Today it is my great pleasure to join the blog tour for Spark Out by Nick Rippington with a brilliant guest post from Beryl Dolan, wife of ‘Big Mo’ Dolan, the protagonist of the tale. I’ll be sharing Beryl’s post with you in a short moment, but first, here is what the book is all about.
The Official Book Blurb
Think Arnie Dolan was trouble? Now meet the old man…
MAURICE ‘BIG MO’ DOLAN is prone to headaches and there is one main cause: his family. He believes eldest son Chuck, 7, needs toughening up, his wife Beryl is too lenient, his career-criminal father has no respect for him and he is about to lose his younger brother Clive to the army.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, though. With Margaret Thatcher’s government backing initiative and suggesting people get ‘on their bikes’ to find work, Mo believes it is the perfect time for him to expand his business… into armed robbery.
As he plans the ultimate raid to drag him out of the poverty trap, he believes his fortunes are bound to get better… but with the Falklands War just around the corner they are about to become a whole lot worse.
A hard-boiled suspense thriller that’s not for the faint hearted.
A prequel to Crossing The Whitewash, the novel is set in 1982 as Britain comes to terms with a Thatcher government and the prospect of war in the south Atlantic…
My mum, the bitch
By Beryl Dolan
My mother was the life and soul of any party. She had to be. If Shirley Stevens wasn’t the centre of everyone’s attention then there was something wrong with the world. I don’t know whether it was an asset or illness – this craving for attention – but when you have kids at some stage you have to take second place. Or so I thought.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved my mum. Unreservedly. I loved her bubbly spirit, her winning smile, the way she could enter a room and take over completely. I loved the way people fawned over her ‘Would you like to sit here, love?’ ‘What can I get you to drink, Darlin’?’ ‘Oh Shirley, you’re a scream – this place would be pretty damn boring without you’.
That last statement is particularly poignant, because it has echoes in my life…
I was 12-years-old when I came home from school and found the note. It was on one of those pretty little notelets with spring flowers adorning the borders. In fact, it looked so pretty and sweet and thoughtful, that I actually smiled when I saw it. It was only when I picked it up and read the words that my whole world came tumbling down.
At first I thought it might be a sick joke, the sort of thing my twin brothers Kevin and Keith would do to wind me up and reduce me to tears. When I ran downstairs and saw my dad, though, standing silent and bereft and reading a similar note in the front room, I knew it was true.
Mum had gone. She had packed her cases, taken all her perfumes and make up and hats and shoes, and left us. This is what she wrote…
I love you so much and wanted you to know that. This is the hardest letter I have ever had to write. For some time now I have been feeling very unhappy and it is making me unwell. It isn’t anything you or your brothers have done, it’s just me and the way I am made.
To be honest I have felt trapped for a long time. I was never suited to the job of staying home and looking after kids, however much I love you and the boys. I am feeling stifled and I can no longer live with your father. It’s a thing that sometimes happens with grown-ups and one day you might understand.
Anyway, I am going a long, long way away and I am sure that, eventually, you will find it’s the best thing for everyone. I want you to be happy and though you may feel a bit upset and let down, I’m sure the pain will ease with time,
First thoughts were poor mum.
That soon wore off.
It wore off the moment I heard my father swearing down the phone at her, telling her she was a bitch and a demon for abandoning her kids for a selfish, rich lifestyle.
It turned from love to hatred when I heard him accuse her of running off to France with some “well-to-do” footballer who had signed for one of their clubs. She had met him at the country club where she worked in the evenings.
No mention of footballers and lavish lifestyles in the note.
Of course, the impact was far reaching and devastating. Dad wallowed in self-pity, drank himself stupid and lost his job. We had to move from our nice little house in the sticks to a crummy council house in Barking. Thanks, Dad.
While the boys found solace in each other, I was left alone and bitter. I ended up falling in with a bad crowd, staying out late around the local shops and terrorising the residents.
I didn’t care anymore. My life was over.
Until I got a new life, and met my Mo.
Yes, we have our problems. Yes, many wouldn’t class him as husband of the year.
And yes, I have bruises to prove it.
But I will stick it out. I will stand by Mo, and my boys Chuck and Sly.
Because the alternative just scares the hell out of me.
I could turn into my mother.
(Beryl Dolan is wife of Maurice ‘Big Mo’ Dolan,
the protagonist in UK gangland thriller Spark Out)
Thanks Beryl for a great post there. If you’d like to get your hands on a copy of Spark Out, it is available from the following retailers.
About the Author
NICK RIPPINGTON is one of the victims of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal you never hear about. Having proudly taken his dream job as the newspaper’s Welsh Sports Editor, he was made redundant with two days’ notice when Rupert Murdoch closed down Europe’s biggest-selling tabloid six years ago. The dramatic events prompted Nick to write UK gangland thriller Crossing the Whitewash, which was released in August 2015. Spark Out is the second novel in his Boxer Boys series. Married to Liz, Nick has two children – Jemma, 35, and Olivia, 7. A Bristolian at heart, he lives near Ilford, Essex.
Make sure to check out the other blogs taking part in the tour.