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Nailsworth author Rachel Marks on her debut novel, 'Saturdays at Noon'

Gloucestershire South > Entertainment > Literature

Author: Thomas Hadfield, Posted: Friday, 20th December 2019, 09:00

Rachel Marks Rachel Marks

Rachel Marks has been writing for as long as she can remember.

A mum of two, Rachel lives in Nailsworth with her husband and fellow author Gabriel and their two sons.

“I was born and bred in Nailsworth, where I have now returned to,” she explained. “It is such a beautiful part of the world – it’s very hard to compete with.

“I have always written – even from a young child I remember creating lots of books. On my year six leaving video from primary school in answer to ‘what do you want to do when you grow up?’ my answer was ‘author’ so it’s pretty amazing to now be able to say I am one!”

Rachel studied English at Exeter University, and went on to become a primary school teacher.

When her eldest son was born Rachel decided to focus on being a mum, but still teaching once a week and also running a small photography business.

But her passion for writing still remained, though she admits at one point becoming a published author seemed a long way away.

“As I got older,” said Rachel, “it seemed like a bit of a pipe dream so although I continued writing in the background, I never allowed myself to take it too seriously.

“Then in 2016, my husband received an e-mail about a Curtis Brown Creative three-month novel writing course that you could do online.”

Rachel applied for the course and after submitting her synopsis and 3,000-word opening to her novel, was one of 14 students accepted.

She continued: “I never thought I would be one of them and then we were driving to see an author at the Cheltenham Literature Festival and I received an email to say I’d got a place.

“It seemed ‘meant to be’ to receive it at that point in time, and I was stunned but over the moon. I think that was the moment that gave me the confidence to say, ‘hey, I’m going to pursue this’ and so I did.”

Following the course, Rachel has gone on to pen her first novel, ‘Saturdays At Noon’, which is set for release in February.

The book tells the story of two mismatched adults, Jake and Emily, who meet in an anger management class.

“Emily has had a very tough upbringing that has left her feeling very lost, cynical and in a place where she just wants to keep her distance from other people,” explained Rachel.

“Jake is a stay-at-home dad struggling with his six-year-old son, Alfie, who makes absolutely no sense to him, and a wife who he feels blames him for all of Alfie’s difficulties.

“When Emily and Jake first meet, they take an instant dislike to each other but when Emily meets Alfie, Jake is surprised that his little boy, who normally doesn’t like strangers, lights up around Emily.”

Rachel says the idea for the story has been in her head for years, but the actual process of writing ‘Saturdays At Noon’ took around two years.

Although the story is fictitious, Rachel has, like many authors, taken experiences from her own life and used them for aspects of the book.

She said: “The idea of a parent struggling with a challenging child came from my own experiences with our eldest son who has always been a bit of a mystery to us – challenging, fascinating, extraordinary – and a lot of the research we did to try to find answers and parents we met along that journey.”

‘Saturdays At Noon’ is due for release on Thursday 6th February but has already received rave reviews from readers who have had a chance to peruse the book early.

Bestselling authors Graeme Simsion and Katie Fforde are among those who have praised Rachel’s debut work, and she says the reaction has made all the hard work worth it.

She added: “It’s terrifying sending your book out into the world and I am overwhelmed by the reviews I’ve got so far.

“To hear that people have been touched by it, that it’s made some parents feel understood when in the past they’ve felt judged, that it’s uplifted others, it makes all the blood, sweat and tears worthwhile!

“To be honest, it’s surreal and I’m not sure when it will sink in, if ever!”

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