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Extract from ‘Glass Houses’ by Jackie Buxton

Following on from Jackie Buxton’s guest post, I now have an extract from ‘Glass Houses’.

 

Book Blurb

‘When she sent that text, all our lives changed for ever…’

51 year old Tori Williams’ life implodes when she sends a text while driving on the M62 motorway and allegedly causes the horrific crash in which three people die. Public and press are baying for her blood, but Tori is no wallflower and refuses to buckle under their pressure or be a pariah in society. Instead, she sets about saving the nation. But can she save Etta, the woman who saved her life? Or will Etta’s secret be her downfall?

This incredibly topical and contemporary morality tale appeals across generations and will find favour with fans of authors such as Liane Moriarty, Marian Keyes and Kathryn Croft.

 

Extract

Extract from ‘Glass Houses’

Guest Post by Jackie Buxton

Well, my Urbane Blog Event is almost over but I still have a few more posts.  Jackie Buxton took part in my event last year and I am thrilled to have her back on my blog again.  Jackie has written a guest post this time.

 

Glass Houses: the Unexpected Campaign

In the first chapter of Glass Houses, Tori Williams is slumped over the steering wheel after her Jeep has collided with the car in front. We quickly learn that moments before Tori crashed, she had sent a text to her husband reminding him to put the chicken in the oven.

Recently, I’ve taken to putting my phone in my bag on the back seat so that it’s totally out of reach when I’m driving. This is not because I consider myself some sort of model driver, nor is it because I’m some evangelical, holier-than-thou do-gooder, it’s because of the research I did for this novel.

Through the course of writing Glass Houses (where Tori Williams quickly becomes Public Enemy Number One, blamed for all the deaths in the collision, and has to fight to change public perception of her) I became consumed with the world of road traffic accidents. I spoke to police, other members of the emergency services, people who’d emerged from a coma and the loved ones of those who hadn’t. I read about victims of road traffic accidents and the stories of those behind the crash, and the more I read, the more I became convinced that there could never be a good reason to use a phone in the car. Your life, or someone else’s life, it just isn’t worth it, is it?

Many people have either said or posted in reviews, that because of reading Glass Houses, they would never now pick up their phone when driving, whether to speak or to text. I hadn’t expected this when I wrote the first words of Glass Houses, nor when I’d finished the first draft, not even when I had the very first copies in my hands. But I am so happy to hear this now.

My eldest child passed her driving test last summer and my youngest is about to start learning. It occurred to me that if we could start this young generation of drivers off on the right foot, instil from the start that there is no place for the phone at the wheel, then they could carry this practice forward, set the right example, put other generations to shame, and change a nation’s attitudes to phones in cars for ever.

I’m not saying this will be easy. I hear it all on radio phone-ins: Impossible! Nobody will manage it! We need our phones for work, for emergencies, to call our loved ones!

But I think it is possible, because this kind of change in a nation’s thinking happens all the time.

Back in the glorious 1970s when children played outside until they were hungry and walked to school on their own as soon as they could tie their shoe laces, back when they ate frozen mousse in a pot full of chemicals and when Wagon Wheels were bigger, I remember my three sisters and I playing Moving Houses. This was our game of choice on any car journey longer than ten minutes or so. Indeed, my abiding memory of the vast stretch of the eight hour journey from Wylam in Northumberland to Bridgend in South Wales for our annual summer holiday with our welsh relatives, was of our feet hovering six inches above the footwell, hands in laps, in Moving Houses position.

It wasn’t until much later in life that I realised this wasn’t a game entirely confined to my family – in fact, most of my peers seemed to have played it – this game involving great whoops of laughter as our orange Skoda saloon, weighted down with children and luggage, took a corner a little tightly and one, if not all of us, would lose that particular round as a foot inevitably touched the floor.

It’s incredible to me that this falling about in the back of the car happened in my life time. When I’d looked back on it previously, before I’d done any research for Glass Houses, I’d surmised that four girls between the ages of 7 and 12, wedged so tightly on the back seat, wouldn’t be going anywhere in a crash; even getting out of the car once stopped, it was difficult to move until others had detached themselves from the line. However, I’ve since seen the videos of simulated accidents and know that come crash, we’d have been lucky if all of us hadn’t careered out of the front windscreen, killing our parents en route. I heard that an unrestrained child in the back of the car would have the force of a baby elephant as it propelled forward and through the screen.

We know this now. And thus, after many unsuccessful attempts, seatbelt wearing in the front and back of the car has been compulsory since 1983 and 1986. I’m surprised it was as late as that but still, it’s a long time since I’ve seen anybody who doesn’t Clunk Click Every Trip.

I was too young to notice, but there were clearly many people and organisations protesting against a legal obligation to wear seat belts in the seventies and eighties, and I’m sure there were many others who recognised the need but didn’t believe that a nation could change its thinking.

And yet it did.

I think that we can get rid of mobile phones from the front of cars. And if Glass Houses can help persuade people to do this, although that was never my original intention, nobody would be happier about that than me.

Are you with me?

 

Links

‘Glass Houses’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/glass-houses/

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Glass-Houses-Jackie-

‘Tea & Chemo’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/tea-and-chemo-fighting-cancer-living-life/

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tea-Chemo-Fighting-Cancer-Living-Life/dp/1910692395/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1448719909&sr=1-1&keywords=tea+and+chemo+by+jackie+buxton

Jackie Buxton’s Blog – http://jackiebuxton.blogspot.com

Jackie Buxton’s Website – http://www.jackiebuxton.com

Interview with Jackie Buxton

Jackie Buxton

Jackie Buxton is a lady I really admire.  I had the pleasure of interviewing her as part of this event.

 

Can you tell me a bit about Tea & Chemo please?

When I was diagnosed with cancer in December 2013, I wanted to read about normal people who’d had cancer, made it through treatments and were waving from the other side with a smile on their faces saying that it was ok, it wasn’t all bad. I struggled to find these stories so I decided that I would use my blog to talk about what a cancer diagnosis is really like from the coalface.

Tea & Chemo is a mix of my original posts on cancer and its treatments, with the addition of many more anecdotes. It’s about sharing what I’ve learnt: advice on what to do when your food tastes as though it’s been sprinkled with bicarbonate of soda and stirred with mud, your hair is falling out in handfuls and strangers are asking how come you have hay fever in February.  I hope the information is helpful but that readers will also feel my empathetic hug and have a smile at the light-hearted elements, because cancer treatment is like life; it has its ups and downs.

 

What made you decide to get this book published?

It was a combination of a few things. I felt that a few months further on, I had so much more to add to the original blog posts. People were suggesting the idea of a book, telling me that it would make a great gift for those wanting to do something positive for friends and family diagnosed with cancer and it was the opportunity to raise some money for cancer related charities and organisations. I had that little voice in my head telling me that if I never tried to get it published, I would never know…

 

Your book has already been of help to lots of people. How does that make you feel?

Oh! Where to start? I have been absolutely over-whelmed by the response to Tea & Chemo. The reviews posted on Amazon and other review sites, not to mention the emails (and even an orchid sent with a thank you note) generally bring me to tears – happy tears. It’s a very humbling, life-affirming thing to learn that words I’ve written, could help other people. I originally said that if my book could help one person feel calmer, more optimistic and hopeful about the prospect of, and reality of, cancer treatment, then I’d feel my work was done. To know it has helped many people is job satisfaction of the very greatest kind.

 

Do you think it’s a book that anyone suffering from cancer should read?

Tea & Chemo isn’t a definitive guide to cancer and there are other more factual books on cancer out there. But I like to think there’s something in there for everyone, both on a practical and emotional basis, not just for those diagnosed with cancer, but also their family and friends.

Indeed, a reviewer wrote that they didn’t have cancer but that there were other strong themes, ‘around the basic goodness in our society and the importance, whatever the situation we are in, of choosing to adopt a positive attitude.’ He also added that, ‘the final page is worth reading every morning,’ which made me very happy indeed.

 

When is your next book due out?

Glass Houses, a novel, is out on June 9th and is now available to pre-order from Amazon and direct from the publisher.

 

What is it about?

Glass Houses is about two women who make stupid mistakes and the massive ramifications not just for their lives, but for those close to them. It’s about people in ‘glass houses’ not ‘throwing stones’. It’s also about smashing up our lives: however hard we try to stick them back together again, they will never look the same as they did before.

And maybe, just maybe, this might not be such a bad thing.

Glass Houses is contemporary fiction so it’s a very different read to Tea & Chemo but I hope that there’s a similarity in that it tackles dark themes with a light touch.

 

Are you planning to write any more books?

Not just planning…! I have the first draft of a novel written but it’s stashed in a drawer currently, covered in dust after two years of neglect while my writing life has been totally consumed with Tea & Chemo and Glass Houses. I’m looking forward to getting back to it. I also have two other novels started which vary from ‘fleshed out ideas’ to a ‘good half of the first draft written’. Watch this space!

 

What has the publishing process been like for you?

Every bit as wonderful as I’d dreamed – and some. When I first clicked on the Urbane Publications website, I found myself plunging deep into the inner pages of Google to check that this Utopia of a publishing house was actually kosher. It is. Urbane Publications, led by the charismatic, dedicated and incredibly hard-working, Matthew Smith, is all about collaboration. I’ve been consulted at every step of the way and have enjoyed working in a team to make my books the best they can possibly be. Now Urbane and I work together to make sure people know my books are out there. I’m having a ball and thank my lucky stars that I discovered Urbane Publications on Twitter.

 

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

I’ve never been one for hopes and dreams, in the same way that I’m not one for regrets and mistakes. I believe in striving to get the best out of every day and if you put all your efforts into that, say yes to everything you possibly can as a matter of default, then your life will be rich. I don’t know what the next five years have in store for me and I find that exciting. I just hope that I’m alive to see them and everything else is a bonus.

 

Can you describe your life in three words?

Busy, happy, rewarding

 

What advice have you got for all of us?

Phew! I’m not sure I’m qualified to give advice so I shall steal a mantra I first saw on the opening credits of Cold Feet (a wonderful drama from the late 90s for those of you too young to remember). I saw this quote and thought, there it is, that’s what I’ve been trying to articulate all along. Are you ready?

Life’s a journey, travel it well.

 

 

About Jackie Buxton

Jackie Buxton is a writer, editor and teacher of creative writing. She is currently working on her second novel and her first, Glass Houses, is to be published in June by Urbane Publications. First chapters of both have won or been placed in the Retreat West, Oxford Editors’ and Writers’ Billboard first chapter competitions. Jackie’s short stories feature in three anthologies, on-line and in Chase Magazine, for which she also writes a bi-monthly double page spread of book reviews. Jackie lives in Yorkshire with her husband and teenage children and when not writing, can often be found cycling, running, dreaming or tripping up through the beautiful Yorkshire Dales

 

Links

Tea & Chemo on Urbane: http://urbanepublications.com/books/tea-and-chemo-fighting-cancer-living-life/

Tea & Chemo on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tea-Chemo-Fighting-Cancer-Living-Life/dp/1910692395/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1448719909&sr=1-1&keywords=tea+and+chemo+by+jackie+buxton

Glass Houses on Urbane: http://urbanepublications.com/books/glass-houses/

Glass Houses on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Glass-Houses-Jackie-Buxton/dp/1910692840/ref=pd_sim_14_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=51BSxlVi1AL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR107%2C160_&refRID=1MGZQN4PCRAS0AX0MWK3

Blog: http://jackiebuxton.blogspot.com

Website: http://www.jackiebuxton.com

 

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