Play Performed

Play based on the book “Say That Again” was performed at NeuroArts Festival 20th & 21st July 2019 in Rochester.

It was a great honour to be asked to adapt Say That Again into a one act play for the first NeuroArts Festival to take place on the 20th and 21st of July 2019. It wasn’t easy turning a 600 page novel into a play of just under an hour but I was very pleased to be asked and even more pleased with the result.

The Hempstead Players took on my play and did a wonderful job with it and I was more than happy with their performances. The actor who portrayed Benedict, my hero with Parkinson’s, didn’t over play it and got it just right! On man living with Parkinson’s had to leave the room for a few minutes because he was so choked. Another man said his father had lived with Parkinson’s and he was also moved to tears. However, as with my novel, it had some very funny moments in it which the audience responded to with a lot of laughter. Both performances were full and Sunday especially was standing room only.

Eastgate House in Rochester High Street was a beautiful venue and especially relevant as Dickens often frequented it when he live in Rochester and it is mentioned in two of his novels.

The Hempstead Players then performed it again at Medway Little Theatre and put it in for the Duncan Rand One Act Play competition where it came second. It also won Best Lead Character, Best Supporting Actor and Best Newcomer. I was so happy for them because they did fantastic job. The Director, lighting and stage manager were all brilliant and they all worked so hard to bring my play to life for the festival. See the photos for the performance and them with their awards. I am deeply grateful to them for taking it on.

On the back of this success, I will be sending the play to Radio 4.

In the next few months I will continue to give talks to various Parkinson’s groups and libraries, but my main focus is my new novel, You’re Not Alone Anymore, which is now for sale from this website (and soon on Kindle).

Cycling with Parkinson's

Garth in my class, who has Parkinson's with a bad tremor in his left arm, cycled 100 miles yesterday for charity with the tremor so bad he could hardly apply the brake bless him. He actually was doing it for bowel cancer as he's had that too! Some people really suffer don't they? He's actually cured of that now and ONLY got Parkinson's. He says Leith Hill is the killer!

Jane and Garth

Jane and Garth

 

 

Self publishing

I'm all for self publishing as there are only so many times a publishing house/agent can tell you, 'The subject matter isn't for us,' before you begin to doubt yourself and wonder whether anybody will want to read it. However, what I've found is, writing the book was the easiest part!

If you're going to self publish, you need to make sure it is perfect before putting it 'out there.' That means paying for a professional editor. The editing process is an interesting thing in itself. The editor sends you chapters that have been pulled apart, changed and rearranged until you wonder whether there is any of your words left! And of course, you don't have to agree with everything the editor says. Being quite stubborn, I didn't mind at all the grammar being corrected or being told I had repeated myself, but I often dug my heels in when a descriptive passage had been questioned. But all in all my editor, Jane Lake, made the whole process quite painless and often very humorous. Then finding a printer to print hard copies was quite interesting. I emailed many but only one replied. Luckily for me they were professional and friendly and very patient.

The interesting part for me is, what made it so hard to get the book published, which was the subject matter ( a hero with Parkinson's ) has made it much easier to self publish. This is beacuse of the kindness and interest of the Parkinson's charities and all those people on Twitter who I have been talking to, who have Parkinson's, who have reacted so positively to the notion that the hero of my novel has just been diagnosed with Parkinson's.

The novel is not a self help book, it is a story about how a man reacts to his diagnosis, how he copes with the symptoms and how he meets a young woman who makes him see his life in a different way. It was difficult to be as honest as I could about what the illness entails without being pessimistic and negative. So I brought a lot of humour into the story and wanted to make the ending uplifting.

Everything I wrote about has been witnessed by me or told to me by the people in my classes. None of it has been made up, but of course everyone's experience with Parkinson's is different and everyone's approach is different. Ultimately, I wanted to show that people are still who they are, but they have an illness to deal with. And deal with it they certainly do, with courage, humour and strength.

Sent from my iPhone