I'm delighted to introduce a new name in womens fiction - Rose McClelland!
Today, Rose McClelland celebrates the release of her novel, The Break-Up Test, from Crooked Cat Publishing. At her home in Belfast, Rose is busy writing novels, alongside reviewing books for Judging Covers. A theatre play she wrote has also been shown in a production at a theatre in Belfast.
So, to find out more about her, I've asked her some questions. Here she goes....
1) Tell us about The Break-Up Test! What inspired you to write this story?
I was having one of those hour long conversations with my sister one night. I was telling her that I had a set of mid-year resolutions which I had devised to massively cheer myself up. After I listed them off, she said, "that sounds like a book to me". And I said, "Oh yeah, so it does". So I decided to go off and write it. It was a fun journey to take with the characters.
2) How did you get into fiction writing?
I attended a creative writing course when I lived in London. I attempted a novel but alas, it lived in my bottom drawer and refused to come to play (I think it was a bit scared). Later, when living in Brighton, I came across 'The Artists Way' by Julia Cameron. I started a 12 week course to 'unblock creativity'. By week eight I had started my first novel and couldn't stop. I am now on book number four.
3) Are you working on another novel at the moment? If so, what is it about?
Yes, I am writing a novel which is set in the theatre world. It's about all the sizzling chemistry that goes on behind the scenes and I love writing it!
Blurb for The Break-Up Test:
“What are you thinking about?” Stacey asked him.
Jamie turned to face her. Her curly mass of hair was strewn behind her on the pillow. Her pupils were dilated with post-coital bliss. Her left breast was leaning to one side, like a lop-sided pancake. The right breast was tucked under the duvet.
She had a little smile on her lips; flirtatious, teasing, expectant. As though she wanted him to say something romantic, gushy, sappy.
Of course he couldn’t tell her what he was really thinking.
That he was thinking about Saturday. That he was thinking about Amy. That he was thinking about how they hadn’t seen each other in such a long time. That, judging from her facebook photos, she hadn’t changed a bit.
She was still the same Amy.
The one he’d fancied for three years at Uni. The one he’d house-shared with. The one he’d lusted after. The one he’d kissed.
Of course, the slight problem was that Amy had forgotten the kiss. Or rather, the kiss was in a blackout. A tequila blackout. And the next morning, it was forgotten.
The graduation robes were returned to their vendor. The front door key was given back to the landlord. The bags were packed, and the big old house they’d all shared for three years lay empty. Their voices echoed off the walls as they’d said goodbye.
Three years of fun, of independence, of excitement. Glorious student days.
But that was years ago now. Now there were suits. And jobs. And nine to five schedules. And a woman lying next to him in bed that he’d only met two weeks ago.
He directed a pensive stare towards the curtains for a moment, as though he was straining to compose the depth of his feelings.
The curtains were pink with a flowery design.
I’m thinking... He wondered silently in his own head; I’m thinking … that I need a coffee. I’m thinking… that we probably had sex far too soon. I’m thinking… I feel guilty but I don’t think this is going to go anywhere.
I’m thinking that I need the loo, followed by a fry, following by a couple of paracetamol to wash down my hangover.
Her eyes were still expectant. Her head was leaning on her hand and a faint smell of morning breath was escaping from her mouth.
“I’m thinking about London on Saturday,” he replied. “I guess I’m thinking about everything I need to organise before I go.”
Stacey tried to hide it, but her face fell with disappointment.
“So,” she said, sitting up and pulling her top to her breasts. “Who is this Amy girl again? Remind me about how you know her?”
Jamie sat up in bed and reached for the glass of water on the bedside table. He took a long glug and then wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
“She’s a mate from Uni.”
“And you’re staying with her for how long?”
Jamie shrugged his shoulders.
“A few weeks. Depends how long the project goes on. Could be longer.”
Stacey abruptly pulled her top over her head, covering her breasts. She found her knickers, which were lying on the floor next to the bed. With one toe, she navigated the knickers off the floor and into her hand, surreptitiously sliding them on underneath the duvet.
This amused Jamie. Earlier she was on top of him naked. Now she was covering her body with unnecessary shyness.
“And… erm… what’s she like?” Stacey ventured, as though fishing. As though standing on the river bank, huge fishing pole in hand, waiting for the sharks to come along and gobble her wooden stick.
Jamie shrugged. “She’s cool. She’s a good laugh.”
Stacey nodded. “Pretty?”
The fishing line was digging deeper.
Jamie shrugged again. “Yeah, I guess…”
Stacey picked up her jeans which were crumpled on the floor next to the laundry basket. She yanked them on with extra force.
“Right,” she said, crossly.
She disappeared into the bathroom, closing the door abruptly behind her.
Jamie sighed. This is when he would have needed a cigarette. When he could have reached into his bedside cabinet, pulled out a big hefty box of twenty Marlboro Reds, flicked a lighter, listened to the comforting tinge as the flame met the nicotine, inhaled deeply and let a puff of smoke escape from his lips in a release of tension.
Having bowed to the pressure that is ‘anti-social behaviour,’ he’d thrown his last pack of cigarettes away two months, two weeks and two days ago.
Not that he was counting or anything.
After the sound of running water and a flushed toilet, Stacey emerged from the bathroom.
Oh shit. Had she been crying?
Her eyes looked decidedly red.
Oh holy crap, surely not?
But we’ve only been seeing each other a couple of weeks. In fact was it even that long?
Jamie couldn’t remember.
He remembered the night they met, yes. It was at a party. There was a coffee table strewn with beer cans. There was music playing. There were people chatting. Low lighting. He was pleasantly drunk. And then this girl just appeared next to him on the sofa. Smiling, chatting, putting her hand on his leg, leaning in to kiss him. It was all so fast really. And he was so drunk. And yet they’d found a bedroom upstairs. There was a romp, underneath the pile of coats.
And that was that. She’d shoved a piece of paper with her number into his jeans pocket. Then she’d said, “On second thoughts…“ She’d fished through his phone, stored her number in his contacts list, made a note of his number and texted him there and then.
It was a joke, granted. They were drunk, and it was funny.
But the next day, she texted him again, and they just happened to meet up again, and she just happened to be here next to him in his bedroom. He knew it was all too fast. He knew it didn’t feel right. But well, he had been pulled along for the ride.
Why not go along with these things?
She regained her composure and her face lit up again. “So, I was thinking…” she began energetically. “We could go and get breakfast somewhere, and then maybe go for a walk down along the seafront… and if you’re interested, I have a few people coming over for dinner tonight – it’d be cool if they got to meet you.”
“Amy…er…listen Stace, I’m really sorry but I can’t… I’ve got loads of stuff to sort out before heading off this weekend…”
Her face fell even further than the last time, except this time she couldn’t hide it.
“Oh Jamie!” she sighed, almost in a two-year old tantrum type way. “It’s a Sunday! It’s chill out day!”
He shrugged helplessly.
“I know Stace, I’m really sorry.”
He tried to ignore the guilt-inducing tears-about-to-well-up-in-the-face type look that she had adopted. She sat right beside him on the sofa until her taxi arrived. She folded her arms tightly, as though trying to hug herself. She stared at him too, as though if she looked at him long enough, she’d keep a picture of him in her head.
The taxi beeped mercifully. He walked her to the door.
“Text me later on tonight,” she instructed. “And let’s meet up again before you go.”
Jamie nodded. “Sure,” he gave her a peck on the cheek. “Have a good day.”
She looked at him quizzically, as though to say, “How am I supposed to do that when you’re not going to spend the day with me?”
The taxi-man waited patiently. Stacey retreated down the walk-way, got into the car, stared at him through the window pane with puppy dog eyes and waved goodbye.
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Break-Up-Test-ebook/dp/B007QVI28I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333699424&sr=8-1