Sunday, 9 August 2020

Book Spotlight & Author Guest Post: The Bench by Cromer Beach by R.J. Gould

I’ll start with a confession – my name is Richard and I’m a coward. An agent once suggested that I should use a female pseudonym to further attract my largely female readership. “No way!” I declared with indignance, “people are going to have to accept me for who I am.” That evening I considered Rebecca, Rosemary, Rachel and Rita before opting for the cowardly compromise of using R J instead of Richard. In retrospect, I should have resisted the change because being a man writing Romance is worth shouting about. I’ve often been told by female readers that it has provided them with some fascinating new insights into relationships.
Actually, I didn’t set out to be a romantic fiction author, I just got placed there because I write about relationships. Of course, plot is important, but my fiction is character-driven. A fellow member of my local writing group, Cambridge Writers, suggested that since I wrote “sort of” romance I should join the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I did so and was soon to discover that only one percent of members are male. I stuck with it, put my novel forward for their New Writers’ Scheme, got accepted, received a highly positive review, was a finalist for their Joan Hessayon Award (yes, the only male), and was taken on by an indie publisher at my first RNA annual conference.
My writing explores the tragi-comic journeys of characters in search of or attempting to hold on to relationships while carrying cartloads of baggage – ex husbands and wives, stroppy teenage children, uncompromising bosses. As in real life, what may seem either an insurmountable obstacle or a devastating event at the time, can end up over the passage of time to be regarded with amusement. Why on earth did I get so worked up about that? Why didn’t I end that relationship years ago?
The idea for The bench by Cromer beach came during a visit to this beautiful, largely unspoilt, town on the North Norfolk coast. There is a line of benches overlooking the sea along the clifftop, frequently occupied by elderly citizens. One man, peering down onto the beach, particularly caught my attention and a fictional version of him is featured in this novel. He is one of five main protagonists whose lives intertwine over time. Why the bench in the title? It’s the starting point of the novel. What he thinks he is witnessing as he sits there turns out to be far removed from the reality.
The bench by Cromer beach by R.J. Gould

Five people in a sleepy English coastal town. One year that changes everything. 
They seem to have it all. They’re in good health and are financially secure. They live in a pleasant and comfortable town. But as their lives intertwine, cracks emerge and restlessness grows.  
For Clive, is retirement the beginning of the end? Can fun-loving Saskia break free from her adulterous husband? Will Andy marry his childhood sweetheart? Is Jamie prepared to change his dishonest ways? Might Ellie’s happy marriage be shattered by temptation?
Heart-warming and heart-breaking collide in this novel about aspirations, expectations and the realities of everyday life.

Visit for a free copy of R J Gould’s award-winning short story The Kiosk. 

R J Gould is published by Lume Books and Headline Accent and is the author of five novels: A Street CafĂ© Named Desire, The Engagement Party, Jack and Jill Went Downhill, Mid-life follies and The bench by Cromer beach. He is a (rare male) member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Having been selected for the organisation’s New Writers Programme, his first novel was short-listed for the Joan Hessayon Award. ​​Ahead of writing full time, R J Gould led a national educational charity. He has published in a wide range of educational journals, national newspapers and magazines and is the co-author of a major work on educating able young people. He lives in Cambridge, England.

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