Category Archives: Amazon Bestselling author

Must we like a character to love a book?

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The Thinking Tank is available at Amazon, in Waterstones, Walkers and Bookmark Bookstores. Please look out for my new title this November!

Must we like a character to love a book?

This is the question that has haunted me since I began my second novel, Sleeping People Lie/ Two Weeks in Paris – titles currently running neck and neck!

Yes, I do know the rules – but maybe it is time for a rule to be broken. Because not everybody is likeable all of the time; in fact most people are unlikeable some of the time – and some people are unlikeable most of the time.

Do we ever consider that if others could see into our ugliest thoughts, as if we had speech bubbles sprouting from our heads, the image we project of ourselves would be wrecked? And so it is with Sloane and Nicholas, the two main characters in my new title. We see in where others do not, but do we always see what we like?

 

I took heart though, from this 5-star review of The Thinking Tank. My character, Sarah, did not instantly appeal to the writer, but she was nevertheless drawn in. So, filled with hope for my Nicholas and Sloane, I have told their story, which demanded its telling, and I would love you to spend time with them in November when it hits the shelves!

Review of The Thinking Tank by Deborah Fletcher, Author of Bitten by Spain

Much to my own great surprise, I loved this book. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

When I started reading, I took an instant dislike to Sarah, the main character. Her introduction portrays a woman suffering from a degree of immobility and pain resulting from an old accident – petulant and irascible in turns, and clingy and manipulative with her long-suffering daughter, she is exactly the sort of character for which I have little time and much scorn. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to stick with it.

The acuity of Jae’s writing pulled me in, however. Her style is exceptionally clear, well-constructed and honest. And as I became more involved with the slowly-building picture of Sarah’s past, and her arrival in the `now’, my attitude changed, just as I feel it was meant to do.

As her journey of self-discovery continues, so does Sarah’s analysis of her relationships with those around her. This analysis is insightful, clear and sometimes brutally
honest, but beautifully written throughout. I particularly liked many of the short, sharp philosophies that were expressed, and found myself nodding in accord with many of them.

A fairly surprising journey by Sarah to Spain brought me to my home ground, and I read with delight the masterful descriptions of places and atmosphere that flowed from Jae’s pen.

The finale was just as it should be, because I like to close a book feeling content with the outcome. Impressed as I was, I have bought this book a number of times over to gift away. An exceptional first novel.

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The Thinking Tank outsells Grey: 50 Shades of Hurrah!

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The Thinking Tank is available from Amazon, Walkers, Waterstones & Bookmark

It was one of those magnificent punch-your-hand-in-the-air moments when the lovely staff at Waterstones in Camberley sidled up to me on Saturday and said, ‘Guess what?’ ‘What?’ I said, as you do. ‘You have outsold 50 Shades of Grey – good for you!’ And we all did a little jig in the shop.

Have I read the rival novel? Well, yes I have. Do I agree with the slamming critics? Well, no I don’t. I like to try different genres and I don’t think the odd dabble into the erotic does any harm – and whatever you say about the style and all the other stuff, in my own humble opinion, it does do what it says on the can.

And the strange thing is that by not being über-critical on Saturday, I ended up meeting some delightful ladies and selling more copies of The Thinking Tank.

So how did that work? Well, I was standing pretty close to the stack of Grey matter as it flew off the shelf towards the cash point.  Had I read it, the ladies wanted to know, so it was good to be able to comment – and to own up to having enjoyed the read. Well, that got us chatting and one thing led to another such that in many cases, The Thinking Tank and 50 Shades went happily off to the till together.

Thank you too to the delightful customer and her daughter who popped off to Primark and bought me a hair clip I had admired – what a brilliant surprise! And to the lovely lady who bought the book, went to the hairdressers and took the trouble to come back to tell me that she was already on page 45 and couldn’t put it down!

The downside of the day is that Brad Pitt arrived to buy books just 30 minutes after I left. Can’t win them all…

Thank you to all the lovelies at Camberley Waterstones for the warmest welcome and for sharing my not-so-grey moment!

Log on to: www.jaedewylde.com

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Book signing and online sales: is there a link?

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I don’t like watching ratings on Amazon. It can be exhilarating but equally it can be flipping depressing too. But it does help you to build a story about how what’s happening in your world is working with or against what’s happening with your online sales.

It’s not rocket science to work out that if you get some fab publicity in the media, it’s going to up your sales because people have a clear message to respond to. They are intrigued perhaps by your story and curious enough to want to read what you’ve written.

Recently, though, I’ve been watching what happens immediately following my book signings.

It’s a real blessing that I love chatting to folk. I know for some it’s a bit of a trial. You are putting yourself out there, and people do sometimes just blank you, which can be uncomfortable and unnerving  – but chatting does make a huge difference.

This weekend I sold 80 odd books by hand. But there were, of course, those who didn’t buy for lots or reasons – lack of money, wrong genre, on a mission…

But you just never know who might get curious once they go home and have a think – and check reviews – so I always offer my card with my website and purchase details.

Again, I am blessed, as Graham at www.creationbooth.com has designed me such a lovely, eye-catching card that it seems people don’t just shove it in their bag.

SO – here’s the thing…

I have followed it carefully for several months and EVERY time I go out and book sign, the following day my ratings have shot right up. They stay there for a day or two and then they trickle back to where they were – the same pattern as when there has been media attention.

So, book signings are wonderful for so many reasons, and I am hugely grateful to Waterstones, Walkers, Bookmark and Buy the Book for giving me the chance to meet new readers and, just as importantly, potential new readers who might just come along once the shops are closed.

All that said, it is vital that we support the bookshops – and I always say to those who ask if I am on Kindle – yes, but I can’t sign your Kindle for you and I’d love to support this lovely store we are in. They are kind enough to support me and we really don’t want them to close! And it warms my heart that many lovely customers agree and go on to buy the signed book.

www.jaedewylde.com

The Thinking Tank is available in branches of Waterstones as well as at www.waterstones.com and, of course, at www.amazon.co.uk

Bags more info and lots of fab expat titles at www.expatbookshop.com

Novel Talk: The highs and lows of getting it out there…

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I came across a video clip today, which I hadn’t checked out for quite a little while. It’s of Jo Parfit and me chatting about our novels last October. The highs and lows of getting them out there – what went right, what went very wrong and how we can learn from our mistakes. It’s not a very long clip but it does highlight some useful bits and pieces for anyone out there who’s going through this whole exciting but daunting process. Check out what we loved and what we hated – have a chuckle at what we wish we’d done better and what Jo and I discovered was the most mortifying thing of all…

Here’s the link to the clip on my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Jae-De-Wylde/187268408006424

Buy The Thinking Tank from: www.amazon.co.uk

Check out more info plus book signing dates on: www.jaedewylde.com

Lots more info and fascinating expat titles on: www.expatbookshop.com

110 and dancing on the beach! The back-story to Sarah & Stephen’s restaurant in The Thinking Tank…

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Okay, I am lying. I am not 110 and most likely never will be, but my story still holds the secret to an experience you may like to share.

Martin and I were about to turn 60 and 50 respectively and decided not to let this one go without a fanfare or two. Living as expats between Spain and Dubai with most of our friends spending the summer on Mijas Costa, for us, there was only one choice of venue: Triana is a little beachside chiringuito in Las Chapas, just off the main road from Malaga a few miles outside Marbella and as far into the village as you can go. When you see the sparkling waves, the boats and the odd nudist, that’s where you need to stop. It’s a Shirley Valentine type of place, where you can sit on a promontory, surrounded by bougainvillea with the sounds and smells of the sea mingling with the delicious tang of the best paella on the coast.

We celebrated with 25 friends, and being a bonkers kind of girly, I performed a belly dance, a skill I picked up in the Middle East and teach to this day. Francesca who runs the place was, and is, adorable, and her staff are outstanding in their attention to detail, flavour, presentation and the warmth of the welcome. This is the kind of place that makes a mark in your heart and your mind – a romantic sort of place that whispers to you to return and return and to make it yours. When the sun goes down and the moon comes up, the ocean sparkles and glows haunting green as the plankton moves silently with the ebb and flow of the waves.

Such is this place that I preserved its memory forever in my novel, The Thinking Tank, set between Spain 2003 and 1970s London. As Sarah and Stephen struggle to piece together fractured relationships of the past, they spend time at Triana, repairing broken dreams, their secrets still unspoken but pressing, needing to be heard.

Triana is a place for friends, lovers, families and the soul that wants to mend. It is also a place to share.

 

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The Thinking Tank is available from Amazon, Waterstones & Walkers Bookshops

Talking of loss on live TV – and the lesson I learnt on how to make your point…

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Being on TV was an incredible experience and I just realised that with everything going on – the PR, the book signing, life’s normal stuff, crappy or not, I never got to tell you about it, so here we go…

First, thank you to everyone who followed the link on my website to the Studio One show and commented. So supportive and lovely – you are stars. Studio One is the main Dubai channel’s live flagship show. Think BBC’s The One Show and you’ll be there. In an extraordinary turn of events and connections, a dear friend, whom I hadn’t seen since 1999, the year that Rowena died, ended up coming along to the show with me. Extraordinary because I only met her for the first time in 1999, just weeks after Weeny died when we were on business in a hotel in Bangkok. But there she was, now living in Dubai and holding my hand as I prepared to talk about losing a loved one. Never tell me there’s no such thing as fate…

It seemed a daunting task, but the guy, Tom, an expat who runs the show along with his Arabic co-host, was sensitive and kind, chatting to me before the show – and at one time he seemed to have tears in his eyes. We are all touched by loss and grief – maybe something resonated with this lovely guy.

By the time we were chatting on live TV, he felt like an old friend and my nerves were completely gone, also partly because he provided me with some very useful tips, reinforcing some points my FB friend, Jack Owen, had pointed out subsequent to his appearance with Joan Rivers (yes – that Joan Rivers!).

1. Don’t look at the camera – you’ll look daft.

2. Don’t gabble – you need to make clear points.

3. Keep it snappy. Talk in sound bites. Why? Because you’ll pack in much more of what you want to say than if you start heading off on a tangent (I am so good at tangents – this was the best advice ever!).

4. Don’t fiddle with anything – hair, nails, nose. Watch the show – you’ll see I have my hands glued to a copy of The Thinking Tank.

5. Wear something comfortable that also makes you feel good: A particular challenge as this was of course a conservative show in the Middle East and I need to be pretty much covered.

Great advice and a worthwhile experience. The pay-off for the nerves would be knowing that someone out there took heart from what I said – that in some way it helped. But that I will probably never know. One just has to hope…

 Here’s the link to the interview. It’s only 8 minutes long and starts around 5 mins 8 secs into the programme:

http://vod.dmi.ae/media/video/58605/Studio_One___S2_Ep_80

Or find it on my website: www.jaedewylde.com

Buy your copy from Amazon - Kindle or paperback - or from Walkers Bookshops and branches of Waterstones... X

Naked in Rutland: Titillating?

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Was I trying to titillate the reader with my descriptions of what happens to Sally? It’s a question that has been nagging at me since, last week in Rutland, there was a lady brave enough to ask it – maybe even accuse me of it. I know absolutely I am not glorifying any aspect of what is unquestionably abuse – my intention is, of course, quite the opposite.

But what about the titillation?

Sometimes it takes a brave person to mention the elephant in the room – and there were in fact several such brave women at the reading group, where I was invited to answer questions about The Thinking Tank. I’ve talked about feeling naked before – having yourself out there, your written word being analysed, chewed over, interpreted, misinterpreted, whatever. But this was a bit different.

 I don’t usually feel the need to justify my choices – no, wrong – if I justify my choices, I usually feel comfortable. But then nobody has used that word, ‘titillation’ before. It has a nasty sting, that word, and is surely almost a subset of the word ‘gratuitous’.

What happens has to be seen through Sally’s eyes, and felt through Sally’s senses and conveyed to the reader as Sally herself experiences what is happening. Do we not all recognise those murky first stirrings of awakening through pseudo-sexual games? Is it not fair to relate it as it is, and with the effect it will inevitably have on a vulnerable player in my novel? If we are not moved by what is happening – aghast, shocked, thrust out of our comfort zone by uncomfortable passages as we follow Sally’s journey, then how can we possibly relate to what is the catalyst for all that happens thereafter? How can dot-dot-dot convey the horror of what occurs?

The dilemma remains with me, but The Thinking Tank is already out there…

Sally was titillated, despite the shame and the horror and the wanting to be wanted.  So we, being put into that place and into her mind and body, are also titillated. Is that how it works?

The Thinking Tank is available from Walkers and Waterstones and on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

Log on to www.jaedewylde.com for further info & to www.expatbookshop.com for lots more…

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