Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Monday, 9 July 2012

Tony Hogan bought me an Ice Cream Float before he Stole my Ma - Kerry Hudson - Author Guest post & Competition

I am delighted to welcome Kerry Hudson to the blog today! She is visiting as part of the Blog Tour to launch her debut novel Tony Hogan bought me an Ice Cream Float before he Stole My Ma 

I have been a published author for a whole three days now. You might be surprised to know that nothing feels that different. I still always miss that kinked bit at the back of my hair no matter how carefully I blow-dry it, I still have to eat a bag of crisps the minute I leave work though I always swear I'll eat an apple and I'm still sat at my keyboard struggling the words out like I have every day for years now. The only difference is that now I can visit Amazon while I'm doing that and gratefully look at my little novel there (and try to avoid checking the sales ranking because therein lies the road to madness my friends).

So, Lindsay asked me to share the best and worst bits of getting to the point where you still can't blow-dry your hair properly or avoid snacking but you can nip into a book shop and lovingly stroke the spine of the Book What You Wrote:

Starting is very hard – a novel seemed such an out of reach thing for someone like me, but once I'd faced the fear and decided to go for it I discovered that 1000 words a day really could make a novel.

Finishing is INCREDIBLE – printing out pages and pages of a world you have created is one of the best feelings in the world. I left my first draft print out in New Zealand as I had too much luggage. I regret that now because it felt like such a massive achievement to have even gotten that far.

Waiting to hear back from an agent is enough to drive you mad – my (now) agent got back to me quickly but there are few things more terrifying than sending off your manuscript and cocking your ears for the deafening laughter ringing out from miles away across London

But signing with an agent you know will do a brilliant job for you and your book is incredible. I was living on a boat on the Thames the evening I signed with Juliet so I put my iPod on took a long walk back along the river. I knew I'd want to remember that evening for a long time after.

I take back the part about waiting to hear from an agent being terrifying, you don't know real fear until your book is being circulated around publishers because that is when opening your email (which your do about 72,465 times a day) can make your dreams come true or shatter them.

Getting a deal isn't how you expect it will be. The night I got the call to say Chatto & Windus had made an offer I was so stunned I refused to celebrate and we went, as planned, to see an awful Ben Affleck film at our local multiplex. It wasn't until two weeks later, on my 30th birthday, while having a cream tea on a Cornish cliff top that I really realised It Was Happening. I just smiled and smiled the whole day like a loon.

My book is a novel but none the less it's a very personal one. I'm nervous about reviews like any other author but it's part of the job. You process what people are saying and get back to writing sharpish.

Last Thursday I signed books for people at my launch and watched talented actors (and my editor, agent, best-friend, my ex-partner's aunt and her dog, etc....) read the words I'd written aloud to an audience. People have started to message me to tell me that such-and such reminded them of their own upbringing. I'll see on Goodreads that someone's tearing through the book in a day. That is the priceless stuff.

But the best bit of all? Just sitting quietly at my table by the window, looking out at Hackney with a cup of tea and my elbow about to write another scene. Because the best bit about writing for me is...well, the writing.

Thank you so much Kerry! 

About the author

Kerry Hudson was born in Aberdeen. Growing up in a succession of council estates, B&Bs and caravan parks provided her with a keen eye for idiosyncratic behaviour, material for life, and a love of travel. Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma is her first novel. Kerry now lives, writes and works in London.


When Janie Ryan is born, she's just the latest in a long line of Ryan women, Aberdeen fishwives to the marrow, always ready to fight. Her violet-eyed Grandma had predicted she'd be sly, while blowing Benson and Hedges smoke rings over her Ma's swollen belly. In the hospital, her family approached her suspiciously, so close she could smell whether they'd had booze or food for breakfast. It was mostly booze.

Tony Hogan tells the story of a Scottish childhood of filthy council flats and B&Bs, screeching women, feckless men, fags and booze and drugs, the dole queue and bread and marge sandwiches. It is also the story of an irresistible, irrepressible heroine, a dysfunctional family you can't help but adore, the absurdities of the eighties and the fierce bonds that tie people together no matter what. Told in an arrestingly original -- and cry-out-loud funny -- voice, it launches itself headlong into the middle of one of life's great fights, between the pull of the past and the freedom of the future. And Janie Ryan, born and bred for combat, is ready to win.


This prize draw is open to anyone who hosts or comments on a Tony Hogan post. There is no purchase necessary. There is no limit to how many times a name can be entered i.e. if you comment on three blogs you have three entries but it's only possible to win one prize per person. The winning names will be drawn at random on Wednesday 1st August and announced on my (Kerry's) Tumblr blog and on Twitter.

1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes consist of:

1st prize - A three chapter or synopsis critique plus afternoon tea at Beas of Bloomsbury, London (at a mutually beneficial date and time) with Juliet Pickering from the AP Watt Literary Agency to discuss your critique. Plus a personalised copy of Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before he Stole My Ma.

2nd prize - A  literary hamper containing a personalised copy of Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma as well as three of my most recommended writing theory books and Hotel d Chocolate chocolates to enjoy while reading them.

3rd prize - A personalised copy of Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma.

Author Links


  1. This sounds like a fantastic read! Well done Kerry - I loved reading about your journey to publication and wish you every success!

    Mandy :)

    P.S. I think I checked my email about 72,466 times when waiting for agents to reply - at least - in fact it was probably that many times per hour ;)

  2. Kerry I love the sound of your book and look forward to reading it. Well done on successfully publishing your book. Wishing you all the best for the future. xxxxxx

  3. Hi Kerry - I loved reading about your publishing journey and could really feel your angst about checking your emails so many times and then your quiet joy when you knew you'd 'made it'. The book sounds great - the title is amazing - and I do love a bit of Scotland in a book. Wishing you great success with your debut novel.

    Janice xx

  4. Your synopsis is fabulous, Kerry. Did you write that yourself?? Joking :) That's another writer's nightmare, along with the 'do I or don't I open the email now it's finally arrived?' Your book really does sound excellent and just that little bit different. I can see why it was picked up. Well done and absolute best of luck! Now you can wish me luck - I'm about to go and live on a narrowboat. Don't panic! I have broadband! :) x

  5. This book sounds like an awesome read! Hope your book does well!! Good luck!

  6. Your book sounds a brilliantly different read, am off to buy it now! Good luck.

  7. What a fabulous post and a great competition - love it! Hope it does really well.

  8. Thanks so much for your comments everyone and good luck with the competition!

  9. Hi Kerry (and Lindsay)
    Great story and sounds like a great book - Scottish childhood? Well I had one myself so I'm off to check it out right now!
    Ali B

  10. This sounds like a great read! Good for you Kerry. Your journey is inspiring and we wish you the best!

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