Strays and Relations
Strays and Relations follows the story of Dizzy, whose search for her birth parents is sad, humorous, and in parts bizarre. Dizzy learns that she began life as a surviving twin, then was fostered until a permanent home was found.
Dizzy begins her search for her original identity. Why was she given up for adoption in the 1960s? Following a tenuous lead, she travels to Ireland with her best friend Sugar, but the trail takes a misleading turn. It ends in what they mistakenly believe is Dizzy's mother's grave.
Dizzy falls in love with Will, a blacksmith. But something is missing. Dizzy's life changes when her birth father Tommy makes contact using a private detective. He reveals that her birth mother is alive and married to a man called Vernon. Now the bigger, trickier task lies ahead: working out how to fit the disparate bits of her life together. This is a book which will both amuse and touch readers' hearts.
Strays and Relations manages sensitive subject matter with engaging wit and sharply-observed dialogue, and includes vivid descriptions of some rather unusual animals and people. It will appeal to readers who have encountered a recycled animal or family.
Excerpt:Dizzy was finding out more about her past, but wasn’t sure she liked what was being uncovered.
I wonder how you would feel if, aged thirty-six, you first glimpsed photographs of your birth mother and half-siblings?
‘I pulled out the photographs, which were worn around the edges.
Before me were nephews and nieces who looked so much like my own child. I ﬂicked through them, read their names and the dates written on the back of each photo, trying to piece together who belonged to whom. They were strangers and yet there was something familiar about them. I glanced at the next photograph of a middle-aged woman, who I guessed to be Marie. I held her in my hands, touching her face, letting my fingers rest on her.
On the first photograph she looked ordinary. We had the same pale-looking skin, features, hair colour. Marie was tall and slim. I pulled out another photograph. On this one, Marie’s blonde hair was piled up, and make-up immaculately applied. She looked like she bothered with herself.
I suppose I was always going to be disappointed because, although the image on that photograph was for real, it didn’t match my expectation. How could this woman match the imaginary Marie, who had been the fantasy figure of my childhood. Seeing her photo felt like Christmas morning, but after you’ve opened all your presents.
I had imagined her to be young still, almost frozen in time from when she lost her twins. It was a shock that she had aged – and I was suddenly aware of my own mortality – glimpsing into the reﬂection of my past, I had peeped into the mirror of my future. In another photograph, I saw a mother, a brother and two sisters in 1970s-style clothes, red hair in pigtails and wearing tank tops, a chopper bike thrown against the wall of their family home, but there was something else I couldn’t work out. And then I realised what it was – laid out before me were the pictures of a previous life, one that I could have lived.
Will came in through the front door, but I told him that I couldn’t sit around looking at pictures of strangers all day. I was going to paint the upstairs spare room windowsill. I angrily scraped the chair back and I was oﬀ, leaving Marie where she was, discarded on the table.
As I stomped up the first few stairs, I turned to look at him. Will had the photographs in his hands, turning them over, putting one behind the other.
‘Humph, don’t you go saying I look like her,’ I said.
‘No, I wouldn’t dare, love…’
Author Bio –
I have lived in the West Country all of my life, but never in such a remote place as I do now - in the middle of the woods with rooks and bats. It may be remote but it's never quiet in Dizzyland! When I'm not looking after the dogs, chickens and a six-toed cat, I help run a blacksmith's forge with my partner.
My ideas come from humorous incidents in my own life, which I fictionalise. Strays and Relations is my first novel.
Before I began writing I had various jobs, including working in a wildlife park and as a youth worker.
Social Media Links –