About The Girl You Forgot

My publishers Boldwood Books asked me to write a blog post for them for their website about this latest book.

I think it deserves to be shared here!

On August 11th, 2020,  my seventh book, The Girl You Forgot, was finally released. It took two years of stops and false starts and another two of actual writing to get there – 4 years in total – which has made it the most challenging book I’ve written to date. However, the idea which inspired it remained the same throughout. It came from an article I read, a personal account written by a journalist who’d studied neuroscience at University. One day, his class were discussing how a tutor, diagnosed with a brain tumour, had walked into the sea rather than risk lose all his life’s memories which went to make up ‘who he was.’ A classmate had made the observation that the tutor would still have been ‘himself’ even if without all his memories… and that set me thinking: how much of our identity is gleaned from our memories and stories we tell about ourselves. How much of it would endure, even if we lost those memories?

In essence, the story is really about the soul. It’s about Identity. It’s about what makes us who we are, above and beyond all the outward trappings of who we appear to be, to the outside world. It’s about a girl who struggles to help her man reconnect with his lost identity so that he will reconnect with her. His heart is the doorway that leads to that golden goal… only, it’s not a path she can navigate without peril! It’s a story about Truth and about the lies we sometimes tell ourselves in order to keep our fragile sense of who we are, intact… until the day comes when my protagonists can’t do that anymore.

As I said, It took me a long time to write. Not only is the structure of the novel complex, all the issues contained within it felt overwhelming at times…strangely prescient of the strangely changed world we were about to step into. I can’t help but feel that the issues are very live and relevant at this moment. With so many of us having seen much of our daily routine, basically, much of our lives, stripped away, leaving us bare… what endures? How much will we recognise ourselves in the weeks and months to come? How many of us will grasp the courage to move beyond despair – or even mere acceptance – and take the golden kernel of all that we are, into the years that lie ahead?

I struggled with this story.  But now, as it’s about to be born into the world, I love it!  It turned out to be a story of hope, and I feel quite triumphant that I achieved it. I feel… excited about what lies ahead in my journey with my new publisher, Boldwood, and grateful to all the readers who’ve patiently stuck with me and are waiting to see what I came to at the end of this journey.

My hope is that you will enjoy it, maybe even love it too. My hope is that it will make you think, make you feel, and most importantly help you to remember what it is you truly love about being alive. It’s where hope lies.

Much love for now,

Giselle xx

 

 

 

 

The Girl You Forgot

The Girl You Forgot Full Tour Banner (002)

So,  The Girl You Forgot is finally here – August 11th!

Available to order in all formats including Audio, from  Amazon also from Kobo, Googleplay, and  Apple.

Also available to order from Waterstones

After waiting this long – are you really going to want to miss out? 

Please let me know how you enjoy it!

A big Thank you to the following reviewers for reading/blogging on The Girl You Forgot… you may want to check out what they’ve said. Links below!

BeingAnne book blog

SuesBookReviews .

Kraftireader

Bookshine and Readbows 

My Chestnut Reading Tree 

Hina loves to Read

Books with wine and chocolate

All my best wishes,   Giselle x

Here’s another review by the lovely Anne at Books And Authors, copied with permission.

Books and Authors UK

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 August 2020

If you could turn back time and forget one of your more painful memories, would you? Would you be willing to forgo the pain you held on to in exchange for the blissful ignorance of never knowing? The Girl You Forgot takes one on a journey of a love that conquers all. The book covers the life of Ava and Will, two lovebirds, who take on the twists and turns life throws at them while they find their way back to each other. Ava is as charming as the girl next door. She is a sweetheart to all and works in a remote sewing shop to make ends meet. Then there is Will, the rugged but soft singer/songwriter who is a delight to be around.

Ava and Will have been together for three years reveling in the love they have for each other. Will has always wanted a family of his own and hearing that Ava is pregnant sends him over the moon but the excitement of that news is dampened when his health takes a turn. What happens when not one but two life-changing events happen to them back-to-back? Is their fairytale story strong enough to survive these occurrences? The Girl You Forgot takes its reader on an intimate journey of love and its ability to always seek out the truth in all situations. It poses questions that we all have asked ourselves at a point in our relationships like ‘how far are you willing to go to keep the one you love happy?’. It covers a myriad of emotions such as betrayal, deceit, joy, and longing. The lead characters, Ava and Will are given life by the background interactions of Will’s family issues, Ava’s sister, and their friends.

The story covers common issues of betrayal that sometimes occur in a relationship but adds an exciting twist to it. It stirs up questions in its readers’ minds that should ultimately lead all to the conclusion that unless you are in that particular situation, there is no telling what you would do. The book is essentially about Ava and Will but the supporting characters are showcased enough to provide an established storyline.

I highly recommend this The Girl You Forgot for the romantic. It’s a book that births hope in the mind of its reader. It shows the true power of love and how it is strong enough to surmount all things. Get ready to be lost in this stunning read that I just could not put down, just be sure to read it with your favourite drink on the sofa.
I would like to thank the author for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Check out Dear Dad, also by this author.

 

 

 

 

 

A Glimmer

Writing this on 24th March 2020 – in the strange, sad and confused days we are facing as Britain enters a period of ‘lockdown’ – I will admit I’ve hesitated for a few days before writing this post. It seems so wildly inappropriate to talk or even think about such a trivial thing as a ‘book’ when such a crisis is upon us, and so many people are scared and suffering.

And yet… so many of the (fictional) people I have always written about, were feeling just that.  Scared, suffering, and with no sense – at least initially – of how they would get through whatever they were going through in their world.  In the world of story, writers get to wave a magical wand so we can ‘make’ everything all right.  Not always as easy a task as it might seem, but the end goal is always the same – to give readers the sense that, however badly disrupted our world becomes, we can get through it.  The worthy task of the writer, therefore, is to offer entertainment, distraction, ideas and information and maybe most important of all… to offer the reader some Hope.

It’s where I began, back in 2006/7 when I wrote Pandora’s Box… a story about a mother and her daughter who each go out in their own ways looking for hope… and end up finding love. Five novels followed but the fact is, it’s now been four long years since I brought out the last one, Dear Dad.  For so many reasons, the next novel didn’t seem to want to be written the way I knew it needed to be. It proved so challenging and for so long, that I really wanted to give up. So many times. However, I didn’t!

What kept me going?

This one little fact: having dedicated each of the other six books to a family member, the only one left was my youngest, Andrew. I couldn’t leave him as the only one without a book dedicated to him! I had to plough through with the seventh novel, because it really meant something to me that he should have one, too.

Finally, after four long and challenging years, I can reveal I have just signed a three-book contract with Boldwood Books and my seventh novel will at last be published in all formats (including audio) in September 2020.

To these experienced and knowledgeable publishers who kept the faith in me, I offer a big ‘Thanks!’ And if there’s any lesson to be drawn from this maybe it’s that Hope doesn’t fly in out of the air like a virus… it comes only when we stand our ground and keep fighting for something that is meaningful to us.

For now, confined to barracks as we all are, I have people and worlds to create, fiendish plots to hatch and at the end of it all, a magic wand to wave… the bit where characters can choose (or not) to adapt, view change and challenge as opportunity and forge onwards, just like the rest of us.

For now, stay safe. Be calm and purposeful. Remain hopeful.

Giselle xx

 

 

Endings

I’ve spent the last fifteen months writing a book that begins with an ending.

It’s a book about a woman who, forced to make two contradictory promises, finds herself in an impossible double-bind. You just know, once she’s forced to choose which one she’s going to keep, that it’s going to hurt. It’s a book about an issue for our times – Identity – and how can we still know who we really are, when everything meaningful that’s gone to make up our life has been swept away?

It’s a book about love and loss, and finding the courage to move on with our arms open. It’s a book about Faith.

angel pic

 

And, boy, has it taken some faith to stay in there, writing this one. I’d thought I’d completed this story in the spring, but it turned out it was nowhere near done. After five further months of blood, sweat and tears, it is done, now!

Lastly, from its wobbly and unsure inception, it has turned into a love story. Three years ago, chancing upon a moving article about the effects of memory loss on our relationships, a really big question was sparked off in me: can the heart really remember, even when the mind’s forgotten?  I still don’t know the answer  to that one, but I know what I’d like to believe. I hope, one day in the not-too-distant future, you’ll get a chance to see what I made of it.

All my best, for now,

Giselle xxx

 

 

Beginnings

Even the longest journey must begin with a single step, they say, but… what if when you start off, you’re headed in the wrong direction?

Trawling through some photos recently, I came across this –

notebook

– the suede-bound notebook, with its thick, creamy pages and golden decoration was purchased in Florence the previous year. Back then, full of excitement, I’d wanted a special book to fill with notes and ideas for my new story.  Visiting Michelangelo’s tomb in the church of Santa Croce, I read somewhere that, in carving David, he felt he’d been simply ‘freeing the angel from the marble.’  I knew what he meant.  It felt to me from the beginning that my story too, was already there. Waiting for me to write it. Somehow though, despite my head being full of what I wanted to write – the essence of it, at least – the actual story had refused to come through.

It perplexed me.

Here was I, raring to go, and there was this great idea humming in my head but I somehow couldn’t land it. Putting the special notebook aside, I came home and filled whole exercise books with copious notes. I tried for months!  I spent a lot of time pursuing other activities too. I’d leave it be for weeks, months even and come back to it periodically but still, despite writing many tens of thousands of words over that time, I knew that there was some ineffable ingredient missing in the mix; something that I hadn’t quite crystallised yet. I knew it was missing, that it had to be there; that it had been there for all the others… but… what was it?

I began to wonder if I’d stumbled into the dreaded ‘writer’s block,’ but then, how could that be so? I was penning many short stories for women’s magazines during the year when I couldn’t write this book, so why was this particular story proving so hard to massage into life?  I wanted to walk away from it so many times, but it wouldn’t let me be.  And I felt inexplicably stuck. Unable to move on with it and also unable to let go.

In the end, after a good year-and-a-bit of what felt – in terms of my novel at least – like faffing around, I chanced upon an editor who finally (and very graciously – thank you Kate!) helped me unlock the doors to this elusive story. She suggested a better place to begin, for one. It turns out, among other things, that I’d been starting the story in the wrong place.

Which brings me to the beginning of this piece.

Had I been wasting my time then, going around in circles? It felt like it at the time, but I doubt that’s true.  The journey of a thousand miles may lead you to a destination only three doors down from you and maybe sometimes that’s exactly where your quest will end? Because the thing is; how can we know what we don’t know till we eventually do know it? So no, I don’t think all those months were wasted: it simply took that long for me to know which direction I needed to be going in!

On a sunny morning when my garden was filled with the glorious scent of jasmine, I took another notebook out into the garden and started the novel all over again.

table plus book

I’m delighted to say that – eight months later – I’ve now typed The End.  First draft done, at least.

Now a new journey – to get it out there to you, my readers, beckons ahead…

Wish me Bon voyage!

Giselle xx

Reader’s retreat

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Like the angel in the picture, sometimes we just need time to step back in life and think and reflect and recharge. Reading is a pastime that can help us to do that, but it’s usually something we need to ‘fit in’ around everything else.

Now, how’s this for a lovely idea… how would you like to spend three whole days being pampered in luxury surroundings with nothing to do but READ? This is the brilliant opportunity being offered by The Book Analyst Cressida Downing and friend and collaborator Sara Noel, in various venues around the UK for 2018. Part of the package includes the opportunity to spend an evening having dinner with a local author, and I was thrilled to be asked to join their retreat in Sittingbourne, Kent, on March 7th.

I’m looking forward to meeting and chatting with some lovely new readers – there’s only one or two spaces left – might one of them be you?

Further details on the retreat can be found here 

When a picture says a thousand words JUNE 2017

We’ve all heard of ‘judging a book by its cover’… and that’s why it’s so important to choose the cover that will tempt the reader with what’s inside the pages. With that in mind, I’ve given DEAR DAD a makeover … courtesy of the very talented STEVEN BRIGHT… which I hope shows that there’s a very sweet love story going on behind one little boy’s attempts to secure himself a father. I think Steven’s cover says it all. Here it is, just in time for Father’s Day, and with a reduced price for the week leading up to it, you can treat yourselves, girls!dd cover fb sb2

A LOVELY SURPRISE

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This week I’ve had some very lovely news:

DEAR DAD has made it onto the shortlist for the prestigious  RNA Romantic Novel of the Year 2017 award. 

Every so often a story you’re working on will grab you on a deeper level and you’ll know you’ve found a ‘book of your heart.’ Dear Dad was one of them. I’ll admit, I struggled with it. I lost my way several times. Deceptively simple as the story seems,  at times, it felt devilishly difficult to write.Some of the main characters hid away from me and I had to spend ages coaxing them out. I am not a man and I am not a dad and I have never been anybody’s son. I never even had a solid relationship with my own father to use as a point of reference … so, what did I know? Many times, I wanted to give it up because it felt too hard, and it was all taking tooooo long (two years, in the end).To cap it all, writing a women’s contemporary fiction novel with such a strong male point of view felt risky. Would my female readership identify with my hero Nate? Would anyone pick it up, let alone want to read it?

Still, I persevered.

Because, as I said, it was a book of my heart. Never mind that it had a male protagonist, I wanted to write a novel about Hope and Kindness. I wanted to write about good, old-fashioned Love! In these dark times I still think it’s what the world is crying out for. I am so glad that I stuck it out. And finally, this week, I am so very happy to have been validated in my choice.

I know that all the novels on this short-list are going to be fabulous, enjoyable reads, and I’m honoured my story was chosen to be one of them.

Now it just remains for me to wish the best of luck to all of my fellow ‘Contemporary Romantic Novel’ category contenders … Monday 13th March is going to be an exciting day for all of us!

 

Giselle xx

 

 

 

 

 

Where the Magic is. Oct 2016.

mum

 

Just returned from having an amazing time at the Gibraltar International Literary Festival where I was lucky enough to be invited back as a speaker this year. The picture above was taken at the Garrison Library gardens. I was about to give an interview on my latest book, Dear Dad, and this is a venue that’s redolent with meaning for me, being the same place where my wedding reception was held, back in 1979.

The interviewer commented: ‘This book is different to your other books. It’s full of … something.’ She was searching for the right word. ‘Hope, I think? Would you say it’s full of hope?’

‘I think it’s full of magic,’ I told her.

Now, if you think about it, magic is a funny old thing. We go through life waiting for those few, precious, ‘magical’ moments where we can feel transported  by our own joy; by a sense of wonderment and awe, a sense that – whatever it is that’s going on in this world – there is more afoot than we can explain. Even when we go to something like a ‘magic show’ where we know that what we’re about to see is all smoke and mirrors, we still go, because we want to recapture that sense of wonderment and disbelief. We WANT to be shown something that seems logic-defyingly impossible. We WANT to be dumbfounded by an experience so amazing that it blows us away. Even while our rational mind is furiously trying to work it all out, we want to believe. We want to connect.

During my stay on the Rock last week, I had a magical experience when the organisers took five of the authors plus guests out for a boat trip to the Gorham’s Cave complex. As trained biologists, my husband and I were excited. We knew many Neanderthal artefacts and remains had been found in there. The weather was perfect for the trip on this particular day, the sea unusually calm on both sides of the Rock. As we reached the point where the international tankers are anchored off the coast of Gibraltar, the captain turned our little boat back towards The Rock and killed the engine. 120,000 years ago, we were told, all the sea that now surrounds The Rock  – i.e. – the landscape I grew up with – hadn’t been there at all. Instead, it had been a Serengeti-type of terrain where wild hyenas, horses and antelopes roamed. And the Neanderthal cave-dwellers were not the ape-like ‘missing link’ we’d been led to believe, but simply another tribe of humans. Standing there on the gently swaying deck of the boat looking back on the levant-shrouded Rock, I had an epiphanal moment.

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It was as if time had stopped, shrunk away.

And I felt a deep connection. To a people who vanished over 30, 000 years ago! My husband felt it, too. Maybe it is because these ancient people lived and prospered and died on The Rock which is such a deep part of our own psyche. Maybe it is because – just for a few moments – we were transported to a new place of connection. The truth is, that it is in the most ordinary, everyday things of life, that we can access true magic.

I think there is a part of us that constantly clamours to reach out to connect. I believe this is what stories are really all about. Both for the reader and, I think, the author. In Dear Dad, it’s the child Adam who galvanises the two main protagonists to reach out for the connection which they all long for.  ‘Real’ magic is about allowing your mindset to be flexible enough to allow in the impossible. Children know this. I believe the ‘child’ part that still resides in each and every one of us still knows it, too.

grainlightIn the last generation or two our definition of what constitutes ‘family’ has shape-shifted beyond what many of our grandparents would recognise. It can be a tough call for one parent to do it all alone … and many tough adjustments needed when families extend through divorce, remarriage and so forth. Yet the need for a child to be loved, recognised and wanted hasn’t changed at all. I wanted to write a book about what it means to be a dad in our modern world. How that doesn’t always have to mean you’re the biological parent. How a guy who acts like a dad, advocates for you like a dad, loves you like a dad can sometimes really BE your dad in an even more significant way than the man who you happen to share your DNA with. And so my latest novel, Dear Dad, was born.

This story is about how one determined 9-year-old kid, Adam, overcomes every obstacle he meets, to get his ‘family needs’ met. In the process, two lonely and heart-wounded strangers who come together to help him, fall in love … but life’s never quite that simple is it? Along the way, a big lie has been told. It’s a lie that could scupper every chance each of them has for happiness.

Writing this story, I’ve enjoyed so much the chance to re-see things from a child’s point of view. Children can be so positive and upbeat about life. They don’t let little things like ‘reality checks’ get in the way of dreaming big dreams. They trust. They have faith! Let’s face it, when you’re four-foot-something or less and have no power whatsoever in the world, you’ve got to have faith that somehow it’s all going to work out – how else would we ever make it? Having had six children of my own, I’ve learned that kids have all the answers we once had, you see – it’s just that we’ve forgotten.

Dear Dad is out now on Amazon as an eBook & Paperback: Here