Tuesday 29 January 2019

The Escape
Clare Harvey

I am absolutely delighted to be hosting a turn on the blog tour for Clare Harvey's new novel The Escape. Wow, what an absolute corker of a cover this is and I can't wait to get stuck in and read this one. Today, I have a guest post from the author for you and you can read it below on how she is going to channel her Jackie Collins. Enjoy...

With thanks to photographer Eric Boman, writer John Heilpern, and Vanity Fair for using.

“I am going to channel my inner Jackie Collins!” were my actual words, after hearing a publisher was interested in my debut novel. I imagined cultivating a leonine mane, glossy lips, perfect nails and a developing lifestyle that involved frequent jaunts to London to appear on chat shows to talk about my latest bestseller. I thought life would take on a Technicolor hue as I wafted into the glamorous life of a novelist. 
The glamorous life?
As if.
So, here’s the reality, four years and four books later: 
Today my alarm goes off at 6.30am and I finally push myself out of bed at 7am and scrabble to clean teeth, run a brush through my hair, slather on some make up, and slurp a cup of tea (My inner Jackie Collins asks why there is no stylist on hand to choose a suitable outfit, and no freshly-squeezed pomegranate juice to drink? But I don’t have time to answer her as I am rushing to get out of the front door in time.) 
My 13-year old twins always insist on walking to school at 7.30am, even though this means they are there ridiculously early – they like to have time to chat with their friends before the start of the day. I walk half way with them, partly because the younger twin has cerebral palsy and still needs support crossing roads, etc. and partly because the dog needs a walk in any case. On the way home the dog and I bump into my 16-year-old son, who leaves for school at a more reasonable time. Back home by 8.30am, I feed the dog, have a coffee and breakfast biscuit in front of Frasier on Channel 4 – easier to cope with than the news, in the mornings (Inner Jackie says shouldn’t I be having berry compote and a green tea? She also tells me that I did the school run with a smudge of mascara under my left eye. I choose to ignore her.). 
I am sort-of at my desk by 9am, although I can’t help checking social media feeds and procrastinating a bit. I run through a practice speech I’m giving at my local Toastmasters this evening. By 9.30am I have started to write this blog post to you, but the back of my mind is buzzing with scenes I need to write for my new work-in-progress, and some PR stuff I need to organise for the launch of The Escape. My desk faces the window. Outside, the frost is starting to melt off the camper van bonnet, and lorries chug past on the main road (where are the palm trees, the sunshine, and the swimming pool, my inner Jackie Collins asks? I tell her to shut up and put on another jumper). 
Today is the day the cleaner comes. Inner Jackie finally cracks a smile, but is less happy about having to tidy up the kids’ shizl before the cleaner arrives, and do the weekly supermarket shop whilst the cleaning’s going on (If you must vacate the premises for the domestic staff, surely you could spend the time having a facial or some Botox, she suggests? I remind her that the family has to eat, and someone has to buy the food and lug it home).
Inner Jackie admires my fingernails as I put away the shopping. She says that whilst I have failed her on so many levels, at least my acrylics give a good impression. I remind her that unless I get cracking with another book, then the cleaner and the shiny nails will have to go. Inner Jackie frowns and says she had no idea that being an author would be like this, and that I’d better hurry up with the shopping and get back to creating scenes for my work-in-progress. I tell her we have to walk the dog, pick up the twins, make supper, check up on Granddad, who lives in the annexe, shove some washing through the machine, and stack the
dishwasher first. Oh, and it’s my practice speech at Toastmasters tonight, I remind her, so I won’t be able to get back to my writing life until after 9pm.
Inner Jackie pouts. I say I’m sorry I couldn’t give her stylists, sunshine and chat shows, that ‘living the dream’ isn’t quite what she expected. We go through to the living room, which doubles up as my office. 
“You’re right, your author’s life isn’t at all glamorous,” Inner Jackie says, taking in the ordinary suburban home, with the cold winter sunshine slanting in through the bay window, sofa cushions that were nibbled by the dog as a puppy and still haven’t been fixed, the family photos and school trophies on the mantelpiece, the discarded PE bags and pencil cases spilling onto the floor. She looks round at the fireplace, the pot plants, my cluttered desk, and finally at my new book, just slotted into the bookshelf nearby. “But, after all, it’s not a bad life, is it?”
“No, it’s not a bad life at all,” I say, to my Inner Jackie. “In fact, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Clare’s fourth compelling wartime drama, The Escape (Simon & Schuster) is published on 24th January.
You can catch up with Clare, and find out more about her and her books here:  
Facebook: @clareharvey13
Twitter: @ClareHarveyauth
Instagram: @clareharvey13
Website: clareharvey.net

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