Monday, July 19, 2021

NBtM Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway - The Lockdown Tales: Disobedience, Love, Patience and Other Stories by Alan Whelan

Welcome to my stop on the NBtM Virtual Book Tour for The Lockdown Tales: Disobedience, Love, Patience, and Other Stories by Alan Whelan. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a great guest post from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $15 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
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Title: The Lockdown Tales: Disobedience, Love, Patience, and Other Stories
Author: Alan Whelan
Publisher: Tellwell Talent
Publication Date: January 6th 2021
Print Length: 302 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
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Seven women and three men leave the city to avoid a pandemic. They isolate together in a local farm, where they pass the time working, flirting, eating, drinking, making music and above all telling stories. It happened in Florence in 1351, during the Plague, and gave us Boccaccio's Decameron.

Seven hundred years later, in Australia, it happens again. The stories are very different, but they're still bawdy, satirical, funny and sometimes sad, and they celebrate human cleverness, love, courage and imagination.

"Alan Whelan brings us a clever, sensual and sometimes poignant collection of stories that would make Boccaccio proud"
- Tangea Tansley, author of A Question of Belonging

"An old frame for a sharp new snapshot of contemporary Australia"
- Leigh Swinbourne, author of Shadow in the Forest

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EXCERPT:
She drank, then coughed. I wanted to put my arm, or perhaps both arms, round her, but it seemed opportunistic. I should just be there, being supportive and putting no extra responsibilities on her.

I heard guitar notes from the house. It was less skilled than what we’d become used to, which meant that Bran was playing. I suspected that when we returned inside Grace and Danny would be gone. Danny’s room was the furthest room from Amelia’s. They’d be there.

Amelia sighed. She’d probably had the same thought. At last she said, “Actually, though, I’m still glad I’m here. This is a lovely place. And these are good people. If we have to be locked down, I can’t think of a better place to be.”

“Yeah. I have no idea what happens now. Yesterday I tuned into the news, for the first time in weeks. None of it’s good. I’m pretty pessimistic, to tell the truth. There’s a second wave. And maybe years to wait for a vaccine. Or even an effective treatment.”

Amelia nodded. “In Boccaccio his people went back to Florence after just 15 days. In reality, that would’ve been too soon. They’d still have been at risk. We might have to be here for months.”

“I’m not going anywhere. Nor’s this place. And I’m not tired of anyone yet.”

Amelia smiled. “Well, I’ll have to try not to be tiresome. I may be doing more work, I mean academic work, from now on.”

I nodded. “Sure. You can borrow my office. Anyway,” I inclined my head towards the house, “let’s face the music.”

We walked from the vast comfort of a sky that didn’t know us or care, to the warmth, where people did both.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alan Whelan lives in the Blue Mountains of NSW, Australia. He’s been a political activist, mainly on homelessness, landlord-tenant issues and unemployment, and a public servant writing social policy for governments. He’s now a free-lance writer, editor and researcher.

His story, There Is, was short-listed for the Newcastle Short Story Award in June 2020, and appeared in their 2020 anthology. His story, Wilful Damage, won a Merit Prize in the TulipTree Publications (Colorado) September 2020 Short Story Competition, and appears in their anthology, Stories that Need to be Told. It was nominated by the publisher for the 2021 Pushcart Prize.

His book The Lockdown Tales, using Boccaccio’s Decameron framework to show people living with the Covid-19 lockdown, is now on sale in paperback and ebook.

His novels, Harris in Underland and Blood and Bone are soon to be sent to publishers. He is currently working on the sequel to The Lockdown Tales and will then complete the sequel to Harris in Underland.

Alan Whelan co-wrote the book, New Zealand Republic, and has had journalism and comment pieces published in The New Zealand Listener and every major New Zealand newspaper, plus The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald.

He wrote two books for the NZ Government: Renting and You and How to Buy Your Own Home. His stories also appear in Stories of Hope, a 2020 anthology to raise funds for Australian bushfire victims, and other anthologies.

His phone number is +61 433 159 663. Enthusiastic acceptances and emphatic rejections, also thoughtful questions, are generally sent by email to alan@alanwhelan.org.

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GUEST POST:
- Besides writing, what else did you do during lockdown to keep yourself occupied?

Lockdown isn’t over, in NSW Australia. With the Delta variant loose among us, and not enough vaccines available, we’re home again. I was about not so long ago, going to concerts, having a drink in a bar, dressing up and trying to be charming. But that’s all over again.

I’m the only person in my three-bedroom house at the moment, and I rattle round. It’s mid-winter, so I mostly live in my bedroom, where there’s a heater on all the time. And the office off the bedroom where I write.

For the first eight months of lockdown, to tell the truth, I didn’t do much but write. I had a book gnawing me from the inside, wanting to be born, so I was at my desk most of the time I wasn’t asleep. I’d go walking most days – I live next to a World Heritage Wilderness, and I love the trails, the river and its waterfalls.

I took photographs of beautiful things that will only exist for half an hour or so, because nature always changes. I have no talent as a photographer, but sometimes I see something I want to remember.

I caught up with friends, some of whom I hadn’t contacted in years because you got so busy before Covid. I used the extra time talking with old friends by email or on FaceTime or Zoom or something.

I launched my book when hard copies arrived. I advertised the book launch in the cheapest and the most effective way there is: personal contact. I bought a table, and took it to the street, covered it with copies, and told passers-by why it’s such a good book.

Which it is: it’s the world’s first book of long-form fiction about how ten people met the challenges of the lockdown. They left the city to isolate together on a farm, where they worked, made relationships and some broke relationships, and some who started the book in battered and bruised condition healed with the help of others, and above all, to stay sane and keep each other sane they told stories.

The Lockdown Tales follows both their experiences in lockdown and the stories they tell.

So I’d do my spiel and people would buy my book. On the day of the launch, about thirty people came to drink wine and eat food with me (very basic catering, I’m afraid) and buy the book, and listen to me make the funniest and best speech I could manage.

The local newspaper’s reporter was sick on the day, so I got to write my own story about it. So everything I thought of later that I should have said, I said, according to the record. And the crowd went wild!

I did some radio interviews and a couple of readings. So I was feeling like an author. Except for the bit where I ride through an enormous cheering crowd in an open Citroen convertible. That, sadly, hasn’t happened yet.

Now I’m back doing what a writer does. I spend my days and evenings at my keyboard, realizing that I can’t write, “I first sighted her at a lecture I was giving on how to cite medieval historians.” Because cite and sight are different words, but they don’t sound like it.

Now it’s: “The worst thing about first seeing Marylynn, at my lecture on how to use and cite Geoffrey of Tours and other medieval sources, was that I had to forget everything that had happened to me, or that I had directly seen, before 1990.”

(Why? Because the narrator was instantly lovestruck, or near equivalent, but Marylynn was half her age, and she decided to try to appear to be in her thirties when really she was intimidatingly in her forties. So she had to remember never to mention her earliest memories. Love and lust do not always inspire us to behave wisely or well.)

So I’m back writing. I still cook, and walk, mostly but not always alone, and I stay in touch with my friends, but mostly by computer.

Loneliness is not my friend, but I’m keeping him and the wolf a respectful distance from my door. Lockdown isn’t over, and lockdown life is like being at half capacity. Except for the writing.

I am very ready for going out to the world when it’s open. Like diving headfirst into a huge wave. Like swinging off a rope onto a pool. Like smiling at pretty strangers at a gig. Yeah.
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GIVEAWAY:
Alan Whelan will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

44 comments:

  1. Looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the contest. 

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  2. How long was the writing process?

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  3. What inspires your book plots?

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  4. Sounds interesting, I like the cover and excerpt.

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  5. sounds great, congrats on the release

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  6. Sounds like a very good book.

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  7. thank you for a chance to win

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  8. Love the cover and the excerpt sounds amazing.

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  9. This sounds interesting thanks for the contest!

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  10. Nice book cover and the book sounds interesting.

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  11. This sounds like a unique and interesting book for a great summer read.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  12. This sounds like an interesting book and I also like the cover.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

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  13. Do you ever use your own experiences to write a book?

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  14. How did you get involved as a political activist for homelessness, landlord tenant issues and unemployment? It seems like your writing made a difference to the powers that be in government. I helped out as a volunteer meditor with the Cleveland Mediation Center and saw how the process worked. Usually, the landlords wanted to help when the tenant started heading life in the right direction. We facilitated the conversation and used money from various foundations to catch them up on rent.

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  15. I like the cover and would love reading it too.

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  16. Do you ever get writer's block?
    If so how do you get through it?

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  17. Do you usually stick with one genre when writing?

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  18. Is it difficult for you to think of a title and cover for your books?

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  19. How long did it take you to finish this book?

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  20. Where is your favorite place to write?

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  21. Do you listen to music when you write?

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  22. What book are you currently reading?

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  23. Do you ever not been able to finish a book?

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  24. Do you write more or read more?

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  25. I would think it would be a challenge to find the right title and cover for your books.

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  26. At what age did you start writing?

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  27. What is the most impactful book you've ever read?

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  28. What author do you most like to read?

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  29. What is your favorite book you ever wrote?

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  30. When do you start your next book?

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  31. How many pages do you try to write each day?

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  32. Did you always want to be a writer?
    Or did you consider other occupations?

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