Jonathan Hill in the spotlight.

As winner of my short story competition back in April, Jonathan Hill as earned a spotlight  on WWBB.


Hill’s clever comic novellas are awash with the crazy antics of his crazy character, Maureen. Fresh and funny (with a smidgen of real life–we’ve all met a Maureen!) he takes you to places and situations and lets you see them through the eyes of a ‘means well, really’ middle-aged battle axe Maureen. B sure to grab yourself a copy.


Maureen goes to Venice

If Maureen were real, I would advise you to avoid her like the plague. She somehow attracts disaster and farce in equal measure wherever she goes.

As she is fictional though, it should be safe enough for you to encounter her from behind your Kindle. 


Maureen had a disastrous trip to a modern art exhibition in ECLECTIC: Ten Very Different Tales. Well, now she’s back in her own feature-length adventure!


The book will give you plenty of laughs and a taste of Italy, so join hapless Maureen on her Venetian break and just be glad you’re not there with her! 



See my review here.




A Letter for Maureen

Amazon.UK
Amazon.com
“Maureen’s back! 
Run away!  Hide anything she might
break!  But this time, that might include
your heart.” (Amazon reviewer – January 2013)


When it’s Maureen’s turn to chair the local book group meeting, choosing a new
outfit turns out to be the least of her worries.  A secret confided in Maureen by a fellow
reader impacts on her life greatly over the following year.  Then comes a revelation which could change
the way Maureen lives her life altogether.


The disaster-prone Maureen, recently recovered from her comic mishaps in
Venice, stars in a story that is both hilarious and heartbreaking.
A novella of ~18,500 words.  This is the
second to be published in the Maureen series, but the book can be read as a
stand-alone story.



Jonathan Hill is also the writer of  Ecelectic: Ten Very Different Tales where in one of the stories, you’ll meet Maureen again. You have been warned!



Maureen Banks, a character interview from Jonathan Hill’s…

Maureen goes to Venice
Amazon.UK
Amazon.com

   Introducing the protagonist from Maureen goes to Venice, and what makes them them.

I’m Maureen.  Maureen Banks.  I’m a retired schoolteacher and live alone in London.  (My husband died not so long ago.)  What makes me me?  Well, people do say I attract disaster everywhere I go, and I was once called a mayhem magnet.  I’m not sure I’d agree with that.  It’s true that I don’t have the best of luck . . . oh flipping pancakes! There’s another dead bird on my lawn . . . sorry, back to the interview . . . yes, I don’t have the best of luck but I do try to make amends with my good heart. 


I was reading some reviews of my life the other day (Jonathan Hill is writing and publishing my biography in stages) and am surprised to hear of some reader reactions.  One reader gave the book five stars but said I was an atrocious monster!  Charming!!  And another advised readers to run the other way should they ever meet me in person.  Well, that’s just uncalled for if you ask me, but readers do seem to be enjoying my mishaps a lot.  I like to see people laughing and enjoying themselves; it’s just a pity that it’s at my expense!

What is your main goal in life?
It’s a simple goal and one that is what you might call a cliché.  I just want to be happy and live out the rest of my years enjoying each day to the full.  When Roy died (did I say earlier my late husband was called Roy?  Oh, well, you know now), I sent a promise up to him that I would not go with another man.  Will I keep to that?  Well, who knows?  And I wouldn’t want to spoil the recent chapter in my life if you haven’t yet read it. 

What would you change about yourelf if you could wave a magic wand?
I don’t really have to think about this one.  I’d wave the wand to break this run of misfortune I’ve had for the last fifty years or so.  It’d never happen though.  I don’t believe in magic.  Not real magic anyway.  I’ll tell you who is a good magician, although he isn’t really that.  He’s more a mind bender.  Derren Brown.  Or is it Darren?  I can never remember.  Well, this Darren Brown – no, it’s definitely Derren – he did this show the other night where he promised to glue a certain percentage of the TV population to their sofas.  I was a cynic at first but I allowed him to have a go on me.  The TV played all these weird sounds and images and I couldn’t believe it when I found myself stuck to my chair.  I thought it had worked but then I realised my cardigan buttons had caught on some of my seat cushion’s loose threads.  Time for a new chair, I think.

*Laughs* Oh, Maureen, you seem like such fun! So, imagine you’re in a lift with your favourite TV movie star, how would they react?
I’m not really fazed by celebrity, to be honest.  I’d probably act casually and just give a friendly nod.  The whole incident would pass by without hitch.  What’s that look on your face?  You don’t believe I’m capable of the ‘without hitch’ bit, do you?  Actually, I tell a lie.  If it were him off Downton Abbey, I’d probably swoon.  Now he is a true gentleman!  Goodness knows how I’d contain myself in a lift all alone with him.  I’d probably giggle nervously and tell him I’d drop everything to be his maid and turn back his bed for him every night…oh, that sounds a bit naughty doesn’t it.  Stop it, Maureen!  Behave yourself!  *giggles*

Are you happy now that your story has been told? Or is there more to come?
I’m reasonably happy, yes.  It seems to be factually accurate in the main.  Jonathan Hill, my biographer, has done a good job in recreating my life’s ups and downs so far.  Someone once approached me in the street and asked me if my trip to Venice had really been that bad.  The chap was sure the trip had been embellished to get more laughs.  He said that no-one could possibly be that disaster-prone.  I just looked him in the eye and said, “Unfortunately, they can and I am living proof of that.”  With that, he twitched nervously and ran away from me as fast as possible.  It was almost as if he feared for his life.

And a chat with the author of Maureen goes to Venice –
Jonathan Hill.


How many unpublished books/stories do you have lurking under your bed?
None, but there are plenty on my hard drive! Sometime this year I will be assembling the best stories and publishing them in a sequel to ECLECTIC: Ten Very Different Tales. In addition to those unpublished stories, I have many tales started but unfinished, to some of which I will return, to others I won’t. The trouble with me is I become impatient very easily. I will get half way into a story then suddenly have another idea I desperately want to write. It’s a shame no-one wants to read part stories. They’d have a field day with my material. 


What’s the best/worst part of being a writer?
The best part of being a writer is thinking that, at any given time, someone somewhere may be reading the very words you have written. It’s a very special, humbling feeling. It’s also wonderful to receive feedback from readers. When you get a rave review from someone, it pushes all your daily troubles out of the way and fills you with happiness.

The worst? I’m not sure there is a worst part. The hardest part is trying to get your books noticed in an overcrowded market. Although, this in itself can be a good thing. When someone anonymous picks your book to download out of the thousands and thousands available, it’s wonderful! 


Do you have a critique/editor partner?
To a great extent, I am my own critique/editor partner. I have always been a perfectionist and consequently my first draft is largely error-free. I use my family (mother, father, and sister) for ironing out any missed errors and they are usually good at making suggestions to improve the writing’s flow. Most of the time they help out willingly; only occasionally do they proofread my work at gunpoint. 

Promoting is something ALL authors struggle with. How are you managing yours? Ah, promoting. It’s a nasty word. It makes you sound like a pushy salesman, but writers do have to promote themselves and their books to get ‘out there’. I think you can tweet, facebook, post on forums and shout till you’re blue in the face and still not get anywhere. I have come to realise that the best way to promote your work is to, firstly, write something very good and be proud of it, and then allow readers to find your books. By blogging, interacting on forums and not pushing your book in everyone’s faces, people will take an interest sooner or later.

All of the places on the Internet I first sought with the intention of promoting my books are now like second family to me. There are wonderful communities out there where authors help and advise each other and readers interact with authors and recommend books to other readers. Promoting in such places comes second to interacting and building friendships. Of course, I send out the odd tweet and plug my freebie promotions at the time, but constantly bombarding potential readers does no writer any favours!

What is your book about? Genre, theme, essence etc.
Maureen
goes to Venice
is essentially a comedy.  Maureen is a character fun to read about but
possibly less fun to experience in reality! 
She attracts disaster everywhere she goes and her trip to Venice is no
different.  The book gives its readers a
taste of Italy (I holidayed in Venice myself before writing the book) and is
mostly great fun.  Although, there is a
definite darker tone which takes over near the end of the book.  I never like to let readers rest on their
laurels.  Sometimes it’s good to lull
readers into a false sense of security and then pull the rug out from under
their feet.

A Letter for Maureen

“Maureen’s back! 
Run away!  Hide anything she might
break!  But this time, that might include
your heart.” (Amazon reviewer – January 2013)

When it’s Maureen’s turn to chair the local book group meeting, choosing a new
outfit turns out to be the least of her worries.  A secret confided in Maureen by a fellow
reader impacts on her life greatly over the following year.  Then comes a revelation which could change
the way Maureen lives her life altogether.

The disaster-prone Maureen, recently recovered from her comic mishaps in
Venice, stars in a story that is both hilarious and heartbreaking.

A novella of ~18,500 words.  This is the
second to be published in the Maureen series, but the book can be read as a
stand-alone story.

Author Jonathan Hill

Jonathan
Hill is an independent author from Manchester, UK.

In
2012, he published his first book of short stories, ‘ECLECTIC: Ten Very
Different Tales’, which cover a wide range of genres.
In
October 2012, Jonathan released ‘Maureen goes to Venice’, a comic novella for
the Kindle. The book was named as one of the top three best short stories in
The IBB Best Indie Books of 2012 Awards.
In
December 2012, ‘A Letter for Maureen’ was released, the second in the Maureen
series of Kindle books. The book can also be read as a stand-alone story.
Jonathan
is an avid reader and his blog ‘Jonathan Hill: Writer, Reader, Book Lover’
features book reviews, author interviews, quizzes, competitions and pieces of
his own writing.
He
is also a keen photographer and theatregoer.

Comment and judge on this short story: Maureen goes to Oz

**The winner of WWBB’s short story competition will win a review and an author spotlight. Your comments will help me decide the winner.**



by Jonathan Hill


Maureen Banks was standing in front of the raised stage, her back to the three or four rows of excited
parents.  The children jostled each other
for space on the stage, each wanting to outshine the rest. 

Maureen took a deep breath and
counted to ten in her head.  She was
already starting to become irritated by the titters and giggles of the parents
behind her.  Yes, she was well aware that
the yellow brick road she had been up all night painting was starting to peel
away from the floor and, yes, she too could see the wet patch on the Scarecrow’s
trousers.  (The ‘accident’ had happened
two minutes before curtain-up and Maureen did not have a back-up pair of
straw-stuffed trousers.)  Maureen felt
like turning round and berating the parents. 
What did they expect?  This wasn’t
a bloody West End show.  But she wouldn’t
make a show of herself.  She would face
the front and direct her class professionally. 
As she reached ‘ten’ in her
head, she opened her eyes and smiled to the children, who were mostly ready and
waiting for their cue to sing.  Maureen
nodded to Mrs Fisher at the piano, who started to tap out ‘Follow the yellow
brick road…’  The tune was recognisable
but the notes were not quite in the
right order.  Maureen could see even from
where she was standing that Mrs Fisher had been drinking the night before.  It was not unexpected though.  Mrs Fisher had threatened it after some
last-minute cuts to the production which had caused her undue stress.  It was true that most of the first half had
been axed after ‘Health and Safety’ had classified it a risk level bordering on
amber.  (Maureen failed to see how the
desk-top fan, which had been used to simulate the Kansas cyclone, posed a
danger to the children’s lives, but the paperwork would be so cumbersome if
something were to go awry that she duly complied.) 
As the children sang their
hearts out, they proudly projected toothy grins to their parents.  Dorothy, about whom Maureen often worried
(she was in the middle of a family break-up), craned her neck to try to spot
her parent(s); the expression on her face after a minute’s searching indicated
to Maureen that neither parent had showed.
The munchkin (for they were down
from seven to one after six munchkins had been taken ill after a dubious batch
of break-time milk) ushered Dorothy along the Yellow Peeling Road to where the
Scarecrow was standing.  “Hands out of
pockets,” Maureen hissed.  The Scarecrow
obediently whipped his hands out and his trousers, unsupported, dropped to the
floor.  The rest of the cast pointed hysterically
at his white Y-fronts, out of which peeped clumps of paper straw like unkempt
pubic hair. 
“Quiet,” Maureen called.  “You’re embarrassing yourselves!”  Just at that moment a man who, until now, had
been snoozing on the front row, jerked awake and emitted a huge guffaw upon
seeing the focus of the audience’s giggles at the start.  You see, from the front Maureen looked
impeccably dressed.  But had she
swivelled her hips and looked at her behind in the mirror beforehand, she would
have seen the rather large tag hanging there, boasting layer upon layer of
pricing discounts, the uppermost of which alerted the assembled parents that
her mauve pleated skirt had been a snip at only £4.99.

Amazon.UK
Amazon.com
Maureen goes to Venice
A comic story of ~13,500 words.
If Maureen were real, I would advise you to avoid her like the plague. She somehow attracts disaster and farce in equal measure wherever she goes.
As she is fictional though, it should be safe enough for you to encounter her from behind your Kindle.
Maureen had a disastrous trip to a modern art exhibition in ECLECTIC: Ten Very Different Tales. Well, now she’s back in her own feature-length adventure!
The book will give you plenty of laughs and a taste of Italy, so join hapless Maureen on her Venetian break and just be glad you’re not there with her!

Voted one of the Top 3 Best Short Stories in The Best Indie Books of 2012 Awards.

Selected as a RECOMMENDED READ on the Goodreads UK Amazon Kindle Forum.