Author Feature – Ordinary Joe by Jon Teckman

By | December 11, 2015

A brilliant, fast-paced comedy about what happens when all of your dreams become true.

What would you do if…
…you were happily married
…with two gorgeous children
…and the most gorgeous film star in the world walked up to you?

And it wasn’t a joke. Could you resist?

Joe West, accountant, father and husband is just your average guy who has just walked into that dream scenario. Except the dream sours fast and suddenly everything he holds dear is on the line.

Sometimes life is crazier than the movies. 

I’m delighted today to welcome author Jon Teckman as a guest on Being Anne. Jon’s debut novel, Ordinary Joe, was published by The Borough Press on 16th July.  It’s available in paperback and kindle editions, and is gathering some of the most wonderful reviews. This is one of those occasions when I’m really kicking myself that my reading diary is so full that I can’t read it straight away. 

Jon’s thoughts have been turning to Christmas…

Dear Santa… 

Last Christmas you kindly arranged for me to receive the greatest gift any writer could wish for.  In 2015 I finally saw my novel Ordinary Joe published and I’m sure you had a lot to do with it.  I am very grateful for that, but in your understandable haste I’m afraid you forgot some things.  You didn’t include in the package all the extras I’d need to make sure I could enjoy my incredible present to the full.   I was left like a child who’s been given an electronic toy but has to wait until Boxing Day to buy the batteries to power it.  
So this year what I’d like for Christmas – what I really need – are the following key elements of the published author’s toolkit: 

Patience.  Not the card game (although we writers spend so much time on our own patience is about the only game we can play) but the ability, in Kipling’s words, “to wait and not get tired of waiting”.  Everything seems to take much longer than you think it ought to – people responding to emails, reviews appearing on Amazon, kettles boiling . . .  I was born with precious little patience and seem to have lost whatever I did once possess.  And I’ve discovered that an essential part of being a novelist is the ability to remember that my work isn’t ever quite as important or urgent to anyone else as it is to me.

Perspective.  I am a published author.  I am not a Booker Prize winner or on the Sunday Times Top 10 (or 20 or 100) Bestseller List.  Ordinary Joe isn’t on many tables in many branches of Waterstones (though I have seen it on several) or in the Richard and Judy promotion in Smiths.  I have not become a darling of the literary festival circuit.  But I am a published author – a state of grace that many people I know would give a limb or superfluous child to attain.  Please, Santa, give me the perspective to recognise and appreciate my achievements without worrying so much about what everybody else is doing.

Perseverance. Seeing my first novel published is the starting point of a writing career, not mission accomplished.  Now, while I continue to promote and support Ordinary Joe, I also need to put in the long, hard, lonely hours writing number two.  It’s been a long time since I’ve sat looking at a blank screen trying to conjure up something out of thin air and I’d forgotten how hard it is.  The story is all here in my mind – all I need now is the tenacity to keep going until it is captured on paper. 

So that’s it really – that’s all I need to complete my writer’s kit.  Oh, and some socks, please.  Just plain black socks – definitely none with pictures of Mr Silly on them.  (And if you don’t know why that is you’d better ask someone to buy you a copy of Ordinary Joe to find out!) 

May Santa bring you all you wish for, Jon – or, failing that, maybe the socks? 

Jon Teckman was born in Northampton, England, in 1963 (in that brief golden era between the release of Please, Please Me and the assassination of JFK). After reading management at university, he joined the Civil Service, ending up in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport advising various Ministers on policy for the UK film industry. In 1998, he joined the British Film Institute as Deputy Director, and was promoted to Chief Executive Officer the following year. More recently he has worked at Ashridge Business School running leadership development programmes. He is on the Council of Management of the British Board of Film Classification and a member of BAFTA.

His experiences on the fringes of the film industry led directly to him writing Ordinary Joe which is about an accountant named Joe West who finds himself drawn into the crazy world of Hollywood after an illicit one-night stand with top actress, Olivia Finch. The novel moves from New York to London to Cannes to LA, all drawing on places he knew well in his film industry days. Sadly, however, the central story of this fringe character’s intimate liaison with a gorgeous superstar is pure invention.

Follow Jon on Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook: Jon is also a member of The Prime Writers.

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