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The Dangerous Art of Channel X

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Picture the scene. It’s late at night and the hotel is all but deserted. It’s like something from an Agatha Christie where you expect to trip over a dead body as you head down the endless corridor, its miserable brown and swirly carpet scuffing beneath your feet.

You press the button and the door swings open, releasing you into the cold, wet night. You cross the damp, bleak car park and hurtle through the revolving door. Once again you hand the code card to the boy behind the desk. He looks menacingly up at you, swipes his Teutonic-perfect blond hair from his eyes, sighs and places another in your sweaty palm. Retreating, you find the elevator, go to the third floor, cross the walkway and slip quietly down the spiral stairs, the only route back in. Once safely in your room, you slide the card home and bingo! It doesn’t work AGAIN. Will you give up and let them take your money? No, you won’t.  You are strong; you are British; your upper lip has never been stiffer – and nor for that matter have your hips. So the cycle begins again. You grab your key and head back down the corridor, resolve your new best friend.

‘Give up,’ said Martin.

‘Never,’ I replied. ‘They know these things don’t work. They just want to take our money and think we’ll be too embarrassed to make a fuss.’

Armed with the knowledge that Martin had already decided that all was lost, my determination redoubled its steely grip. The boy child at reception was not going to win. I was back on the trail.

‘Listen,’ I said, my best expat voice rearing its ugly head as I approached the desk, ‘This is my third circuit. You know and I both know that the tokens from the machine and the tokens you are replacing them with are never going to work. Now, I could run around in circles all night and I am quite prepared to do that, but why don’t you save us both a lot of trouble and just give me back my money?’

Two more circuits and twenty minutes later, that’s just what he did. Surely it should not be this hard to watch a pay-movie?

The name of the hotel? Not telling. Wouldn’t want to spoil your fun!

Sleeping People Lie is OUT NOW on Amazon in Kindle and paperback and is available from Walkers, Waterstones and all good bookshops.

Please visit my website: www.jaedewylde.com

Best selling author of The Thinking Tank

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Expat Escapades in Forced to Fly

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Fancy a good laugh at the expense of yours truly? Well, just dip into this little gem and you will find one. What’s it about? Not telling – you’ll have to get hold of a copy and discover how the joke was on me.

But it’s not just about that. Anyone who has ever been an expat or who is curious about what we expats (or ex-expat in my case) get up to in our warm and sunny (read ‘hot and sticky’) climes will love this fantastic collection of relevant and sometimes highly irrelevant true stories.

It’s a real honour to be included in this, the second edition of Forced To Fly. Not that anyone forced me to fly, you understand. My little wings were flapping way before Martin got his job in the Middle East – and very much enjoyed unfurling whilst we were there – as my tale doth tell!

Forced to Fly is available from Amazon right now!

Sleeping People Lie is available from November. The Thinking Tank is available now from Amazon, Bookmark, Waterstones and Walkers

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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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

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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From the Tank to the TV!

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 I know I go on a lot about how life can change in a heartbeat. It can and it does and it sounds dramatic – and it often is – and sometimes it can be in a good way. Phone calls at strange times are, to me, scary things. They rarely bring good news. Emails at strange times  – like when you check your mail in the middle of the night, just because you aren’t asleep and you can – are not so scary. Although the one I got this week definitely is – but again, in a good way. And who knew that it would take me from the Tank to the TV?

These last two weeks have seen The Thinking Tank hit as high as #27 on Amazon Bestsellers charts in Women’s Fiction. Following the publication of my ‘back story’ in the Gulf News Friday magazine in Dubai and the novel’s Amazon ratings, the very wonderful Jeanne Gray contacted Dubai One, the main TV station in Dubai.  As a result, I have been invited to appear on their live chat show, Studio One, this Monday at 7.30pm. Good scary. Scary scary. Scary.

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I’ve also got a smashing list of book signings lined up. They are all on my Amazon Author’s Page as well as on my website (www.jaedewylde.com) so please do pop in if you around – it would be lovely to meet folks and chat.

You never know what the universe will send. I am so grateful for the terrific support from friends, family, my publisher, bookshops and the wonderful journalist, Antonia Hoyle (www.antoniahoyle.com). So please keep fingers crossed on Monday night.

Note to self – it’s very uncool to cross your fingers on live TV! 

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Amazon, Kindle and Paperback and all good bookshops

‘This a great achievement for a debut novel: confidently written and incredibly perceptive about emotions and relationships. The lead character’s analysis of her actions and feelings can be uncomfortably intense at times but then that is the heart of the story. The author’s skill really shows in the descriptions of the girl Sally’s experiences, with every painful detail deftly captured and exhibiting a maturity of writing that belies the fact this is a first novel. I don’t usually choose this kind of book but I found it an enjoyable and compelling read.’

Praise for The Thinking Tank…