My background is in theatre and I have written for the stage and radio. A novel was an entirely new discipline and experience. Turning fifty inspired me finally to get going with a story of facing that daunting age. Ironically, I didn’t finish it until I hit the next decade – life just got in the way. The title, TERRIBLE WITH RAISINS is taken from an essay THE MIDDLE OR BLUE PERIOD by the great writer and wit, Dorothy Parker, of whom I am a great fan. The main protagonist, Clair, faces the plethora of challenges that arise as one reaches fifty and vacillates between confronting and embracing them. There are two love stories one set in the past, one in the present, both alternating between romance and realism and each featuring a ‘taboo’ – one actual, one imagined. It is not autobiographical but combines facets of experiences I have known or witnessed. I set the book in Symi, an Aegean island where I spent my honeymoon, not only because of the happy memories but also for the charming welcome we received and beauty of the island. It was such a chore having to go back there to research…
“… there was something, something pretty terrible… Not just plain terrible. This was fancy terrible. This was terrible with raisins in it…” Dorothy Parker (on turning 50) from The Middle or Blue Period
To Clair, fifty is a terrible age. She tries hiding away on the Greek island of Symi to avoid it but, of course, fifty finds her. So does a dose of reality – sweetened by a couple of encouraging possibilities for the future, one romantic, one - not. Fortified, she returns home to resume mothering her difficult daughter in England’s leafy Surrey and appeasing her hypercritical mother in the rich Gulf city of Naples, Florida. Her main haven is with beloved aunt Maggie on the idyllic Scottish West Coast. In the coming year, Clair will swallow a terrible amount of raisins, sweet and sour, learn a lot and forget a few things (well, she IS fifty). Mother, daughter, niece, lover, reluctant teacher and neglected artist – will the real Clair Harkin please grow up?
Reviews on Amazon UK HERE Amazon USA HERE
Article on Symi at www.silvertraveladvisor.com
Terrible With Raisins is available both on Kindle and in Paperback from Amazon.
Paperback ISBN 9781492898788