I’m delighted to co-host today’s stop on the blog tour for The Start of Something Wonderful by Jane Lambert. You can read an extract from the novel below, a heartwarming and uplifting story about starting over and following your dreams.
About the Book (previously published as Learning to Fly)
Forty-year-old air stewardess, Emily Forsyth, thought she had everything a woman could wish for: a glamorous, jet-set lifestyle, a designer wardrobe and a dishy pilot boyfriend. Until he breaks up with her…
Catapulted into a mid-life crisis she wishes she’d had earlier, she decides to turn her life upside-down, quitting her job and instead beginning to chase her long-held dreams of becoming an actress!
Leaving the skies behind her, Emily heads for the bright lights of London’s West End – but is it too late to reach for the stars?
Format: ebook (364 pp.) Publisher: HQ Digital
Published: 5th January 2018 Genre: Fiction
Find The Start of Something Wonderful on Goodreads
Extract from The Start of Something Wonderful by Jane Lambert
I AM BEGINNING TO WORRY. There’s a dark side to my character emerging that I didn’t know was there.
Whilst I’m naturally over the moon and grateful for this understudy job, as the weeks go by, I’m becoming a teensy-weensy bit frustrated. I know the part now, and whilst I may not have starred in my own TV series or graced the cover of celebrity mags, dare I say it, I think I could play the role just as well. Does that sound conceited? Day after day, week after week, the waiting, the hoping …
Wishing someone to be struck down with laryngitis or a mild tummy bug is one thing, but willing someone’s foot to get trapped in a revolving set is something else entirely. Evil. I’m horrified that I’m capable of such a thought.
I breeze through the stage door, clutching the latest copy of Hello! and a bag of Jelly Babies.
‘Evening, Arthur. Dressing room ten, please.’
‘Reckon you’ll no’ be havin’ much time for readin’ the night, doll,’ he wheezes, glancing at my magazine as he hands me the key.
‘Mmm?’ I say, signing in, then checking my pigeonhole, mind elsewhere.
‘It’s no’ for me to say,’ he says, hoisting a shaggy eyebrow.
I slowly start to climb the spiral staircase, calling in at the greenroom on the way for a brew.
‘Company manager’s been looking for you,’ grunts one of the lighting guys from behind his Autocar magazine.
‘Right. Thanks,’ I say breezily, spilling milk everywhere, my stomach dropping ten floors. Surely not? I mean, I saw Sophie barely two hours ago. I watched her performance from the darkness of the stage-right wings and she was on fine form, giving her ‘I-love-you-but-we-must-part’ speech.
It was at that point that I’d decided to make a break for it. Technically, I’m not supposed to leave the building until the curtain comes down, but I’ve religiously watched and mouthed every performance from the wings of Brighton’s Theatre Royal, to this, our final fortnight at The Dukes in Edinburgh. With just five minutes of the matinée left, what could possibly happen to her?
Mistake no. 1: leaving theatre early
Mistake no. 2: gorging on all-you-can-eat buffet
Mistake no. 3: succumbing to large glass of house red
Mistake no. 4: ordering garlic bread
Mistake no. 5: forgetting to switch on mobile phone
Mistake no. 6: arriving five minutes late for ‘the half’
‘… so, the silly cow’s been whisked off to A&E to have it x-rayed. You know what this means?’ says Simon, our company manager, running his hand nervously through his mop of unruly hair.
An eerie sensation ripples through my body. I feel a stab of guilt. My visualisation powers have taken on a telekinetic life of their own, like in some Stephen King horror film. I hadn’t intended anything serious to happen – just a minor ailment, something to lay her low for a week, a cold perhaps, allowing my agent sufficient time to arrange invitations and tickets for casting directors and producers.
I swallow hard and force my lips into a weak smile. There is an expectant silence. This is the stuff of Hollywood musicals: the leading actress is taken ill, and the understudy has to take over at short notice.
I can do it. I’ve been practising for months, says the heroine, with an assured toss of her pretty head. Bravo! More! A star is born! This is the moment I have waited for, longed for all these weeks, these seventy-two performances, so why do I now have this overwhelming desire to flee the theatre and catch the first National Express coach out of town? Well, apart from my all-consuming guilt, the auditorium will be packed to the rafters with legions of excited fans waiting to see Sophie Butterfield and her co-star, Rick Romano, give their highly acclaimed, headline-grabbing performances as star-crossed lovers, Constance and Enrique.
The fact that their on-stage passion has spilled over into reality has fuelled the public’s imagination. The House-Full sign is now a permanent fixture on the pavement, while armies of eager punters camp outside in all weathers, hoping for returns.
The chemistry between Romano and Butterfield
is electric. Beg, steal or borrow a ticket!
~ The Billingham Gazette
This romantic duo sets the stage alight.
You’d be mad to miss it!
~ The Yorkshire Evening Post
‘You up for it?’ Simon asks, knowing full well it doesn’t matter whether I’m ‘up for it’ or not. Why else have I been travelling up and down the country, getting paid £500 per week plus touring allowance? So I may sit in my dressing room, stuffing my face with Hobnobs and tea whilst reading trashy magazines, or to be allowed to finally finish reading Doctor Zhivago, which I started back in 2010?
Nah – if it’s all the same to you, Simon, I’d rather give it a miss.
About the Author
Jane was born in Yorkshire and brought up on the west coast of Scotland. She studied French and German at Stirling University, taught English in Vienna and travelled the world as cabin crew before making the life-changing (and slightly mad) decision to become an actress in her mid-thirties. She has appeared in “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time”, “Calendar Girls” and “Deathtrap” in London’s West End.
While hanging around as an understudy in draughty theatre dressing rooms and grotty digs on tour, she wrote her first novel, The Start of Something Wonderful, and has now discovered her true path in life
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