A pleasure today to be joining the blog tour for From the Outside by Clare Johnston, published by Urbane on 4th July and available for kindle (just 99p, and also free on Kindle Unlimited) and in paperback. My thanks to Kelly at Love Books Tours for the invitation and support.
When internet millionaire and philanthropist Harry Melville dies in a car crash at the age of forty four, the lives of his wife, Sarah, and twin brother, Ben, are thrown into turmoil.
Harry seemed to have it all; a close-knit family and a happy marriage – along with all the trappings of wealth. Yet as he recalls his past from the afterlife, a story emerges of the unspoken and bitter jealousies between brothers and of an unhappy wife burdened by loneliness and guilt.
When Ben takes over the running of Harry’s charity foundation he begins to find purpose for the first time in years. But the arrival of a talented young artist brings a series of revelations that expose Harry’s complex and dual personality in full. As he learns his part in the suffering of those he left behind, is it too late for Harry to make amends?
A tale of regret and redemption in this world and the next. From the Outside looks at the futile rivalries that can destroy sibling relationships and the lost opportunity for happiness when ego is allowed to reign over emotion.
I really liked the look of this book, and would have liked to read – I’m sorry, it was just impossible to find space in my reading list. But I’m delighted to welcome Clare as my guest here on Being Anne, to tell us more about the context for the story…
When my kids were babies, their lives just beginning, my cousin who was in her early 40s, passed away after a short illness. Her death understandably rocked our family. It just seemed unimaginable that someone so young with so much left to give could have been snatched away from those she loved.
Suddenly life felt so fragile, so indiscriminate and I wondered what it all meant. With my thoughts churning over and over, a story emerged and I began to write it.
Every night, I’d put my kids to bed at 7pm and I’d spend an hour or two working on what is now From the Outside.
I hadn’t planned the novel out and I didn’t know where or how it would end but I was compelled to finish it.
The novel tells the story of 44-year-old multimillionaire Harry Melville who dies in a car crash and watches (from the other side) the impact of his death on his twin brother, Ben, and his wife Sarah.
As they emerge from his shadow, we learn that Harry is not quite the man portrayed in the eulogies at his funeral – and as secrets are uncovered, we find he has much to make amends for. But is it too late?
There have been instances in my life where I have felt connections with loved ones who have passed away. That’s why I wanted to write a novel that explored the idea that death may not be the end – and that maybe, just maybe, our loved ones can influence us from beyond the grave.
I don’t have all the answers, but I like to think those we’ve lost are never too far away, that they are still a part of our lives, and that it is only a matter of time until we meet again.
Early readers of the book who have been affected by loss have told me they found comfort in the story, but that it also affirmed their own feelings about whether death is really the end, and that’s been a real pleasure for me to hear and an unexpected bonus from writing the book.
Many thanks Clare – I very much like the look of your book, and wish you every success.
About the author
Clare Johnston is a journalist and content specialist, and a frequent contributor on radio and TV, having appeared on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, The Kaye Adams Programme and comedy satire show Breaking the News on BBC Radio Scotland, along with STV2’s Live at Five. She is a former editorial director of Press Association Scotland and commercial editor and columnist with the Daily Record. She is currently working with the DC Thomson media group and supports businesses with communication and content creation. Clare is based in Edinburgh.