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21 October 2017

'STARTING OVER'

'Starting Over' is the title of the new novel in the Teacher series and will be published in 2018.

I was asked by my editor to write two prequels to the series, one set in the fifties and one in the sixties. I've completed the first novel and set it in the academic year 1952/53. It's a time of post-war austerity, rationing, the first television sets and the Queen's Coronation. A new teacher, Lily Briggs, arrives in Ragley-on-the-Forest and begins her work in the village school. It proves to be eventful and the novel follows her life and loves through the changing seasons.

I'm about to start the next prequel and will be setting it in 1963/64. The coming weeks will be devoted to research including the assassination of John Kennedy and the emergence of the Beatles on the popular music scene. I've enjoyed the change of focus and I do hope my regular readers enjoy stepping back in time when some of the popular characters, including a youthful Vera the Secretary and a teenage Ruby, were living in the village long before they appeared in 'Teacher, Teacher!' set in 1977/78.

Meanwhile . . . many thanks to everyone who went out and purchased a copy of the latest Teacher novel. I received an email from my agent saying that after the first three days of sales 'Happiest Days' entered the national Original Fiction Top Ten at number nine. I have agreed to record this novel next March at the Soundings Studio up in Newcastle.

I have enjoyed various events including a very special one at York St John University. I was the guest of Vice Chancellor Karen Stanton and senior members of staff and during an excellent dinner at Grays Court near the Minster, I was awarded the honorary title of Cultural Fellow of the University. It comes with responsibility and I have agreed to give a series of lectures over the coming years. Next month I shall be attending this year's Graduation Ceremony in the spectacular setting of York Minster.

Also sincere thanks to the countless readers, particularly those from Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada, who have emailed me saying how much they enjoyed the latest novel. Happiest Days moves on to the next academic year, 1986/87, in the life of Ragley School and its headteacher. All the old favourite characters return and another year of tears and laughter (with a dramatic conclusion!) is in store for the villagers of Ragley-on-the-Forest in North Yorkshire.

Recently I've received a number of emails from partially sighted readers who are enjoying the audio editions of the Teacher series. So thank you . . . it is rewarding to think my stories are providing some relaxing entertainment in your lives.

In the meantime best wishes to you all and thanks for supporting my writing,

Jack

 8th Oct 2016  Ilkley Literature Festival
 8.00 pm        Clarke Foley Centre
 2nd Nov 2016
 Talk/Book Signing
 7.30 pm
       Hythe Library, Hampshire
             
 2017 events
           
 25th Jan 2017  Live Radio Interview  2.00 pm        BBC Radio York
 26th Jan 2017
 Launch of 'Happiest Days'
 6.30 pm
       Waterstones LEEDS
 27th Jan 2017  Stock signings          Waterstones Huddersfield
 Waterstones Wakefield
 Waterstones Bradford
 Waterstones Harrogate
 28th Jan 2017
 Book Signing
 1.00 pm
       Waterstones YORK
 2nd Feb 2017
 Book Signing
 1.00 pm
       Waterstones SOUTHAMPTON WEST QUAY
 6th Feb 2017  Recording 'Star Teacher'  2 days        Soundings Studio, Whitley Bay
 18th Feb 2017  Book Signing  11.00 am
       Waterstones ALTON
 11th Mar 2017
 Book Signing
 1.00 pm
       Waterstones BASINGSTOKE
 15th Mar 2017
 Lecture 'Paperback Writer'
 2.00 pm
       York St John University
 27th May 2017  Talk/Book Signing  7.30 pm        St Andrew's Church Hall, Medstead, Hants
 17th June 2017  Talk/Book Signing  4.00 pm
       Bentworth Literary Festival, Hants
 11th July 2017
 Talk/Book Signing
 7.30 pm
       Chatham Library, Kent