Monday, February 28, 2022

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Secrets of a River Swimmer by S.S. Turner

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Secrets of a River Swimmer by S.S. Turner. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a top ten post getting to know the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Secrets of a River Swimmer
Author: S.S. Turner
Publisher: The Story Plant
Publication Date: February 8th 2022
Print Length: 258 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction
As Freddy gazes at the majestic river gushing past him in the depths of a Scottish winter, he's ready to jump in and end his life. But what happens next is not what Freddy expects. From the moment he enters the river, Freddy starts a journey which is more beautiful, funny, and mysterious than he could have imagined. And through this journey Freddy's story becomes interweaved with a cast of unforgettable characters who are equally lost and in search of answers. Eventually they all unite in their quest for an answer to the biggest question of them all: will the river take them where they want to go?

In the tradition of inspirational works of fiction like The Alchemist and Life of Pi, Secrets of a River Swimmer is at once a profound exploration into living with meaning and an affecting story of people on the cusp of change.

My thoughts drift to picture what life as a gillie must be like. I imagine you start the day by carrying all the fishing equipment your fat and wealthy clients will need for a day of luxurious and fully-catered fishing. You carry everything while they take it easy, and you locate the best spot to fish for the largest possible salmon. Your local knowledge about fishing spots has to be extraordinary. You then set up the fishing rod, position your client in the right spot, and talk them through what they need to do to catch that magic fish they’re all searching for. Of course, your clients are always searching for the largest catch of the season, so they can go home and brag to their friends and family about what skilled fishermen they are. It’s obvious to you, if not to them, that the subtext is being able to sing to the world that they have massive willies, bigger than everyone else’s.

Beyond fishing, you’re forced to listen to whatever the hell it is your clients want to talk about for the eight long hours you’re on the river. Your clients are all obscenely wealthy, so it’s more than likely you’ll hear a lot of moaning about all the small things in life they’d like changed. Many of them will complain about local wind farm developments, council plans to develop their neighborhood, and, of course, the big one: immigration. They all believe immigrants are responsible for all the problems in the world. These people are your quintessential NIMBYs, and will always complain about progress if it affects them in any way, no matter how minor. You do whatever you can to bring the conversation back to fishing because it’s an easier conversation for you, and less productive grounds for their complaining. They’re slowly sucking the life out of you with their negativity, so you carefully select your words to bring the conversation onto a more positive pathway. And, of course, your ultimate back-up plan, as it is for many British people, is to pull out the ultimate conversation filler when you’re at rock bottom: the weather. Yes, it’s a desperate move and the equivalent of holding up a white flag, but needs must.
S.S. Turner has been an avid reader, writer, and explorer of the natural world throughout his life which has been spent in England, Scotland and Australia. Just like Freddy in his first novel, Secrets of a River Swimmer, he worked in the global fund management sector for many years but realized it didn't align with his values. In recent years, he's been focused on inspiring positive change through his writing as well as trying not to laugh in unfortunate situations. He now lives in Australia with his wife, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and ten chickens.

10 Things Most People Don't Know About Me
by S.S. Turner

1) When I attended Edinburgh University to complete a Masters, I was the singer in a band called The Carbon Cowboys. We sang songs about addressing climate change. One of the songs we recorded was an altered version of St Elmos Fire which was renamed Put Out the Fire. The son of John Parr, the original song’s singer and living legend of the eighties, was behind the idea at first. But once he heard the song we never heard from him again. I blame the rest of the band because the singing was impeccable (not!). Those recordings shall remain buried forever…

2) I once travelled to Iceland to join the Icelandic farming community round up their free-roaming sheep in the Icelandic mountains. It was a glorious two-week horse ride in a hypnotic land filled with fascinating characters. We ended each evening being entertained by a one-man band in the horse stables.

3) I am a proper music nerd, and listen to around ten new albums each month. To say I love music would be an understatement.

4) For around ten years, when I was living in London, I had to travel Europe for around three months a year for work. It was a great way to get to know the locals in each country. I particularly loved the Nordics as I felt at home there like a local whenever I visited. I remember I once went for a jog on the ice-covered Helsinki harbor in the middle of winter. It was minus twenty-two degrees Fahrenheit, and by the time I returned to the hotel I understood why I hadn’t encountered any locals out jogging.

5) Many years ago I ran with the bulls in Pamplona. I made it all the way to the stadium at the end of the course and was astounded by crowd’s welcome. But when I saw how the bulls were treated I vowed never to return.

6) I lived next to Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh’s famous mountain, for a few years. The flat I lived in had a glorious view of it, and it became a key feature in my life at the time. I used to jog up to the top of the mountain every week. Arthur’s Seat is famous as being a spiritual place and I definitely felt something deeper every time I visited the summit.

7) I’ve completed two Swimtreks in Greece and Croatia. Swimtreks are 25-30km island hopping adventures which last 5-6 days. The Greek trip sounded like a great idea until I discovered that everyone else in my swimming group had competed in either an Olympics or a Commonwealth Games. I was a lot faster at swimming by the end of the trip!

8) My sense of humor got the better of me in my last role as a proper employee for a fund manager in Edinburgh. One day, I gave my boss a pretend parking ticket as a light-hearted joke. However, he didn’t realize it was a joke and made quite a fuss about it with the council. That little prank led to me being reprimanded for “taking the piss too often”.

9) I run a casual ultimate Frisbee game each week near where I live. It’s a super fun game and a great way to engage in fun social sport. However, despite loving the game I’m yet to master the forehand throw.

10) When I attended a friend’s wedding in India a few years ago, I called down to the hotel reception to request a Pitcher of water because it was so hot and I was thirsty. A few minutes later, a hotel employee knocked on my door. “Here’s your picture of water” he explained proudly as he handed me a photograph of a glass of water.
S.S. Turner will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to one randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Goddess Fish Promotions and the author assume all responsibility with this giveaway.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Sounds like an interesting book.

  2. Sounds like an interesting read!

  3. thanks this sounds like an interesting book

  4. Thank you for sharing the author's guest post and book details, this sounds like an excellent read and I am looking forward to it

  5. This sounds like a good book. I would love to hear Freddy's adventures.

  6. What inspired you to write this book?

  7. Great excerpt and I enjoyed the excerpt and Secrets of a River Swimmer sounds like a great book and I am looking forward to reading it! Thanks for sharing it with me and have a spectacular day!

  8. This sounds like one that will keep me reading and interested.

  9. I enjoyed getting to know you, SS.

  10. I liked the excerpt and the book sounds interesting.

  11. Sounds like a good read.

  12. Thanks for hosting Heather, much appreciated.

    And thanks for all the supportive comments.

    Thanks for the great question Marisela. I was inspired to write this novel from my own river swimming adventures at a time I was particularly lost. Entering the river's world healed me in ways I didn't understand at the time and I was inspired to recreate the river's life-affirming magic through a fun story...

  13. Do you have any advice for new writers?

  14. Sounds like an interesting book.

  15. I think it was interesting to read the article 10 Things Most People Don't Know About Me by S.S. Turner!

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  16. Awesome! What a generous giveaway! As a single mom and teacher, I love to read with and to my family and Secrets of a River Swimmer seems like a book we all might enjoy!! (nicole bowers, nicole 2 inspect at yahoo dot com)

  17. I enjoy hearing about new books and authors.

  18. David HollingsworthMarch 2, 2022 at 5:07 PM

    What's the best thing about being a writer?

  19. I'm asking my library to carry your books.

  20. looks like a fun one

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. David HollingsworthMarch 4, 2022 at 1:18 AM

    How many books have you written so far?

  23. How do "flesh out" your characters?

  24. Sounds like a fantastic read

  25. What is your current favourite song?