It’s so good to have lovely Christine Webber back on Linda’s Book Bag today. Christine is such a generous author. Very often writers tell me they want to be on the blog but they don’t want the effort of providing a guest post when I can’t squeeze in reading their books for review. Christine, however, is always prepared to make that effort and I’m thrilled to welcome her back here today with a post all about older characters in celebration of her latest book So Many Ways of Loving. I’d also like to thank Christine for sending me a copy of So Many Ways of Loving and I’m hoping it will reach the top of my TBR before too long.
I’m also delighted that Christine has offered a paperback copy of So Many Ways of Loving to a lucky UK blog reader too. You’ll find details later in this blog post.
Previously Christine has provided a post about writing as therapy in a wonderful post you can find here when In Honour Bound was published and about the times when reality fights its way into fiction to celebrate It’s Who We Are here.
Publishing on 17th June 2021, So Many Ways of Loving is available for pre-order here.
So Many Ways of Loving
So Many Ways of Loving is set in 2019 before the world was shocked to the core by the pandemic. And it is another story by Webber featuring people in their mid to later years.
‘This is such an astonishing part of our lives,’ says Christine. ‘And packed with unforeseen changes.’
But unlike the storylines of Who’d Have Thought It? and It’s Who We Are some of the changes in this tale are bleak and heartbreaking. However, life is full of light just when we think there is only darkness and there are many unexpected developments concerning love, location, friendship, family and, as you might guess from the cover, a dog.
Ultimately, So Many Ways of Loving is a story of hope, celebrating our zest for life. It features three main female characters in their 50s and 60s. They are all, in their own way, facing crises, and the unlikely friendship that evolves between them is sustaining for them all. Acting as a kind of link between these friends is a fourth female character who is a great support to them. Readers may spot that she has been borrowed – though is now very much older than she was – from one of the author’s other novels.
A Guest Post by Christine Webber
Linda Hill has very kindly asked me to provide a guest contribution to Linda’s Book Bag. I’m delighted and grateful to be allowed to do this. It’s such a great blog and it gives me the opportunity to tell you about my latest novel So Many Ways of Loving, which is out on 17th June. This is another story about mid to later life people – which is my thing nowadays.
Linda asked me why I find writing about older characters so interesting. The main answer is that when I was in my mid-fifties, I got very bored with novels about anguished thirty-five year olds. Quite apart from everything else, that was pretty much the age of the average reader I’d written all my non-fiction for during the years I worked for Hodder and Bloomsbury. To be honest, I wanted a break from them.
Also, I wanted to read about older people who were vital and vibrant and negotiating new romance, new businesses, new locations, new family circumstances and so on, but also dealing with grown up children and elderly parents; in other words, I wanted novels about the sort of individuals I knew and encountered all the time. Far too often, it seemed to me, older characters in books were mere caricatures. They tended to lose their spectacles constantly, and generally to be a bit daffy, if lovable. Also, they were never the leading protagonists. I felt that should change. Clearly, lots of other authors were thinking the same way as there are many more books out now with older characters at their heart. And a jolly good thing too!
So, in 2016, I wrote Who’d Have Thought It? which was about a busy GP called Annie, who had been dumped but was ready to embrace single life again. I loved her! However, I didn’t give her an easy ride to new romance because negotiating that kind of change against the busy background of mid-life is always going to be complicated. In her case there were adult daughters doing unwise things with unwise people. There was a demented dad in a nursing home, as well as a good friend who became ill. But essentially it was a funny and romantic book and much to my delight, loads of readers loved the characters and this confirmed for me that there was a need for books for older readers with a storyline that they could relate to.
My second novel in this genre was It’s Who We Are, which was more ambitious in that there were five leading characters over fifty. That story is about family secrets and what you might discover in the filing cabinets of ageing or dead parents. I had intended to kill off one of the five, but he wouldn’t lie down and die. Instead, he went on to have a passionate relationship which I had not expected to write. That’s one thing about developing older characters. They have their own ideas about what they want to do. And they have a level of common sense that has been learned the hard way, which is refreshing.
In So Many Ways of Loving the focus is on the bonds of new friendships which often surprise us. I’m a great believer in people constantly looking to increase their social circle at all ages. My circumstances and location changed completely three years ago and I’m very lucky in that I’ve made half a dozen new pals since then, all of whom are very special to me. We need fresh friends because we are constantly changing, and sometimes we grow apart from other adults we’ve been close to in the past.
There are other threads in the story – not least widowhood – which is something I’ve had to cope with myself and wanted to write about. Additional themes are new romance, house moves, the support of step-families and the threat of serious ill-health. You could say then that it’s very much a mix of what happens to most of us, if we’re lucky enough to live to be old.
Finally, perhaps my favourite character of all is a dog. Never underestimate the power of a pooch to transform a life. No wonder he’s on the cover!
Thank you so much Christine. That’s such an inspiring post. As a middle aged woman of sixty I could not agree with you more. We middle aged (and older) folk have much to offer and I think So Many Ways of Loving might just show everyone that there’s life in the old ones yet!
UK Giveaway – A Paperback Copy of So Many Ways of Loving
I’m thrilled to offer a paperback copy of So Many Ways of Loving to a lucky UK blog reader. Christine has kindly said she’ll post one out and for your chance to be the lucky recipient, click here.
Giveaway ends at UK midnight on Sunday 20th June 2021. Your details will not be retained beyond this date. Winner to provide a UK postal address for receipt of the book.
About Christine Webber
Christine Webber tried various careers in her younger days – she was a classical singer, a Principal Boy in pantomimes, an undistinguished actress as well as a piano and singing teacher. Fortunately, for her, when she was thirty, she managed to get a job in television as a continuity announcer, and shortly thereafter she became a news presenter at Anglia TV. Finally, she had found an occupation she liked that other people thought she was good at. This was a massive relief.
In her early forties, she married the love of her life, Dr David Delvin. Soon afterwards, she decided to leave news presenting in order to train as a psychotherapist, and she also became a problem page columnist for various publications including TV Times, Best, BBC Parenting, The Scotsman and Woman. In addition, she regularly broadcast relationship advice on Trisha, The Good Sex Guide…Late and from the BBC’s Breakfast sofa.
In her fifties, she and her husband set up a practice in Harley Street, and they worked together there and collaborated on several books. They also wrote the sex/relationships content on www.netdoctor.co.uk and penned a joint column for the health section of The Spectator.
Over the decades, Christine was commissioned to write ten self-help books including Get the Happiness Habit, How to Mend a Broken Heart and Too Young to Get Old.
Now, in her seventies, her focus is on the issues of mid and later life. As well as writing novels, she makes video podcasts on positive ageing and writes a column for various regional papers on that theme. She is also a life coach specialising in health and ageing.