Drift Stumble Fall by M. Jonathan Lee

Full-cover-final-353x539Drift Stumble Fall
By M. Jonathan Lee
Publisher: Hideaway Fall
ISBN: 9780995492349
Pages: 310
Genre: Fiction/Contemporary

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Richard feels trapped in his hectic life of commitment and responsibility.  From the daily mayhem of having young children, an exhausted wife and pushy in-laws who frequently outstay their welcome, Richard’s existence fills him with panic and resentment. The only place he can escape the dark cloud descending upon him is the bathroom, where he hides for hours on end, door locked, wondering how on earth he can escape.

Often staring out of his window, Richard enviously observes the tranquil life of Bill, his neighbour living in the bungalow across the road.  From the outside, Bill’s world appears filled with comfort and peace.  Yet underneath the apparent domestic bliss of both lives are lies, secrets, imperfections, sadness and suffering far greater than either could have imagined.  Beneath the surface, a family tragedy has left Bill frozen in time and unable to move on.  As he waits for a daughter who may never return, Bill watches Richard’s bustling family life and yearns for the joy it brings.  As the two men watch each other from afar, it soon becomes apparent that other people’s lives are not always what they seem.


My Thoughts

After having read Broken Branches last year, I was certain I would connect with this latest title by M Jonathan Lee. Add my recent interview with the author discussing his important work with mental health and own personal connections, and picking up Drift Stumble Fall felt not only easy but necessary. Simply put, I was compelled do to so, much like I was compelled to finish this book in two small sittings.

The skinny..

Feeling caught in a life of neverending routine & responsibilities, Richard a father of two young children finds himself frequently searching for any form of escape. That escape seems to be limited to his few moments alone, locked away in the bathroom and attempting to drown out the noise and any reminder of his repetitive days. Seeing his neighbor Bill across the street, he desires to trade places. He envies Bill’s peaceful, noneventful life. Unknowingly to Richard, it is a life overshadowed by loss and grief. Bill spends his days longing for the happiness of family and commitments that surely Richard must have. But life is never as simple as it appears on the outside.

What I appreciated..

  • M Jonathan Lee’s incredible ability to immerse the reader deep within the mind of the protagonist.
  • The poetically raw and honest look at life and constant reminder that there are two sides to every coin.
  • The fact that this was not an entirely easy read, as we are exploring the internal struggles that come with exhaustion, depression and even grief.
  • The viable family life portrayed throughout that felt at times reminiscent of my own.
  • A beautifully executed narrative that explores life and its many difficulties through two varying perspectives.

Challenges some may encounter..

  • The slower paced progression and repetitiveness that is utilized to accomplish the themes contained within successfully (they serve their purpose well but be will be difficult for some readers).

Drift Stumble Fall is a heart-rending novel that dives beneath the comforting familiarities and truly explores the human condition. It is that constant and steadfast reminder that life affects each of us on varying levels and cannot be taken at face value.

*I would like to thank Hideaway Fall and the author for this copy. The above review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion.

tea cup

 

The winter setting pairs wonderfully with a nice cup of chai.

Grab a Copy: Amazon.com Amazon.UK

*Disclosure: I use affiliate links and may earn a small commission for purchases made through them. Click here for details.

Happy Reading,

Danielle ❤

Connect With Me: FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram

Drift Stumble Fall Blog Tour: Author Interview with M. Jonathan Lee

I am thrilled to take part in the Drift Stumble Fall blog tour. The book is available the 12th of April, 2018 through Hideaway Fall, and today I have a wonderful interview with author M Jonathan Lee for you.

The Book

Full-cover-final-353x539Drift Stumble Fall
By M. Jonathan Lee
Available 4/12/18
Publisher: Hideaway Fall
ISBN: 9780995492349
Pages: 310

goodreads-badge-add-plus

Richard feels trapped in his hectic life of commitment and responsibility.  From the daily mayhem of having young children, an exhausted wife and pushy in-laws who frequently outstay their welcome, Richard’s existence fills him with panic and resentment. The only place he can escape the dark cloud descending upon him is the bathroom, where he hides for hours on end, door locked, wondering how on earth he can escape.

Often staring out of his window, Richard enviously observes the tranquil life of Bill, his neighbour living in the bungalow across the road.  From the outside, Bill’s world appears filled with comfort and peace.  Yet underneath the apparent domestic bliss of both lives are lies, secrets, imperfections, sadness and suffering far greater than either could have imagined.  Beneath the surface, a family tragedy has left Bill frozen in time and unable to move on.  As he waits for a daughter who may never return, Bill watches Richard’s bustling family life and yearns for the joy it brings.  As the two men watch each other from afar, it soon becomes apparent that other people’s lives are not always what they seem.

Purchase Drift Stumble Fall:  Amazon.com  Amazon UK


Interview With M. Jonathan Lee

Before we get into books, I know that you are a very active mental health awareness campaigner and advocate. Could you tell us a bit more about that and Mind, Time to Change and Rethink today?

Yeah, sure. I lost my brother to suicide in 2004, just before my twins were born. Ten years earlier he’d already tried to take his own life (surviving a jump from a multi-storey) so mental health has always been something huge in my life. I was at a very low point when I wrote my first novel and in hindsight saw it as my legacy. Writing, without question, saved my life. I have written for the above named charities and I am working with Mind now to launch a mental health website. Something new, to keep people alive.

Were you able to draw on some of your own personal experiences while developing Drift Stumble Fall and the protagonist Richard?

Yep, absolutely. When I was very depressed, I remember clearly driving past Christmas lights in people’s windows and absolutely wishing I was them. It all looked so warm and cosy. So desirable. I would have traded lives at that moment, without even knowing what their lives were like.

What was your favorite aspect of writing Drift Stumble Fall, was there perhaps a favorite scene or specific elements that you enjoyed the most?

That’s a great question. I absolutely feel that DSF is a story of positivity. I really do. At the time I was writing it, I’d say to my wife, this is a story of hope. I loved throwing in the scenes where the family watch Jurassic Park and Titanic. Though, I absolutely loved writing Bill and Rosie’s story.

When I read, character development is everything. There has to be a certain amount of viability and connection. How do you ensure that your characters remain relatable to readers?

I always write from the perspective that I am simply chronicling something that is happening in front of me. Almost like watching a play. I am a very down to earth, observant person from the north of England. Most of my characters I have met somewhere down the line and I can almost hear them speaking when I write.

Now that you have published several titles, how has your writing process changed, or has it?

Certainly. I could spend an evening telling people how not to write. My first novels were written chronologically, with meticulous time spent making sure every sentence was perfect. There are two issues here. The first is that if you write in order you may get in from an awful day and then have to write a happy scene. This automatically causes issues because you have to try to change your mindset. Instead, if its been a bad day, I write something bad. The piecing together of the novel comes at the end. Secondly, if a sentence doesn’t work in thirty seconds, I highlight it and move on. That way everything flows. When I come to the edit I have maybe a hundred sentences to change.

I have to often wonder how authors feel about their own books being reviewed. It has to be a somewhat emotional or perhaps stressful process. Do you read your book reviews and if so, how do you handle any criticism that you encounter?

Yes, I do, and I suppose I wish I didn’t. Writing is my life; I love it. So when a new novel comes out I read perhaps that first thirty or forty reviews to make sure that people understand what I was trying to put across. If they do I’m happy. I don’t mind a bad review, after all I am comfortable that everyone can’t like everything.

How long do you spend researching before starting a new story or is this an ongoing process?

It is totally an ongoing process. I spend no time with research because I write about every day life. I write about things that happen around me, with an added twist of course.

If you had the choice to rewrite any of your books, would you?

That’s a fantastic question. Hmm. The answer is a definite no, but only because the earlier books are a snapshot in time of how I wrote then. Don’t get me wrong I am hugely proud of the first two but there are parts now, that I would write differently. Of course, part three of the trilogy is yet to come.

As a writer, which books or authors have you drawn the most inspiration from? Any recommendations?

I’ve always loved Mark Haddon. I love how he forms sentences. I also love Yann Martell and have read everything Nick Hornby.

Last but least, I always ask, do you drink tea and if so, what is your favorite blend?

I love tea. Almost black one sugar. And simple Yorkshire Tea, of course.


RLT18-200x300About the Author

M Jonathan Lee is a Yorkshire-based author and mental health awareness campaigner. He began writing seriously in 2006, shortly after the suicide of his brother, Simon, and his own struggle with anxiety and depression.  It took nearly five years for Jonathan to write his first novel, The Radio – a black- comedy which deals with suicide which was shortlisted for the Novel Prize 2012 (for unpublished authors) and subsequently published in 2013.

Jonathan campaigns tirelessly to remove the stigma associated with mental health problems and works closely with various mental health charities including MindTime to Change and Rethink, frequently blogs for the Huffington Post and is a regular guest on BBC Radio Sheffield talking about mental health. He regularly speaks in local schools and colleges on writing and mental health and is currently spearheading a local outreach project in which local churches provide assistance to those affected by anxiety and depression. Before writing full-time, Jonathan held a senior position in a FTSE100 company.  He lives in Barnsley, Yorkshire, with his second wife, five children, two cats and a dog.

Follow M. Jonathan Lee:  Website  Twitter  Facebook


Follow the Tour

Blog Poster Complete

I would like to thank M. Jonathan Lee and Hideaway Fall for this opportunity and their time!

Happy Reading,

Danielle ❤

Connect With Me: FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram

Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee

brokenbranchesthe-book
Broken Branches
By M. Jonathan Lee
Available 7/27/17
Publisher: Hideaway Fall
ISBN13: 9780995492332
Pages: 294
Genre: Mystery

Synopsis:

‘Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.


my-thought

I have stared at this screen off and on for nearly two days in vain, attempting to compose a review that would accurately describe my time with Broken Branches. I am not sure that the end result will be entirely successful, but I have reached that point where I simply have to proceed.

This is a story of grief and loss. This is the mystery of the Perkins’ family history and the curse they have carried told through a compelling narration of past and present. We are introduced to Ian Perkins as he finds himself returning to his family home with his wife and son after a suffering a loss. Unfortunately, the Perkins are not alone. A dark history and tragedy seem to have taken up permanent residence within this remote cottage, overshadowing the lives within like the ever-present and looming sycamore tree that has haunted Ian’s dreams and childhood.

This is a story centered around slow revelation. The sort of tale that buries itself deep into your mind and finds a lasting home. Immediately thrust into lives full of misfortune and great loss, we are driven to explore Ian and his past. His family is amid turmoil with a threatened marriage and his unhealthy obsession with the family curse that haunts him. Ian’s character is successful simply for how credible he is. Perfectly timed emotions and responses accompany his descent into fear, setting the stage for a fully immersive mystery.

The world building cleverly embodies the traditional elements one can normally find in ghost stories. Cobweb Cottage is filled with ghastly sightings, creaking floors and the unknown, easily invoking a sense of the forbidding and sinister that creates an atmospheric read. The end result is the sort of suspense that leaves you holding your breath and turning each page in eager anticipation. Think “peaking through your fingers while watching a horror film.” You absolutely have to know what happens, but are terrified of the possibilities.

Lee’s succinct and fluent writing style is a refreshing change of pace, that manages to carry the story effortlessly while creating an ominous tone and experience. Competent narration allows for a natural transition between events of past and present. The end result is a fulfilling mystery that promises to delight a wide array of fans.

*I would like to thank the publisher for this copy in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

Visit Hideaway Fall and Pre-Order Here.

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