I have started putting the word out about completing more book reviews on the blog, and was able to connect with freelance author Prudence Reid.
Prudence Reid has written her first book called The Dress Shop. Prue was also kind enough to answer a few questions so we can learn some more about her and how she ended up a published author.
Book: The Dress Shop
Author: Prudence Reid
Published: Self-published 2012 (In Print & ebook)
The Dress Shop shares a snapshot of Veronica Ryan’s life as she attempts to get back on track following her marriage breakup. Veronica (Ronnie) is a wealthy & single woman, in her mid 30′s, with 2 boys, an ex-husband and a potential new man in the fancy suburb of Mossington Junction. Ronnie manages to get a employment one day a week at The Dress Shop (hence the book’s title) which sets the scene for the reader.
The Dress Shop lets us get to know Ronnie and her world via her mindful chatter, her interactions with her family, friends and customers who all drop by The Dress Shop on a rather regular basis. Ronnie is a little disillusioned with life in her ritzy home suburb and the book follows her adventures in dating, holidays, family crisis and friendships.
I enjoyed Prudence Reid’s first book. Although I personally found it a little slow to start, once I was delved deeper within the book I was laughing out loud on numerous occasions. There were a few tears as well but you will have to buy the book to find out the reasons why.
The Dress Shop was filled with many characters who you grow to love over the course of the book and they really give Ronnie the opportunity to show her true colours and share her opinions on the life she lives in. There were nods to the perils of single, modern day life such as the one-night stands, texting and meeting the “wrong type” of men who are fun but would never take any relationship seriously.
Prudence stated in her interview above that she was influenced by Carrie Bradshaw and Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole books. The format of the book is relatable to the diary like aspects of Adrian Mole, while Ronnie (and a couple of her friends) are portrayed similarly to the modern day icon of the single world-Carrie. Some of the relationships in the book develop over a series of text messages, which to begin with I felt was a little distracting but I could see how the character’s relationships were important to Ronnie as the book progressed.
The secret of this book’s success is the that the characters and social situations are so relatable to the reader. You feel like Ronnie is one of your recently divorced friends who is bumbling her way through her new life on her own. You are laughing, crying and shaking your head in frustration at the surprising circumstances in which Ronnie has to deal with during the book.
The book is available on Amazon, Kindle & Really Blue Books for $6.00 each at the time of this review being published.
Prue’s website is here so drop by to take a look, buy the book and leave a review to get her book read more widely.
5 mins with…Prudence Reid. Author of The Dress Shop
What turn of events inspired you to start (and finish) your book The Dress Shop?
I always felt I had a novel in me and often jotted down ideas in notebooks. It wasn’t until my mid thirties after I had children that I found the self-discipline and freedom to actually sit down and write the thing. Strangely the discipline arrived after a tumultous period in my life where my father died, my marriage broke up and my daughter died suddenly. I began the project more as a personal project and it took on a life of it’s own and I am still surprised I saw it to the end, knowing now what an enormous task and achievement it is to write a novel.
What character in the book is your favourite and why?
I think my favourite character is Sonja Sylvester. She is free and funny, extremely comfortable in her own skin, loves animals and does not need men to feel whole. I also love Mr Years and his quirky sense of humour and the relationship that runs via text through the novel.
Who are your writing mentors and role-models who you draw upon when writing and editing?
I don’t really have any writing mentors. There are so many wonderful writers and I read a wide and varied style. I think when I wrote The Dress Shop, in an informal way Sue Townsend, the author of Adrian Mole’s Diaries became kind of a mentor. I read and re-read her novels to get a strong feel for the genre because I was trying to create the same humour. I think I was also inspired by Carrie Bradshaw in the Sex in the City via the TV series.
What have been the challenges in relation to writing and promoting your book?
The biggest challenge for me was editing the novel. I employed a professional editor but there were still mistakes slipping through. I took forever but I never tired of trying to improve it. Promoting it has been much better than I ever imagined, word of mouth carried it far. I found social media very effective and useful and for a self-published debut novel it has enjoyed great success with even talk of a film.
Why have you chosen to use ebooks and print to sell to the public? You could have chosen just print as a platform for your book..
The ebook is growing rapidly and it means the market place for The Dress Shop is global in the blink of an eye. It was also picked up by a publisher for an ebook and not being very computer savvy I was happy for somebody else to publish it and make it accessible on the world wide web.
What book in your childhood has left an imprint on you into adulthood and why?
There are may books that have left an imprint on me but there are two that stand out: The Catcher in the Rye for the informal writing style and intense thought and frustration Holden has with society. I think Veronica is a female modern, middle-aged version of Holden. And Uncle Tom’s Cabin because a little old lady wrote about what was happening right in front of her, in her own words and changed the world.
Your best piece of advice to wanna-be writers in publishing a book?
My best advice to the first time wannabe authors is so simply start and keep going…Write because you love the process and the rest will happen but you have to keep plodding along. Writing puts me in a kind of a trance and gives me an inner joy which is why I finished. I didn’t write to be published. I wrote because I simply loved making another world on paper which became real in my head and gave me so much pleasure. Don’t be scared to self-publish, the world is a different place, but spend the money on the best editor you can find.
Prudence has kindly offered a paper back version of her book “The Dress Shop” as a giveaway for MummyManifesto readers.
Valued at: Paperback version $23.00
All you have to do is answer in the comment section (with your email address) below:
What would you name the story of your life and why?
Terms & Conditions
1. This giveaway is a game of skill and the winner will be chosen by MummyManifesto based on the most interesting comment.
2. MummyManifesto is hosting THE DRESS SHOP giveaway for 1 week only.
3. Open to all Australian residents
Monday 9th September 2013 – 6am Perth time to Sunday 15th September 2013 6pm Perth time.
Note: Residents of the Eastern States of Australia there is a 2 hour time difference between Perth and Sydney.
4. The winner will be notified via email on Monday 16th September and be given 3 days to respond. If no response, a new winner will be drawn.
5. The prize is a paperback version of THE DRESS SHOP book valued at $22.99 AUS
6. This giveaway is open to Australian residents only.
Readers please note: I paid for the ebook version (Kindle) myself in full and Prudence offered the give-away prize free of charge to MummyManifesto.