
What inspired you to write this book?
The idea for ‘Jack and Jill Went Downhill’ was simply an adult take on the nursery rhyme, but as is often the case for me, some of the events and characters are drawn from actual observations.
What time of the day do you write best?
I gain momentum as the day progresses, peaking at a little before midnight. Mornings shouldn’t be allowed to exist.
What are your hobbies?
I work full time so writing is a massive hobby, as is reading. I enjoy playing tennis, travelling, cinema and visiting art galleries. I don’t enjoy the gym but still go and I’m not in love with social media but still do it.
What advice would you give to other writers?
Enjoy the writing process and the outcome. If you don’t (for instance writing so that it fits tidily into a particular genre) it will come through in your work. I find it hugely useful sharing ideas with fellow authors. I’m a member of Cambridge Writers and within this organisation, I run a Commercial Editing Group. It’s of enormous value – we know each other’s writing style and work inside out and offer ideas ranging from plot and character critique to small grammatical suggestions.
Great advice, Richard!
You can find out more about Richard here:
Lovely to talk to you, Richard. Lots of luck with your book. 🙂
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