Speaking of Love
is a novel that asks why we fail to find the courage to say the things that matter the most and, specifically, what happens when people who love each other don’t say so.
The novel is about how parents and children, lovers and friends fail to communicate and how, sometimes, mental disintegration prohibits communication altogether. Iris experiences pain, loneliness and fear. Her daughter, Vivie, longs for love but thinks herself unlovable. And Matthew, Vivie’s would-be lover, fails to say how he feels.
But before you decide SPEAKING of LOVE is too gloomy … it’s also a novel about the restoration of hope and trust; a novel that believes stories make sense of our complicated internal worlds and so heal us; a novel about the healing power of speaking of love.
When a single event brings all the characters together there’s an opportunity for years of mistrust, hopelessness and loneliness to give way to reconciliation; for each person to find the courage to say what’s in their hearts.
‘The real risk, it seems to me, lies in not talking about the things that matter the most. That’s what made Iris ill. What we don’t say doesn’t go away.’
SPEAKING of LOVE is set in London, with scenes set in The Troubadour in the 1960s. It’s also set in East Anglia and at a storytelling festival that took place in the magical grounds and gardens of St Donat’s Castle in south-west Wales.
I began to write SPEAKING of LOVE after witnessing a breakdown that terrified me. A person I thought I knew became quite another person and my trust in the predictability and reliability of humans deserted me. I was afraid I would go mad myself, but something in my subconscious, where all stories begin, prompted me to write about my fear and, as I wrote, I discovered what my protagonist’s daughter discovers in the novel which, naturally, I’ll leave you to discover. Although I will say this: I’m convinced that stories help us rediscover, untangle and reweave the complicated threads of our lives. Reading stories and listening to stories helps us find our own stories.
Before SPEAKING of LOVE found a publisher I sent it to TLC (and I’d recommend any first-time novelist to do the same: they provide wonderfully objective and constructive advice). Subsequently TLC asked some of the writers they’d helped towards publication to write about the experience of working with TLC. If you’d like to read about my TLC experience you can, here.
SPEAKING of LOVE is available from amazon. Sadly, the publishers of the hardback and the paperback, Beautiful Books, have gone out of business.