An author’s debut novel set in Huddersfield has been snapped up by major book publisher Simon & Schuster UK.
Rebecca Ryan’s ‘My (Extra) Ordinary Life’ described as “funny, heart-warming and relatable” was secured by the publisher after a three-way auction.
The novel follows the story of Emily who, after watching a TV programme about the average human, realises that she is the average human…and ordinary just won’t do anymore.
While Emily is “exceptionally average” she did have a twin sister who died when they were just eight. Emily always secretly suspected her sister would have done a better job at living. Better than average anyway.
So Emily writes a list committing herself to living a more extraordinary life, including becoming a vegan, running a marathon and doing a bungee jump. The only thing Emily knows she can’t do is fall in love…
The novel is said to have a touch of the Bridget Jones about it and Rebecca, 36, said: “I had the idea for the novel over 20 years ago. After watching a medical TV documentary, much like the one Emily watches, it made me think about the fact that even an average life is a pretty amazing thing.
“However, I was 12 at the time and had absolutely no clue how to write a book. The idea stuck with me though.
“I wanted to write something that ordinary people can relate to and, like most of us, Emily won’t end up in any of the history books.
“But she comes to realise that life isn’t about being amazing all of the time, we’d all be worn out if that was the case. Instead, it’s living well and living authentically in the day to day that really matters.”
Rebecca lived in Marsh for 10 years and her character Emily lives just outside Huddersfield town centre and is a regular at The Cherry Tree Wetherspoon’s pub in John William Street. Emily also takes part in a boot camp outside Huddersfield Parish Church – and does a bungee jump in Holmfirth!
The book is published on January 5 and Rebecca added: “It’s fairly surreal to think that the semblance of an idea I first had when I was 12 is now fully formed and heading out into the world. It’s a dream come true!”
Mum-of-three Rebecca, originally from Hartlepool but now living in Bradford, recently quit her job as a history teacher to become a full-time writer.
Molly Crawford, commissioning editor at S&S, described the novel as “wonderful” and “everything you want in an uplifting novel.”
She added: “It has a characterful and engaging voice, poignant humour and a compelling and realistic romance.
“I love that Emily decides she won’t fall in love because we all know what finds you when you least expect it. This is also everywoman fiction at its very best, where the protagonist learns to love herself first and then finds love.
“Rebecca is an exciting new voice in relatable fiction and I can’t wait to launch her career.”
Agent Hannah Weatherill, of Northbank Talent Management, said: “Rebecca has created a genuinely funny, incredibly relatable character in Emily, a new Northern heroine of our times.
“It’s perfect for anyone who feels like they’ve just fallen into a career, anyone who knows grief just doesn’t go away, and for anyone who loves embarrassing but brilliant public speeches that Bridget Jones herself would be proud of. We can’t wait to see it out in the world.”
The book is available from Amazon and retailers including Asda, WH Smith and Waterstones priced at £8.99.
Rebecca will be doing a book signing at Waterstones in the Kingsgate Centre on Saturday January 14 (12noon-2pm).