June 1968. Renza falls head over heels for heartthrob guitarist Scott. But after a romantic summer together they are torn apart when Renza’s family moves away.
December 1968. On the night she believes to be her last, Stella meets Scott at a local dance. He’s the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and if this one night is all they have, she’ll take it.
As the final colourful year of the sixties dawns, the question is: can there be only one woman for Scott?
Karen’s Magic Review
I knew I was going to like this book because I like the short stories written by Jane Risdon. She has appeared in the same anthologies I have, and is a gifted writer. I also know she has been involved in the music business, and as this book follows a rock group in the sixties, there is lot of authenticity to back it up.
The story, set in 1968/69 when I was ten/eleven years old. I remember a lot of what they included in the book, the sheer cold before central heating came along, the fashion, and of course, the music, which was fresh and new.
Scott, a member of the band Narnia’s Children loved two women. Cleverly, it is told by diary entries from each girl, Renza and Stella. I was waiting for the girls to meet, but they never did. I was also trying to jump ahead, and guess which girl Scott would end up with. At times, I even wondered if he would end up with neither.
Scott and the other band members were exceptionally good looking and it was easy to understand why the girls fell hopelessly in love them. We went through all the angst of teenage love and heartbreak, and I really felt for them.
As I headed towards the end of the book, I began to think Scott was a love rat, and perhaps didn’t deserve either girl. Strangely enough in most stories you get to favour one or the other and hope they get the guy, but I couldn’t choose between them. Neither could Scott.
I also like the way the book talked about taboo subjects, and time of month was not ignored. It was all relatable as the characters got to eat and go to the toilet just as we did.
However, one storyline didn’t develop as I was expecting. The band were always broke, and yet they were successful and made money. Why? Was their manager being entirely honest with them?
If you love the swinging sixties, love the music, then this is the story for you.
I asked Jane about her writing process and this is what she said:
‘Christina and I met 50 years ago when my then boyfriend – now husband – was in a band, and she was asked to be their Fan Club Secretary by their manager.
She was a rock/pop journalist and short story writer so she was perfect for the role. I’d always wanted to write, and the two of us decided we’d love to write together one day.
She went on to become a best-selling, award-winning author of Bucolic Frolics, and I went into artist management in the international music business with my husband, all thoughts of writing on hold. Besides, I wanted to write crime/thrillers and so how Christina and I could write together was a conundrum.
Fast forward to 2012 and I began sorting through dairies, fan-mail, old touring schedules and memorabilia from my husband’s group days and an idea for a story formed. I decided to write what I thought would be a crime thriller set in the late 1960s music business, but it soon became obvious it was going in a more romantic direction – I had never read a romance and so it was quite a shock to me to be writing one.
When I’d written 65,000 words – early 2012 – I thought it might interest Christina and emailed it to her. She loved it and wanted to add another character, Stella, to the story. She had an epic task as the characters were all in place and the story/plot was decided already. She had to weave her characters around Renza and Scott and everyone else. We did not communicate about what she was writing during this time – she doesn’t like anyone reading her WIP and so I had no idea what she was writing until it had gone to Accent Press early 2014, had been accepted, and our editors began work.
They sent it back to us in 2017 – after rescheduling of publication dates several times throughout 2014 and 2015, due to changes of editor, and as I was the opening author of the book I got to do my edits first. I also got to read her contribution at last.
At this stage our word count was 130,000 words. Our new editor asked for a few additional diary entries (chapters) and by the time we had finished the book – Only One Woman – had clocked up 160,000 words plus. We had to communicate a little about additions to scenes and that was by text, email, and Facebook messages.
And there you have it; very 21st century. 500 pages which our readers tell us is a fast read, some have read it twice or more times. The reason we were able to write this way is because of shared experiences during the late 1960s – we were there.
The eBook came out in November 2017 and the paperback in May 2018 (Waterstones etc).