Today I’m pleased to welcome Richard Gould with a guest post for the blog blitz organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
Firstly, here’s the book info…
Five people in a sleepy English coastal town. One year that changes everything.
They seem to have it all. They’re in good health and are financially secure. They live in a pleasant and comfortable town. But as their lives intertwine, cracks emerge and restlessness grows.
For Clive, is retirement the beginning of the end? Can fun-loving Saskia break free from her adulterous husband? Will Andy marry his childhood sweetheart? Is Jamie prepared to change his dishonest ways? Might Ellie’s happy marriage be shattered by temptation?
Heart-warming and heart-breaking collide in this novel about aspirations, expectations and the realities of everyday life.
Although I didn’t set out to be a romantic fiction author, I got placed there by my publisher because I write about relationships. On joining the Romantic Novelists’ Association, I was soon to discover that only one percent of members are male. I think it’s a pity more men don’t write in this genre because a male take can provide interesting new insights on relationships for the predominantly female readership. Mind you, it’s also a pity that more men don’t read Romance because this broad genre can provide thought-provoking takes on life and top-rate humour for both genders to enjoy.
I think one barrier to enticing men to read Romance is the typical covers which are unlikely to appeal – a glance at top sellers on Amazon makes this all too clear. I’ve gone through several versions of covers in an attempt to end up with ones that depict the genre in a way that I’m comfortable with. I think I’m finally there thanks to my work with a great cover designer. (Feedback welcome). To broaden appeal beyond my largely female readership, I’ve written articles and spoken at conferences about The MAN in RoMANce and I use #mencanwriteromance on social media.
Do I actually write Romance? To an extent, yes, with my novels featuring the tragi-comic struggles of my protagonists as they try to find and hold onto relationships while loaded with baggage – stroppy children, problematic ex-husbands and wives, faltering careers. Although I use humour to describe my characters’ life journeys, equally I include thought-provoking home truths.
My new novel The bench by Cromer beach is set in this beautiful, largely unspoilt, town on the North Norfolk coast. During my first visit there I noticed a line of benches overlooking the sea along the clifftop, all occupied by elderly citizens. One man peering down onto the beach particularly caught my attention and a fictional version of him is featured in this novel. What he thinks he is seeing is wildly removed from the reality – this is the starting point for a novel featuring five lead protagonists including the man on the bench. As their lives intertwine, cracks emerge and restlessness grows. If only they hadn’t jumped to conclusions. If only they had expressed their thoughts to their partners. So many if onlys – just like the real world.
Thanks so much, Richard.
R J Gould is published by Lume Books and Headline Accent and is the author of five novels: A Street Café Named Desire, The Engagement Party, Jack and Jill Went Downhill, Mid-life follies and The bench by Cromer beach. He is a (rare male) member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Having been selected for the organisation’s New Writers Programme, his first novel was short-listed for the Joan Hessayon Award. Ahead of writing full time, R J Gould led a national educational charity. He has published in a wide range of educational journals, national newspapers and magazines and is the co-author of a major work on educating able young people. He lives in Cambridge, England.