Picking up the Pieces by Jo Worgan ** Blog Tour Author Interview** #LoveBooksGroupTours @JoanneWorgan @UrbaneBooks

I am delighted to introduce Jo Worgan today, to tell us about her writing life and her novel, Picking up the Pieces. Before we hear from her, here is a little about the book: 

A compelling new novel about a mother’s love for her autistic son.

Kate has a six-year-old autistic son, Sam. She has started a new life to escape her controlling and abusive boyfriend Jake and thinks that the past is behind her and that she and Sam are safe. But after spotting Jake through a misted-up cafe window, Kate knows that he has found her.

Kate confides in her neighbour Matt, a man running from his own past. He seems to offer a genuine chance at happiness for her and son Sam, but Jake is determined to get them back at all costs….

Picking Up The Pieces is an original, moving but gripping page-turner about a woman’s search for happiness as she fights to protect her autistic son’s future.

Welcome to Books, Life and Everything .Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing.

Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself and how you started as a writer?
 Hello, and thank you for inviting me on your blog. I’ve been married to Andrew for twenty years, we met at school, and we have two sons. My youngest son was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at the age of three. I studied English Literature and Drama at University, but then decided to go down the healthcare route, which eventually led to me becoming a renal nurse. I worked on a busy dialysis unit and renal ward, firstly in Liverpool and then later in Dorset. 

I’ve always loved reading and writing stories, ever since I was a little girl, but this had only been for me. The real catalyst I suppose was when I wanted to share the support and help that I had received for my son both before and during his diagnosis, which then led to writing my fist non-fiction book. This gave me the confidence to carry on writing and to eventually feel brave enough to write fiction. 

Your latest novel is called, Picking up the Pieces. Without spoiling the plot, could you let us know a little about the story?

Yes, no problem. Picking Up The Pieces is fundamentally about the importance of family, of friendship and protecting your child at any cost. The novel revolves around Kate, who is a single mum to Sam, her six-year-old autistic son. She believes that her past is now far behind her, as is her abusive ex partner, but she soon learns that she is not safe, and her life as she knows it will be turned upside down. 

One of the themes of Picking up the Pieces revolves around having a family member on the autistic spectrum. How far have you drawn on your own experience in writing the novel?

Although Sam is not my son, he does share some of his characteristics. The difficulty is that autism is a spectrum condition and that no two individuals are the same. I drew on my own situation and understanding, as I think that this is what all writers do, you write about what you know. But, at the same time I did conduct my own research and read many accounts and stories from both autistic individuals and family members. Sam is an entirely fictional character.

Was writing your second novel harder than the first?

I found this novel much easier to write than An Unextraordinary Life. I think the main reason was because this story had been bubbling away inside me for years. I started with a rough idea of how it began and ended, and I just took it from there.

You have written both fiction and non-fiction. How does your approach to writing differ, if at all?

That’s a really interesting question. My approach to writing fiction is very different. When I wrote my non-fiction books I knew the topics that I wanted to cover, and so each chapter was devoted to that one area. It was information that I wanted to share. Writing fiction is very different, as I must consider plot, pacing, location, characterization and the story arc. I had notebooks full of character ideas, plot notes and general brainstorming ideas, that eventually came together to form the novel. I love the creative process that is involved in writing fiction, for me it’s pure escapism. 

Can you give any hints about any upcoming books you have planned? 

I’m working on a new novel now that revolves around a young woman coming to terms with sight loss. It’s about learning to take risks in life and that we sometimes need to trust others and take that leap of faith. I’m really enjoying writing it and hope to have it finished by the end of the year. 

Finally, do you have 3 words which sum up Picking up the Pieces?

 Oh my, that’s a tough one. Three words? Okay, they would have to be family, love and hope

Thanks, Jo. It will be fascinating to read your next novel when it comes into print!

About the Author

Jo Worgan is a freelance copywriter, columnist and book blogger. She has published 4 non-fiction works aimed at parenting children on the Autistic spectrum, based upon her experiences as a mother of an autistic son. Writing is what she truly loves, and Picking up the Pieces is her second novel following her first, An Unextraordinary Life. Today Jo lives in Lancashire with her husband of 19 years and their two young sons. When she is not busy writing, she likes to take her boys to the local museums, cafes, cinema, the Lake District and lots of playgrounds.

You can follow Jo here: Twitter   |  Blog 

Book links: Amazon UK   |  Goodreads

Thanks to Kelly Lacey of LoveBooksGroup for a place on the tour and Jo Worgan for her author post.  

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