A warm welcome to poet and romance novelist, Rosemary Dun, who's dropped by to tell us about her debut novel, The Trouble With Love.
Rosemary Dun is a lover of words and a spoken word performer. The Trouble With Love is her debut novel with Sphere, Little Brown, and she couldn't be more delighted. She’s also a creative writing tutor for the Open University, a single mother to two grownup daughters (how did that happen?), and she lives close to Bristol’s historic harbourside with her bonkers labrador Tallulah.
I asked Rosemary to tell us more about herself
How did you get started writing?
When I was at school (back in the olden days) writing was something you were just good at, not something to be pursued as a career. So after success at school – including having a poem featured on a BBC Radio programme, I let my writing be. But, it would pop out every now and then, with a poem, or a short piece. Then, when a family tragedy struck, my writing found me. Yes, it was like that. It found me and I suddenly wrote and wrote and wrote. I’ve not stopped since.
Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?
Not sure if this is a fun fact – but when I was a child at junior school I had a pet jackdaw. One day it got out and followed me to school.
What’s your top tip for new writers?
Step away from your keyboard and i-phone and embrace pen and paper and the practice of freewriting by hand. It allows you to “dip your bucket into the well of your unconscious” as E.M. Forster once said. It’s a surefire way to develop your voice, and to discover what you didn’t know you knew. It’s where the magic is to be found. Also good for using when you’re stuck.
Good advice, Rosemary!
What’s your favourite poem?
A bit like choosing my favourite child – as I’m a poet as well as a novelist. But the one which had the most impact was Reynard The Fox by John Masefield. I first read this epic poem when I was deeply into horseriding and was about to go to my first hunt. This poem put me off fox hunting for ever. If you’re not read it – then do. I highly rate Carol Ann Duffy, and adore her Anne Hathaway sonnet.
What was the first thing you had published?
It was a short story which was short listed for the very prestigious Ian St James Award. I received a Parker fountain pen, and a bottle of champagne at an awards ceremony at the Winchester Writers’ Conference, attended a gala in London, and secured my first literary agent. I thought I’d arrived! (Little did I know that it would be years before I got here – published as a debut novelist!)
What piece of writing/ work are you most proud of?
A deeply personal poem I wrote, which was then subsequently bought for £300 by a national association of hypnotherapists.
You can find out more about Rosemary here:
The Trouble with Love is a fresh and funny romantic comedy that explores both conventional and modern dilemmas in love. It will make you think and it will make you laugh. “Mamma Mia meets Jane Austen – with less singing”.
Polly Park lives on the side of Bristol’s historic harbour. She reckons she’s a Renaissance Woman who has it all: own house, a thriving business, a close family of friends, she doesn’t need a man – but, she’s not a nun. So when she meets Spike, the fact that he's emigrating to Australia in six months' time is not a problem - no commitment or messy endings. But she doesn't bank on falling in love, or on making a certain discovery after he's gone.
Three years on, Polly is a single mum to her hard-of-hearing, gorgeous daughter Rowan. She starts dating single dad Max and may finally be ready to take a chance on love. Then, out of the blue, Spike returns with his glamorous girlfriend in tow, and suddenly Polly finds herself in the middle of a very sticky situation . . . Will Spike's return resurrect Polly's feelings for him? Where does that leave Max and Polly? And how will all this change effect Rowan? Nothing is simple - but then, that's the trouble with love . .
“Polly and Spike are my favourite romantic couple for a very long time, and I loved immersing myself in their Bristol. It’s a feel-good book for Renaissance Women and Men everywhere.” Julie Cohen (a Richard & Judy Book Club author).
"Rosemary reminds us that falling in love is never easy... Yet the magic she sprinkles over each page simply forces us to believe that anything- including love- is possible!" Lola Jaye
Read an extract
Polly wasn’t daft. She knew she was sliding down the helter-skelter of falling in love, but all would be fine. An hour later, and Polly and Spike hopped on board a ferry close to where her back garden met the river’s footpath. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been on one. A bit like when she lived in London and had never bothered to visit Madame Tussaud’s or the Tower of London. And now that she was on board the gaily painted yellow and blue boat, she resolved to do ferry trips more often. She felt as giddy and excited as when she and Mel had gone on a school trip to Longleat with the prospect that they might see an actual ghost, or that a real lion might escape and gobble up Natalie Wong, or that the Marquess of Bath – stunned by their beauty – might invite them to become his latest wifelets.
What a grand way to see the river and harbourside, especially on a mild spring day like today, she decided, as she positively glowed with the after-effects of great sex, and with having her good-looking man by her side – even if he was trying to dangle his hand in the water.
‘Best not do that, sir,’ warned the ferryman, whom Polly was delighted to see wore an actual fisherman’s cap and navy jumper. Spike took a photograph of her with his phone.
‘God, I must look a right mess,’ she said, although she was actually pretty happy with the way her hair was wild and bright orange in the sun, and how her clothes seemed to slink over her body.
‘Gorgeous,’ he murmured, and she wasn’t sure she’d ever felt more sexy or alive.
They chugged past chi-chi new-build riverside apartments, and a jetty to the left, on which a cormorant sat preening itself and then stretched upright in a crucifixion pose, its wing feathers spread like washing pegged out on a line. Up ahead, another black cormorant bobbed on the water – she watched as it flexed its long neck like some haughty queen – then, quick as a blink, dove straight into the water. Where it entered, the river’s surface danced in slivers. Polly pointed. ‘Did you see that bird?’
‘What bird, where?’ said Spike. And then – there! – further along, it popped up like an emergency buoy suddenly released from a scuppered ship. In its beak it held a long, wriggling, almost transparent ribbon-like creature. Isn’t that one of those eel thingies …?
‘Have you ever been on The Matthew?’ Spike was asking as they pulled alongside the dark-honey-coloured replica of the wooden ship that once had carried John Cabot and his crew on their voyage to discover America, long before Christopher Columbus. Polly marvelled at how tiny it was. She shook her head – no, she hadn’t been on board, maybe one day.
The ferry docked to let people off and others on. ‘Nearly there,’ said Spike.
Polly loved surprises. Not for her the rattling of Christmas presents to try to discern what was inside. She was all for delayed gratification.
‘Can’t wait,’ she said, as he squeezed her arm, and touched her knee with his, and took selfies of the two of them, together, smiling with their heads touching.
The ferry continued its leisurely journey through the swing bridge, on past the giraffe-like cranes outside the M-Shed, and the harbourside bars and restaurants. Passing another ferry, theirs tipped slightly in the water, and ploughed towards a group of young seagulls hanging about in a gang on top of the water, their dirty grey speckled weave of feathers patterned like fish scales. The birds did their tippy-toe running along the surface, then took flight to make way for the boat.
The ferry shushed and slurped along, until Spike announced, ‘This is where we get off.’
They were approaching a line of four barges and a small landing stage. ‘Here, give me your hand.’
‘Well - what do you think?’ Spike stopped on the towpath, next to a dilapidated, pea-green-painted barge which reminded Polly of ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’.
‘Is this the surprise?’ she said, waiting to be enlightened further.
‘Yes. She’s my boat. I’m doing her up before … well, anyway, I’m doing her up. Might sell her, might keep her, I’ve not decided.’
Polly loved the barge.
‘I think we ought to christen the boat, don’t you?’ Spike said.
‘What? You haven’t named it?’
‘Don’t be silly . . . Christen it …’
And so they did. They christened it on the small caravan-like banquette, then across the table, giggling as Spike placed his hand over Polly’s mouth when a couple walked past up on the towpath.
‘But why a boat?’ she finally asked. ‘Why, when you told me last night that you don’t swim?’ Something which had come as big surprise to Polly, who was a strong swimmer herself. She couldn’t imagine how anyone in this day and age could not swim.
‘So?’ he answered. ‘I can’t fly either, but that doesn’t stop me from getting on a plane.’
It sounds a fun read, doesn't it? Want to read more?
You can buy the book here:
Thanks for dropping by, Rosemary. Lots of luck with your book. :)