The Inspiration Behind Close To Me by Amanda Reynolds – guest post

Today I’m pleased to welcome Amanda Reynolds to the blog. Amanda’s debut novel, Close to You was published by Wildfire in ebook 31 March 2017 and is published in paperback on. 27 July 2017.

Here Amanda writes about the inspiration behind her novel.

When I began writing Close To Me, or at least thinking about the idea for the book, my family situation was dramatically changing. My daughter moved out to live with her boyfriend and my son left home for university, on the same day! The months that followed were a period of huge adjustment. I’ve always worked, other than when my children were very young, but my jobs were either part-time or working from home. My husband still had his routine through the week, but mine was suddenly gone. No more school runs, no more half-terms to aim for, just an empty nest. I knew I wanted to write about that period of family life, often overlooked. 

Around the same time, someone we knew fell down the stairs at their home, suffering memory loss. They recovered quickly, thankfully, but hearing about this, the confusion and shock it induced, made me wonder…how would a mother cope if she lost the last year of her memory, the year in which her family had fallen apart? What if, even worse, instead of those around her helping her to recover those memories, they chose to reinvent the past, or cover it up. Why might they do that; to protect themselves, or her? What if she wasn’t the perfect wife and mother she thought she was? 

Jo’s story is about loss; of identity, youth, purpose, as well as memory. As you grow older it can feel like you’re becoming invisible. Jo certainly wasn’t going to stand for that! As Jo uncovers her past there are more than a few surprises, gains as well as losses, and she must once again find a way to direct her passions into a new purpose, one that fulfils her just as much as her children did, but in a very different way.

Writing a book is as much a journey of discovery for the author as the reader. Terry Pratchett famously said, ‘The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.’ So, I told myself Jo and Rob’s story, and I found that they had so much more to say than I’d anticipated. When the characters become real to me and I know what they would do, I just need to follow them there. That’s the joy of writing for me. 

About the book:

“When Jo Harding falls down the stairs at home, she wakes up in hospital with partial amnesia – she’s lost a whole year of memories.

A lot can happen in a year. Was Jo having an affair? Lying to her family? Starting a new life?

She can’t remember what she did – or what happened the night she fell.

But she’s beginning to realise she might not be as good a wife and mother as she thought.”

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