Secondly, on the blog tour for Being Netta Wilde, I’m thrilled to bring you a Q&A with author Hazel Ward…..enjoy!
about being netta wilde
Title: Being Netta Wilde
Author: Hazel Ward
Genre: Contemporary fiction/ women’s fiction
Series/Standalone: Standalone first in the Netta Wilde series
Estimated page count: 360
Formats available: eBook. Available on Kindle Unlimited
Publisher: Hope St Press; 1st edition (20 Jun. 2021)
Tour organised by: Rachel’s Random Resources
An uplifting story of love, loss and second chances that celebrates friendship and human connections.
Netta Wilde was all the things Annette Grey isn’t. Netta Wilde was raw, unchecked and just a little bit rebellious. She loved The Clash and she loved being Netta Wilde.
Annette Grey is an empty, broken woman who hardly knows her own children. Of course, it’s her own fault. She’s a bad mother. An unnatural mother. At least, that’s what her ex-husband tells her.
The one thing she is good at …
the one thing that stops her from falling …
is her job.
When the unthinkable happens, Annette makes a decision that sets her on a journey of self-discovery and reinvention. Along the way, her life is filled with friends, family, dogs, and jam. Lots of jam.
Suddenly anything seems possible. Even being Netta Wilde again.
But, is she brave enough to take that final step when the secrets she keeps locked inside are never too far away?
q&A with Hazel Ward
Contemporary fiction/ women’s fiction/ book club fiction.
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m a writer and poet, although, at the moment, the poetry has taken a bit of a back seat because I’m so full on with writing my debut series.
I’m from Birmingham in the UK. Essentially I’m a city dweller but I do love the countryside too. I also enjoy being by the sea but, when you live in the centre of England, beaches are hard to come by.
What inspired you to start writing?
I actually started making up funny stories in childhood to entertain my sisters and brother. I suspect the inspiration then was the laughs I got.
I began writing as a teenager. Some poetry and also a very bad crime caper are the main ones I can recall. I can’t remember what inspired me to write them. Except possibly my infatuation with Michael Douglas who was in a TV series called The Streets of San Francisco at the time. In my delirious teenage mind, I pictured him as my main protagonist and hoped that, if it ever got filmed, we’d meet and he’d fall madly in love with me. Sadly, the book never saw the light of day and Catherine Zeta-Jones nabbed him first.
Before we move off the subject, I think it’s important to say, that Michael slipped off my of top one hundred most desirable men list a long time ago. Although I’m sure Catherine still finds him attractive.
How many books have you written and published?
Being Netta Wilde is my debut novel. It’s the first in the ‘Netta Wilde’ series.
I’ve also written a companion novella called Being Doogie Chambers which I’m giving away free and exclusively to members of my Readers’ Club. It tells the story of Netta and Doogie through his eyes and gives the reader a chance to see the person Annette used to be, before she met and married Colin Grey.
At the moment, I’m working on the next book in the series Finding Edith Pinsent. In the first book, Edith has already died so we only really know her through her diary entries and other people’s recollections of her. In this second book, we meet her at different stages in her life and discover the real Edith Pinsent. Netta and Doogie’s stories also progress in this book too.
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why? (If relevant)
I haven’t got that many to choose from at the moment but I think whichever one I’m working on becomes my favourite. Each one brings something new to me.
How do you choose the names of your characters?
Sometimes the names belonged to someone I knew or know. Sometimes I see a character in my head and I just know what their name will be. Occasionally, I’ll come across a great name and store it for future use. Maud is the name I would give my own dog, if I had one which I don’t – at the moment.
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with, and why?
Probably Maud. Mainly because I like dogs and the others would most likely do my head in, after a while. Not sure if that makes me an introvert or just plain intolerant.
Who is your favourite author and which of their books is your favourite, and why?
Although I read quite a lot, I don’t really have a favourite author. That said, if someone offered me a Haruki Murakami novel, I wouldn’t say no. I love the way he creates surreal worlds within perfectly normal worlds. His characters are always fascinating too. I also like the way he drops lots of pop culture references into his stories. So far I’ve only read two of his books – Dance, Dance, Dance and Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. I loved them both.
What is the first thing you can remember writing?
Aside from those already mentioned, I remember writing a short play for an English ‘O’ level assignment and then being really offended because the teacher thought I’d had help. In hindsight, I realise I should have taken it as a compliment.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
Several very boring ones. I had a long career in the energy industry, working as a Regulation Manager for a gas and electricity supply company which would leave many people cold but very much appealed to the nerdy geek within me.
Probably the most unusual job was back when my children were very small. I worked evenings for a telephone dating company. It was one of those companies that also operated some of the first chat lines. Obviously, this was before such things went online. Back then, real people were needed to put callers in touch with each other. I’m not sure if those sort of places still exist these days, but it was fun. Mind you, at the time, I was up to my armpits in dirty nappies and baby sick and existing on two hours sleep a night, so my judgement may have been a little impaired.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go? (Backwards or forwards!)
I currently find myself fascinated by the 1940s through to the 1960s. This is handy because my next two books are set partly in those periods but that’s not the only reason. I was born in 1959 and when I look back at pictures and films of that time and immediately preceding it, it looks like another world to me. I can’t believe that’s where I came from. It’s a kind of fixation with me to find out more about it.
If you could have one conversation with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
It would probably be my maternal grandmother, Eva. She was my only living grandparent when I was born but I don’t remember her at all because she died when I was a toddler.
A couple of years ago, I started to research my family history and found that the little I knew about her didn’t quite add up. My mother is also dead so I couldn’t ask her. Instead, I had to rely on the scant pieces of information Mum had passed on to me and my sisters.
We’d always been led to believe Granny was widowed and then married my grandad but my research told a different tale. It looks like she married an older man, not long after the first world war, had my aunt and then left him for my grandad. They never married. She just changed her name to his and then changed it back to her married name after my grandad died. There’s also a rumour in the family that she may have had an illegitimate child by a soldier who was killed in the first world war. There’s a story waiting to be told in there. One day I’ll write it.
What are your favourite things to do?
We have a holiday home (posh name for a static caravan) in Shropshire. I like to spend time there. I like a good walk, especially in a forest or on a beach. I enjoy city walks too. Basically, I just like walking. We also have an old motorhome that we like to tour in – particularly to the wilder parts of the UK. Other things I enjoy are yoga, cycling and, of course, reading and writing.
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
Hmm – good one. Maybe being on a kids’ Saturday morning TV programme back in the early eighties. It was called Tiswas. They had a cage that they locked a group of people in – usually adults – and they doused them in gunk, water etc. Each week they had a different group in there. Chris Tarrant was the host, along with a rather young Lenny Henry. There was a long waiting list to get in that cage. What can I say? It was the eighties.
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
You don’t need someone else’s validation to write. Just believe in yourself and do it. Actually, I think that’s advice I should still be giving to myself.
Name one book you think everyone should read?!
Tricky one as I’m not really into telling people what they should and shouldn’t read. That said, here’s a suggestion. The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon. It’s a detective story set in an alternative present day USA that includes a temporary post World War Two Israeli state. It’s a cracker.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
Being Netta Wilde. Book 1 in the Netta Wilde series.
Currently available on pre-order. Ebook and paperback available from Amazon from 20th June.
I’ll give you a nutshell synopsis without giving the plot away:
Annette Grey is broken, lonely and barely clinging to a relationship with her children. Cast adrift when she’s made redundant, she becomes a foodbank volunteer and experiences a life changing epiphany that sets her on a path to reconnect with her children.
She moves into a house littered with the memories of its former owner, Edie, and sees it gradually fill with friends, family, dogs and jam. Lots of jam. All will become clear on the jam if you read the book.
Bit by bit she rediscovers Netta, the younger, stronger, more confident version of herself. But when things start to unravel, will she be strong enough to finally face the secret only she and ex-husband, Colin, share? The secret that left her guilt-ridden and gave him the opportunity to bleed her dry, financially and emotionally.
follow the tour
Thanks to Rachel for inviting me on to the tour, and to Hazel for chatting with us.
I’ll be back again soon with one more post for today!