Category Archives: hyperbaric oxygen tank

The Next Big Thing: Sleeping People Lie

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I was delighted to be invited to be part of The Next Big Thing by Matthew Hirtes, author of Going Local in Gran Canaria and guru on all things Spain – way beyond the sun, sea and vino rojo. Matthew covers the Canaries for the likes of Condé Nast Traveller and the Independent. Check out what he is up to here:

http://matthewhirtes.com/next-big-thing/

Thank you for thinking of me, Matthew. Here we go with those all important questions on my very own Next Big Thing…

                       

What is the working title of your book?

Well first up, I am deliriously happy to announce that my book no longer needs a working title as it has just been published! My novel spent a long time being Dear Em, then it switched to NOT an Affair to Forget and finally went via Two Weeks in Paris to arriving at Sleeping People Lie. Oh – and it was The Hands of The Mistress at one stage but that awkwardly coincided with 50 Shades. It’s not ‘Mummy Porn’ so we lost that title quickly!


Where did the idea come from for the book?

Sleeping People Lie is a love story from two points of view – that of Nicholas, an artist and writer from Boston and Sloane, a would-be writer from Stamford, England. I wanted to examine the power of perception; how two different voices can influence the reader one way and then the other.

What genre does your book fall under?

Since my first novel, The Thinking Tank, found itself in the top 50 on Women´s Contemporary Fiction on Amazon, I am now confident that this is my genre. There is certainly a literary element to it but it´s a page-turning read, that´s never difficult. I always hesitate with the ‘Women’s’ Fiction idea though as lots of guys have read my first novel and loved it – so I really hope my gentlemen readers will also enjoy Sleeping People Lie, especially since, unusually, Nicholas, my male protagonist, has a voice in matters of the heart.


Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

If I were choosing actors for the parts of Sloane and Nicholas it would have to be Emily Blunt and I would need a younger Matthew McConaughy. Maybe someone could suggest who that might be!


What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Sleeping People Lie is a compelling love story with a dark edge set between Paris and New York with themes of love, guilt, blame, lies and secrets – an ‘emotionally intelligent page-turner’. (Okay – I cheated with the dash!)
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Sleeping People Lie is published by Summertime Publishing without an agent. It has just gone live on both Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com in paperback and on Kindle.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I am pretty disciplined about my writing and make myself complete a minimum word count of 1500 words per day. However, the words just tumbled onto the page and the characters just raced away with the plot of Sleeping People Lie such that the first draft took me from 17 May until the middle of July – two months flat.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It´s difficult to compare my novel with any other since all books have their own flavour. One reader did remark that the shifting viewpoints put her in mind of Andrea Levy´s Small Island. We are in the realm of obsessive love, conscience, blame, lies, guilt and the effect our actions have on others. Sleeping People Lie has been described as a ‘haunting love story that keeps you guessing all the way.’ ‘Written with emotional honesty and in atmospheric detail, presenting the reader with a sometimes uncomfortable but brutally credible exploration of the dark side that lies within us all.’
Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Well now, I suppose I do have to tell… I guess it was largely inspired by how people took sides when my own relationship came to an end – how people judge and decide what happened without even a nod to the truth!
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I have woven in the story of Rodin and his mistress, Camille Claudel. Not in a high-brow way, but the story takes a look at the dark side of compulsive love and the effect it has on those involved and those around them. It’s certainly not 50 Shades of Jae but it does have its moments! Have you ever felt that frisson of all-consuming infatuation dancing through your veins? Nicholas and Sloane have too…

Now it’s time for me to hand the baton of The Next Big Thing on to my five chosen authors…

I am very happy to pass the torch to bestselling author, Janna Gray (http://jannagray.wordpress.com/ . Janna started her career as a teacher and part-time writer for magazines and newspapers in the Far East. Her debut novel Kilingiri, set in exotic locations, deals with the universal themes of love and loss and the healing power of forgiveness.

Lynda Renham (www.renham.co.uk) is the bestselling author of Croissants and Jam. Her latest novel Coconuts and Wonderbras is out now and guaranteed to raise a laugh. It’s a fun romance where diets are the order of the day and where love blossoms for literary agent Libby Holmes. Come with Libby on her romantic comedy adventure to see if love blossoms in the warm Cambodian sunshine or if, in the heat of the day, emotions get just too hot to handle.

Chris Edwards is author of Running In Corridors. His hero, Frankie, is a wise cracking, womanising, half Gypsy, he lives in a shabby caravan, on a dilapidated small holding in rural Shropshire, and scrapes a living breeding hens and doing odd jobs. http://www.amazon.co.uk/RUNNING-CORRIDORS-THE-GYPSY-ebook/dp/B009Y81FG2/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1351612751&sr=8-4

Jack Scott (http://www.jackscott.info/perking-the-pansies.html) is author of Perking the Pansies, Jack and Liam move to Turkey. This critically acclaimed debut book is a bitter-sweet tragi-comedy that recalls the first year of a gay couple in a Muslim land.

Elle Amberley (http://elleamberley.wordpress.com/) writes novels, ‘the result of too much imagination and constant scenarios playing in her head’. Although she is a British author, she likes to dabble in French too and is working on a French novel. Her latest read, Lost In Her Time, which is set in Paris, follows Natasha, when she clicks on an internet link only to find her life turned upside down by an encounter with a handsome French rock star.

Just to say finally – I would LOVE reviews for Sleeping People Lie on Amazon, Goodreads and wherever else you would like to post them. I always hugely appreciate my readers and never lose sight of the fact that they are the reason why I work hard to write what I hope others will love to read.

Jae XX

www.jaedewylde.com

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sleeping-People-Lie-Jae-Wylde/dp/1909193100/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1351681380&sr=1-1

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To Compromise or Not to Compromise?

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To Compromise or Not to Compromise?

Yet again this proves a tough question. We are back to the detail of Sally’s grooming in The Thinking Tank, which we see in detail not, in my view for any salacious reason, but because we have to know just how bad Sally’s situation is to make sense of everything that happens to Sally later in her story.

Once again, I was accused of titillation – and it makes me wonder whether I should compromise on the uncomfortable elements of my new title, Sleeping People Lie (November 2012). I know that what I write at times makes for edge-of-the-seat discomfort – maybe that’s a difficult place for readers to be – but if in watering down, we lose the nub of the catalyst, is that not removing something essential from the message I want to convey? But then I don’t want to offend people and lose readers either – so maybe the honesty should be reined in.

Things like this always make me revisit my ideas – not a bad thing, maybe, but it drives home my own lack of confidence – and that’s an uncomfortable place for me!

I am grateful to Megan from Reading in the Sunshine (find her on FB) for a beautifully measured approach to the issue in her review…

 

 

Review of The Thinking Tank

Reading in the Sunshine

The Thinking Tank is made up of two stories in separate times. In 1969, we meet Sally, a young girl who attends church and dreams of playing guitar and performing in the Young People’s Fellowship band. She is soon groomed by Simon, a 22 year old police constable and stalwart of the church. The other story running alongside this is set in 2003, and we meet Sarah, a mother being cared for by her daughter Rebekah. Sarah is just embarking on a new treatment for her Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, having sessions inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber (the `thinking tank’). Their relationship is very complex and appears from the start to be very strained.
The blurb on the back was very intriguing, and I was really excited about starting the book as I was interested to see what lay ahead. I did enjoy The Thinking Tank. I will admit I wasn’t sure about it at the beginning. I found Sally’s story at the start difficult to get through, as the subject matter can be uncomfortable reading. Jae De Wylde did a fantastic job in making the story of Sally’s grooming so realistic as it seemed very real and throughout those sections, I just wanted to reach out to Sally. However, it was so realistic that at times it did make me feel on edge, but I persevered with it and I was glad I did because afterwards the story was even more gripping.
Jae De Wylde has to be complimented on her characters and the interactions they have with each other! Jae effortlessly manages to create such complex and interesting characters and you can’t help but be drawn into their lives and their own personal stories. I was especially hooked by the relationship between Sarah and Rebekah; I enjoyed seeing how their relationship developed and how they dealt with the issues that life threw at them. As characters, they were so beautifully written and a lot of the time I felt as though I was stood next to them watching their scenes play out in front of me. I also want to note that I enjoyed the `relationship’ that Sarah has with the `thinking tank’, I thought that it was particularly well-written and added an extra layer and depth to the tale.
After my initial wariness of the first few chapters, I raced through the book, unable to put it down and I was quite sad to finish it. I must say I am looking forward to picking it up and rereading it all over again. Jae De Wylde has obviously poured her heart and soul into this book and it showed, I felt that every word had been carefully selected and the story did reach out to me, and I found myself connecting with not only the characters but taking in the whole picture. It was descriptive, sensitive, thought-provoking and at times very honest, and I must say I enjoyed every bit.
There were a lot of surprises in this book, the twists and turns were excellently placed and compelled me to read on. It’s not light reading but instead the story flows beautifully, giving the reader a refreshing, honest read that will make you stop and think.

A fantastic novel from Jae De Wylde, and I am very much looking forward to her next one.

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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#57 on Amazon Women’s Fiction Bestsellers – definitely NOT life’s crappy stuff!

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Captured on screen at #59!

Last week, when Summertime Publishing named me their Best Selling Author, 2011, I didn’t think the week could possibly get better. But it actually did…

And, OK, Jo Parfitt (www.joparfitt.com), you were right! An author’s ‘backstory’ really does make a difference.

When the Gulf News Friday Magazine published my story by the excellent journalist, Antonia Hoyle (www.antoniahoyle.com), I felt like hiding under the duvet (www.gulfnews.com/life-style/general/belly-dancing-saved-me-from-my-grief-1.960098). I just had this idea that my novel was this separate entity, that needed to be other than me, rather than sharing my history and my sadness. Stupid, I know, when you look at it because what else does an author do other than pour out real emotions, layered onto the characters and their situations? Even so, my novel is fiction and I thought that my ‘backstory’ might somehow infect what I had created. I don’t do ‘poor me’ and anything that smacks of that just doesn’t sit well.

But the support since last Friday has been incredible such that I would never have dreamed possible. Even people from my past have been back in contact. Then, on Sunday afternoon, The Thinking Tank went to #57 on Amazon Women’s Fiction. Extraordinary. Me, on Amazon’s Top 100 Bestsellers’ list? 23 places ahead of Costa Coffee Shortlister, Chris Cleave, and only 37 places behind the wonderful Jodi Picoult. That is just bonkers.

So, Jo was right, I was wrong. There. I’ve said it.

And a great big stonking THANK YOU to everyone who has been in touch. There are comments on the Friday magazine article – but most have come via FB messages or email. To know that my story has made a difference, to know that it has helped some of you who are bereaved take a baby step forward – that is huge.

As to the ratings – what an amazing blessing from the universe…

’tis the season to be signing…

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Signing The Thinking Tank, surrounded by lovely clothes in White Stuff, Stamford!

I’ve been very blessed with some encouraging numbers at book signings, but when the lovely people at Summertime Publishing asked me to write about how I go about approaching customers, I was a little nervous. The way in which you relate to people is very personal, so how can you possibly provide a blueprint for that?

The answer is that you can’t – but what I can do is just tell you straight how it works for me…

The best tip anyone ever gave me about the sort of situation when you want folks to talk to you is to have something to offer them – so, in my case, I have sweeties! Maybe you have a bookmark or other PR-related product but for me, sweeties do it every time.

Wear a smile – it warms people’s hearts – and in my case I really mean that smile as I am so grateful to be invited to sign and meeting potential readers is a real joy.

I also use humour and joke that folks don’t have to buy the novel to have a sweetie, but it gives me a great entrée and it’s a relaxed way of starting up a conversation about why you are there.

Often, a customer will be wearing something striking or different, which you would be tempted to comment on in any circumstances – that’s another way to begin a dialogue – ‘love your sweater…’

In my experience, people are very willing to listen, especially in a book shop – they are probably curious to know what’s new on the market anyway. That said, I sold the second largest amount of books in a signing in a clothes store – just the fact of you being there is food for chat.

Engage people in conversation and offer a few details about your book that you think might appeal, aiming what you say at what you think they might enjoy – or need. So many guys pop into bookshops looking for that last little gift. ‘The lady in your life would love this…’ Ladies out with their daughters are interested in the fact that The Thinking Tank centres on a mother/ daughter relationship, and local people love to see that my novel is set in their area. Those going on holiday would like the fact that it’s partly set in Spain and most folks love a good page turner!

I suppose the loudest message is make it personal and don’t be afraid to come forward. Don’t underestimate how intimidating it might be for a customer to approach you – for all they know you could be dead famous and snooty! Make the first move – the worst that can happen is that they don’t buy your book – the best that can happen is that they buy the book, love it, pass it on – and you’ve made new friends.

And enjoy yourself. This is a huge opportunity and a blessing and even if you sell little, you’ll have met some lovely people – and you never know where that will lead.

Writing a novel: Life in the Tank

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The TV monitor above the Tank relieves the boredom and alone-ness

My treatment in the hyperbaric oxygen tank was like nothing else I had experienced. When you have a condition that is pain-related, it’s hard for people to understand what the whole fuss is about. I get that. We all get that, those of us who have silent illnesses – the sort you can’t wear, which aren’t signposted by crutches, slings, wheelchairs or sticks. So telling people I was to spend two hours a day, five days a week in an oxygen tank felt a bit like making a bad joke.

 It was even more difficult when I got to the hospital. HBO is used for diseases of the nervous system but also for open wounds that won’t heal. Sarah in The Thinking Tank encounters such a situation when she meets a woman with damaged tissue on her face. If I dig deep, I guess what it made me feel was a fraud. Like if I don’t have some outward badge of pain, then I can’t possibly deserve this treatment. And when you feel like that you get all apologetic for even being there. Hats off to the amazing staff at the former Edith Cavell hospital in Peterborough who were real earth angels and did all they could to make visits to the HBO unit like a coffee morning. But that alone-ness, when everything is cool and separate in the tank – even the earth angels could not fix that.

Which is where the telly comes in – if you want it to. I’ve included a pic to explain a bit about how it works. It is surreal, so it’s hardly surprising that it’s hard to visualise. The monitor is outside the glass cylinder and sound – someone talking to you or sound from the TV – is piped in through an intercom system. And it works both ways. You can be heard too from the outside. It’s another way of making you feel less diconnected but the truth is, there is nothing like two hours in a treatment chamber to underline your disconnectedness – the fact that no one else on the planet can feel your pain – that pain is personal, be it physical or metaphorical, and let’s face it we all tend to think our own pain must be the worst. The truth is that whatever your worst is, is simply that – your own personal worst. We live by degrees. We get hurt by degrees. The more pain we encounter in life the more we are likely to cope with more pain – or if not, we go under.

We each of us live life in our own tank. We just don’t always know when we are there – and we forget that to connect we need to reach out from our tanks, from our pain and from our own private worlds. Sarah gets stuck in hers and to move forward she has to uncover the secrets that keep her and her daughter apart.

 Like Sarah, I watched film after film in my oxygen tank. The difference is that whilst I chose my own films and the tank, the catalyst for The Thinking Tank, chose me, Sarah’s films choose her  – and try as she might to make them stop, the tank just thinks for itself…