Staying in with Gary Wright

I’ve been hearing very good things about Gary Wright’s debut novel and am delighted to have it on my TBR pile. As a result, whilst I’m waiting to get to it, I asked Gary if he would stay in with me to chat about it and luckily he agreed. Let’s find out more:

Staying in with Gary Wright

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Gary and thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Hi Linda, and thanks so much for having me.

It’s a pleasure. Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

I’m really happy to be sharing my debut novel, A Parent Apart.  I’ve always loved to write and play with words, and when lockdown came along I took the plunge and finally put pen to paper with a story that had been formulating in my head for years.  I’m very, very proud of it.

What can we expect from an evening in with A Parent Apart?

Well, the basic premise of A Parent Apart is the fall out following the death of a child, the police investigation into it and the recriminations that arise from it.  It’s hard to say much more without giving away certain things, but I hope that whets your appetite.

It does indeed. I’ve seen fabulous reviews so I can’t wait to read A Parent Apart for myself. So, is it a crime novel?

I’ve found it hard to define a genre in which A Parent Apart fits.  It has elements of crime, elements of drama and a whole lot of tragedy.  I’m yet to find someone who hasn’t cried at some point while reading it!  My favourite review actually consisted of someone telling me how much they hated me because they had cried so much while reading it!

Oo. That’s definitely my kind of read. Although I have over 900 physical books on my TBR and more again in ebook I think I might just have to bump it up a bit! Tell me a bit more…

The thing I love about it is that crime novels conventionally have a goodie and a baddie.  A Parent Apart doesn’t – the lines are blurred between good and bad, between right and wrong.  It explores the grey areas and the human flaws that are so often overlooked when a story such as this is written.

I’d love to share with you, if I may, the reason that I wrote this book.

Of course.

11 years ago, I was a fit, healthy and active police officer.  I was 27 years old and played many sports, had just got married and was hoping to start a family with my beautiful wife (she’s still beautiful, by the way!).  It was a few days before my sister’s wedding that it happened first.  I passed out, without knowing why.  I ignored it, and managed to get through the wedding weekend (but I can’t remember anything about the wedding itself). Unfortunately, I passed out again days later, and was eventually diagnosed as having an incurable disease of the heart muscle (I am very lucky – my disease is normally only diagnosed post-mortem – when you have already died from it).

What? That sounds awful…

The two episodes of passing out were likely to have been cardiac arrests – the same as those suffered by Fabrice Muamba or, more recently, Christian Eriksen.  I was fitted with an internal defibrillator (I now have both a pacemaker and a defibrillator inside me.  Pesky hearts).  I was medically retired from the police aged 29, and – without wanting to sound melodramatic – made a bucket list of things that I wanted to do.  Not a written list, just a mental checklist in my mind.  Having children was top of that list, and we have been blessed with two absolute beauties (Florence and Sully).  I also was determined to write a book, just for myself, and just so that I could feel the satisfaction of completing such a feat.  And I did it.  I’m so, so proud of it, and the feedback I got was so good that I decided to self publish.  I didn’t want to go down the route of ‘agent, publisher’ as I just wanted to get it out there with no pressure.  I edited it myself, I made the cover myself, everything is my own work.  And for those reasons, and aside from my children, it is my greatest accomplishment.

Aside from bringing a tear to my eye already Gary, I cannot believe how you’ve triumphed so much over adversity. You must be so thrilled with your achievements. My hat is well and truly off to you.

Bearing those achievements in mind, what else have you brought along and why have you brought it?

A photo, if that’s okay?

It is.

It’s a picture of my kids.  Becoming a parent to my babies was the best thing that has ever happened to me, bar none.  They are my reason for getting up in the morning, for working so hard (I own a coffee shop with my wife in Ramsgate Harbour), and for fighting ill health to stay here just a little bit longer.  They also gave me the empathy I needed to write this book, to be able to feel the emotion that the characters in the book do.  Put simply, they are my everything and I wanted to share that with you.

Well I feel privileged to have ‘met’ them Gary. Thank you so much for staying in with me to chat about A Parent Apart. It sounds utterly wonderful and I wish you every success with it. Let me tell Linda’s Book Bag readers a little more:

A Parent Apart

Decisions define us. Decisions have consequences. Who lives… And who dies.

In Beachbrook, on the south coast of England, Andrew had a choice to make. Save his daughter, or save her friend. A decision no parent should have to face, but one that sets in motion a tragic series of events.

With the decision came a dark secret, one that Andrew thought he could keep hidden from his family, his friends and the police.

Two families collide as grief-fuelled recriminations expose the human flaws that haunt us all. The protection of self, the security of family and the fear of losing it all.

Published on 24th June 2021, A Parent Apart is available for purchase here.

About Gary Wright

Gary was a police officer for ten years before a hereditary heart condition brought an abrupt end to his career. He loved policing, and wanted to find an outlet to allow that passion to continue. Combining his enjoyment of writing with a job he could no longer do, his debut novel, ‘A Parent Apart’, was born.

Gary lives on the coast of Kent with his wife and two young children. He owns a coffee shop in Ramsgate Harbour.

You can follow Gary on Twitter @Gaz_Wright83 or Instagram for further information.

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