Friday, 16 September 2016

The Singalong Society for Singletons - The Lion King

It's Friday 16th September, which means one thing - it's time for Monique, Issy, Hope and Connie to settle down to watch Disney's The Lion King!

From the moment I decided to write a book about musicals, I knew I had to include The Lion King.  It's one of my favourite musical films, with a winning combination of a nigh-on perfect score, angst and humour in equal measure and a plot that'll have you hooked from start to finish ('This one was based on Hamlet, you know,' [Mon] continue[s], gesturing towards the TV.  'And no one would dare to call Shakespeare piffle.  He's the greatest playwright that ever lived.') 

I have fond memories of watching it at the cinema when it was first released and my DVD copy is rather well-worn.

But although the film is incredible in its own right, nothing can compare to the glorious spectacle that is The Lion King on stage.  The costumes, the lighting, the's a full-on feast for any fan of musicals to devour.  I had tears in my eyes from the moment the first note reverberated around the theatre and I laughed and cried all show long.  Honestly, even if you're not a fan of musicals, make an effort to go and watch The Lion King.  It's an experience that will stay with you, I promise.

Do you remember the first time you saw The Lion King?  Have you, like me, been fortunate enough to see it on stage?  I'd love to hear about your own experiences!

I'll be back next week when the girls are watching The Sound of Music...

The Singalong Society for Singletons is published on October 7th in ebook format and 15th December in paperback.  Available for preorder now.

Friday, 9 September 2016

The Singalong Society for Singletons - Frozen

Today is September 9th.  It's the last day of the first week back at school.  Teachers, teaching assistants and parents are crying out for an evening with a glass (make that a bottle) of wine and something decent to watch on the tellybox. 

That's certainly the case for Monique Brown and Issy Jackson.  They've found the first week back an exhausting struggle and can't wait to kick back, put their feet up and watch their favourite film. 

Ah, yes...what is their movie of choice?  Well, it's actually Disney's modern classic Frozen, a pretty apt choice seeing as the terraced house they share in Sheffield's Cardigan Close is so cold that it could double as a fridge freezer. 

I'm a parent of an eight year old. I've been subjected to Frozen more times than I care to remember, and as much as I love musicals I have to be honest and say it's not one of my favourites. I'm sorry!  Whether it's because 'Let It Go' has been played to death or if it's because the DVD was seemingly on a loop in our house for a while, I'm not sure, but I've never been drawn to it in the same way I am to the classic Disney princess films such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella.  What Mon, the protagonist in the novel, loves about Frozen is Elsa's spunkiness, and I can absolutely see why that's appealing and inspiring for women everywhere.

But I'm definitely in Mon's sister Hope's corner when it comes to this one.  "I'll need more than one glass of wine to get through Frozen," she says. 

Hope - let's open another bottle...

Next week...The Lion King!

The Singalong Society for Singletons is available to preorder now in ebook and paperback formats.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

More About The Singalong Society for Singletons

It's now just five weeks until The Singalong Society for Singletons starts winging its way onto ereaders everywhere, which is really, really exciting (but also a smidge terrifying too).  So I think the time has come for me to tell you a bit more about it!

The Singalong Society for Singletons is the story of Mon, a twenty-something teaching assistant whose long-term boyfriend Justin has moved to Chicago for a year with his job in banking.  Mon shares a terraced house with her teacher workmate Issy who longs for a loving partner and child more than anything in the world.  They spend their evenings drinking wine and watching Frozen, their comfort-film of choice, until one night when Mon's sister Hope unexpectedly arrives on their doorstep with her own relationship woes...

The young women find that when your heart is breaking, there's nothing better to do than sing it out and The Singalong Society for Singletons is born!  Mon, Issy, Hope and Mon's best friend Connie are soon joined by two new members who bring a whole new dynamic to the group, and buoyed by the uplifting magic of musicals and the power of friendship, the group find they're tackling their issues in their own unique ways.

Each chapter takes place on a Friday night when the Singalong Society meet to watch their weekly film.  If you want to watch the same musicals as Mon and co, here's the list!  I plan to blog about each of these musicals on the day the Singalong Society watch them too, so keep an eye out for blog updates.

The Playlist

Prologue - Wicked
Chapter 1 - 9th September - Frozen
Chapter 2 - 16th September - The Lion King
Chapter 3 - 23rd September - The Sound of Music
Chapter 4 - 30th September - Grease
Chapter 5 - 7th October - Chicago
Chapter 6 - 14th October - West Side Story
Chapter 7 - 21st October - South Pacific
Chapter 8 - 28th October - The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Chapter 9 - 4th November - Les Miserables
Chapter 10 - 11th November - Singing in the Rain
Chapter 11 - 18th November - Fame/Rent
Chapter 12 - 25th November - Oliver!
Chapter 13 - 2nd December - Walking on Sunshine
Chapter 14 - 9th December - Mamma Mia
Chapter 15 - 16th December - Mary Poppins
Chapter 16 - 23rd December - White Christmas
Chapter 17 - Shrek the Musical
Epilogue - The Wizard of Oz

Are your favourites there?  Or are you horrified that I've missed out the one musical that gets you tapping your feet and waggling your jazz hands?  Let me know!

The Singalong Society for Singletons is published by Harper Impulse (7th October in ebook and 15th December in paperback) and is available for preorder now from Kobo, Amazon, Waterstones, and all other major ebook/paperback retailers.

How Am I Gonna Be An Optimist About This? (Or Why 'Boyband Indie' is NOT destroying Guitar Music)

This blog post is a response to Mark Beaumont's NME article entitled ' Mark, My Words : want to save guitar music? Kick out boyband...