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Friday, 20 December 2013

When a dream becomes reality

A Day In The Life of 
Carmel Harrington

Have you ever watched the Oscars and fantasised about one day walking the red carpet one day? Maybe you have stood in front of your mirror with a hairbrush in hand and practised your ‘Gwennie’ acceptance speech!

Or of a Friday night, while soaking in your bath do you do a ‘Jimmy Rabbitte’ from The Commitments? Remember that hilarious scene where he practiced his celebrity interview with Terry Wogan? (Ok that’s a few years ago, so now it might be Graham Norton or Alan Carr that you use, but you get the idea!)

If you are sport-mad like my husband, you may have thought about scoring the winning goal for Liverpool in the Champions League Final once or twice. (delete/insert your favourite team here!)

My point here is that for most of us, we all have a day-dream or fantasy ‘what if’ moment in our heads that we never really think will come true, but it’s fun to think about every now and then.

Well for me, my fantasy day-dream was to see a book I’d written for sale in a bookshop. Preferably not in the bargain basket! Ever since I was a young girl, a self-confessed book nerd I might add, I would marvel at the beautiful covers that adorned book shelves row after row and wonder what it must feel like for those authors to see their work displayed so magnificently. Over the years, I have spent many a happy afternoon drinking coffee in my local bookshop, flicking through new releases and deciding which book would be my next purchase. And inadvertently I would find myself day-dreaming about one day seeing my own name amongst those heroes of mine. Just thinking about it would make me smile.

November 14th, 2013 was just an ordinary Thursday for most people, but for me it was a day that will stay forevermore in my memory bank of magical moments. It was the day that I saw my book for sale in a bookshop for the very first time. I’d held the paperbook proof already and that was an amazing moment that I’ll never forget, but this was a whole other experience!

When my editor Charlotte Ledger advised me the release date would be November 14th, I cannot explain the excitement. Think back to what it felt like to be a child waiting for December the 1st to become December 25th. Do you remember that feeling of excitement and delicious anticipation with a big auld dash of impatience thrown in for good measure! Well, that’s how I felt!

When November 14th arrived I gave up all pretence of make-believing it was an ordinary day and headed to Byrnes Bookstores in Enniscorthy. Luck was on my side, I even got a car-parking space right outside the store!

Right in front of me, as I entered the store, on the very first shelf was my book. I couldn’t miss it! But then my eyes wondered to the Book Shelf entitled New Releases and there I was again. And the company I was keeping. My book was below Patricia Scanlan and Cecelia Ahern, beside Helen Fielding and on top of Nicolas Sparks. Oh My!

I stood back and discreetly watched the bookshelf for a few moments, hoping I might get to see someone buy my book. A woman walked over to the new releases and her eyes travelled over the books in front of her. Her hand reached out and touched several titles and all the while I was whispering to myself, ‘Pick mine, pick mine!’ And then oh joy, she reached in and picked up my book! Before I could stop myself I let out of squeal and she jumped at the sound and turned around to see this mad woman smiling from ear to ear and her and thanking her for choosing that book! She looked a little bit worried (understandably!) so she quickly put the book back down and legged it! 

In hindsight maybe stalking the bookshelves is not a good marketing ploy, so I shall refrain from repeating that again. Honestly.

Now I have a new daydream. Do you want to hear it? Ok, here it is, I’m walking the red carpet to the world premiere of the latest movie – called Beyond Grace’s Rainbow! A girl's got to dream!

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Beyond Grace’s Rainbow 

Winner of The Best Romantic Read eBook 2013 at the UK’s Festival of Romance. Winner of The People’s Kindle Book Awards March 2013.

When Grace is diagnosed with cancer her best chance of survival is to find a bone marrow transplant from a family member. Only Grace is adopted and her one previous attempt to connect with her birth mother resulted in bitter disappointment.

But with her young son, Jack, to think about, and the return of her ex Liam, Jack’s father, reminding her of feelings she’d thought she’d buried long ago, Grace refuses to give up hope just yet. 

With the help of her friends she bravely embarks on a journey of discovery. This search will bring her from her home in vibrant Dublin to the unspoilt beauty of Wexford where she must unravel a web of lies and deceit that has spanned over thirty years.

With a wonderful cast of supporting characters and plenty of charm, this will have you laughing and crying at the turn of a page.

“There were some of the happiest life-affirming moments in this novel which were followed by some of the most devastating moments I’ve ever read.” She Loves To Read

“Beyond Grace’s Rainbow is a bittersweet, quietly brilliant novel that will make you cry, laugh and cry all over again.” Female First Magazine

Carmel Harrington, an author and playwright, is published with HarperCollins Romance Imprint HarperImpulse.

Her d├ębut novel Beyond Grace's Rainbow, was a bestselling eBook and is now released in paperback. It was voted Best Romantic eBook Read 2013 at the UK's Festival of Romance Book Awards. It also won the Peoples Choice Kindle Book Awards in March 2013.

Her second novel Sleep of Dreams will be published by HarperImpulse in February 2013. She is currently working on a sequel to Beyond Grace's Rainbow. Listen to Carmel Harrington chatting about her book on You Tube. She is married to Roger and together with their two small children Amelia and Nate, live in Co. Wexford, Ireland.
Click below for a sneak preview of an excerpt from Chapter 1.

Grace was abruptly pulled back from her daydreaming by a demand from Gerry. ‘Right Grace, I’m in suspenders here for too long! Why are we all here? Don’t tell me you’re preggers again!’ Gerry laughs.
‘Nah couldn’t be that Gerry, the sperm of the devil hasn’t been around for years now!’ Tara joked.
Tara was talking about Liam. She never missed an opportunity to have a dig at him, never forgiving him for leaving Grace on her own.
‘Very funny Tara. When are you going to stop laying into Liam? He’s guilty of a lot of things, but sperm of the devil is going a bit far I think. Remember he’s Jack’s Dad.’ Grace responded a bit sharply.
Seeing Tara’s hurt face made Grace feel instantly guilty for snapping at her. She was only joking after all. She smiled lamely to try to take the sting out.
‘Gerry is right thought. I’ve put off telling you my news for long enough now. I did get you guys around here for a reason.’ Making sure everyone had a full glass, Grace figured it was now or never.
‘No getting anything past you lot! I’m not sure how to start.’ Grace faltered. ‘This is harder than I thought.’
‘Are we talking ‘It could happen to you’ kind of news? Gerry interrupted with a smile. ‘Nicholas Cage, Rosie Perez winning the lotto. Nick gives half his winnings to a waitress played by Bridget Fonda. Rosie goes frigging nuts!’ With every word Gerry’s voice had raised a pitch with excitement.
‘Jaysus Gerry, you don’t have to give a synopsis of every movie you quote – we have been to the cinema on occasion too you know!’ Tom quipped.
‘Fraid’ not, Gerry. No lotto wins here. No Nick Cage either for that matter! I suppose it’s more of a Terms of Endearment moment actually.’ Grace responded.
Gerry loved it when his friends played along with him. With a big grin he started his narrative.
‘Jack Nicholson, Shirley McClaine, Debra Winger. God Jack was gorgeous in that movie. As for Shirley, she was simply divine. Can you guys remember that scene in the hospital? I swear I needed Valium because I was crying so much.’
And with that Gerry stopped. The meaning of what Grace had just said hit him and for everyone else too. Four pairs of eyes turned away from Gerry and looked at their friend.‘Right, I need you guys to be strong. No tears, OK?’ They all nodded silently, so Grace continued. ‘It’s a bit of a bitch, but I’ve got cancer.’This was the first time that Grace’s friends had all been silent. Tom found his voice first of all. ‘Grace, this is one sick joke. Not even a good one. See, nobody’s laughing.’ He gestured maniacally around the room.
Grace thought this was the first time she’d ever seen Tom look scared.
‘It’s not a joke though, is it?’ Abby asked Grace.
‘No pet. It’s no joke. Or at least if it is, the joke is on me.’ Grace answered softly.
Sean then spoke quietly. ‘If you guys have any questions, I’ll answer them for you.’
Tara jumped up then, angrily pointing at Sean, barely able to get the words out, ‘You knew about this Sean? You knew and didn’t tell me.’

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations, Carmel! I have shared that day dream and the excitement at finding my book on a shelf between Hilary Boyd and Fern Britton is as yet unsurpassed! I will keep fingers and toes crossed that you get your red carpet moment - I've every confidence that you will!
    Cathy x