‘A story of the aftermath, of picking up the pieces, of finding yourself again and discovering that life isn’t always easy . . . it’s not meant to be, but it can be worth it.‘
~ Sing Me Home
Sing Me Home is the latest novel from Irish writer Judith Cuffe. It is the second book in the Evolve trilogy and has just been released in digital format with Poolbeg Press on May 15th 2020. Judith’s writing has been compared to that of ‘Maeve Binchy and Cecelia Ahern with a dash of Graham Norton.’
I am delighted to welcome Judith today with a very inspiring piece about the impact of the lockdown on all our lives and how advice from her GP about ‘cooking a chicken’ was right all along…
‘Stay home, hold on as tight as you can to your families, play back-to-back games of Uno, watch movies, go for walks, do a workout in the garden, do some schoolwork, sleep in if you want to’ Judith Cuffe
[ About the Book ]
Ann Maguire believes that discovering the truth of her past will set her free, but sometimes having all the answers isn’t enough . . .
Forced to leave Dublin after her marriage crumbles, Ann returns to her childhood home of Knockmore, to find herself even more isolated than before. Catapulted back to grieving for her parents and the life she once knew, everything feels foreign. Perhaps her mother was right and there really is nothing here for her any more . . .
To work out how it all ends, Ann must go back to the start. Forging unlikely friendships, forcing herself through each day, the path to happiness is never easy. She soon learns it’s not about trying to mend a broken past but instead creating something new.
Craving companionship and familiarity, Ann finds herself magnetised towards another web of deceit, at which the beautiful Knockmore House, the home of her mother’s tragic childhood, is at the centre. Perhaps whoever lives there will always be tarnished by its past. Can Mark Dempsey help to fill the void of loneliness in her life? Ann can’t deny her feelings of unease about his overbearing mother, Olive, who also has secrets she’ll do anything to protect.
While overseeing renovations at Knockmore House, Ann finds herself falling for more than just the structure and begins to unearth further hidden truths. Ann becomes a pawn in a game – a dangerous one. Will Ann finally be able to set the house free? And will she find who and what means home to her?
Purchase Link ~ AmazonUK
[ Guest Post by Judith Cuffe ]
“Go home and cook a chicken.” It was a prescription I never expected to receive sitting opposite my GP well over a year ago. Especially since I hadn’t precisely presented with a case of ‘zero clues of what to do for the dinner’. (Although that does, in fact, happen most days.) And before you shout, “that’s a lot of dough to pay for a cookery lesson” – hear me out. I’d been seeking consultation on yet another sinus infection, coupled with persistent fatigue that no amount of sleep seemed to cure. The sinus issue was duly addressed before we began to speak about life in general: motherhood, the demands of working, trying to get enough exercise, afterschool activities, playdates, trying to maintain a social life, financial struggles, family issues, homework, worrying about the children, the future … you get the picture.
The suggestion that perhaps I was working too hard was made in amongst other general observations. At the time, I was editing my first book at the same time as writing the second. My husband had a relatively new business. One child had started in secondary school. Anyone would be able to see that I was overdoing it. I suppose, hands up, I could too. I was on a mission to prove myself, clearly to no one other than myself, because certainly there are never awards handed out for burning the candle at both ends. Clearly, I needed a break.
I listened as she told me how life has become far too busy and what we all ought to do is jump off the constant hamster wheel of activity. Children don’t, in fact, need the 17,000 extracurricular activities that we sometimes have to ‘force’ them to take part in. More often than not, what might benefit them more, is a rest. Similarly, as adults, we don’t need to work until our eyes are bursting from their sockets, go to the gym fourteen times a week, drink twelve litres of water a day, become a vegan, meditate every twenty seconds, all while trying to be as wealthy as possible with a property portfolio and eighteen holidays a year. We also don’t need to stay in touch with every single person, every single day, trying to maintain the sort of social life we had in our twenties (ahem, or even thirties). The GP concluded that what might do, not just me, but everyone, a power of good would be to remove the foot from the pedal, spend more time at home with our families and … “Go home and cook a chicken, sit around together and eat it.”
On the way home, I went one step further, buying a pre-cooked chicken, before skipping home to tell my husband, that I’d unearthed the secret to life. Darn, I wanted to grab that carcass and dance it across the kitchen table. That night I went to bed renewed, until I woke up the very next day and jumped right back on to that spinning hamster wheel.
It was only a week or so ago, in the midst of this current situation, that it struck me how utterly spot on the doctor had gotten it, and that ‘chicken script’ had been the best advice I’d ever been gifted. Shame it took a pandemic for me to realise it. In one way, the pandemic has been precisely what many of us needed to appreciate the simplicity of life again. For far too long, we’ve become caught up in what modern life has become, forgetting that all we really need is each other, our health, and perhaps a cooked chicken. Guilty as charged. The punishment: stay home, hold on as tight as you can to your families, play back-to-back games of Uno, watch movies, go for walks, do a workout in the garden, do some schoolwork, sleep in if you want to … because what does it matter, really?
Personally, I’ve relished this time, not only to clean out the bulging cupboards, and scrub behind the extractor fan, but also to reflect, and spend time with my family. Of course, I’m worried, like everyone else, but I’ve tried to lock that away until the lockdown is over. My husband, like me, is self-employed so him not working has been terrifying. But it has allowed me to continue writing. I’m currently editing my third book. Let’s just say that writing with the entire family around has been fascinating, and I’m definitely blameworthy of only half-listening when one of the children ask me something as I’m mid-plot-twist sentence.
“Two minutes, love,” is a firm favourite.
“Yes, of course, love. That’s fine,” I answered the other day without looking up.
Moments later two of them were attempting to drag the mattresses from their beds outside to use as crash mats for a homemade mountain bike course.
“But you said.”
It is what it is. Work still has to be done. But it’s funny, I think during this time I’ve produced some of my best work to date. I’ve almost edited my entire third book during the pandemic, with a very different mindset – one of, what will be, will be. I’ve written to the best of my ability, and that’s all I can control. But I am working less frantically, I’m laughing more with the kids, appreciating more, wanting far less … hell, I’ve cooked several chickens at this stage, and when this is over, I intend to keep on cooking them, for many years to come.
[ Bio ]
Judith Cuffe lives in County Wicklow, Ireland with her husband, three children and faithful writing companion, Wilbur, the dog. A book lover and a fan of the written word, she finally got round to following her dream and writing that book, When Destiny Sings which was published by Poolbeg Press in January 2020
Sing Me Home is her second book and is available to purchase now
Website ~ https://judyinthemiddle.com/