A Rival Creation

‘Undoubtedly one of the funniest novels you’ll read this summer’
Daily Mail

‘Hugely entertaining … all human life is here.’
Daily Express

‘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 Failure.

‘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.