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(Painting by Geoffrey Notman, which won’t be on my cover even though I think it’s perfect)

I took a year off in 2015 to complete my Masters in Creative Writing. It was a terrific year, but while my manuscript earned me an A, it will never see the light of day. (Maybe in a different form. Maybe.)

And then I took most of 2016 to write another book, which meant I missed a slot in my publisher’s calendar for this year.

SO – my next book will be coming out in February 2018 thanks to Penguin Random House NZ. We’re still wrangling with the title, but it will probably be called Welcome to Gabriel’s Bay. It’s a funny book about a small town in New Zealand wot I made up.

Here’s the blurb:

Welcome to Gabriel’s Bay.

A heart-warming, thoroughly entertaining novel about a whole community.

Kerry Macfarlane has run away, to escape the humiliation of his wedding-that-wasn’t. He lands as far from home as he can go, in coastal Gabriel’s Bay, which bills itself on its website (last update: two decades ago) as ‘a well appointed small town’. Here Kerry will seize the opportunity to prove he’s not a complete failure. Or, at least, give his most convincing impression.

But Gabriel’s Bay has its own problems – a lack of employment, no tourists, and a daunting hill road between it and the nearest large town. And its inhabitants are not easily won over by charming newcomers, especially ones who suddenly announce big plans to transform the town’s fortunes.

Before he has any hope of success, Kerry must run the gauntlet of Sidney, single mother deserted by a feckless ex; the thorny domestic situation of his new employers, the Bartons; Mac, the doctor’s receptionist who adores her boss but would shoot you dead before admitting it; a football team of nine year-olds; and a giant restaurateur, who is only marginally less terrifying than the local progressive association, who will debate apostrophe placement until the crack of doom.

Does Kerry have what it takes to earn respect, friendship, and perhaps even love? Will he ever feel truly welcome in Gabriel’s Bay?

Only a million months to go before it’s out!

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