Wednesday 24 January 2018

Stand By Me
S D Robertson

I'm delighted to be hosting the Blog Tour for S.D. Robertson's latest book, Stand by Me. I really can't wait to read this one as I have read (and loved) his previous two novels! My good friend Julie Williams has already devoured it and her review is below. I am also lucky enough to have a Q&A from the author himself!

Author Q&As
Hi. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing. 

Firstly, please could you tell readers a little about yourself?
Hello, I’m Stuart Robertson; I write under the name S.D. Robertson. I live with my wife and daughter in a village north of Manchester. My latest novel, which has just been released by Avon HarperCollins, is called Stand By Me.   

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I first remember wanting to be a writer when I was at primary school. I was one of the more advanced readers in my class and always had my nose in some book or another, so it seemed like an obvious choice. The idea of being paid to make up stories sounded amazing back then. It still does really.

What did you do as a job before becoming a writer?
I was the editor of a local newspaper, having previously been a reporter. So I’ve worked with words for some time now. Prior to that I had several very different jobs, including washing dishes in a hotel kitchen, measuring the signal of a new mobile phone network, door-to-door sales, and working as a holiday rep on a campsite. 

How do you carry out the research for your novels?
Luckily, I haven’t needed to do a huge amount of research for any of my novels so far. I tend to stick to subjects and situations I already know a little about. Most of what I have needed to research has come from the Internet or by talking to people I know.

Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?
I love writing dialogue. That probably comes easiest to me. It could be because I watch lots of films and TV shows, or maybe it’s down to my newspaper days, when I often had to quote what people had said to me. 
The thing I usually find hardest is settling on an idea at the start of the process. I’m forever noting down potential concepts for future novels, but it can be tricky to choose which one to take forward. In the end, I often combine several ideas into one. 

What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?
I mainly write Monday to Friday between 9am and 3pm, while my daughter is at school. Sometimes this extends to later in the day or, at busy times, the weekend. I write nearly everything at home, usually in the study, kitchen or
lounge. Very occasionally I’ll venture out to a local library or cafe, but that only tends to happen if I’m struggling for inspiration and need a change of scenery.

When you're not writing, what do you like to read?
Anything and everything, from literary fiction to sci-fi, classics, crime, YA, psychological thrillers  . . . whatever I can get my hands on really. I try to be as varied as possible in what I read. 
How important do you think social media is to authors in today's society?
I think it’s a great way of reaching out to your readers and vice versa. It’s hugely important nowadays, although it can be quite time-consuming. As an author working from home, it’s all too easy to procrastinate rather than actually writing; social media can be dangerous in that regard.

Could you tell the readers a bit about your latest book?
Stand By Me is about the powerful and changing nature of a long friendship. My two central characters, Elliot and Lisa, meet as 11-year-olds in the early 1990s and remain great pals as they traverse secondary school and grow into adults together. Then life pulls them apart – until one day, totally out of the blue, Elliot comes back into Lisa’s life just when she needs him most. As the story flits between past and present, we gradually learn the remarkable truth about Elliot’s return and what it means for both of their futures.

Which of your characters would you most like to be and why?
I don’t think I’d really want to be any of the main characters in Stand By Me. At some point they all have a pretty tough time of things, one way or another. Hmm. Maybe I need to treat my fictional friends a bit better in future. Mind you, where would be the fun in that?

Is there anything else you would have liked to be asked?
That’s an interesting one. Perhaps you could have asked me what I most enjoy about being a published author. The answer is simple: it’s hearing that people have enjoyed what I’ve written. Being contacted directly or reading a good review from a reader who’s really appreciated one of my books is one of the best feelings in the world.  

Thank you so much for your time in answering my questions.
No problem at all. Thanks for having me on your blog. :-)

Guest Review
Julie Williams

Stand By Me is an emotional story of a powerful friendship and turbulent family relationships.

Lisa a confident child who first meets Elliot when he is in a vulnerable situation in nothing but his underwear hiding in a bush! New to the area and keen to make friends Lisa not only helps him out of this predicament but becomes his protector and forms a lifelong friendship and bond that Elliot is eternally grateful for. Lisa being the much stronger character out of the two defends him and often comes to his rescue. As they grow into teenagers their relationship is tested with the arrival of boyfriends and girlfriends but as these come and go they still remain good pals.

Intertwined are chapters with their lives as adults with Elliot returning to Aldham after emigrating to Australia years ago on a mysterious business trip. Lisa is over the moon as his visit comes at a time when her family is fractured and it seems difficult to imagine a remedy.  Mike her husband, has taken to drinking excessively since resigning from his Deputy Head post due to a false accusation from a cocky troublesome pupil. This is putting a strain on their relationship as being the only bread winner now Lisa is also left feeling unsupported. Her two children Chloe and Ben are also experiencing difficult times and the kindness and help from Elliot is most welcome. 

This is the third novel from S D Robertson and I have read them all, with this latest being a cracker of a read. There are lots of sensitive subjects that have been dealt with superbly and with credibility. A joy to read and a most deserving 5 star rating.

To order a copy of Stand by Me from Amazon click here

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