Wednesday, 6 November 2013

BOOK TOUR - My Year as a Clown by Robert Steven Williams - Humour/relationship fiction

How does a man really feel after the break-up of a 20-year marriage?
Publisher: Against the Grain Press  (Dec. 26, 2012)
Category: Contemporary Fiction/Literary Fiction/Humor/Relationships
Tour Date: November 4-19, 2013
Available in: eBook,  325 pages
With MY YEAR AS A CLOWN, Robert Steven Williams introduces us to Chuck Morgan, a new kind of male hero—imperfect and uncertain—fumbling his way forward in the aftermath of the abrupt collapse of his 20-year marriage.
Initially, Chuck worries he’ll never have a relationship again, that he could stand in the lobby of a brothel with a hundred dollar bill plastered to his forehead and still not get laid. But as the emotionally raw, 365-day odyssey unfolds, Chuck gradually relearns to live on his own, navigating the minefield of issues faced by being suddenly single—new routines, awkward dates, and even more awkward sex.
With My Year As a Clown, Robert Steven Williams will attract fans of the new breed of novelists that includes Nick HornbyJonathan Tropper, Lolly Winston, and Tom Perrotta, delivering painfully honest glimpses into the modern male psyche while writing about both sexes with equal ease and grace in a way that’s hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time.
Robert Steven Williams is the recipient of the Silver Medal for popular fiction in the 2013 Independent Publisher Book Awards for My Year as a Clown.
Watch the Video:

Guest post written especially for me by the author in relation to a question I asked him.
I want to thank Lisa for hosting me on her site for My Year as a Clown. Since Lisa is from the UK, I thought I’d take a different tact with this posting and address the cross-cultural aspects of my novel.
 – My Year as a Clown chronicles a year in the life of Chuck Morgan, where day one is the spectacular, but brutal break-up of his marriage when his wife of twenty years informs him that she’s leaving for another man.
As you can imagine, the year starts off pretty crappy. Chuck’s story, though, is about second chances and the opportunity to reconnect with family and friends, and of course reinvent himself.
My Year as a Clown raises lots of issues about how men and women see relationships differently. Chuck’s older brother, Jimmy is single, never been married and Chuck believes him to be misogynist. In many respects he his, but it isn’t until this break-up that the brothers start really talking, and only then does Chuck learn the truth behind Jimmy’s posturing.
Funny how when disaster strikes, sometimes good things happen.
Clown explores the feelings men have about relationships and it also delves into men’s inability to give voice to those feelings and emotions. An added communication complexity for Chuck’s marriage was the fact he was American and his wife was British.
I believe that Bernard Shaw said America and England are divided by a common language. This reminds me of an incident that happened to me when I was working in England for the British company HMV. It was a great job and I loved living in the UK. I had the fortunate opportunity to work for the chairman of the company and I remember one day walking into his office with a document and saying: I need your John Hancock on this. He looked at me askance, as if I was off my rocker. Perhaps many of you don’t know what I’m referring to either.
In the US, this is a common expression and refers to getting someone’s signature, as in John Hancock, the man who signed the Declaration of Independence large enough to ensure that the King of England need not wear his spectacles to read his name.
As you can imagine, that went over big with the chairman of HMV.
For Chuck Morgan, left to pick up the pieces after his wife dashes off with another man, he’s wondering what went wrong, and what signals he missed. Part of the problem he recognizes is that Americans and the English have very different cultural references that create potential issues when it comes to conveying feelings and dealing with conflict.
I hope that the book provokes some thoughts about men, women and relationships. People say that it’s actually very funny. I didn’t set out to be funny, it just came out that way!
I was fortunate to have My Year as a Clown edited by Joy Johannessen, a gifted editor that also worked on Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones. There’s also a song in the book, available as a free download. It was produced by my friend, the Irish singer/songwriter Declan O’Rourke. We’ve done a couple of shows together here in the States and it was a true privilege to work with him.
 Lisa wanted to know how being a songwriter helps my fiction, a great question:

Praise for Robert Steven Williams and My Year As a Clown:
“Realism, humor and insight are mostly the order of the day in My Year as a Clown: a fairly complex novel whose epilogue drives home the notion that, while Chuck’s life may have some things that go well, it does not have a Hollywood-type happy ending.“- Charles Baker, IndieReader

“Williams’ characters give us the real-deal: a gut wrenching and often humorous look, showing us the everyday horrors of what it’s like to start all over again as one approaches middle age.”
-Suzan-Lori Parks, novelist, playwright and screenwriter. Winner, 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Topdog/Underdog“Merits aplenty it had.  Topping them was the humor sometimes gentle and subtle but that reached ROFL proportions at times.  There were a number of eccentric characters that stay with me months later as memories that get confused with memories of someone I once knew.  Not that I’m confusing the characters with someone I ever knew but when something triggers a vague memory of them, I’m at first searching my memories of real people from my past before it dawns on me they were characters in a novel.  Which is high marks for the author. The journal like format for the story gave it an easy flow and worked well to allow us to follow Chuck through the morass of the first months and the slog towards happy that followed.” Joy Renee, Joyful Story
“Chuck is an interesting character, but in the end he is just the guy next door. An average Joe of sorts. I really enjoyed reading the book in the guys view. There are a scarce amount of books following the man’s POV after a divorce or break-up (or just in general). I also loved how it seemed that Chuck was writing some sort of journal to keep his sanity throughout Claudia leaving him.
I really enjoyed the array of characters the author gave us. Chuck met some rather interesting people along the way.
I enjoyed the journey and it really made me think about myself and what I would do in a similar situation. Even though I’m a chicka and he is a male, I still found myself connecting to him.”-Carole Rae, Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings
“My Year As A Clown is an honest portrayal of both heartbreak and healing. When Chuck finds his wife’s betrayal I really felt his pain. Yet through the humor, humility and honesty, Williams was able to lead us into the depths of an emotional male. All of the doubts, insecurities, and even the fears have all been revealed. I enjoyed the true honesty of My Year As A Clown and highly recommend Williams novel to anyone that needs a pick me up or even words of encouragement.”Brianna, A Book & a Latte

About Robert Steven Williams:
Robert Steven Williams is an author, singer-songwriter, and musician. His debut novel, My Year as a Clown (Against the Grain Press), was released in January 2013.
As a writer, Williams was a finalist in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and was awarded a Squaw Valley Writers Community Thayer Scholarship. He attended Bread Loaf, Sewanee and the Squaw Valley Writers’ Conferences, and worked closely with the esteemed fiction writer, Barry Hannah. His short fiction has appeared in Carve Magazine, The Orange Coast Review, and the anthology Tall Tales and Short Stories Volume II. Additionally, he was the executive producer of the critically acclaimed BOOM! Studios CBGB Comic series, nominated in 2011 for a Harvey Award for Best Anthology. Robert’s work has also appeared in Poets & Writers Magazine, Billboard, USA Today  and LetterPress, a newsletter for writers. He is also co-author of the best-selling business book, The World’s Largest Market.
As a musician, Williams studied songwriting with Rosanne Cash, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and other top country writers. In 2005, he released the critically acclaimed CD “I Am Not My Job,” featuring Rachel Z (Peter Gabriel, Wayne Shorter) and Sloan Wainwright.
Buy My Year As a Clown:
Follow the Tour:
So Many Precious Books Nov 4 Interview & Giveaway
Uttley’s Take Nov 5 Review
Teena in Toronto Nov 6 Review
Bookalicious Travel Addict Nov 6 Guest Post
From Isi Nov 7 Review
Roses & Beps Nov 8 Excerpt
Every Free Chance Nov 12 Review
Every Free Chance Nov 13 Guest Post & Giveaway
Giveaways & Glitter Nov 14 Review
Succotash Reviews Nov 15 Review
Sweeps4Bloggers Nov 18 Review & Giveaway
Paperback Writer Nov 19 Guest Post