Friday, 30 November 2018

Spotlight & Extract: Mavis and Dot by Angela Petch

Mavis and Dot by Angela Petch

A warm slice of life, funny, feel-good, yet poignant. Introducing two eccentric ladies who form an unlikely friendship.Meet Mavis and Dot - two colourful, retired ladies who live in Worthington-on-Sea, where there are charity shops galore. Apart from bargain hunting, they manage to tangle themselves in escapades involving illegal immigrants, night clubs, nude modelling, errant toupees and more. And then there’s Mal, the lovable dog who nobody else wants. A gently humorous, often side-splitting, heart-warming snapshot of two memorable characters with past secrets and passions. Escape for a couple of hours into this snapshot of a faded, British seaside town. You'll laugh and cry but probably laugh more."This book is quirky and individual, and has great pathos...[it] will resonate with a lot of readers." Gill Kaye - Editor of Ingenu(e). Written with a light touch in memory of a dear friend who passed away from ovarian cancer, Angela Petch’s seaside tale is a departure from her successful Tuscan novels.
All profits from the sale of the books will go towards research into the cure for cancer.

Thank you for asking me on to your blog. I love reading too. If I don’t have a book on the go, I feel undressed; something important is missing from my life. I’ve been known to read backs of packaging in the absence of nothing to read.
Mavis, one of the two main characters in my new book, reads a lot. I had fun inventing the titles of her favourite, romantic genre. She reads in the bath or in bed, if she can keep her eyes open. The Vampire’s Missing Brides, The Gondolier’s Secret Vices and The Secrets of the Missing Courtesans are just some of the pocket books she devours.
ILLUSTRATION FROM BOOK – Mavis reading in the baath.
Mavis reads to escape and for companionship. Until she meets her new friend, Dot, also newly retired to Worthington-on-Sea, she’s felt lonely. She compiles a list of things to try and, when we meet her, she has dipped into ballroom dancing and is thinking of trying belly dancing next.
Dot has a pricklier nature than easy-going Mavis and she often thinks back to her childhood spent in East Africa. She owns coffee-table books of animals to pore over, and dreams of happier times in the past. Even when the pair travel on a coach tour to Tuscany, in Chapter Eleven, Dot’s mind is on Africa.
“…the pair sat in silence for a few minutes. Mavis drank in the spectacle of Italy in the piazza while Dot spooned the very last wisp of foam from the bottom of her cappuccino.
Dot didn’t feel at home in Italy. The trouble was her constant comparison with childhood memories of Tanganyika. Italy seemed tame, the fashions subdued, colours muted. She missed the bright colours of kitenges, the produce and baskets piled untidily in the market, the bleating of goats, and transistor radios belting out tinny tunes. Although it was generally held that Italians were noisy and liked confusion, Africa was far noisier and, in her memories, people smiled more. In truth, she wasn’t quite over her operation and had begun to think she’d been hasty in agreeing to come on this holiday. She needed to lie down.”

I read for entertainment but also to take myself to different places. Sometimes I write to gain perspective. “Mavis and Dot” was written after I lost my best friend to cancer. We had fun times together, especially when we hunted in charity shops for treasures. We often went to seaside towns to discover new haunts and we called each other Mavis and Dot as we trudged along with full shopping bags (most of the items ended up being donated back to charity shops in the end. Call it recycling). I miss Olga but, instead of crying, I want to remember the happy, smiley times we spent together. And if I can raise a few pounds for research into cancer through sales of “Mavis and Dot”, then that will be grand.
I hope readers will laugh a little and cry a little when they read my novella.

A prize-winning author, Angela Petch lives half the year in West Sussex and the summer months in a remote valley in the Tuscan Apennines. She recently signed a two-book deal with Bookouture for her Tuscan novels and “Mavis and Dot” is a temporary departure from her usual genre. She has travelled all her life: born in Germany, she spent six years as a child living in Rome, worked in Amsterdam after finishing her degree in Italian, moved to Italy for her job, then to Tanzania for three years. Her head is full of stories and she always carries a pen and
In May 2017, Angela Petch won PRIMA’S monthly short story competition and recently had a dozen stories published by The People’s Friend magazine.
“Mavis and Dot” was written in memory of a dear friend who lost her battle with ovarian cancer. All profits from sales of the book will go towards research into a cure for cancer.

Twitter: @Angela_Petch

“Tuscan Roots” (to be reissued by Bookouture in 2019)