My 'Friday Read' this week is Jack and Jill went Downhill by Richard Gould. Richard is a rare breed, a male romance writer. Jack and Jill went Downhill is his third book. His first book, A Street Café Named Desire, published by Accent Press, was short-listed for the Romantic Novelists’ Association 2016 Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Award. The Engagement Party is his second Accent Press publication.
Jack and Jill Went Downhill is a June 2016 release. The couple meet on Freshers Big Party Night at university and for both of them it’s love at first sight. It’s not quite as comfortable when their studies are over and they start work. Way back when they first met, they’d shared the joke that their names were those of the nursery rhyme. Down the line, they fail to recognise that their lives are matching the plot.
It sounds fun, Richard. Love the pun on the nursery rhyme! If you'd like to read the book you can purchase it here:
Here's a bit about Richard's first book, A Street Café called Desire.
In A Street Café Named Desire David meets Bridget at a twenty-five year school reunion and develops a teenagesque passion for her. Things haven’t been going well for him recently – his wife has moved in with his ex-best friend, he has temporary custody of a stroppy teenage daughter, and he is constantly berated by a tyrannical boss. All he wants in life is to be in a relationship with Bridget and to pack in accountancy and open an arts café – surely that’s not too much to ask.
I asked Richard to tell us a bit more about himself.
How did you get started writing?
Although I’d written many factual articles about education, I’ve always had a fascination for exploring the diversity and foibles of individuals through fiction. When you think how much your own mood can swing, how different you are even to those closest to you, you can appreciate that every single person sitting on the train opposite you or at the restaurant next to you has a wealth of story potential. I started jotting down ideas ten or so years ago and the characters I built up developed into the protagonists in my novels. My writing is humorous, in part because I like humour, but equally based on the fact that it’s possible (and probably healthy) to laugh at things to do with relationships that were pretty serious at the time.
Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?
I’m male. This in itself is not a fun fact except that I’m placed in the Romance genre and there are very few male novelists in the group. I didn’t set out to write Romance, I just got put there when writing about a mix of highly eccentric or plain ordinary men and women, trying to make the most of their lives while carrying heaps of baggage. I think one distinction between Romance and some other genres is the focus on character rather than plot. That’s not to say that plot isn’t important, but it’s the people who make the story. And why do I use ‘R J’ instead of ‘Richard’? This is my cowardly compromise after agents suggested I use a pseudonym.
What was your favourite book as a child?
Most of my memories of childhood favourites are the ones I read to my own children. The Ahlberg’s Peepo and Mrs Wobble the Waitress are high on the list and I love Dahl books because of the way they can be appreciated at several levels.
What’s your top writing tip for new writers?
There are no rules, instead a whole set of options about how to write. Having said that, a course or two is valuable to give an insight into the range of alternatives available for you to select from. Then it’s up to you to develop an individual, original and exciting voice.
Great advice, Richard!
You can find out more about R J/Richard here:
Thanks for dropping by, Richard.