Well she is the main protagonist in Just Two Weeks. She is the woman with the driving force behind the novel. And this is a little bit about her.
At 36 Jo has had an interesting life with many ups and downs. Her mother is an ex- hippie who dragged Jolene round Asia when she was a child. They slept in hostels and cheap guest houses while Jo’s mother searched for her perfect man. Unfortunately Jo only has a vague memory of her father who died of a heroin overdose when she was three. Jolene didn’t get off to a good start.
When she ran away from home at 17, she sank to the bottom of the pile. She was homeless for a couple of years, squatting in a disused hospital and got in with a ‘bad crowd’. But after three years of this she decided, not wanting to end up like her mother, she was sick of this life and got into university to study for a degree in Social Anthropology. She worked hard and got a first. But Jo has always tended to play to hard too. Until she met Mark she drank and took cocaine when she could . And slept around. Like her mother she was looking for the perfect man. Like her mother she was never given the chance to get to know her father. In many ways, Jo is unsure of herself. She has two main girl friends, Lisa and Amy and she is fiercely loyal to them all. She confides in them though never confides in her mother who she feels never listens. Throughout her life she is haunted by the loss of her father. And Raquel, the enemy in Just Two Weeks preys on this emotion.
Jo has long dark hair which she often puts up. She loves jewellery and doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth. As a rule she lives in jeans and dresses as casually as the situation will allow. She doesn’t like her nose which she thinks is too big and used to dye her hair bright pink. But these days she doesn’t colour it at all. Lucky for her she doesn’t have one grey streak.
I am very fond of Jo. Even though we are very different, I have a lot of time for her. She has no mean qualities at all. Perhaps the only downside to our friendship is her unreliability, her forgetfulness. Once she had her phone switched off for such a long time I was really worried about her. Turned out she’d misplaced it when it slid onto the floor under the passenger seat in her car. And she has a tendency to make stupid decisions which often backfire. But she’s really a lovely person.
Jo has a soft side to her character. Probably because of her past she is sympathetic to people down on their luck. She’s an easy target for hawkers and enjoyed her work as a Housing Officer in the local authority where she worked with people who were at risk of becoming homeless. She is pretty, laughs a lot and falls in love easily, quite often with the wrong man, but really there is only one man for her. You will have to read Just Two Weeks to find out who this is! And it isn’t Mark.
I read this with baited breath. I honestly hope Anthony’s relapse continues for a long long time
A year ago I had a relapse of my cancer.
Except I didn’t.
For a week or so I knew I was ill again. I saw it in the doctors’ eyes and felt it in the tremble of their hands as they prodded my internal organs, meeting my own eyes with a look that was part nod, part sadness.
No one outside of my immediate family knew.
For a week we hunkered down, ate soup and spoke to nobody. Normal things continued: teaching, working, shopping, writing, even blogging.
There is no point, we said to each other, not until we know.
Except we did know. We absolutely knew.
It began so similarly to my original diagnosis, with pain. Searing, crawling into work bent double and being sent home, no, to the doctors immediately, Anthony! That kind of pain.
Pain. Crying for a day under the duvet pain.
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This is the new cover for my psychological suspense ‘Just Two Weeks’. I think it’s a Wow! My book launch is on 16th October and the release date is 11th November.
After I’d spent two years (well actually it was more than that) sweating, tearing my hair out, despairing, I decided that was it. No more. I’d spend the time doing other things. Have some fun! But no, A plan began to form in my brain. Another idea. The bug has returned. Or maybe it never went. Perhaps it was just fooling me and lying dormant. So the hard work starts again….
I’ve just had my novel ‘Just Two Weeks’ copy edited. ‘Oh thanks,’ I said as I handed over the full manuscript. ‘But there won’t be many errors. I must have read it 100 times and I know it so well I probably could recite it all by heart.’ (joke). But no, the copy editor found sentences which would benefit from a changed word. She found missing dialogue marks and commas. There were double spaces which she dutifully deleted. Now there is not one mistake. I reckon copy editors are the unsung heroes of all writing. Where would we be without them?
It seems that my publishers have been busy selling foriegn rights for my novel, The Eloquence of Desire. Good work for an independant publshers without the clout of the established biggies, never mind the recent giants.
My book is with agents that represent China, Tawain and Korea, Malayasia, France. And a publisher in Hungary has shown interest. It’s already been translated into Turkish and sold there with a different title.
I take my hat off to them. They know how to do business!
One chapter left to edit, then it’s a matter of printing off all the pages and reading through. What will I do in my spare time then? It’s all a bit scary. One and a half years of slog, 330 pages of slog.
It is the first day of Jo’s holiday in sun-drenched Sri Lanka. Raquel befriends Jo, (calling herself Rach). She takes her to a beautiful beach far from the hotel where she steals Jo’s passport and money then checks out of the hotel before Jo can get back. Everyone at the hotel, including Senaka, a hotel worker who lost his family in the tsunami, seems to like Rach who is known to them as Raquel. No-one believes she’s the thief. Jo is spooked by this and by sightings of Rach as well as anonymous phone calls. She feels she can’t trust anyone at the hotel. Added to this, Mark, who she’s lived with for two years, is difficult to get hold of. He is a nurse and had to cancel his holiday because there was a ‘flu outbreak and staff shortages but Jocan’t understand why he isn’t more sympathetic about her present dilemma. Before she leaves Sri Lanka Senaka tells Jo that Raquel not only knows Jo but has told him she will see her in the UK. These words haunt her over the following two weeksOnce back home, Jo begins to suspect Markknows Raquel. Little does she know that the real reason he cancelled his holiday was because he’d had a fling with her and knew she’d be in Sri Lanka too. Mark doesn’t know that Raquel was scheming to harm Jo and that she suggested Sri Lanka and the hotel to Jo’s mother whom she met by chance when Mark and Jo had been arguing where to take a holiday. Jo is followed by the same black car several times and sees Raquel outside the house. Mark uses the terminal illness of his father as a reason for not engaging in any discussion about Raquel and implies that Jo is imagining it all. No one believes her. Not even her ‘hippie’ motherwith whom Jospent her childhood travelling round Asia. Jo begins to wonder if Raquel is an ex-client with a grudge from when she used to work as a Housing Officer. She contacts Rob an ex-colleague, an IT man who is still employed there and with whom she had a relationship. Rob and Jo still love each other, though she doesn’t admit this to herself. She is haunted by her past with him, when she drank and experimented with drugs at a party causing a fall from a window, which permanently injured her.Rob finds Raquel’s old case notes and Jo goes to his flat to collect them, but discovers he only has one page of Raquel’s file. It is apparent that the woman has many aliases and was suspected of arson. Also Jomade an error of judgement on her case when she was the manager. Rob agrees to find the rest of the file but when they meet again it’s the wrong case notes. Jo is angry with Rob over this and won’t speak to himwhen he tries to phone her.Jo finds further evidence that Mark knows Raquel but he always manages to dodge her questions. When his father dies she feels she cannot continue to ask him though she knows he’s not telling the truth. Jovisits the shop beneath which Raquel used to live and discovers that Raquelsells ethnic jewellery at the local market. She finds the stall but not Raquel.A few days later, Jo receives a phone message from the hospital receptionist where Mark works, telling her she must get home immediately. When she gets there, Raquel is in the bedroom threatening to burn the house down. Jo manages to get out. A car chase ensues and Raquel crashes into a lorry. Meanwhile Rob has been trying to warn Joabout Raquel. He has the file and has discovered she is very dangerous. Although this information comes too late, Jo realises her true feelings for Rob and they arrange to meet.Raquel is in Critical Care with serious burns. In the hospital canteen, Mark tells Jo the truth about Raquel. He leaves Joalone in the canteen for a while and Jo realises she cannot trust him again and that their relationship is over. She knows Rob is the man for her.When Mark returns he tells her that Raquel has died. Jo feels strangely reconciled with her as she realises that indirectly she’d helped her decide which direction her life should take.
No holiday for me. I’ve been chained to my pc all day and writing, writing writing. Not for me queues of traffic on the M25. Not for me walking along Brighton sea front in the rain, nor shopping in packed to the gills streets. Oh no, for me it’s a writing day and I’ll party some other time when the block sets in.