Wednesday, 23 June 2021

#GuestPost Being Netta Wilde by Hazel Ward @HazelWard @rararesources #BlogTour

Written by Hazel Ward

Published by Hope St Press; (20 Jun. 2021)
Genre Contemporary fiction/Women’s fiction
Pages 352
ASIN B0947351XQ

Today I'm delighted to welcome Author Hazel Ward to my blog, and would like to thank her for her guest post. Her latest novel, Being Netta Wild, has just been published, and is on a blog tour arranged by Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources.

Being Netta Wilde definitely sounds like something I'll very much enjoy reading. It's on my reading list now, but meantime please enjoy her thoughts about a writer's attachment to characters in their story.

The blurb:

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?

Purchase Being Netta Wilde from:

Amazon UK   Amazon US   Amazon CA   Amazon AU


When you know it’s too soon to say goodbye to a character. 

Sometimes, when you’re reading about a character that you connect with, they can become so real that it’s hard to say goodbye to them when the book comes to an end. I’m sure we’ve all had that feeling when we’re rushing to reach the conclusion because we want to know how it’s going to play out, only to feel a bit lost when we actually finish it. Lonely even. Missing characters we felt attached to.

It’s the same for writers too. Well, this one anyway. When you live with a character for months, sometimes years they almost become a part of you. They pop up in your head in all sorts of situations and at all sorts of times. For me, it’s often in the middle of the night when I wake up, seemingly for no reason and, hey presto, there I am thinking about Netta Wilde again, or maybe one of the other personalities in the book. I really can’t seem to let them go.

Luckily that’s what series are for. Being Netta Wilde is the first in the ‘Netta Wilde’ series. When we meet Netta in this book, she’s actually still using her married name, Annette Grey and the woven thread of the story is whether she’ll find her way back to being Netta Wilde again. Although the first stage of her journey concludes in this book, she’s not finished. She’s just closing one chapter in her life and opening a new one. And I haven’t said goodbye to her, or the other characters, yet. There are more stories to tell.

While writing this first book, it occurred to me that all of the key events in Annette’s life are told from her perspective and I began to wonder what sort of story the other people involved would tell. It prompted me to write Being Doogie Chambers. A novella which I’m giving away free and exclusively to members of my Readers’ Club. It tells the story of Netta and Doogie through his eyes and gives the reader a chance to see the person Annette used to be, before she met and married Colin Grey.

I’ve also begun the next book in the series. It’s called Finding Edith Pinsent and it’s about Edie, the elderly and slightly eccentric spinster who lived in the house before Annette. In book one, Edie has already died so we only really know her through her diary entries and what other people say about her. This time we meet her at different stages in her life and discover the real Edith Pinsent. Netta and Doogie’s stories also progress in this book.

When I started writing book two, I had a different novel in mind. I was writing about four separate characters: Edith, Netta, Geraldine (Netta’s mum) and Kelly – Netta’s daughter from another mother, as she likes to think of herself. After the first draft, I realised it was getting a bit crowded in that little old book so I decided to split the story in two. Possibly three. Let’s see how book three goes.

So, definitely at least two more books in the series. Probably more. I think Colin has his own story to tell. In fact, I find myself filling in life stories for most of the individuals as I get to know them better. One person who’s calling out to me at the moment, doesn’t reveal herself until Being Doogie Chambers. It’s Doogie’s mum, Julie Macrae. As a friend and fellow writer told me after reading Doogie’s tale, Julie has an interesting story to tell.

There we have it then. Plenty to keep me going and hopefully, you too. No need to get lonely at all.

By the way, if you want to get hold of a copy of Being Doogie Chambers you can do so here. Finding Edith Pinsent is now available on pre-order. Its official publication date is 1st March 2022 but I’m hoping to bring that forward to autumn/winter 2021.

Author Bio – Hazel Ward

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.


  1. Thank you so much for giving me a spot on your lovely blog, Deborah. I hope your readers enjoy my post. I'd love them to follow Netta and her friends on their journeys.

    1. Thank you again for your thought-provoking guest post.

      When reading, I often get very attached to a particular character, and feel deflated when their story individual comes to an end. When writing, I think I have rounded off the characters' stories but still get asked "what happened to them next". I'm still learning.

    2. Me too! I'm so glad you liked the post.