See what happened when I told Bing Crosby – just as he started singing ‘White Christmas’ – that I’d written a novel . . . . .
‘Homeward Bound’ has been printed! It’s now waiting for its official publication in January. In the meantime, it’s available on pre-order from your local bookshop or Waterstones (https://www.waterstones.com/book/homeward-bound/richard-smith/9781838591595). I hope the wait is worth it – maybe the perfect post-Christmas come-down!
This is how the cover will look. I just stared into my local bookshop’s window and looked at the fancy artwork and brightly coloured sleeves of other people’s hardbacks and special editions… and crossed my fingers that this simple design will stand a chance of getting noticed. Odd how months and months (then add a few!) of work suddenly boil down to worrying about graphics.
Anyway, please feel free to spread the image. And I hope you like the blurb. Every time I’m asked to summarise what the book’s about, I come up with a new approach – the one on the book cover is quite different from the publisher’s original ‘Advance Information’. I’ve refined it somewhat by necessity. If I’m asked to describe it face-to-face by anyone, I find I’m mentally sub editing as I speak while watching their expression change from interest to indifference! It’s a bit like answering ‘How are you?’ with a full description of your sinus infection, tendonitis, cough that won’t go and bunion (or whatever!). I’m still searching for a perfect, “I’m fine, how are you?” response.
By the way, I’m fine – how are you?
Scary as it is, the time for changes to my novel has passed. Each night I think of something new to add or how my characters might react differently in conversations and situations they are confronted by. Too late! The manuscript has been proofread and it’s off to the printers. Bookshops have been sent advance information for them to get excited about (or most likely, to ignore under the heavy weight of other stuff to read and deal with). So it’s all now down to marketing, good luck and hopefully, favourable responses.
There are still decisions to be made on whether international versions or e-books are a good idea. At the moment, it’s print only.
I’ll post up the cover in a few days. In the meantime, the marketing puff is on this site (‘Information for booksellers’). I hope it sounds promising to you!
When does ambition stop?
How different is a 19 year old from a 79 year old?
Does experience teach us anything?
Tara and her grandfather George are about to find out in my new novel, ‘Homeward Bound’ that is published in January.
‘What’s it all about?’
Tara is eighteen. She’s a musician, about to start uni and hoping for her lucky break. George is seventy-nine. As Tara’s grandfather, he’s expected to be in retirement but in truth, he’s not quite ready to close the lid on his dreams.
When he finds himself on a tour of retirement homes instead of the cream tea at the seaside his family had promised, it seems his story might prematurely be over.
He finds an answer by inviting Tara to share his house, along with his memories and vast collection of vinyl records. He thinks he can teach her about music. She just wants to get on with her own life.
What unfolds are clashes and unlikely parallels between generations – neither knows how to work a dishwasher – as they both chase their ambitions. But when the past catches up with George, Tara has to make the same life-changing decisions her grand-father faced six decades before.
What people are saying about it
Blogger What Rebecca’s Read ‘Homeward Bound is a funny, feel-good read that I’d highly recommend.’
Helen Tovey (Family Tree): ‘Blurbed as a story telling of the ‘clashes and unlikely parallels between the generations’ this novel caught my eye, and what unfolded was a poignant, very believable story, laced with reminiscences (particularly if you’re a music lover you’ll enjoy the references), twists in the plot, and loveable and interesting key characters in Gramps and granddaughter Tara. An enjoyable read that reminds us of the passing of time and the value of family.’
Selection of initial comments from Amazon, Waterstones and Goodreads
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Very enjoyable read
I really enjoyed this book. Although it will clearly appeal to music fans of my generation (over 65) who will appreciate the way Richard skillfully weaved the many music references into the story, the book will appeal to younger readers too. The central premise that young people should take every opportunity to follow their dreams is very poignant. It wouldn’t take much to turn this book into a film script.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ It was amazing Fun interesting warmly written book really enjoyed it and love the fact that there is also a Spotify playlist of all the music references available on the author’s website
A pleasure to read whether as a reflection on life or a distraction from it! Well done Mr Smith on your debut. (Format: Kindle Edition)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ A Great Read
Once you have started reading this book it’s hard to put down. It’s an excellent first novel with some great music references and some important messages- not least , the close relationship between two people from very different generations who have a lot more in common than they might think and the importance of having a purpose in life and taking a few risks to follow your dreams. Looking forward to the next one !
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Lovely poignant novel
I really enjoyed this novel, amusing and sad all rolled into one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Great Page Turner!
When I started to read this book I didn’t really know what to expect but I very quickly became immersed in the narrative of two people united in their love for music. You get no spoilers from me but needless to say the characters are likeable and their journey is both fascinating and poignant. Highly recommend you invest some time with this novel, you won’t regret it!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Real page-turner
This book is a lot of fun – I read it in two days, finding it hard to put down. Richard Smith’s dialogue is fantastic! It’s a family drama, but will be especially good for anyone who loves music as they are sure to enjoy the parallel experiences a grandfather and his granddaughter adjust to the next stage of their lives. If you enjoyed “Elizabeth is Missing” or “The 100 year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared” then you’ll like this. Humane, witty, super-readable, enjoy.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Wonderful first novel
What a wonderful first novel. The main character George is a loveable chap and his relationship with his granddaughter is heartwarming. Great read, looking forward to reading more from Richard Smith.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Music lovers, enjoy! Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 February 2020Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase A wonderful book which took the reader on a special journey. A simple but well written story line with a musical treasure trove of memories. Couldn’t put it down.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ It was amazing
I got this book as a gift and found it really enjoyable and hard to put down. It’s a story of music, relationships, dreams and realities.
The author managed to bring the characters to life in a way that had me totally invested – I was really annoyed by one character’s actions, which to me is a sign of a well-written book.
I really enjoyed the musical references too; some I recognised from my parent’s era, some were current that I knew and some I looked up on the book’s Spotify (available from author’s blog page) which brought the story to life further! I’d definitely recommend it and think it could also be a good one for book groups too – lots to discuss
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Couldn’t put it down
This is such an enjoyable read . The main characters are warm and believable. You feel for George and Tara and want them to be happy . The book is full of musical memories which was an added enjoyment . Overall a book about love and family and well worth reading . I am sure to read it again , I enjoyed it so much .
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Engaging work from a new author
Heart-warming but not sentimental story dealing with the issues of older age and inter-family relationships particularly that of a teenage girl and her grandfather. It is told with a wry sense of humour.
Also great for people who love music as lots of references to familiar songs but all within the context of a well developed storyline. Made me dig out my old record collection and reflect on the power of music in life; and how complex and interesting family relationship are.