It gives me enormous pleasure to be starting 2017 with a guest post by lovely Sue Featherstone, co-author of A Falling Friend, as she is not only beginning a new year, but a whole new life and is telling us about it today. A Falling Friend, was published by Lakewater Press on 25th April 2016 and is available for purchase here.
A Falling Friend
After spending her twenties sailing the globe, making love on fine white sand, and thinking only of today, Teri Meyer returns to Yorkshire – and to studying. That’s when she discovers John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester, and poet of all things depraved. What she doesn’t realise is even beyond his grave, his influence over her is extraordinary. To hell with the consequences.
Having gone out on a limb to get old friend Teri a job at the university at which she teaches, it doesn’t take long for Lee Harper to recognise a pattern. Wherever Teri goes, whatever she does, every selfish choice she makes, it’s all setting her up for a nasty fall. But Teri’s not the sort to heed a warning, so Lee has no choice but to stand by and watch. And besides, she has her own life to straighten out.
A clever, raw and hilarious character-driven masterpiece that follows the lives of two friends with the same ambitions, but who have vastly different ways of achieving them.
New Year, New Challenge
A Guest Post by Sue Featherstone
What do my sister, rush hour travel, and fictional characters Lee Harper and Teri Meyer have in common?
It’s really quite simple: thanks to all of the above, I start 2017 as a pensioner.
After a lifetime in journalism and public relations, and nearly 20 years teaching journalism at Sheffield Hallam University, I closed my reporter’s notebook at Christmas and chucked my teacher’s red marking pen in the bin.
Officially, I’ve retired.
In practice, I’ve swapped teaching to do what I’ve wanted to do since I was nine years old – write full-time.
It’s taken a lot of soul-searching because, leaving a well-paid job (and a very enjoyable one too) seemed incredibly risky.
But 12 months ago, my sister, a hospital consultant, who is a year my junior, announced she was retiring. The NHS was turning into a shadow of its former self and she didn’t want to be part of it anymore. Within months she looked ten years younger. And God knows how many years happier.
Which started me thinking… The rush hour rat-race provided further food for thought.
I’ve been lucky – as an academic my schedule has been reasonably flexible. On non-teaching mornings I’ve been able work from home for a couple of hours and avoid rush hour travel altogether.
But this last year there have been a lot of early morning meetings and lots of standing cheek by jowl with other bleary-eyed commuters. And far too many times that I’ve had to suppress murderous thoughts towards those musically-challenged travellers whose tinny thump, thump, thump leaked from their headphones.
But it was Teri and Lee, who broke the camel’s back.
They’re the heroines [sic!] of A Falling Friend, my first novel with my friend and writing partner, Susan Pape, also a journalist and former journalism lecturer. After producing two successful journalism text books together, we decided to become proper writers and write a novel. It took us a long time because both of us were still juggling full-time careers. Eventually, however, it was finished and, after the requisite number of rejections, we secured a publishing deal with Lakewater Press.
A Falling Friend came out in spring 2016 and is doing very nicely. We haven’t set the world on fire – yet! – but we’ve attracted some good reviews and even earned a little bit of money. A sequel is now complete and will, hopefully, be published this spring. Book three will soon be underway.
I’m very grateful to Teri and Lee.
They taught me how much I love writing.
And, importantly, that I love it far more than I love teaching other people how to write – which, believe me, I’ve loved a great deal. I was very sorry to say goodbye to my wonderful Sheffield Hallam friends and colleagues and to our students too.
But I’m excited that, as 2017 begins, I’m no longer Sue Featherstone, journalist and academic.
But Sue Featherstone. Writer.
(And I wish you a happy new year and every success Sue.)
About Sue Featherstone
Sue Featherstone is a former journalist and public relations practitioner turned academic.
Her career started in local newspapers before switching to PR to become internal communications manager with a large utility company. She completed a degree in English Literature as a mature student and subsequently moved into higher education, teaching journalism to undergraduate students at Sheffield Hallam University.
At the beginning of 2017, Sue left Sheffield Hallam to focus on her writing.
Together with her friend and writing partner Susan Pape, she has written two successful journalism text books – Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction; and Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction.
Their first novel, A Falling Friend, was published by Lakewater Press in 2016 and a sequel will follow in spring 2017. They now write about books at bookloversbooklist.