Friday, July 28, 2017

"The Second Cup" by Sarah Marie Graye

The Second Cup
by Sarah Marie Graye

The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye

Author Sarah Marie Graye stops by today to share an excerpt from her debut novel, The Second Cup. Keep an eye out for my review coming later this year.

The first novel by London South Bank University postgraduate scholarship holder Sarah Marie Graye, The Second Cup explores how the lives of a group of four friends unravel when one of them discovers her ex has committed suicide.

Today’s the day. I’m going to do this.
That’s what I say to myself over and over in my head as I pull on my leathers, fasten the straps on my boots and pull on my crash helmet and adjust the chin strap. Actually, I’m mumbling to myself, saying it out loud: “Today’s the day. Today’s the day.” I take a quick look round to make sure there’s nobody around to hear me. Not that it would make much difference. I’m so focused on today I have no space in my thoughts for other people.
I walk up to my bike. She’s a beauty. I think bikes are female, like ships are. There’s something enslaving about her curves, the way she calls me. I’m addicted to the buzz I get when I ride her. I don’t even need to be going quickly. I like to think she responds to my every move, but I’m also conscious of the sliver of fear I get whenever I twitch the throttle and her engine growls.
I put the key in the ignition, climb over her, then put my gloves on, taking time to pull my jacket sleeves over the edges. There’s nothing quite like the pain you feel deep in your bones from riding a bike in the cold when you’ve got a draught between your layers. I’ve got a patch of skin on my lower back that I believe has been damaged from my early days of riding when my trousers and jacket didn’t zip together. The nerve endings on a 10in-by-2in stretch of skin have never fully recovered, not even after hour upon hour of hot baths.
Kicking up the stand, turning the key, pulling in the clutch, putting her in first, I’m a conductor in front of an orchestra playing his favourite piece of music, I know every move. I pull down my visor, my final move before I pull of from the kerb and join the living.
“Today’s the day.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"Following the twists and turns of four friends’ lives as they deal with divorce, self-esteem issues, mental health challenges and, the trigger incident, an ex-boyfriend’s suicide, The Second Cup is a story that will resonate with anyone who has ever been bullied (at school or work) or felt like an outsider in their own life. (Spoiler alert) Although I normally like a nice, predictable happy ending, I really enjoyed the fact that the story didn’t end on an unrealistic 'happy ever after' note for all the characters, but rather with optimism for the future, as the girls make decisions to deal with their situations and move on with their lives. I especially loved the tea motif that flows throughout the story, e.g. reading tea leaves, preparing tea in a pot, riding on the teacups fairground ride, etc., as it made the book more unusual and memorable. I did find it a little difficult to get into the book at first, as each chapter is told from one character’s perspective and there is quite a bit of flashback at the beginning. Stick with it, though – once I’d got into the rhythm, I got engrossed in the girls' lives and whizzed through this book in one sitting! [...] I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next from this new author!" ~ Amazon Customer

Guest Post by the Author (originally featured on Ask David)
Why I Wrote This Book
Suicide is a difficult subject to talk about. And although writing a novel isn't an easy task, writing about suicide - putting my thoughts into the heads of my characters - was far easier than talking about my mental health.
With The Second Cup, I hope to capture what it's like to not feel as if you fit into the world - to feel uncomfortable in your own skin. I've written it for all the people who, like me, wonder if they tick half a second out of time with the rest of the world.
Faye, Beth, Abbie and Olivia come from different family backgrounds, they are successful in their careers and in their love lives to a greater or lesser degree. What they have in common is they are all struggling with mental and emotional issues.
When Faye discovers Jack - her ex and the love of her life - has killed himself, it brings life into sharp focus for all four of them.
A cup of tea does not cure everything.

About the Author
Sarah Marie Graye
Sarah Marie Graye was born in Manchester, United Kingdom, in 1975, to English Catholic parents. One of five daughters, to the outside world Sarah Marie's childhood followed a relatively typical Manchester upbringing ... until aged 9, when she was diagnosed with depression. It's a diagnosis that has stayed with Sarah Marie over three decades, and something she believes has coloured every life decision. Now in her early 40s, Sarah Marie has published her first novel The Second Cup. The novel explores how unhappy childhoods lead to unhappy adulthoods and affect the friendships and relationships people build.