Below in italics is a press release about my new book. I didn’t write it myself: it was a gift from a very kind friend who works in PR and does this kind of writing all the time. I told her a few things and she did the rest. We’ve sent it out to ‘the usual suspects’ and wait to see if anyone bites. Maybe they will, maybe not – I’m never sure how things like this work. Is it luck, or timing, or skill, or the compelling story? The first reaction on Twitter was from a nuclear interest group in Oregon, USA, who must have picked it up with a key words search or something similar. A mystery. Anyway, here it is – everything you’ve ever wanted to know about ‘Fallout’ – the last in the trilogy – and my thoughts as it was completed. Enjoy, and if you feel inspired to order a copy right now, go through the website and order a copy at a special price. The ebook will be out before the end of June.
“The final part of an epic Cumbrian saga which is set against the backdrop of a nuclear disaster will be published at the end of May.
Fallout by Ruth Sutton is the third novel in the trilogy Between the Mountains and the Sea which has traced the life of a feisty single woman living near the Cumberland coast. It brings to a conclusion the story of Jessie Whelan, a character who has won admirers throughout the county and beyond.
At the start of this third book Jessie is working at the Windscale nuclear plant on the Cumberland coast, fretting about what’s happening there, and trying unsuccessfully to stay on good terms with her son John and Maggie his ambitious wife.
A tragic accident creates an opportunity to change her life, and in ways she could never have foretold. A stranger arrives, representing the threat as well as the promise of the nuclear age. Jessie invites the stranger into her precious new home, confident that she is now in charge of her life, but indiscretions undermine her yet again.
As her independence is challenged, deep-seated problems at the reactor threaten the future of the whole community. Jessie’s personal crisis intensifies, and her story twists towards a moving resolution. The story is set at the time of the reactor fire at the nuclear plant since renamed Sellafield.
The first two books, A Good Liar and Forgiven were critically acclaimed and followers hope that the second, Forgiven, published last summer, will make an impact at the Lake District Book of the Year competition.
Ruth, a teacher and educational advisor who still travels widely to work with school communities, notably in Canada and New Zealand, lives at Waberthwaite near Millom in the western Lake District.
She has mixed feelings about the completion of the trilogy: “Jessie Whelan’s story has been part of my life for six years. When I first encountered her as a character she was interesting, but gradually I felt her become deeper and darker, with flaws that sometimes threatened to overwhelm her.”
She added: “I love Jessie but sometimes she’s her own worst enemy. I watched her make important hard choices about her life and survive, both personally and professionally. But we all age, and in the third part of her life, heading into her sixties, I wondered about how things would be. Part of me wanted her life to end early, avoiding a sad decline into loneliness and illness. And part of me also wanted her to be happy for a while at least, after struggling for so long.”
Ruth said that as the final part of the trilogy unfolded in her mind, driven along by the drama of the reactor fire in the Windscale nuclear plant, she changed her mind a dozen times about bringing the trilogy to an end. “Various versions of the denouement were written and abandoned, and finally I settled for ambivalence. Uncertainty is part of life: I could not bear to wrap up with a tidy ribbon the story of someone so important to me.
“On the day when the final proofs went to the printers, I felt as if I’d lost a close friend, bereft. I also hope that the story of Jessie’s life will be widely read, as a testament to women like her, as well as a fascinating account of the momentous changes in our lives in this beautiful place over the past century.”
Fallout is published by Hoad Press on May 27.”