12 January 2019

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker Book Tour and Giveaway! @rararesources

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker
Meet Lucy, aged 25, and Brenda, aged 79. Neighbours and unlikely
Lucy Baker is not your usual 25-year-old. She is more at home reading
and knitting in her cluttered little flat than going out partying and
79-year-old Brenda is full of wise and wonderful advice, but when she’s
diagnosed with dementia her life begins to change. Before her
memories slip away for ever, Brenda is desperate to fulfil one last
wish – to see Lucy happy.
Gifting Lucy the locket that helped Brenda find her own true love, she
hopes to push her reticent neighbour in the right direction. But is Lucy
Baker ready for the opportunities and heartbreaks of the real world?
It’s about time she put her knitting needles aside and found out…
The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker will be the most charming,
heart-warming and feel-good novel you will read this year, perfect
for fans of Ruth Hogan and Gail Honeyman.

Brenda Pethybridge – A Woman to be Reckoned With.

One of the themes in my debut novel The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker is that cruelest of diseases – dementia. My own father, who we lost in 2016, suffered from Lewy Bodies – a form associated with Parkinson's disease – and it was heart-breaking to watch my intelligent and lively dad struggle with this for so long until he finally passed away.

Although Dad rarely forgot who I was, the Lewy Bodies meant he was unable to distinguish dreams from reality, had problems concentrating and finding words, and it had an adverse effect on his physical movement. Dementia often exaggerates a person’s character traits, so my strong-willed dad became difficult, argumentative and highly emotional. As much as I loved him, there were times during the progression of the disease, when it was really hard to be with him. My mother cared for him in their home for as long as she could (with outside support, including myself) but our situation gave me cause to reflect on what happens to those who don’t have family in their lives. With our rapidly aging population, dementia is touching more lives than ever before so it was a subject I wanted to explore.

Brenda Pethybridge, Lucy Baker’s seventy-nine-year-old neighbour, is a woman to be reckoned with. She is a no-nonsense, independent lady who can’t be doing with doctors and has her own way of treating ailments. In the story, she discovers she is in the early stages of the disease. The book follows how the diagnosis affects not only her but the people around her – especially her best friend, twenty-five-year-old Lucy. Because Brenda has no family, Lucy steps up as soon as the diagnosis is made, desperate to do all she can to help. And whilst my novel covers many things – a stray cat, Lucy’s lack of self-confidence and a burgeoning romance – it is the way these two unlikely friends deal so differently with the diagnosis that is pivotal to the novel.

When an author creates a character, they must be fully rounded, and one of the hardest parts of writing is ensuring they remain true to themselves – whatever you throw at them. It is easy to allow your own thoughts, morals, and even vocabulary to seep out into the actions and speech of the people you write about. For example, I would never tolerate the work situation Lucy finds herself in and would undoubtedly high-fived some of her colleagues. In the face. With the wheelie office chair. But Lucy is so real to me that she dictated her own responses to the situations she encountered.

Before I started writing full-length novels, I didn’t understand why writers complained their characters were misbehaving. After all – the authors were typing the words so surely they were in control? But as soon as I introduced Brenda's early dementia diagnosis I knew Brenda and Lucy would have very different and very powerful reactions to this news. It was then that I understood why the actions of your characters are not in your control. Whatever ending I thought might happen when I set out to write the book, was taken out of my hands by the strong-willed and pragmatic Brenda. But then even the Scratbag the cat made decisions without me…

I write uplifting and humorous books but I do employ what I call the Four Weddings Formula. There is darkness and there is light, and that gives both a greater impact. Whilst it was important to handle the subject of dementia sensitively, my characters are able to smile about certain aspects of the disease – as many people do in real life. My own father had a keen sense of humour and was able to make jokes about himself in the early stages because it’s so important to laugh when all you want to do is cry. Brenda doesn’t want people to feel sorry for her – she can’t be doing with any of that nonsense – and her friendship with Lucy enables them to laugh about the situation as it develops. It is, after all, the best medicine.

I hope you enjoy The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker. It is a feel-good book which focusses on the importance of friendship yet reminds us that close friends can come from all walks of life, and don’t have to be versions of ourselves – something I revisit in my next novel. And although everyone's experience of dementia is different, I send the biggest hugs to anyone on this heart-breaking journey, either by themselves or with family.
The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker is available on Amazon
Purchase Links
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Author Bio
Jenni Keer is a history graduate who embarked on a career in contract
flooring before settling in the middle of the Suffolk countryside with
her antique furniture restorer husband. She has valiantly attempted
to master the ancient art of housework but with four teenage boys in
the house it remains a mystery. Instead, she spends her time at the
keyboard writing women's fiction to combat the testosterone-fuelled
atmosphere with her number one fan #Blindcat by her side. Much
younger in her head than she is on paper, she adores any excuse for
fancy-dress and is part of a disco formation dance team.
Social Media Links –
Twitter @JenniKeer
Instagram jennikeer
Website - https://jennikeer.co.uk/
Giveaway to Win The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker goodies
(UK Only)
Prize contains -
Thornton's fudge, a Nu notebook, a Hopes and Dreams bookmark and
a set of five "Scratbag" blank greetings cards designed by Jenni Keer
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. 
Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. 
The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all
valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no
response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an
alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal
data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose
only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of
the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser
and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete
the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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