Monday, July 26, 2021

The Road from Cromer Pier by Martin Gore - Book Tour

The Road from Cromer Pier

It’s ten years on from The Road to Cromer Pier, and Summertime Special Show Director Karen Wells has two potential headliners, but both have issues. Dare she take the risk? And Karen herself is at a crossroads. Will her mother Janet ever retire and allow her to run the pier theatre?

Meanwhile Janet’s nemesis, businessman Lionel Pemrose still has designs on the pier theatre, but he is facing growing financial problems. Bank manager Peter Hodson is haunted by a past indiscretion, and calls in recently widowed turnaround expert Tom Stanley. Can he keep the indiscretion a secret?

Tom is bereaved and has recently been made redundant from his own firm. He is too young to retire, and after years of long hours, suddenly finds himself unemployed. He pours his energies into the assignment, which could be his last hurrah.
Old enmities, loyalties and past mistakes surface as the future of the pier theatre is once again under threat, and those involved must deal with unresolved issues in their lives.

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Tom Stanley

Tom is a brand-new character in the second book. Suddenly made redundant at 58 from his own firm, he faces a full stop in his career, on top of being recently widowed. Now I was nowhere as successful in my career as Tom, but I faced the same issue when I took redundancy following the privatisation of the probation service.

Work is important to me as I need to feel that I make some sort of a difference in this life. Like Tom I worked stupid hours at times, and all too often work dominated my life to an unhealthy extent. In the end I worked retirement out, balancing some work as a Non-Executive Director with my creative writing work and travel, and I’m very happy with how it turned out, eventually, but the transition wasn’t easy.

In Tom’s case the loss of his wife, Maggie, makes things so much more difficult, and the telephone call out of the blue from bank manager Peter Hodson is simply fate. I’d originally planned Tom’s story to be a book in itself, called Last Hurrah, but realised that he could be a leading character in The Road from Cromer Pier.

In this excerpt Tom is attending his leaving presentation, and not lookng forward to his unplanned retirement...


Meanwhile, in the opulent boardroom of Schwarz, Stevens & Stanley in central London, Elena Schwarz was speaking in her cultured New England accent, relating eloquent anecdotes sourced from the personnel file of one of the partners, Tom Stanley. Anecdotes doubtless augmented by Jane Clark, his long-standing PA, who seemed embarrassed, trying to hide away at the back nearest the door. She was leaving too, in a few weeks’ time. Corporate restructuring, they called it.

Tom Stanley was standing next to Ms Schwarz, and the gathering included a large contingent of his staff. Tom sensed that Elena was finishing up, thank goodness, by wishing him a long and happy retirement.

But I’m only 58, Tom thought. What should he say? He was tempted to tell Elena exactly what he thought, but one didn’t do that, did one? One thanked people. People he’d work with a long time. Some he cared for, others less so.

There were gifts on the table in front of him, wrapped in glossy paper. One was obviously a bottle of champagne. There were flowers, too. Lilies, judging by their fragrance. He hated lilies. His late wife Maggie had loved them.

Tom did not feel inclined to celebrate, even though the payoff was extraordinary. The fewer partners there were, the more money each one made. Money was seemingly their only motivation.

He hadn’t had long to plan his retirement do, so he’d pulled together a handful of his closest work colleagues for an early supper after work. Nothing too posh. Tom Stanley didn’t really do posh. Then he’d splashed out on tickets for Les Misérables for them all. It suited his melancholy mood. The song of an angry man, his hopes and dreams dashed.

He realised that some might have seen his situation in an altogether more positive light. He was now extremely solvent, and in good health as far as he knew, so he felt he had a lot left to give. But that was the point, really. It was all too soon.

The obligatory card and presents were handed over to warm applause. He kept his remarks and words of thanks brief. Tom was no great orator. He had a dry Yorkshire wit, not often understood by his southern colleagues, and certainly not appreciated by the Americans. So much of his working life had been spent with troubled organisations, and he relied on his instincts about people and relationships. He’d made his career in turning round failing businesses, but it was their people who had mattered to Tom.

But after the US partners had taken his company over, things had changed. Increasingly, he found their sausage-machine approach to insolvency distasteful, given that companies that might have been saved were not given the opportunity. Looking back, he realised he’d been naive.

He shook Elena’s hand, whilst deftly escaping her hug and the peck on the cheek. He moved on to the others swiftly, then escaped the boardroom with its expensive hardwood furniture and contemporary soft furnishings. He had cleared his desk yesterday, and had the box sent home by company courier. One more expense that they could stand. He simply had to return to his office, put the unopened presents and card in his briefcase and he was good to go.

Jane appeared in the doorway. ‘You forgot the flowers, Tom,’ she said knowingly.

Tom looked at her reprovingly, as a teacher might look at an errant pupil.

‘If I want a second career as a florist, I’ll take a college course. You have them.’

Jane smiled. ‘All set then?’

‘Seems like it. At least Elena kept it fairly brief. Rather shorter than her usual death by PowerPoint.’

Jane shook her head and grinned as she placed a mug of tea in front of him. She sat down opposite him, and then produced a sandwich box from a plastic bag on the side table.

‘The last supper, albeit at lunchtime?’ she said, as she placed the box in front of him.

He smiled. ‘Orlando’s hot pork and stuffing? You’re an absolute star.’

She took out her own less calorific lunch and they ate in silence for a while.

‘I’ll miss Orlando’s,’ he said, as he licked his fingers, and extracted the obligatory crackling.

‘As will I,’ Jane said.

They fell silent again. Two work colleagues, and sort-of friends. Jane was 15 years younger and lived in Notting Hill. He had the elegant flat on the river near Canary Wharf. They had worked together for ten years, and knew that, after the theatre this evening, this was probably goodbye. Tom sat back for a moment and sipped his tea.

‘So, what’s next for you, Jane?’

He saw her thin smile. ‘Interview tomorrow. Can’t say I’m looking forward to it. Haven’t had an interview in years.’

‘You’ll be great. You are great.’

‘Thanks, Tom. I’ll get fixed up. Plenty of jobs about. I’ll just miss this place.’

‘And me, of course?’ he asked, looking at her over the rim of his spectacles.

‘Even you, sarcastic old sod that you are.’

Tom laughed. ‘Less of the old. I’m not ready for this. Too young to retire.’

He saw her pause for a moment, as if picking her words carefully.

‘It is too soon, especially after Maggie.’

He nodded sadly. ‘Yes, it is. Less than 12 months.’

He still couldn’t really talk about it. He was pleased when she broke the silence.

‘So, what will you do now? Have you had time to think?’

‘Not really. I need more time to assimilate it all. They call it decompression, or so that outplacement consultant called it. Return to real life. I got Elena to pay for my professional indemnity insurance for three years, just to keep my options open.’

He noticed that she was toying with her earring, as she was apt to do when she was thinking. ‘That won’t be easy for you after all those 60-hour weeks.’

‘No. It won’t.’

Author Bio

I am a 63 year old Accountant who semi-retired to explore my love of creative writing. In my career I held Board level jobs for over twenty five years, in private, public and third sector organisations. I was born in Coventry, a city then dominated by the car industry and high volume manufacturing. Jaguar, Triumph, Talbot, Rolls Royce, Courtaulds, Massey Ferguson were the major employers, to name but a few.

When I was nine year’s old I told my long suffering mother that as I liked English composition and drama I was going to be a Playwright. She told me that I should work hard at school and get a proper job. She was right of course.

I started as an Office Junior at Jaguar in 1973 at eleven pounds sixty four a week. I thus grew up in the strike torn, class divided seventies. My first career ended in 2015, when I semi retired as Director of Corporate services at Humberside Probation. My second career, as a Non Executive Director, is great as it has allowed me free time to travel and indulge my passion for writing, both in novels and for theatre.

The opportunity to rekindle my interest in writing came in 2009, when I wrote my first pantomime, Cinderella, for my home group, the Walkington Pantomime Players. I have now written eight. I love theatre, particularly musical theatre, and completed the Hull Truck Theatre Playwrite course in 2010. My first play, a comedy called He's Behind You, is now available on:

Pen Pals was my first novel, and a second, The Road to Cromer Pier, is now available in all three formats. It was. officially launched on Cromer Pier itself, coinciding with the new season of the Summertime Special Show.

I'm active on twitter @authorgore and on facebook martin gore author. My website is

I’m an old fashioned writer I guess. I want you to laugh and to cry. I want you to believe in my characters, and feel that my stories have a beginning, a middle, and a satisfactory ending.


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