Welcome to my stop for How to Make Time for Me by Fiona Perrin. Thanks so much to Aria Fiction for the invitation to join this blog tour! I have an extract to share with you today but first check out how wonderful this novel sounds.
No-one said being a single mum would be easy…
Everyone knows that being a single mother means having no time to yourself. But for Callie Brown, its more exhausting than most. She’s juggling the needs of three teenage children, two live-in parents, a raffish ex-husband, and a dog who never stops eating.
The last thing Callie needs is anything more on her plate. So when she bumps (quite literally) into a handsome, age-appropriate cyclist, she’s quick to dismiss him from her life. After all, if she doesn’t have time to brush her hair in the morning, she certainly doesn’t have time to fall in love…
Funny, heartwarming and oh-so-true, this is a novel about motherhood, families, and life after divorce, perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Allison Pearson.
Fiona Perrin was a journalist and copywriter before building a career as a sales and marketing director in industry. Having always written, she completed the Curtis Brown Creative Writing course before writing The Story After Us. Fiona grew up in Cornwall, hung out for a long time in London and then Hertfordshire, and now writes as often as possible from her study overlooking the sea at the end of The Lizard peninsula.
‘But then I got together with Ralph and he already had Wilf and we were together until a couple of years back,’ I carried on eventually. ‘Ralph had a breakdown and became an alcoholic. He’s all right now though.’
‘You’ve been through a lot,’ Maura mused. ‘And you took on his boy?’ Her questions were gentle and distracting. She stood still now at the end of the bed and looked as if she really gave a fuck about my complicated family set-up.
‘I love him,’ I told her, and she just nodded.
‘Bet you’ve got olds to look out for too.’
I thought of Mum and Dad, who lived down the road, and stopped crying. ‘Just two extra children in their seventies. My mum is practically deaf now, poor her, and they’re both a bit strange.’ At least no in-laws that I was responsible for. That was a bonus. And Ralph no longer turned up on my doorstep broke/pissed/useless since he’d got better and married Petra. Somehow, she’d managed to keep him sober – a fact that she was very fond of passively aggressively pointing out to me, as if I still had feelings for her husband. I didn’t, I promise. And frankly, although I didn’t want him to return to his worst periods, she’d made him quite odd and boring now, like a robot in their beige home. I shook my head and concentrated on Maura.
‘What about you?’
‘I’ve got three kids, two grandchildren and three old ones,’ she said. I nodded – shit, thank God, no grandkids yet. But then she added, ‘In my house.’ She paused dramatically. ‘Sometimes some of them go back to their own places.’ She joined in with my laughing, which dried up the tears.
‘It’s all the bloody washing,’ Maura carried on. She shushed with her finger and looked around her at the curtain, mock-worried about if anyone could hear her. ‘I’m not supposed to swear in front of patients, but you try putting up with this shit. The only good thing about it is getting out of that house.’ That old female joke – I come to work to have a rest. Maura carried on. ‘All that, “do you know where my rugby socks are”, and, “can I have a twenty to go out and get wankered?” And that’s from my husband.’ She winked once more but she’d set me off again – this time more tears with my laughing.
Maura did nothing to silence me, but she stepped forward to rub my shoulders again.
‘You let it out,’ was all she said. ‘Mrs Invisible? They didn’t have her in the superheroes movies.’
‘I’m no superhero,’ I said.
‘Sometimes it feels like you have to be, though, doesn’t it?’ Maura said. She sat down on the end of the bed. ‘Where do you work, hun?’
I told her about my unbelievably pointless job running the HR team of a small car-leasing company. Well, pointless apart from it being necessary as I was economically responsible for three teenagers, a dog and, quite often, my parents.
‘Here’s to having it all,’ whispered Maura. ‘What do you think of that, Mrs Invisible? Now, haven’t you got a new man?’ She then clearly remembered that she’d been on a course on how to be more liberal because she hastily added, ‘Or a woman? Or…’
‘No man,’ I said. ‘There just doesn’t seem to be any time.’ I knew this was an excuse. But now, faced with a choice of lying on the sofa guiltily reading Grazia or doing all the plucking, waxing and trying to remember how to flirt that went with going on a date, I’d choose the couch and celebrity gossip every time.
‘You must go out? Gorgeous woman like you.’ I smiled politely at the compliment. Not gorgeous. Not any more, although I was dimly aware of a time when I’d been attractive enough to have a steady stream of lovers and lover applicants. God, it felt so long ago.
Now I was a pale shadow of that confident, fun person.
*** Don’t forget to check the rest of book tour ***