Wednesday, 22 May 2019

New Release Spotlight & Guest Post: Pink Ice Creams by Jo Woolaston

Pink Ice Creams by Jo Woolaston
Intent on fixing her broken marriage and the alcohol-fuelled catastrophe that is her life, Kay Harris arrives at her grim and grey holiday let, ready to lay to rest the tragedy that has governed her entire adulthood – the disappearance of her little brother, Adam.

But the road to recovery is pitted with the pot-holes of her own poor choices, and it isn’t long before Kay is forced to accept that maybe she doesn’t deserve the retribution she seeks. Will the intervention of strangers help her find the answers she needs to move on from her past, or will she always be stuck on the hard shoulder with no clear view ahead and a glove box full of empties?

Pink Ice Creams is a tale of loss, self-destruction, and clinging on to the scraps of the long-lost when everyone else has given up hope.

To swear or not to swear?

That’s the effing question.
It wasn’t until I needed to find a number of substantially sized extracts from my novel that would sit on somebody else’s blog that I suddenly felt a responsibility for what I had written. Pink Ice Creams is a bit sweary, and yes that might alienate some readers, but they’re just words –aren’t they? Nobody is actually going to be offended, surely. This is literature, this is reported speech, this is life. Yet, not knowing personally the person behind each blog and their own audience I wondered if my (or more accurately – if my characters’) choice of words would be censored? I hope not, and I am yet to find out if my i o u’s get replaced with * # …’s whilst in another’s care but I feel I need to say something about it. But what. Sorry? Nah, because I’m not. Suck it up? No, not that either. Just… don’t be such a Melonhead.
I love swear words. I love the staccato of the vehemently spat out sounds, I love the way the words pop out of the page and poke you in the eye, I love their comedy value and their history, and considering that I um and ah over nearly every word I drop onto the page I feel I know when it’s right, when it fits, and that no other word in that moment will do the f*ck#ng job! If you don’t feel the same way, then I guess I’m not the writer for you, but I sincerely hope that you don’t let a silly thing like a string of letters in a certain formation get in the way of a bloody good read. It’s not about the language, it’s about painting a picture. You wouldn’t replace scarlet with grey, or marker pen with crayon just to avoid upset, because then the essence of the picture and its message will be lost.
And I want you to feel uncomfortable at times, the subject matter demands it – a long missing almost forgotten child, a woman dragging herself through a pained life – these are not easy subjects and the language is chosen carefully to reflect the world in which Kay lives. She invites you to dislike her, to dismiss her, to find her company unpalatable – this is everything she expects of you and if you play along you fit perfectly into the mould of most who surround her and give her the excuse she needs to continue her wretched downfall. Your judgment becomes part of her destruction, her collapse. She has pulled you in and turned you into Melonhead – the little miss perfect she meets working at the caravan park who dismisses Kay as nothing more than a skank and a waste of space. If she endeavoured to get to know the drunken wreck in front of her instead, she could be instrumental in turning her fortunes around, setting her on the path to salvation. Wouldn’t that be kinder?
Use of (in)appropriate language stabilises a reader – you know where you are. This isn’t a cozy romance on the Norfolk Broads, this isn’t a light read under a sun-dappled canopy – Pink Ice Creams is spat out staccato, it is comedy and history, it is a character popping out of the page and poking you in the eye, challenging you to adjust your lens, your perspectives, and your boundaries, and that will be a far more interesting journey for a reader than being a judgemental Melonhead, I swear.

Jo Woolaston lives in Leicestershire, England with her extreme noise-making husband and two lovely sons. She tries to avoid housework and getting a ‘proper job’ by just writing stuff instead - silly verse, screenplays, shopping lists...
This sometimes works in her favour (she did well in her MA in TV Scriptwriting, gaining a Best Student award in Media and Journalism – and has had a few plays produced - that kind of thing) but mostly it just results in chronic insomnia and desperate tears of frustration. Pink Ice Creams is her first novel, she hopes you liked it.

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