Following the release of her debut novel, Joy Pearson shares the top 10 things that her readers should know about her:
As an imaginative observant child, my confidence to write was eroded by my adoptive mother, who threw my poems and short stories into the fire, informing me I was useless and so were they. From that time onwards, I wrote in secret, becoming a vigilant observer of atmospheres and people.
I have had two life-threatening incidents in my life, the second of which made me thankful to still be alive, so I resolved to make every day count after that.
The incident was in Jerusalem, where a friend and I went to an Israeli-run camp with 1200 Palestinian people living in poor conditions. We were with the social worker, who had been shot in the leg on four occasions by the soldiers in the watchtowers and imprisoned. After half an hour drinking lemonade with him and his family, we heard gunfire, having to hide behind sofas. The problem began upon leaving, seen from the watchtower, our hire car had Palestinian number plates. A prime target, our car was hit twice, thankfully not the tyres, so with my friend zig zagging out of the open gates and myself ducking into the passenger seat, we made our escape.
Have I made every day count since then? Mostly, but our complex lives attack us don’t they? Money worries, ill health, divorce, tragedies, relationships, deaths, work.
However, having learnt the Internet, stressful without someone on hand to advise on its vagaries, I subsequently turned to using Microsoft Word. I began to write, delete, attempt to copy and paste, eventually successfully, so wrote my autobiography from aged three to 2008. Then I began to write my novel, Untangling the Webs.
I had a vague idea of who my characters might be in the book, but no idea who they might morph into. I wanted to convey parallels in people’s lives, despite different backgrounds and ages. Knowing how much the support of a close friend can bring to one’s life and vice versa, that was the theme, plus their male relationships, both good and awful reported.
This seems a cliché, but ideas and words streamed out of me. I never had writer’s block. My long-married soulmate, Pamela, always having faith in me, had encouraged for years, urging me not to hide my talents, reminding me of so many friends I had lost to death and that I was still here – in her words ‘digitus extractus’.
I first recorded my novel on tapes, bringing characters to life. It was easier to spot errors too.
I love dry wit and quirky behaviour and there are several examples of this in my novel.
I am a direct descendant of Sir Thomas More, Robin Hood and Maid Marian.
I was adopted as a baby in London, grew up in Worcestershire and I’m now living in Cheshire.
From the beginning of my book, I made detailed notes of every character – their birthdays, children, cars, homes, contents, décor, interests and backgrounds.
Although I had a diffident, unloving adoptive mother, my sensitive, loving nature was within me. I know that you CAN give what you haven’t received. This is expressed in my debut novel.
Untangling the Webs follows the parallel lives of four women and their men – Alison (a single interior designer), Julia (a married beautician), Trudie (a widowed stress counsellor) and Phoebe (a wealthy widow). Aided by a loyal confidante, each woman battles deceit, toxic behaviour, emotional shocks, stalkers and infidelity. It’s available to buy from Amazon, The Book Guild and all good bookshops.