#AuthorInterview The Posthumous Adventures of Harry Whittaker by Bobbie Darbyshire @BobbieDar @sandstonepress @kellyAlacey #Booktwt #AuthorTwt #Authorinterview #bookblogger #Magicrealism

As I was cleaning up my Gmail, to reduce space. I have come across a file back from 2019 with a lot of interviews that I received for the blog. I will be sharing them with you over the coming weeks. I think at the time I was floored by how busy and popular the blog had gotten. Plus I had started Love Books Tours. So sincere apologies for the very long delay.

The Posthumous Adventures of Harry Whittaker by Bobbie Darbyshire

Back of the Book

When Harry Whittaker, much loved star of stage and screen, dies suddenly of a heart attack, he finds himself still in this world. Trapped in a bizarre afterlife, he struggles to free himself. Meanwhile, his estranged son Richard is also trying to escape – from his failing café, his dotty mother and the wrong girlfriend. Perhaps what they all need is a guardian angel.

Interview from the Archives with Bobbie Darbyshire

Feb 2019

Q. What’s your new novel about?

Thanks so much for featuring The Posthumous Adventures of Harry Whittaker. Harry is a hugely famous actor – think Laurence Olivier crossed with Jack Nicholson! He’s adored by his public, but in personal life he’s an outrageous old egotist. Dying of a heart attack, he finds himself still in this world, stuck in a bizarre afterlife, while his very much nicer son Richard tries to escape a failing café, a dotty mother and the wrong girlfriend.

Q. Where did the inspiration come from?

The story I’d begun to develop explored the effect of a father’s mean-spirited will on his family, but it wasn’t firing my imagination. Feeling stuck and downcast, I complained to a friend: ‘The problem is that the most interesting character is dead…’ As the words left my mouth – ping! – the light came on in my head: Harry would still be around, observing how his will was received. He would have obstacles to overcome in the afterlife, a predicament that would limit him severely, bring him down a peg and teach him some lessons. I couldn’t wait to start writing.

Q. How does it feel to know your characters are out and about in the reader’s imagination?

It feels wonderful! I’m getting enthusiastic emails from friends. Acquaintances accost me, enthusing about the characters and story. In odd moments I pause to imagine someone I don’t know, haven’t met, out there somewhere, reading or talking about Harry & Co. It’s very warming.

Q. Do you miss writing about them?

Sometimes, yes. With each novel – this is the fourth – it is hard to let go of the characters, to stop thinking about them. The antidote is to start a new book! My fifth, two thirds complete, has been on hold while I’ve been working with Sandstone Press, polishing Harry for publication. The poor hero has been in suspended animation for months, entertaining a grizzling baby by banging a saucepan with a spoon. I’m itching to get back to release him and write the end of his story…

Q. What was your publishing journey highlight?

I’m spoilt for choice. Maybe the day I completed my first novel, Truth Games, and flew across the Thames on the top deck of a bus, inwardly chanting, ‘I’m a novelist, I’m a novelist!’ Maybe the day it was accepted by Cinnamon Press, or soon after, when my second, Love, Revenge & Buttered Scones, was accepted by Sandstone Press. Or those lovely times when a reader enthuses to me about one of my books, has me feeling, precariously, like a real writer. Or most recently, out of the blue… at the Harry launch in March, when my interviewer and I took to the stage, the 100-strong audience erupted in cheers and applause – now that is going to be a hard moment to beat.

Q. If you were on an island for a year what two books would you bring?

Middlemarch by George Eliot. I’ve read it four times and loved it. It’s long and complex enough to keep me going for a year – someone said it braids together seven different storylines, each capable of sustaining a novel. And The Ginger Tree by Oswald Wynd: a fascinating story of a young Scottish woman in the 1900s who travels to China to marry an English officer, and then things unravel. A Facebook friend posted it was the best woman’s point of view by a male writer she’d ever read, and I have to agree. It’s little known, but everyone I’ve recommended it to loves it.

Q. Lastly, what is your favourite book quote?

It’s hard to better “Only connect”. Not the TV game-show, but the epigraph to E. M. Forster’s Howard’s End. Human connection resolves so many problems and misunderstandings, soothes so much unhappiness, eases the anxiety of the human condition. Standoffishness is such a sad negation of life. Only connect. 

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