Five Wakes And A Wedding written by Karen Ross, publisher 0ne More Chapter, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.
Undertaker Nina Sherwood is full of good advice. For example, never wear lip gloss when you’re scattering ashes.
Nina is your average 30-year-old with a steady job, a nice home – and dead bodies in her basement. As an undertaker, she often prefers the company of the dead to the living – they’re obliging, good listeners and take secrets to the grave.
Nina is on a one-woman mission to persuade her peers that passing on is just another part of life. But the residents of Primrose Hill are adamant that a funeral parlour is the last thing they need… and they will stop at nothing to close down her dearly beloved shop.
When Nina’s ‘big break’ funeral turns out to be a prank, it seems like it’s the final nail in the coffin for her new business. That is, until a (tall, dark and) mysterious investor shows up out of the blue, and she decides to take a leap of faith.
Because, after all, it’s her funeral…
The perfect antidote to all those books about weddings, this book will make you laugh until you cry, perfect for fans of Zara Stoneley’s Bridesmaids, Four Weddings and a Funeral and The Good Place.
I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Five Wakes and a Wedding by Karen Ross. I have the pleasure of sharing a guest post from the author:
As a novelist, the question I get asked most often is, ‘Where do your story ideas come from?’
My new romantic comedy noir, Five Wakes and a Wedding owes its existence to the rise and rise of online shopping, which in turn is leading to the death of so many local high streets.
Here’s an excerpt from one of the early chapters about a shop that’s gone past its sell-by date:
Noggsie’s General Hardware Store had been a local landmark for longer than Gloria could remember. As the years passed, his business had survived and thrived. Car showrooms, coal merchants, computer shops, curry houses, coffee shops . . . butchers, bakers, bookshops, betting shops, builders’ merchants . . . dry cleaners and drapers . . . fish-and-chip shops, furniture shops, florists . . . laundromats and lending libraries . . . glaziers, greengrocers, Apple Stores . . . Their custodians came and went, but the General Hardware Store was a permanent fixture, a family business that continued undaunted by the changes happening around it, rather like Ian Beale in EastEnders, which was one of Gloria’s many guilty pleasures.
This time last year, Noggsie’s shop was still a much-loved anachronism, its green-tiled façade a shabby yet proud island in the present sea of Michelin-starred restaurants, cupcake shops, art galleries, pampering places, frock shops, interior designers, more cupcake shops (mostly gluten-free; some of them also vegan), wine bars and – briefly – a pop-up shop that specialised in miniature replicas of fairground attractions whose price tags might reasonably have been thought sufficient for the full-size originals.
Now Noggsie was gone and the General Hardware Store along with him. It had been shut for several months, and was one of several shops in the high street that continued to stand empty. It had come as an unwelcome surprise to many of the locals – Gloria included – to discover that even Primrose Hill was not immune from the toxic effects of hard times, greedy freeholders, ridiculous business rates, and the residents’ own growing tendency to go shopping without ever leaving home.
I wrote this not long after I’d been chatting with friends about the growing number of empty shops in our neighbourhood. We started crunching numbers to try to work out what sort of a business could operate profitably, and decided it would need to be a pole dancing club. One idea led to another and we were soon thinking about other businesses that could make money, but wouldn’t go down well with our neighbours. A funeral parlour seemed like a natural fit . . . people don’t want to have death staring them in the face when they’ve just popped out for a pint of (non-dairy) milk!
So there was half an idea. Then a week or two later I read in a local newspaper about a group of residents who were organising a petition to protest about plans to covert a disused church on a busy street into a funeral home and mortuary. I got myself online, discovered several similar cases, and duly started writing what turned out to be the first draft of Five Wakes and a Wedding.
A story was born, but there was still a long way to go. I knew my protagonist, Nina Sherwood, was going to have a tough time of it, and I knew I’d need to tread a careful line between death and comedy, which is my brand of fiction. The eventual result – the book I hope your readers will take a look at and perhaps buy – was described by an early reader as ‘Romantic Comedy Noir’.
Five Wakes and a Wedding is more about living – and living well – than it is about death. A lot of the feedback I’ve had is that once they’ve finished reading, people have started thinking about the sort of send-off they’d like for themselves . . . did you know it’s possible to have your ashes made into a vinyl record? Or even perfume . . .
If you decide to take a look, I’d love to know what you think: firstname.lastname@example.org
Author Bio – As a former journalist, broadcaster and advertising copywriter, Karen Ross has followed a fairly traditional path into writing fiction. Five Wakes and a Wedding is her fourth book, and like its predecessors, the novel has two common threads: the setting is London’s Primrose Hill – Karen’s own neighbourhood – and one of the characters is a dog . . . this time he’s called Chopper and he’s almost the same size as a Shetland Pony
Karen has been self-employed for many years, and continues to work as a marketing consultant, in the absence of an offer to manage Tottenham Hotspur. By way of credentials, her other ‘job’ is trading profitably on the world’s first football stockmarket, a platform called Football Index, where you buy and sell players with real money.
Social Media Links – @ComedyKaren