It's the penultimate blog of my 'This Family Life' blog tour *wipes tears from eyes*. Today's blog was supposed to be on another site, but they had some technical problems and so I'm hosting myself! The show must go on! If you missed the last blog you can see it here
I’ve written sixteen other blogs, each about a different aspect or theme from ‘This Family Life’ and so I thought for this one, I’d just write a bit about the book as a whole. I finished writing the prequel ‘This Thirtysomething Life’ in 2011 and I never imagined that the book would do as well as it did, get me a publisher and agent, and so when it came to picking book number three I knew I wanted to go back and visit with Harry and Emily again. I didn’t intend to write a sequel, but people seemed to genuinely love the book and I got so many lovely emails and messages telling me how much of the book they could relate to and how much they enjoyed it. I sort of felt like l owed it to them to write the sequel...and not mess it up!
It was actually quite easy to get subject matter for this book because so much of it was based on my own experiences. Surviving the first year of parenthood is a tricky thing and I’ve done it twice and so I have plenty of experience. What was difficult with this book for me was the pressure to make it better than the first book. We’ve all read sequels that quite literally stank up the room. We’ve all seen film sequels and wished they hadn’t made them. Sequels are hard. My main thing was that I wanted to keep the book the same. It had to be believable. The characters had to be the sort of people we all know, the scenes had to be something that we can all relate to, and the humour had to come across as natural. The first book worked because it was about real life and I wanted to keep the same formula and if anything I made it more real, more mundane, and I let the characters and situations speak for themselves.
I’m so proud of my ‘This Life’ series of books because they capture a moment that not only I went through, but I think that all parents go through. They’ve had so many great reviews and in Harry I think I’ve created a really funny, annoying, complicated and yet simple character that people can relate to. ‘This Family Life’ is definitely my favourite book of the series and who knows, maybe they’ll be a ‘This Fortysomething Life’ one of these days!
Below is an excerpt from the book and Harry (he’s a teacher) is off on a school trip for five days and he gets a bit of a surprise when he comes back!
Sunday 21 April 7.15 p.m.
Home. Packing for Dartmoor. Emily putting William to sleep. Dad out with CT. Still raining. I fear Devon might be a bit of a mudfest.
This is my last diary entry for a week. Tomorrow I’m off to Dartmoor on the school trip. Five days of camping, hiking, abseiling, canoeing, cooking, trying to get seventy kids to sleep, realising that half the boys are trying to get into the girls’ tents during the night, making sure they don’t, waking up too early, sharing a tent with Rory and Alan (who has a disgraceful bottom at the best of times), trying to stop the parents who volunteered from drinking and smoking around the kids, and missing Emily and William terribly - I’m sure it’s going to be fine.
I’m going to finish packing and then I’m going to make love to my wife like a man who’s about to leave for war and might never come back.
Emily has a spot of thrush. I had no sex like a man about to head off to war with the horn.
Saturday 27 April 9.15 a.m.
It’s possible that in my absence William has become a Nazi.
‘Look at this,’ said Emily excitedly. ‘I taught William to wave. William, wave at Daddy. Show Daddy how you can wave.’
Then William did what I can only describe as a Nazi salute.
‘What the fuck was that?’ I said.
‘Ear muffs,’ said Emily putting her hands over his ears.
‘That was his wave.’
‘That wasn’t a wave, Em, it was the Nazi salute.’
‘Oh, Harry, don’t be silly.’
‘William, wave at Mummy,’ I said. ‘Wave at Mummy.’
William took one look at Emily and then did the Nazi salute again.
‘Oh, now you mention it,’ said Emily. ‘It is a bit -’
‘Yeah, our son is a Nazi.’
Things that might happen during your first year of parenthood:
1. You’ll get covered in a ‘nuclear’ poo.
2. You’ll be convinced your son is talking with a Japanese accent.
3. You’ll worry that when your son waves, it looks like a Nazi salute.
Of course, this might just be Harry Spencer.
Taking up where This Thirtysomething Life left off, Harry Spencer and is wife Emily are back and trying to survive their first year of parenthood. It has its ups and downs (and a few bits in the middle), but along the way they begin to understand the true meaning of family and what it takes to be a parent.
Featuring a hilarious cast of extras including Harry’s father-in-law Derek, who has a unique problem with Scotch, Steve and Fiona, the parents from children’s entertainment hell, and a yoga instructor with a prominent camel-toe, This Family Life is the ultimate comedy for anyone who is a parent, has a parent, or is thinking about becoming one.
|GET 'THIS FAMILY LIFE' FOR JUST 77P!|
Tomorrow I have my last blog of the tour on author Katy Regan's website and she's also written a really great blog for me too. So that means tomorrow will be a double blog day!
Until next time.