Tag Archives: Celia’s Room

Forty Indies Read at Chorleywood

Forty of the most amazing indie authors on the scene will be reading, signing, greeting, selling, laughing, sighing, crying, shrieking and otherwise emoting for your ultimate reading pleasure!

Forty of the most amazing indie authors on the scene will be reading, signing, greeting, selling, laughing, sighing, crying, shrieking and otherwise emoting for your ultimate reading pleasure!

Forty of the most amazing indie authors on the scene will be reading, signing, greeting, selling, laughing, sighing, crying, shrieking and otherwise emoting for your ultimate reading pleasure!

The Indie Author Fair, running from 2 – 5 pm on 16 November, is part of the Chorleywood Literary Festival. Organised by the Chorleywood Bookshop, Triskele Books and the Alliance of Independent Authors, forty authors will be on hand to talk to you about their books, sign copies, give readings, and I’m sure offer generous discounts. Some of the best writers on the Indie scene, including Carol Cooper, Jane Davis, Helena Halme, Dan Holloway, Rohan Quine and Orna Ross will be at the British Legion Hall in Chorleywood, 2 – 5 pm, Sunday 16 November.

During the fair, I will be reading an excerpt from my novel, “Celia’s Room”. It’s the last slot in the 15:30-15:45 bracket. Here’s the full list of readers:

14:30 – 14:45
1. Geoff Gudgion (thriller)
2. Jane Davis (literary)
3. Marisha Pink (contemporary – Southeast Asia)
4. JW Hicks (dystopia)

15:30-15:45
1. DJ Kelly (docu-fiction)
2. Liza Perrat (history)
3. Jane Turley (comedy)
4. Kevin Booth (contemporary – Spain)

16:30-16:45
1. Debbie Young (Flash fiction)
2. Rohan Quine (Literary)
3. JD Smith (history)
4. Ellie Stevenson (supernatural)

Come along, come along and join in the fun at the Indie Author Fair!

Indie Author Fair, in the British Legion Hall, Chorleywood, 2 – 5 pm on 16 November!

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One thousand entrants in Goodreads giveaway – Winners announced!

Congratulations to everybody who entered this one-month giveaway on Goodreads. The competition to give away ten signed copies of Celia’s Room plus an original bookmark was open to Goodreads members from the US, UK, Canada, Europe, India, Australia and New Zealand. It is now closed, having attracted over one thousand entrants (1056 to be exact)!

Goodreads have notified me of the winners and I will be sending their copies out in the next few days. If you would like to stay informed about further giveaways, news and blog posts, you can sign up for email notification using the mailing list widget to the right. I promise not to divulge your email address to any third parties and only to contact you with upcoming book news, never more often than once a month.

If you would like to share your thoughts and comments about Celia’s Room, you can join in the open discussion here, or post your own independent review on Goodreads. I will be posting discussion topics in the next month.

The winners are: Nuria Costa, from Reus, in Catalonia, north-eastern Spain (close to the character Joaquim’s village); Davin Dmitruk-Cook, from Ontario, Canada; and from the United States, Lindsay Durflinger, Anthony Festa, Marisa Gist, Jenna Osborne, David Knepler, Kelli Kapp, Etta Wagner and Maggie Horie. Congratulations to you all. I do hope you enjoy reading Celia’s Room.


The Zeitgeist of Barcelona

Reviewer Francis Barret has awarded four out of five stars to the novel Celia’s Room in a recent Goodreads review. I reprint it below in its entirety.

Nothing is quite as it seems. This book rejoices in ambiguity and ambivalence, successfully capturing the zeitgeist of Barcelona in the period when the optimism and openness precipitated by the restoration of democracy in Spain was fading as the ETA terrorist campaign continued to take lives, political corruption was exposed by the uncensored media, and the city began to undergo massive redevelopment for the Olympic Games of 1992.

Set mainly in the medieval Ciutat Vella (Old City), occasionally moving out to Camp Nou and the leafier uptown districts, the story unfolds through events narrated by two young men with very different backgrounds, perspectives and prospects. Both are engulfed by a nocturnal social milieu that will be immediately recognisable to anyone who experienced the last days of the notorious Barrio Chino before swathes of it were demolished to make way for the antiseptic Rambla del Raval.

Eduardo, a diplomat’s son used to a cosmopolitan life of privilege but traumatised by violent loss, is simultaneously dismissive of and drawn to tawdry “lowlife” decadence, distracting him from his career path. Joaquim, escaping a stultifying rural Catalan background and intent on becoming an artist, is easily entranced by flamboyance, and soon exploited to paint and decorate the interior of an aristocratic but dilapidated old mansion inhabited by a colourful cast of exotic characters with shady sources of income. Of these, the most enigmatic is Celia, a beautiful outsider who remains out of focus until the climax.

While most of the protagonists are recognisable Barcelona “types”, their personalities are not so much stereotypical as archetypal, rendered believable by ordinary human frailties. This is particularly true of Celia, whose mystique is heightened by infrequent but powerful utterances.

The narrators’ depictions of alcohol-driven, drug-fuelled bohemian nights of poetry and song, revolving between bars, after-hours dives and shared flats in the Gothic Quarter, contrast with their personal moments of unease and self-doubt. Misunderstandings amongst the revellers induce mistrust, jealousy, anger and shame. The inaugural house party held in the mansion to celebrate the pagan Vispera de Sant Joan (Midsummer’s Eve) brings these tensions to a sharp explosion of revelations and epiphanies.

The author’s knowledge and love of Barcelona are clear from his vivid descriptions of places, architecture and ambience. Another reviewer (at www.amazon.co.uk) rightly admired the “passages of almost scholarly historic reference and beautiful expositions of particularly poignant works of art that give the plot a rich cultural context”.

There are some lovely turns of phrase, with flashes of poetic imagery, startling similes and curious metaphors. The tone ranges from lightly self-deprecating to deeply philosophical, with some parts written in an almost scientifically disinterested style and others using language so alluring and sensual as to qualify as genuinely erotic, without being pornographic.

Celia’s Room is not a flawless masterpiece, and could have done with some editing. However, this is the author’s first adult novel, and given the theme(s), he can hardly be faulted for beginning in a somewhat fumbling style, increasing in confidence and rhythm as the story unfurls.

As a meditation on sexuality, I found Celia’s Room insightful and thought provoking. Perhaps more importantly, I enjoyed the story a lot, and at times laughed out loud. This intelligent and entertaining book is fun, and definitely well worth reading!


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