I was delighted to be offered a copy of the novella Jungle Rock by Caroline James in return for an honest review as I’ve featured Caroline in interview on Linda’s Book Bag in the past. You can read that interview here. Today Caroline explains how Jungle Rock came about – and how, with writer’s block, it nearly didn’t!
Jungle Rock is published today, 21st November 2016, by Ramjam and is available for purchase here.
Handsome young chef, Zach Docherty is feeling the heat. Following an exposé in a national newspaper, his fiancée Poppy Dunlop has broken their engagement. Heartbroken at the thought of life without Poppy, Zach drowns his sorrows and when his agent suggests that Zach becomes a contestant in a reality TV show, Jungle Survival, he reluctantly agrees. Plunged deep in the jungle, into a bizarre mix of talent and trials, Zach meets glamour model, Cleo Petra, and the cameras go crazy.
Will Zach survive and be crowned Jungle King?
Or will his latest exploits push Poppy further away…
Jungle Rock and Writer’s Block
A Guest Post by Caroline James
Huge thanks to Linda for hosting me on her lovely blog today. Jungle Rock is my new novella and has been described as ‘a feel-good read’. I wrote this shorter story at a time when I was having a writer’s block and as soon as I started, the words began to flow again. Jungle Rock finds Zach Docherty, a handsome young celebrity chef, plunged deep into the Australian jungle when his agent puts him forward to be a contestant on a popular TV reality show. Zach is feeling the heat after a recent expose in a national newspaper and his fiancée has broken their engagement. The novella includes characters from previous novels but like all my novels, is a stand-alone read. Perhaps the familiarity of the characters helped to get me writing again.
To have a block in any work of creativity is tough, especially when it is your job and it is a discussion I often have with a lovely group of writers that I belong to (The Cheshirati). My own thoughts on how to overcome this problem is to stop procrastinating and turn up at the page and write. Get your rear on a seat and get typing. It doesn’t matter what you get down, at some stage something will start to develop. Don’t attempt to proof or edit till the end and most of all, believe in yourself; don’t die wondering about what might have been.
The urge to write is back, thank goodness, and my next novel, Boomerville, is scheduled for 2017. Jungle Rock is a happy piece and it made me smile and I hope readers enjoy the novella as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Happy reading and writing xx
My Review of Jungle Rock
Having blown his engagement with Poppy, Zach finds himself in a reality TV programme in Australia.
I haven’t read the other books featuring Zach, but it made no difference at all to my enjoyment of this topical and entertaining story. I have a confession. My guilty pleasure is ‘I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here‘ which I watch every year leading up to Christmas. Now, whilst I don’t think you need to be a fan of the programme to appreciate Jungle Rock, the fact that I am really enhanced my pleasure in the story as there are many echoes. I could imagine the scenarios and recognise the references which brought the story to life very vividly. Christmas is an underlying theme too, but it is not overdone as in some Christmas stories. It successfully underpins the time of year in which the story is set.
Whilst Zach is the central character, he is presented in a slightly oblique way so that Poppy, Bob, Jo and Harriett have greater focus and uncover Zach to the reader. I really liked this different approach and felt I got to know all the characters intimately, despite Jungle Rock being a novella. There’s a brilliant range of individuals with a cast of different ethnicities, sexualities, professions and ages so that Jungle Rock has a character that every reader can relate to. I especially liked the fact that Harriett and Jo are living life to the full, giving a positive image of those of us of a certain age!
I thoroughly enjoyed the underlying messages to the story too. Characters are quick to judge one another and have to reassess their position which gives a clear message about not jumping to conclusions even when presented with ‘evidence’. Caroline James celebrates family, relationships, honesty and trust in her quick and lively writing and through her fast paced plot.
If you’re looking for a highly entertaining story for a winter’s afternoon in the run up to Christmas, look no further. Jungle Rock is for you.
About Caroline James
Caroline’s debut novel, Coffee Tea The Gypsy & Me shot to number 3 on Amazon and was E-book of the Week in The Sun newspaper. Her second novel, So, You Think You’re A Celebrity… Chef? has been described as wickedly funny: ‘AbFab meets MasterChef in a Soap…’ Coffee Tea The Caribbean & Me, an Amazon best-seller, was a Top Ten Finalist at The Write Stuff, London Book Fair 2015 and the judge’s comments included: Caroline is a natural story-teller with a gift for humour in her writing.” Her next novel, Boomerville will be published spring 2017.
Caroline has owned and run many catering related businesses and cookery is a passion alongside her writing, combining the two with her love of the hospitality industry and romantic fiction. As a media agent, Caroline represented many well-known celebrity chefs and her TV script, So, You Think You’re A Celebrity Chef? was runner up at the Winchester Writers Festival 2016.
She has published short stories and is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association. Caroline writes articles on food and celebrity based interviews and is Feature Editor for an online lifestyle magazine. She is a founder member of The Cheshirati and is available for inspiring and entertaining talks on anything related to the hospitality and publishing industry.