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The Last Act Of Adam Campbell By Andy Jones

The Last Act Of Adam Campbell‘The Last Act Of Adam Campbell’ is the latest book by Andy Jones.

A year can go quickly. Particularly when it’s your last. Adam had a good life: a job he enjoyed, a nice house, a loving partner and a bright six-year-old daughter. Then he cheated on his partner. Then she kicked him out of their home. And then he was given approximately twelve months to live. Despite the devastating news, Adam is determined to turn his life around before it finally runs out. Help comes in the form of an ex-junky, a cantankerous train driver, a nun experiencing a crisis of faith, and a teenager intent on losing her virginity – all living on borrowed time, all desperate to feel alive before their time is up.

My first review of 2020, is of Andy’s latest book and to be honest, this book should come with a warning, a packet of tissues plus tea and chocolates to help you recover from the end of it.

The story is primarily seen through the perspective of Adam Campbell, who is coming to terms with being terminally ill and wants to spend his last days with his ex-partner and 6 year old daughter called Mabel. To help deal with the idea of dying, Adam joins a group for cancer sufferers like himself. It’s just as he’s settled into this circle of friends when the leader is tragically killed in a traffic accident. Without a leader, the group decide to continue and in doing so, come up with an idea of creating a Shakespeare play including the major deaths from the writer’s books. The idea is inspired by Laura, the youngest member of the group, who’s tired of people treating her like a delicate little flower and wants to experience relationships and sex for the first time. She finds herself turning to Tom, a man close to her age who she connects with, thinking that he’s the one, but he’s wary with being a reformed drug addict. Other members of the group include Pat, a kind nun with a dog for company, Erin, a bubbly mother who sees the best in everyone and retired men Vernon and Raymond.

The multiple characters in the story give an interesting insight into the story, as they are all at various stages of the illness that they know will claim their lives much sooner than they had ever imagined. They all have dreams of living longer, travelling and having families, this is all tragically being taken from them. As the group connects, we see the dynamics change, as they support each other and form a strong bond but as the group gets smaller, a part of them also dies as they wonder who will be next. With each sad moment, Andy thoughtfully includes a lighter moment to reset the reader’s emotions. Through the various narratives, we seen relationships challenged, reconciliations and beliefs questioned.

Adam is a great character, he’s determined to spend his last days being a fun father to Mabel and really struggles when it affects him emotionally and physically and this does make for upsetting reading as she tries to understand his illness as whilst he tries to protect her from it all. His relationship with Heather, his ex is also a difficult one as he tries to repair the relationship that he lost with her even though they never fell out of love.

From the outset, this story is a challenge to read. The subject matter being cancer and death is a difficult one and even though, Andy injects humour and warmth into the story, with relatable characters, you still come away heartbroken. The story is extremely well researched and really does go into the detail the ordeal of cancer and not only the affects the illness has on life but also the medication that is treating it. A poignant and reflective story on new relationships, and what could have been, ‘The Last Act of Adam Campbell’ is a life affirming and tender story that highlights the fragility of life and the importance of making every second count.

You can buy ‘The Last Act Of Adam Campbell’ from Amazon and will be available from good bookshops from 28 May 2020.

Andy Jones Reveals New Book – The Trouble With Henry And Zoe

The Trouble With Henry And ZoeI’m delighted to see that Andy Jones is returning to our bookshelves this year with a new book called ‘The Trouble With Henry And Zoe’.

The story of ‘The Trouble With Henry And Zoe’ is –

Henry and Zoe have more in common than they realise. For a start, they both have pasts they’d rather leave behind.

After jilting his childhood sweetheart on the eve of their wedding, Henry makes a break for London. He has no friends, no job, no home, no plan.

Zoe has great friends, two jobs, a new house, and a big scary plan. After a traumatic, life-changing event, she plans to leave London and spend a year travelling. Alone.

If Henry and Zoe had met one year ago, things might have worked out differently. But that s not the way life works. They meet seven months after their worlds have been turned upside down. And four months before Zoe is due to climb on a plane…

I absolutely loved Andy’s debut novel, ‘The Two Of Us’ , so I am really looking forward to reading ‘The Trouble With Henry And Zoe’.

You can pre-order The Trouble with Henry and Zoe and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 28th July 2016.

Andy Jones Answers The Question On Everyone’s Lips

Andy JonesToday on the book tour for ‘The Two Of Us’, the author of the book, Andy Jones answers the question on everyone’s lips.

Had you always set out to write a love-story?

No.

Well, it’s been great hanging out; we must do this again sometime. I’ll show myself out— What’s that?

Oh, you want me to expand. Blimey, demanding.

Alright, as it’s you.

Had I always set out to write a love story?

No, not exactly.

The stories I gravitate to as a reader tend to lie outside of the genre. For example, the last several books I’ve read:

• Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
• Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
• Dr Sleep by Stephen King
• L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy
• Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
• Secret History by Donna Tart
• Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
• The Psychopath Test by John Ronson

With the exception of Night Circus (and by the way, have you seen the trailer? hmm… not sure about that.), hardly a romantic list. Although I happen to think Gillian Flynn could write a fantastic love story if she chose to, Gone Girl shows a sharp insight into the strange ways of relationships, and – bonkers or not – she created a great couple.

The Two Of UsBut anyway, the above eight books are fairly typical of my tastes in literature. And when I began writing, I anticipated creating work that would sit alongside these titles. I thought I might be the next Irvine Welsh, Brett Easton-Ellis or Chuck Palahniuk. A bit of a bad boy, you know. The first story I ever wrote was a science fiction short featuring genetically engineered assassins. (My dad still thinks it’s the best thing I have ever written.) Then I wrote a story about one-legged shoe thief, another about suicidal quadriplegic and one with a fight in a fireplace shop. I had a lot of fun and learned some lessons about the whole craft of writing: Show don’t tell; point of view; dialogue; description; pacing; structure and so on. And not once did anyone fall in love.

Then, around eight years ago, I had some time on my hands and a plot that I felt could run beyond fifteen pages. It was meant to be a kind or urban noir job with drugs, killing and sex, but it didn’t turn out that way. I ended up focusing more on the relationship between the protagonist and his girlfriend. Oh, and it was funny. I’m interested in all that stuff, you see. Love, relationships, the way we treat each other and the demands and expectations we bring to the candle-lit table. And I really enjoyed writing it. Maybe what we enjoy reading isn’t always the same stuff we enjoy writing?

That first novel wasn’t particularly great, but I’d begun. I managed to meet a couple of agents, and they said kind things. Not “let me write you an obscene cheque, Mr Jones”, more like, “Yeah, the first two chapters are quite good. Maybe rewrite the other 36 or try something new.”

So I tried something new. It was another love story and it was a lot better than my first effort. It came bloody close to getting bought, in fact. But what use is bloody close? I stood bloody close to the Queen when I was seven and she still hasn’t invited me to Buck Pal for a barbeque.

So – because I’m stupid, stubborn or both – I wrote another book. Another love story.
And after all of that, Simon and Schuster only went and bought it. It’s available as an ebook, a paperback and an audio-flipping-download; so far it’s been sold into fifteen countries including Germany, Brazil, Israel and the Czech Republic; I’ve just finished the US edit and seen the Norwegian cover (pretty nifty, as it goes).

Talk about a happy ending. Love stories? I love ’em.

You can buy The Two of Us from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops

Books And The City Spring Blogger Event

Books And The City Spring Blogger Event
Photographed from left to right: Myself with Milly Johnson, the wonderful Books and the City goodie bag, Iona Grey, me and Jane Costello and myself with Andy Jones

It was a bright and breezy St Patrick’s Day when I returned to London for the Books And The City Spring Blogger event kindly arranged by Sara-Jade Virtue and her team.

The event promised to be a treat packed with some of our favourite authors, cupcakes and of course books! I took my cousin along for the event and we were warmly greeted by Sara-Jade, our hostess of the evening.

Eagerly we took our seats which were already occupied with exciting goodie bags but before we had the chance to explore their contents, the event began.

With a welcome from Sara-Jade, we were introduced to the authors who would be hosting the evening. There was Jane Costello, Iona Grey, Milly Johnson, Andy Jones and Heidi Swain. All authors gave us a taster of their books and I was particularly amused by Andy Jones’ extract from ‘The Two Of Us’ a book that has already been readily moved up in the TBR pile. As well as the authors present, Books And The City, Claire Hey was on hand to field questions to the authors as well as answer questions from the floor about writing.

The tables were packed with books from the Books and the City authors but as I was travelling light, I only took a copy of ‘Still Alice’ by Lisa Genova as it was a book that caught my eye over the recent months.

We were then invited to chat to the authors for book signings and whilst that was going on, in another room there was an array of treats for us to get stuck into, I sampled a carrot cake cupcake made by Dawn Burnett it was simply divine and I enjoyed it immensely leaving a crumbly mess behind me.

With food consumed, I approached the authors and asked them all to sign the sample chapters book that was in the goodie bag. I met the charming Andy Jones, who’s book I have promised to read next, Iona Grey and Jane Costello posed for a photo and finally I met the lovely Milly Johnson, a bubbly character with a great sense of humour, it was great to finally meet the leader of #TeamMilly.

With our literary thirst quenched and our taste buds delighted with cupcake goodness, my cousin and I left but not before discovering what was hidden in our goodie bags.

The Books And the City team were certainly generous with their treats. In the bags, we found
Bookish and Proud of It notebook, it that will go perfectly with the same mug
Great British Summer Pudding chocolate bar
Teapots teabags
Packet of tissues
Kose Cell Radiance,
All the treats are the perfect accompaniment to the books that we all enjoy and will no doubt leave us in blubbering messes.

A huge thank you to the Books And The City team for organising a fabulous evening, which was most certainly worth the flight over.