Today, I'm delighted to host a guest post from Jenny Kane as part of her 'Another Cup of Coffee Anniversary Blog Tour.'
Over to Jenny...
It is five years since I celebrated the publication of my very first work of contemporary women’s fiction: Another Cup of Coffee.
As you can imagine, I raised more than one cup of black coffee that day. Although I’d already had a large number of stories, long and short, published under various other pen names, this was the story that I’d always wanted to write.
Every stage of writing is filled with asking questions: why, who, where, what, how and so on. Another Cup of Coffee began when I asked myself the most important questions in a writer’s armoury – what if?
In this case, the what if concerned a decision I didn’t make many years ago when I was at Leicester University. What if, having had my heart broken by my long(ish) term boyfriend, I had packed my bags and headed off to take a job in Scotland rather than stay in the area as previously planned?
In reality I stayed put- but what if I had gone? What might have happened to me? Would I have stayed in touch with all my university friends? Would I have been happy with my new life, or would I always regret running away?
Once that initial ‘what if’ had formed in my head, I couldn’t let the idea go. It had to be written into a story.
The resulting novel was named Another Cup of Coffee after the song by Mike and the Mechanics; the lyrics of which neatly sum up the relationship between by two lead characters, Amy and Jack.
Amy (a fictitious version of me) and Jack (a very fictitious version of my ex-boyfriend – who gave his permission for me to write the book, providing I made him taller) get back in touch after Jack sends Amy a mix tape of the music which was important to them in the early 1990’s. Their reunion however, is far from straight forward.
Here’s the blurb!
Thirteen years ago Amy Crane ran away from everyone and everything she knew, ending up in an unfamiliar city with no obvious past and no idea of her future. Now, though, that past has just arrived on her doorstep, in the shape of an old music cassette that Amy hasn’t seen since she was at university.
Digging out her long-neglected Walkman, Amy listens to the lyrics that soundtracked her student days. As long-buried memories are wrenched from the places in her mind where she’s kept them safely locked away for over a decade, Amy is suddenly tired of hiding.
It’s time to confront everything about her life. Time to find all the friends she left behind in England, when her heart got broken and the life she was building for herself was shattered. Time to make sense of all the feelings she’s been bottling up for all this time. And most of all, it’s time to discover why Jack has sent her tape back to her now, after all these years…
With her mantra, New life, New job, New home, playing on a continuous loop in her head, Amy gears herself up with yet another bucket-sized cup of coffee, as she goes forth to lay the ghost of first love to rest...
I loved writing Another Cup of Coffee. Therapy and fun all in one go- not to mention a massive nostalgia trip back to the 1990’s! It was with a sense of delight and surprise that it became popular enough for me to write three Christmas themed novella length sequels (Another Cup of Christmas, Christmas in the Cotswolds and Christmas at the Castle) and another full length novel, Another Glass of Champagne, to continue the story of Amy and Jack and their friends, Kit, Phil, Peggy, Shaun and Rob.
Many thanks to everyone who has supported this series!
Here’s a little extract for you from the very beginning of the story:
Shrugging off her khaki jacket, Amy bent to pick up the pile of post that lay waiting on her doormat. As her hand reached to retrieve the small brown package half-buried beneath some junk mail, Amy froze. She knew that handwriting. She also had a funny feeling that she knew what was going to be inside.
But why return it now, after all these years?
The poorly wrapped parcel broke open as her fingers fumbled at the sticky tape, and a music cassette fell into her hands. The cover was unmarked, just as it had been when he’d taken it from her. Amy stared in disbelief, the blood draining from her already pale face. She remembered recording at least two songs onto it herself. Maybe there were more now.
Amy’s brother had given her the blank tape as she’d been climbing into their parents’ car, ready to be driven away to start her new life as a student. She hadn’t seen Mike since he’d moved to Australia not long afterwards, but she could still picture his face clearly as he’d passed over the unusual gift. ‘To record your musical memories along the way,’ he’d said with a grin. Back then Amy had had every intention to fill her gift with each musical memory associated with her student life, but the reality of actually living through those experiences had left her with little time to record more than a couple of tracks.
Flustered, Amy shook the torn packaging in her hunt for a note of explanation. A small white envelope fell to the floor. Jack’s familiar spidery scrawl stretched across its front.
Dearest Amy. Please listen to the tape BEFORE you open this. The letter will explain afterwards. J x
With a feeling that she was outside of what was happening, detached, as if she was a spectre floating above herself, Amy walked into her tiny living room and put the tape down on her coffee table, as gingerly as if it was an unexploded bomb.
What was on it now? She knew she couldn’t avoid this unexpected intrusion for long – but, on the other hand, a brief delay in order to clear her head suddenly felt essential.
Taking refuge in the kitchen, Amy placed her palms onto the cool, tiled work surface, and took a couple of deep yet shaky breaths. Forcing her brain to slip back into action, she retrieved a bottle of white wine from the fridge, poured a large glassful and, squaring her shoulders, carried it through to the living room.
Perching on the edge of her sofa, her throat dry, Amy stared suspiciously at the tape, before daring to pick it up and click open its stiff plastic box. Two minutes later, her hands trembling, she closed it again with a sharp bang, and drank some wine. It took a further five minutes to gather the courage to re-open the case and place the tape into the dusty cassette compartment of her ancient stereo system. It must have been years since she’d seen a cassette, she thought, let alone listened to one. She wasn’t even sure the stereo still worked …
Swallowing another great gulp of alcohol, Amy shut her eyes and pressed Play, not at all sure she wanted to take this trip back in time …
Many thanks to Lynne for hosting this part of my birthday blog tour!
Another Cup of Coffee is available from all good book and eBook retailers, including-
About Jenny Kane
From the comfort of her cafe corner in Mid Devon, Jenny Kane wrote the contemporary women’s fiction and romance novels, Romancing Robin Hood (2nd edition, Littwitz Press, 2018), Abi’s Neighbour (Accent Press, 2017), Another Glass of Champagne (Accent Press, 2016), and the bestsellers, Abi’s House (Accent Press, June 2015), and Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013).
She has also written 3 novella length sequels to her Another Cup of.....books: Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), Christmas in the Cotswolds (Accent, 2014), and Christmas at the Castle (Accent, 2016). These three seasonal specials are now available in one boxed set entitled Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection (Accent, 2016)
Jenny is also the author of quirky children’s picture books There’s a Cow in the Flat (Hushpuppy, 2014) and Ben’s Biscuit Tin (Hushpuppy, 2015)
Many thanks Jenny, for writing such an interesting guest post.