Saturday, 21 March 2020

Surviving Me by Jo Johnson + #Giveaway + Excerpt

Surviving Me by Jo Johnson
Published by Unbound Digital on the 14th November 2019.

Deceit has a certain allure when your life doesn’t match up to the ideal of what it means to be a modern man.

Tom's lost his job and now he's been labelled 'spermless'. He doesn't exactly feel like a modern man, although his double life helps. Yet when his secret identity threatens to unravel, he starts to lose the plot and comes perilously close to the edge.

All the while Adam has his own duplicity, albeit for very different reasons, reasons which will blow the family's future out of the water.

If they can't be honest with themselves, and everyone else, then things are going to get a whole lot more complicated.

This book tackles hard issues such as male depression, dysfunctional families and degenerative diseases in an honest, life-affirming and often humorous way. It focuses particularly on the challenges of being male in today’s world and explores how our silence on these big issues can help push men to the brink.


In this excerpt Tom, my main character is spiralling intro deep despair. He has lost his job but doesn’t feel able to tell his wife as she wants to start expensive fertility treatment. He’s been living a double life in a cafĂ©, his haven but now he has been accused of inappropriate closeness with a teenage girl. Long buried feelings of inadequacy and helplessness start to dominate his head. 

There was some respite while I slept. But as I surface my mind is telling me there is a terrible puzzle to solve. Someone has combined three separate jigsaws and given all the pieces a cruel shake. I piece together one part but that throws out the other bits. I need some solid corner pieces to start me off, but they’ve all gone. Babies, the café, work, it’s all disintegrating. Completing the overall picture, the happy ending, has become an impossibility.

I’ve been remembering a conversation with my first school teacher.
‘Draw what you want to be when you grow up,’ she’d asked her class of very small children. The others had rushed off to carry out the task but I’d stayed sitting cross-legged in front of her. Why had she asked such a silly question? She’d kneeled down to my level and asked, Thomas, what do you want to be when you grow up? A man, I replied. Laughing in her own wonderful way, she’d stood up and said, well, can you please draw what you will be doing as a man?

I’d drawn a detailed picture of a man in a brown suit with a briefcase. Like Mr Benn in that cartoon series I’ve mentioned – the one thing I watched with my dad. Next to my vision of ‘a man’ was a smiling lady with blonde hair in bunches. Between the two of them were matching girls and a cat. That picture had stayed pinned to my mother’s fridge for the next few years before it vanished.

But now I give up on sleep, heave myself out of bed, and go next door to turn on my computer. While it’s whirring to start up, I search for a CD to lift me. Doris Day, my mum’s favourite, goes on. The first track, ‘All Alone’, sings out at top volume. I’m glad the lady downstairs is deaf.

As my hand seeks the mouse, the photograph next to it catches my eye. It’s early last summer. Siri and I splashed out on an all-inclusive to the Maldives – our last holiday as a couple because the next one will be as a family, she’d said, when we were both optimistic, two suntanned bodies full of hope against an azure sky and white sands.

Meet the author   

I’m very excited that my debut novel ‘Surviving Me’ is due to be published on the 14 November. The novel is about male minds and what pushes a regular man to the edge. The novel combines all the themes I can write about with authenticity.
I qualified as a clinical psychologist in 1992 and initially worked with people with learning disabilities before moving into the field of neurology in 1996. I worked in the NHS until 2008 when i left to write and explore new projects.
I now work as an independent clinical psychologist in West Sussex.

Jo speaks and writes for several national neurology charities including Headway and the MS Trust. Client and family related publications include, “Talking to your kids about MS”, “My mum makes the best cakes” and “Shrinking the Smirch”.
In the last few years Jo has been offering psychological intervention using the acceptance and commitment therapeutic model (ACT) which is the most up to date version of CBT. She is now using THE ACT model in a range of organisations such as the police to help employees protect their minds in order to avoid symptoms of stress and work related burnout.

Author links: 

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

Win one of two signed copies of Surviving Me by Jo Johnson or one of five Surviving Me fridge magnets (Open INT until the 30th March)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Etsy Find!
by Sootmegs in
Brighton, England

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Books by Jo Johnson / Contemporary fiction / Books from England

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