Hello and welcome to my stop on this fabulously festive Blog Tour that celebrates all things Urbane!! It is my pleasure to be hosting this stop dedicated to the wonderful Beverley Harvey, and her debut novel Seeking Eden. She has kindly answered some questions for us today, and I’m also including my review so you can find out a little bit more! And, even more importantly, Matthew at Urbane has kindly allowed me to share a GIVEAWAY so that 3 of you lucky people can win your own paperback copy of Seeking Eden!! The perfect christmas gift to yourself!!
Time to get on with the Q & A!! Take it away Beverley!!
Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?
A) I’ve spent decades working in corporate communications but now I’m concentrating on writing fiction. Seeking Eden is my debut novel and was published by Urbane in July 2017.
Seeking Eden is set in home-counties suburbia and the central themes are relationship dramas in middle age and the lure of materialism. The story opens when forty-something Kate and Neil leave London for a new life in prosperous Eden Hill, Kent. But it isn’t long before Kate becomes lonely and homesick, making her vulnerable when Ben, an old boyfriend and former pop star, comes sniffing around, hoping to rekindle both his relationship with Kate and his faded music career.
Kate befriends Lisa; glamour girl, former WAG, and another newcomer to Eden Hill. Newly divorced Lisa is excited by the idea of a fresh start – until her footballer ex-husband is found dead from a drinking accident and she is vilified in the tabloids.
Enter Martin, a straight-laced shop owner from a neighbouring town. Trapped in a dutiful marriage and in the throes of a midlife crisis, Martin becomes obsessed with Lisa and her wealthier friends in Eden Hill.
The book is about the fallout of living in a community where everyone wants what they don’t have.
Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?
A) The idea for Seeking Eden was inspired by my own experience of leaving an organic, established London ‘village’ for a new town similar to Eden Hill. It can be a very isolating experience for newcomers. In terms of ‘getting it all down’, apart from four terms on a creative writing course, I had no experience, so I wrote from the heart and took a year to complete a first draft. I then spent another six months editing and polishing Seeking Eden before I began contacting agents. I got a handful of rejections, but most didn’t even come back to me. I considered self-publishing but didn’t feel confident to go it alone. I found Urbane through Twitter and thought ‘Wow! A third way exists!’ And it made total sense, especially when I met Matthew Smith and he was so approachable and constructive. It was desperately exciting to think that my story was to become a living breathing BOOK!
Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?
A) This year has been a real mixed. Highlights have included a couple of Urbane titles; The Gift Maker by Mark Mayes, and No Way Back by Kelly Florentia. I’ve also enjoyed some great thrillers; Girl on the Train by Paula
Hawkins, Gone Girl and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn and The Girlfriend by Michelle Francis. When I was younger I devoured anything and everything by certain authors, particularly Anita Brookner, Fay Weldon and Joanna Trollope – that’s not really the case now as my tastes have become broader and more eclectic. Last year, Life After Life by Kate Atkinson really stayed with me; I found it very unsettling.
Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?
A) Ha! I went from one extreme to the other. As a child I loved Enid Blyton – especially the Mallory Towers and St Claire’s yarns. In my teens, I covertly read bonk-busters by Jaqueline Susanne and Jackie Collins; these women contributed hugely to my sex education.
Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?
A) Seeing Seeking Eden as a fat glossy paperback for the first time was very satisfying. And the reviews; every time I get five-stars, I think; wow! Somebody has been moved and entertained and it amazes me.
Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?
A) My partner Mark has been unshakeable in his support. He really believes that I have talent and that the time is NOW to get on with it! I had a wonderful creative writing tutor for two years in Tonbridge, Beth McNeilly; Beth went back to the States before Seeking Eden was published, but I have so much to thank her for. Matthew Smith at Urbane has been incredibly supportive and patient as I feel my way through becoming an author.
*Thank you for taking part in the Q&A on my blog, I wish you every success with your writing career
’50 is the new 30 – haven’t you heard?’
Or so says Ben Wilde’s record producer on the eve of his comeback. If only Ben could win back ex-girlfriend, Kate, he’d be a happy man.
But married Kate has moved on, and moved out – to Eden Hill, a quiet housing estate in the suburbs. Lonely and homesick for London, can Kate resist ego-maniac Ben’s advances and save her own flagging marriage?
Streets away, Kate’s new friend Lisa, a Chihuahua toting ex-WAG, is primed for a fresh start – until her footballer ex-husband is found dead and she is vilified in the gutter press.
But Kate, Lisa and Ben aren’t the only ones having a midlife crisis; local shop owner Martin dreams of escaping his dutiful marriage, and develops an unhealthy obsession with Lisa and her friends in Eden Hill.
Alongside a colourful cast of friends and family, Kate, Lisa, Ben and Martin are living proof that older does not always mean wiser because in Eden Hill, there’s temptation around every corner
If you are looking for a book that is a delicious slice of suburbia life, then look no further! This debut novel from Beverley Harvey had me hooked from page one and I just loved the way she captures a wide range of people and their experiences of life in the neighbourhood of Eden Hill.
The story is mainly centred around Kate and Neil who are burgled in London, thus prompting a move out of town into the upmarket community of Eden Hills. Neil works in London for most of the week, so Kate is left to her own devices – is she ready for suburbia?! From reading about her exploits it seems not! She gets a dog – Ludo – which helps her get out and about and talking to a number of neighbours, not least Lisa who used to be married to a footballer and is the glamorous side of the community and becomes her closest friend.
There are so many fascinating characters who we get to see life from their point of view – Martin, who owns the local carpet shop, and the issues he faces with his depressive wife Jan, Ben who is Kates’ ex and has now decided he wants her back, and Lisa and her complicated past that comes back to haunt her, and it just reads like a soap opera as you dip in and out of each story and how their paths cross.
It was also nice to read about characters who aren’t in their 20’s and 30’s, and how being slightly older doesn’t mean that they’ve figured life out and they have just as many insecurities as those who are younger. There’s nice dashes of humour too along the way and it just made for a really enjoyable read and I’m just hoping we get to revisit some of the characters in other books in the future!!
As I mentioned earlier, the publisher has allowed me to giveaway 3 paperback copies of this fabulous book to 3 lucky winners!! And all you have to do is comment on this blog post by 9pm on Sunday the 17th December 2017 and I will then pick 3 winners at random!!
Winners can be UK or INTERNATIONAL!!! We want to share the Seeking Eden love far and wide!! So comment below and I could be in touch with you very soon! GOOD LUCK ALL!!