My books – and other people’s books that I recommend

My plan is to write a series of blogs in which I’ll review books I’ve read recently and recommend to others, and add bits of my own news… starting here and now:

Personal news: Regarding my novels – Perilaus II was published by FBP in 2021; the same publisher has now accepted the sequel, Con, which is due to appear later this year; and my historical novel, Black Harry, has been accepted by a different publishing house and will also appear later this year or early in2023. I’m working on another fiction manuscript, of which more in due course. I’m busy as usual with editing, teaching creative writing, working with different writing groups, storytelling… and one of my one-act plays will be staged at the Playhouse in Chapel-en-le-Frith in June this year (alongside, to my alarm, one of Alan Ayckbourn’s comic masterpieces!).

Review: I’ll begin this series with an account of a remarkable autobiography that I had the privilege of editing. The author, Lorraine White, contacted me with her draft manuscript in March 2019. I worked on it for eighteen months, during which time I managed to negotiate publication with Stairwell Books. The book was finalised by the publisher in October 2020 and was released in 2021 – when Covid restrictions precluded the possibility of a formal launch; rather typical of Lorraine’s luck!

Lorraine explains how, starting from a poor northern English background, she came to travel the world, visiting a wolf sanctuary in Oregon, volunteering at a sanctuary for injured and abused elephants in Thailand, devoting a day a week to working with homeless and traumatised dogs, gaining a pilot’s licence and flying light aircraft, and establishing a successful business… as a professional dominatrix.

Less than thirty percent of her book, Mistress, gives details of her dominatrix work; the rest describes the foregoing activities, and also the serial disasters that have beset her. She was haunted by a stalker; her premises were destroyed by fire and had to be rebuilt; then they were flooded – twice; then a swarm of bees settled in them… but through catastrophe after catastrophe, she kept going and she’s still in business. Mistress is a tale of remarkable fortitude and determination, told with honesty and humour. And the story is entirely hers. As editor, all I did was to sort out the English and alter the sequence of chapters.

Regarding her dominatrix work, one (woman) reviewer wrote: ‘What I hadn’t expected was her intelligence and insight into human psychology and her empathy and unconditional acceptance of her clients. Some chapters were full of humour, others made me weep. Her tenacity and indefatiguable spirit makes her an inspiration. She comes acros as far more of a role model for feminism than the many who seek such labels. I have taken far more from this book than I ever expected. Thank you Mistress!’

It really was a privilege to edit this book, and I recommend it to everyone. Don’t let Lorraine’s profession deter you. She comes over as a wonderful, admirable person and has a really great story to tell.

Lorraine White, Mistress, Stairwell Books, 2021; ISBN 978-1-913432-09-6. (There is also an e-book format, which can be downloaded from the usual sources, for those who might be uncomfortable about being seen reading the paperback!)

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