'Undoubtedly one of the funniest novels
you'll read this summer'
'Hugely entertaining ... all human life is here.'
'Charming, funny and finely observed'
Woman and Home
The idea for A Rival Creation came to me as I was struggling
to get my first novel, Guppies
for Tea, published. What if, in
spite of my hard work, my perseverance, my burning desire to
express myself in writing, my passion for books, I never make
it as a writer? What if I just don't have the talent? We live
in an age where we are told, and tell each other, 'Go on, you
can do it, you can be anything you want if as long as you want
it badly enough.' So how do you come to terms with the fact that
this simply isn't always
true and that sometimes you just don't
have what it takes?
So Liberty Bell was born. When we first meet her she is delivering
a talk in her local village hall, as a last minute stand in for
an interior decorator.
'...As I know very little about decorating I shall speak
to you on an entirely different subject, deeply unfashionable
but close to my heart. ... Tonight I will speak to you about
'The yearning in man to do more than just survive is the
making of both the greatness and the tragedy of being human.
From that yearning stems every painting, every piece of music,
every great garden and every book.
'Now I expect most of you are familiar with the idea of
the struggling artist who battles through neglect, even ridicule,
poverty and illness, to win recognition in his or her chosen
field. Less talked of is another kind of artist, one who shares
the same burning desire to create and to breathe spirit into
the stuff of life, the same need to describe and to interpret
the world around them, even the same foibles and neuroses.
So where lies the difference, you might ask. The answer is
simple: talent. When God created The Failure He popped in all
the right traits but that single vital one. Was this a deliberate
act, or simply an oversight? Who knows?'
Just prior to giving the talk Liberty's boyfriend has walked
out of her life, another of her manuscripts has been returned,
and her agent has given her the boot. With nothing but time on
her hands, Liberty tries to put her life back together whilst
getting increasingly involved in the lives of her friends and
neighbours in the far from idyllic village of Tollymead.