Today I’m pleased to welcome Kristen Bailey to the blog. Kristen is the author of Souper Mum and her latest novel was published by Accent Press on 17 November 2016.
Here Kristen talks about endings.
Second Helpings is the sequel to Souper Mum and will be released in November. It picks up the action exactly eighteen months after Jools Campbell squared up to a pompous TV chef and found herself flung into the world of the minor celebrity. In Second Helpings, we find her back in the fame game as she becomes a judge on a family cooking show. But how will she cope being back in the limelight, juggling being a working mum? What happens when she finds out her old nemesis, Tommy McCoy is her fellow judge? It is the sequel and final book in the adventures of Jools Campbell.
It really has been quite difficult to find a fitting ending to Jools’ adventures. So much so that after I gave my final draft of Second Helpings to my wonderful editor, Alex, I got her feedback and the one thing she told me she didn’t like was the ending (the proofer said the same thing!). She was right. I had left my readers hanging a little (don’t worry, I didn’t leave her stuck in a burning car in some awful cliffhanger) but as this book was to conclude Jools’ story, there needed to be a fitting ending, a line drawn in the sand to mark that this part of her adventure was done.
The ending. I’ll admit there’s a great sense of satisfaction one can get from reading a novel or watching a film with a great ending, a feeling of hope that all is good and sorted. I can’t stand a film that doesn’t have an ending, that just stops suddenly and leaves you wondering what happened. This happens a lot in French cinema: a character is left crying in the middle of a field and the camera starts panning out. Credits roll. Nooooo! We don’t know what happened! Did she get her revenge? I’ll usually scream in despair at endings like that, throwing things at the television. You can’t leave it like that! I’ll sometimes wait for a few sentences to come up on the screen to save me. ‘Marie did avenge her murdered sister. She then lived out her days on a boat in Sicily.’ But nothing. Damn you! Yes, the film was an allegory for something bigger but I invested time and emotion in those characters, I need to make sure they’re OK. My husband will laugh at me at that point. ‘You do realise Marie isn’t real, right?’
With all of this in mind, I sat down after my editorial meeting and wrote an epilogue for Second Helpings. To give Jools an ending that was somewhere between French cinema and happily ever after. Because at the same time, even though Jools is fictional, I’ve always made her story as true to life as possible, and in real life, everything isn’t always neatly tied up in a bow. After boy meets girl, he dips her and goes in for the kiss. They may then have their fairytale wedding and we believe their lives are filled with skipping, interminable bouts of joy and true love. The credits roll. But is this really what happens in the aftermath? Usually said couple have to pay off a mortgage, they have kids, sleepless nights, the boiler breaks, she finds a new job, they get a cat…and so it goes on, each segment of time a new adventure, a new chapter. Not always happy, not always sad but these are the stories that I write: they’re based on the everyday; there are no glass slippers, there are no sunsets.
I will leave my readers to decide if I gave Jools a fitting end to her adventures. Perhaps the ending will infuriate, perhaps you’ll still have questions but as I bid adieu to her in print, it’s nice to know that in some alternate universe, she’s still there – still burning cupcakes and swearing her way through parenting and real life. I like to think her story doesn’t and never will end with me.
About the author:
Mother-of-four, gin-drinker, binge-watcher, receipt hoarder, hapless dog owner, enthusiastic but terrible cook. Kristen lives in Fleet, Hampshire in a house overrun by Lego and odd socks. Her debut novel, Souper Mum was released by Accent Press in June and its sequel, Second Helpings is released on 17th November.
She writes a blog about being a modern mother. That and more can be found at: www.kristenbaileywrites.com
You can also find her on Twitter/Instagram: @baileyforce6
and Facebook: www.facebook.com/kristenbaileywrites
About the books:
Souper Mum is the story of Jools Campbell, a stay-at-home mother of four, who becomes an unlikely foodie hero when she stands up to a pompous celebrity chef, Tommy McCoy on a reality show. Armed with fish fingers and a severely limited cooking repertoire, we watch as she becomes a reluctant celebrity and learns some important life lessons about love, family and the joyless merits of quinoa.
Exactly eighteen months after squaring up to a pompous TV chef, Jools Campbell finds herself back in the fame game as she becomes a judge on a family cooking show. How will she cope being back in the limelight, juggling being a working mum? What happens when she finds out her old nemesis, Tommy McCoy is her fellow judge? The knives are sure to fly as ‘Souper Mum’ makes her triumphant return.
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