Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Being Netta Wilde by Hazel Ward - Book Tour

Being Netta Wilde

An uplifting story of love, loss and second chances that celebrates friendship and human connections.

Netta Wilde was all the things Annette Grey isn’t. Netta Wilde was raw, unchecked and just a little bit rebellious. She loved The Clash and she loved being Netta Wilde.

Annette Grey is an empty, broken woman who hardly knows her own children. Of course, it’s her own fault. She’s a bad mother. An unnatural mother. At least, that’s what her ex-husband tells her.

The one thing she is good at …
the one thing that stops her from falling …
is her job.

When the unthinkable happens, Annette makes a decision that sets her on a journey of self-discovery and reinvention. Along the way, her life is filled with friends, family, dogs, and jam. Lots of jam.

Suddenly anything seems possible. Even being Netta Wilde again.

But, is she brave enough to take that final step when the secrets she keeps locked inside are never too far away?


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It’s two months after Annette Grey lost her job but she still hasn’t told her parents, or her ex-husband Colin and their teenage children. The children live with Colin, a stay-at-home dad and unsuccessful artist. Annette still provides for them financially, so this is a big deal.

In the last two months she’s made a tentative start at a new life and, with her confidence boosted, she arranges to visit her parents so that she can tell them the shock news face-to-face. Unfortunately, her plans go awry when one of her new friends turns up unexpectantly asking for help. After missing her parents call, she realises that in all the rush she’s forgotten to let them know she can’t make it. Unable to put it off any longer, she steels herself and calls them back.

Annette comes clean.

Her dad answered. ‘Where on earth are you? You were supposed to have been here at ten. We’ve been worried sick about you.’

‘Sorry Dad. I had an emergency and completely forgot to call you.’

‘What kind of emergency? Has something happened?’

She could hear her mother in the background. ‘What emergency? Are the kids all right?’

‘Are the kids all right?’ he echoed.

‘Yes, they’re fine, Dad. It was a friend of mine. She had an interview and her babysitter let her down. She didn’t have anyone else, so I’m looking after her children.’ There was silence on the other end of the line. ‘It’s the holidays you see. Otherwise they would have been in school and it wouldn’t have been a problem.’

‘Everyone’s fine. She just had to look after a friend’s children. Her friend had an interview, apparently.’

It sounded as though he was holding the phone away. She could picture the scene in her parents’ living room right now.

‘What friend, what children?’ Her mother’s voice wasn’t much further away. She was probably standing over him. Poised to snatch the phone off him.

‘I don’t know. Someone from work I expect,’ he said.

‘No Dad. Not from work. This is a new friend. She’s … new.’

‘She says it’s a new friend.’

‘What new friend? Give it to me.’ There was a rustling as her mother wrestled the phone from her father. ‘Annette?’

‘Hello Mum. I’m sorry I forgot to let you know I wasn’t coming. It was all a bit of a last-minute rush and it completely slipped my mind.’

‘Well, at least we know where we stand in the pecking order now, don’t we? We’ve been out of our minds with worry.’

‘Yes, Dad said.’

‘He’s been pacing the room up and down for the last hour. And now we find you’ve been looking after some new friend’s children without giving us a minute’s thought.’

‘I’m really sorry,’ said Annette.

‘If only you’d given your own children that much attention. You might not be in the situation you’re in now.’ Her mum had worked herself up into outrage. As always when that happened, she was more concerned about expressing her anger than the impact her words might have.   

‘Mum, you know I had to go out to work,’ said Annette, trying not to let it get to her.

‘I’m not saying it’s your fault for having to work so hard. Although I would never have stood for your father shirking his responsibilities in the way some people have. But what I can’t believe. What I can’t believe, Annette, is that you’ve taken a day off work to look after someone else’s children when you should be using the time to be with your own family.’

‘Well that’s just it. I haven’t taken the day off work, Mum. I’ve been off work for nearly two months now. I’m being made redundant.’ There, she’d said it. She waited for the backlash. She didn’t need to wait long.

‘You’ve been, you’ve been. Oh my good God. Speak to your father. I can’t take it in. Arthur, she says she’s been made redundant. Two months ago. Take this. Speak to her.’

Her dad came back on the phone, ‘What’s this? Is that right? You’ve been made redundant?’

‘Yes Dad. Well technically, I’m on extended leave for another month. But yes, I’ve been made redundant. Usual reasons. Structure changes. You know how it works.’

‘How awful for you love, I’m sorry. I know how much you put into that company. They must be mad letting you go.’

‘Well then they must be mad. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier. I just found it hard to talk about, but I’m getting over it now.’

‘You’ll be back on the ladder in no time. Got any interviews lined up?’

‘No. I did have, but I wasn’t ready. I’m doing some volunteering instead. At a foodbank.’

‘A foodbank?’ He sounded surprised. She couldn’t blame him. She’d surprised herself.

‘She’s never having to go to a foodbank, is she?’ said her mother.

‘No,’ said her dad, ‘She’s volunteering at one. She’s not ready yet to look for a new job.’

‘Well she’ll have to make herself ready,’ said her mother. ‘Who else is going to pay the bills?’

‘Tell Mum I’m all right for a while for money. I’m getting a good pay off,’ she said.

‘I’ll try love. Have you told Colin and the kids?’

‘Not yet. I thought I’d tell you first.’

Her dad sighed. ‘Best of two evils was it? You’re going to have to face the music and tell them you know? It’s no use sticking your head in the sand and hoping no one will notice.’

‘I know. I need to work myself up to it first.’

There was a long pause.

‘Well someone has to tell them. Do you want me to do it?’

‘Oh Dad, would you?’

‘I’ll call Colin. I don’t suppose he’ll be very happy about it.’

‘No Dad, I don’t suppose he will be.’


Author Bio

Hazel Ward was born in a back-to-back house in inner city Birmingham. By the time the council knocked the house flat and packed her family off to the suburbs, she was already something of a feral child who loved adventures. Swapping derelict houses and bomb pecks for green fields and gardens was a bit of a culture shock but she rose to the occasion admirably and grew up loving outdoor spaces and animals. Especially dogs, cats and horses.

Strangely, for someone who couldn’t sit still, she also developed a ferocious reading habit and a love of words. She wrote her first novel at fifteen, along with a lot of angsty poems, and was absolutely sure she wanted to be a writer. Sadly, it all came crashing down when her seventeen-year-old self walked out of school after a spot of bother and was either too stubborn or too embarrassed to go back. It’s too long ago to remember which.  What followed was a series of mind-numbingly dull jobs that paid the bills but did little to quell the restlessness inside.

Always a bit of a smart-arse, she eventually managed to talk herself into a successful corporate career that lasted over twenty years until, with the bills paid and the children grown up, she was able to wave it all goodbye and do the thing she’d always wanted to do. While taking a fiction writing course she wrote a short story about a lonely woman who was being made redundant. The story eventually became her debut novel Being Netta Wilde.

Hazel still lives in Birmingham and that’s where she does most of her writing. When she’s not there, she and her partner can be found in their holiday home in Shropshire or gadding about the country in an old motorhome. Not quite feral anymore but still up for adventures.

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  1. Thanks for the feature Jasmine. I hope your readers enjoy the extract


Please try not to spam posts with the same comments over and over again. Authors like seeing thoughtful comments about their books, not the same old, "I like the cover" or "sounds good" comments. While that is nice, putting some real thought and effort in is appreciated. Thank you.