I’m sure my friend Amanda Sheridan won’t mind me chatting about our conversation. She posted a book review of something she’d read and said, ‘Don’t give it to your old granny to read’. In the spirit of fun, I had to comment that many old grannies are from the hippy generation and wouldn’t bat an eyelid at the sexual goings-on. It does highlight the way we perceive the elderly, though.
Reading Greta Harvey’s excellent Waiting in Wattlevale underlines the point, with a colourful cast of senior citizens determined to live life to the full for as long as they wake up in the morning. Some are happier than others, but that’s how it is at any age. Give Waiting in Wattlevale a go, full review later on. This is the second time Greta Harvey has been our showcased Featured uthor, so she’s one to look out for.
There are so many older people making a difference. Our society often acts as though they’re has-beens with nothing left to offer. Tell it to Captain Tom, I say, and find out about Anoosheh Ashoori while you’re at it. He was a hostage in Iran for the same time as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
Over the past six years, we’ve heard about the latter—and credit to her husband for his constant efforts to free her—but little is said about Anoosheh. I’m delighted they’ve been returned to their families. However, the younger, good-looking wife, the mother of a small child, made a better focus for the media than an ageing man. Mr Ashoori is a victim of media-related ageism.
Older people have been scoring, and not only in recent times in writing. Many authors didn’t rise to success until they were mature, and I’m glad to see independent authors of advanced years on the BBE Facebook group.
Sooz Simpson and I are no spring chickens (Sooz interjects—Oi, I resemble that remark!), for a start—P45, did you say, boss? Sorry, can’t hear you, bit audibly challenged these days. And then there’s—well, you know who you are.
So let’s hear it for ageing authors. They may have issues with the body wearing out. I’m on painkillers as I type for a persistent arm ache—arthritis beckons. My vision isn’t what it was. One way or another, though, it’s no wonder that a typo or six gets into my books, to be reported by a concerned friend after I’ve gone through the torture that is self-publishing on KDP.
With due respect to the gorgeous grannies pictured, things have changed, and we couldn’t be more wrong.
It’s not only the ageing who have these issues—everybody does. Isn’t it a good idea to have at least one other set of eyes go through the manuscript you’ve slaved over before publication? I’m not talking about beta readers, who may pick up a typo or two but who are focussed on what may be a weak plot element in need of a change. I’m talking about having a professional go through the thing with a fine toothcomb.
A full edit from Best Book Editors will do that.
Did I say one edit?—No, every commission gets three complete developmental edits/proofread passes as standard. Your book is worked by both a sub and a lead editor, and we don’t believe any other company gives this level of service.
You also get up to a 5,000-word overview of your book to point out positives, negatives and suggested improvements.
Am I done? Of course not. We provide you with a pre-publication review for your launch and marketing. It will be updated and have your cover included in the publication.
Every book we work on gets automatic inclusion in the BBE Book AWARDS 2022.
It’s worth every penny.
Or, how about taking the half-price proofread and blooper-catching service BBE offers? You get all of the benefits above, but in proofreading only—so checking spelling, grammar, punctuation and glaring errors.
Review of Waiting in Wattlevale by Greta Harvey
Recently-qualified carer Peony has finished a temporary post at the awful Mimosa care home and applies for a place at the much nicer Wattlevale. It’s a far cry from the chemical-coshing of the elderly residents and the atmosphere of suspicion at the infamous Mimosa. Wattlevale presents its own challenges, with the lively and wide-awake residents.
Thelma, the ex-chorus girl, is loquacious and noisy despite a stroke and suffering from Parkinson’s. Joining her at high volume is Digger, the country-music-loving ex-bushman, a loner, as non-PC as they come and doesn’t give a hoot about it. Cyril is an avid reader and absorbs knowledge. He excels on quiz nights at Wattlevale. He’s a friend of Digger from before they moved there. They’ve taken Reg under their wing. He’s a cattle farmer who lost his son in a tractor accident—and the will to live after his bereavement.
The Three Stooges shake the place up with their mischief, like changing the signs on the toilet doors. It’s reminiscent of Last of the Summer Wine.
Ted’s son and daughter-in-law have taken everything he had and abandoned him. Florence’s children have moved away and don’t want to be saddled with her, so after a broken hip, they took her from her lifelong cottage and dumped her at Wattlevale. Recent arrival Josie doesn’t want to be there and is actively distressed. Ken is prone to increasing accidents of wind-and-water. The unpleasant ex-army officer, Charles, takes the prize for the most unsympathetic character. He never married and is misogynistic to a fault, behaving as though he’s in the military. He knows no other way and is too old to change.
The gap between them is bridged by enigmatic and empathetic retired hippy Elspeth. She picks up on troubled vibes when the residents and staff have problems, and she shows concern for them all.
The staff are just about coping with what was already a stressful occupation, with the new spot checks coming in the wake of the goings-on at places like Mimosa. The powers-that-be aren’t taking any chances. The staff feel the heat, beginning with the overworked Director of Care Pat Gibson. The friendly head nurse and supervisor, Shirley Petite, is next in line. Under their supervision are Jenny, with her clumsiness and weight problem, Toni, who’s prone to lose professional detachment and get too involved with the residents. Delia and Wendy are united in their disapproval of the grown children who dump their aged parents in care and don’t visit them. Lenny, the extrovert radio presenter, visits often. He’s happy to talk to the residents and liven things up. And we have lovely Lucian, the gardener.
Peony gets to know them all. She knows to squat to talk to seated residents rather than talking down to them, which bodes well for her. She’s coping with her home life in the wake of a broken marriage from an absent husband and has to raise her children with assistance from her Aunt Peggy, who lives with them.
The book is character-driven, and it’s a major strength of author Greta Harvey, with well-drawn and believable people telling real-life stories. This well-paced narrative is set in Australia and is convincing in its account of care home staff and residents, none of them are too old to rock ‘n roll, but they are all—too young to die. The author utilises the classic tool of bringing a newcomer, Peony, into the community of Wattlevale and showing what goes on through her eyes as she familiarises herself. The reader is involved in the happenings, from humour to sadness, children’s visits, and late-blooming love in the evening of life. An excellent read, feel-bad in places, but overall feel-good, and nothing if not thought-provoking. Highly recommended.
Greta’s Other books are
Both equally as good as Waiting in Wattlevale
Check out Greta Harvey’s book trailer for Watiing in Wattlevale here. Created by bestbookeditors.com
Go on, tell me that shell-suit lady and the bunny overing it’s eyes in the sad part, don’t make you smile.
And here is the officeial BBE Review of the same great book.
And the official BBE REview of Repent at Leisure.
The writing/editing department has been snowed this month, and it’s not letting up next month. We currently have 6 books on the spike for editing.
SS Saywach’s excellent Inglestone Manor is almost complete and ready to return.
Then we have one for our tenured publishing company KWES.
Lloyd Saponeck is a new client with a debut novel. Lloyd won’t mind me saying that he is a quadriplegic gentleman who has written his 144,000-word book—with his mouth. This man is an inspiration to us all.
Grace Grahme has her third novel in with us for editing. We did both of her previous novels, and it’s great to work with her again.
Debbie Sturrock is another new client, and we took possession of her novel last night. Can’t wait to see what she’s got for us.
We have another project on the spike from our other tenured publishing house in Tunisia.
Then we have the latest in the Alliance series due in from Miss Jenna O’Malley on the first of April.
We have another six quotes out for the writing department for everything from ghostwriting to editing a non-English speaking translation. We are busy bees in BBE Towers, and the girls are chained to their desks, working 80 hour days and don’t have time to eat—desk buckets are provided for other needs.
As always thanks got to our staff blogger Laura Lyndhurst for another chaty and informative blog, I hope you’ve enjoyed it.
That’s all, folks! See you next week.
Katherine Black / Susan (Sooz) Simpson
Founder of Best Book Editors
Katherine has held almost every single job imaginable, from painting gnomes to zookeeper. She spent most of her life in the caring profession and has managed both a nursing home and a care agency. But her passion for the written language always brings her home to novel writing.
Born in Tyne-and-Wear, North-East England, she has settled in the beautiful Lake District, Cumbria, with her partner, two dogs, a cat, an iguana and a python (just don’t ask her which of those six things is her favourite!).
She specialises in content creation and social media outreach, and has been a developmental editor for hundreds of clients. She owns and operates bestbookeditors.com where she helps foundling authors polish their skills. However, after being diagnosed with a dramatic brain condition in 2022, she has had to let 23 staff go, and scale back the business. BBE is still very much open, we are just fewer and can’t take as much work on.
Katherine Black is the author of psychological thriller/detective/fantasy adventure novels.