I am joining the blog tour for Starting Out by J.E. Rowney today. Many thanks to Ms Rowney for allowing me to share an extract from her book, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour.
Violet thought midwifery training was tough, but now she has to step out onto the ward as a newly qualified midwife. She’s standing on the edge of her new life, but taking the leap is harder than she ever expected.
Living on her own for the first time, while best friend Zoe starts to build a future with soon-to-be-husband Luke, everything is changing for Violet.
Can Violet adapt and adjust, or will anxiety get the better of her?
“Starting Out” – the new book from the world of “Lessons of a Student Midwife”.
Starting Out is a new medical themed standalone novel that follows Violet, the main character from the bestselling Lessons of a Student Midwife series as she becomes a qualified midwife.
You don’t need to have read the series to enjoy this book – but I’m sure you’ll want to go back and pick it up when you’ve read Starting Out.
Here’s an extract from the opening of the book:
With Zoe sitting across the table from me in our favourite coffee shop, this could be any Monday afternoon. She has her mocha – extra hot, extra shot – and I have my latte. Anyone that’s seen us here, week-in week-out over the past three years, would think that nothing has changed at all.
They would be wrong.
Everything has changed, or at least everything is changing.
I was staying in Zoe and her fiancé Luke’s new place from when we moved out of our student house two weeks ago up until yesterday. Then the pair of them, my best friends, helped me to move my small collection of belongings across the small town we live in, into my new home.
Three years at uni, three years of living together, and now it’s just me, alone in a one-bedroom flat.
And there are more changes to come.
“Did you sleep alright after we left?” Zoe asks.
She’s got her flame red hair tied back in her I’m-a-professional-teacher-now ponytail, and it bobs forward, dangerously close to the foam on her latte as she leans towards me. She started her new job last week, fresh out of teacher training and straight into a great job in a high school five minutes from where she lives. She worked hard, got her first-class degree and she deserves every ounce of success.
Did I sleep alright? I don’t want her to worry about me, I never want her to worry about me, so instead of telling her that I went to bed at ten, but ended up lying awake, looking at the ceiling for two hours before giving up and taking the duvet through to my new sofa in my new living room and lounging in front of my new television. Apart from the duvet, of course none of the things are actually new. They are all just new to me. Second-hand new, that sums up my life right now.
I shrug and make an indistinct grunting noise in response.
“You’re going to get used to it so quickly, Vi,” she says. “You’ll wonder how you ever put up with living with us for so long once you’re settled in.”
It was inevitable really that once we left our student accommodation Zoe would move in with Luke. Her fiancé. I haven’t even had time to get used to that change, never mind adjust to renting a flat on my own. They’ve been engaged for two months, but they’re already planning the wedding. It’s September now, and they’re aiming to get married in December. So soon, but somehow it seems so right.
No, she’s not pregnant. It’s nothing like that. They are hopelessly, completely in love though. Two years together and nothing but good times. I can only hope that one day I find something similar. For now though, I live vicariously through Zoe’s happiness. She’s been my best friend since we were toddling around at nursery and I’ve never seen her as happy as she is now.
“Living with you and Luke was the best,” I say. Before she can cut in and apologise for moving on with her life, I start my next sentence. “I know you needed to get a place together. That’s what couples do, isn’t it?”
“Oh Violet, I –”
I shake my head. The last thing I want is to make my best friend feel bad because she has an amazing, happy relationship and I am a sad old spinster. I’m twenty-one, there’s plenty of time, I’m sure. I’m not sad, I’m not very old, and right now I don’t particularly care whether I end up as a spinster or not. I’ve not had much luck in relationships so far, but right now I have something else to focus on. Something much more important than any man. Especially Him.
“Hey,” Zoe says, snapping my attention back towards her. “You’re not thinking about him, are you?”
Him. It’s been six months, but something about That Guy is still niggling away at me. Not because I have residual feelings for him; I don’t. He made me feel wonderful, and then he stripped that away from me and left me feeling, well pretty worthless.
“No point really, is there?” I jab my fork into the remains of the Bakewell slice on the plate in front of me, and stuff it into my mouth.
“No,” she says. “There isn’t.” Zoe sighs and reaches out to put her hand onto mine. “This is a time for new beginnings. For both of us. You’re in your new flat, we’re both starting out in our careers.” She says that last word in a mock-posh accent, letting go of me to raise her fingers in mock quotation marks. It does all sound very grown up, but I suppose that’s what we are now.
“To be honest, I’m terrified,” I tell her. My eyes meet hers, searching for reassurance.
“Of what? The flat? Starting work?”
“I meant work, but yes, I guess I’m terrified of living on my own and having to act like an adult.”
Even though my face is deadpan, Zoe grins.
“Nobody said that we have to act like adults,” she says, dipping the end of her spoon into her mocha and flicking foam at me.
“Oi!” My protest must appear very feeble seeing as I can’t stop myself from laughing. I dab the chocolatey froth off my nose and reach out to tickle her beneath her ribs. I know that’s her most vulnerable area, and she knows very well that I know. She crunches her body to avoid my fingers, and I almost fall off my chair trying to gain purchase.
“Okay, okay,” she laughs. “Truce?”
“For now,” I smile.
Twenty-one years old, a qualified midwife, but still an immature idiot. I’ll take it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
J.E. Rowney spent several years in the cold Yorkshire hills, but now lives on the south coast of England. She spent ten years working as a midwife before turning in her gloves to become an author.
She is an award winning poet, and also enjoys writing short stories. In May 2020 she was the winner of the Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction.
“Charcoal”, her first novel, was published in 2012 to wide critical acclaim, and was a bestselling novel on Amazon within days of release.
She spends lots of time writing in coffee shops, so if you see her, say hello.
Ms. Rowney says: “I always dreamed of being a writer, until I realised that I was. Then I started to write.”
Make sure you visit the other blogs on the tour for more on Ms Rowney’s latest book.