Local author Katharine D’Souza is celebrating the release of her debut novel, Park Life.
Set in south Birmingham, it tells the story of neighbours who think all they share is their post code, until they discover common ground where they least expect it.
Katharine has lived and worked in the city for over twenty years and says, ‘What I love about Birmingham is how friendly people are. It was easy to imagine a scenario where two people who seem so different could become friends.’
The story follows neighbours Craig and Susan as they each face problems with jobs, family and romance. As Katharine says, ‘Many of us struggle with the same issues in life and I wanted to explore how different people approach these and how the advice they give varies. It was an obvious choice to set the story here because anything can happen in Birmingham, and frequently does!’
It’s not only the parks of south Birmingham which provide the book’s backdrop, readers might also recognise other parts of Kings Heath, Moseley and the city centre. Even the number 50 bus route gets a mention.
‘I wanted local readers to feel a sense of familiarity about the story,’ Katharine said. ‘While the book can be enjoyed by people from anywhere, Brummies will get an extra bit of fun from being able to recognise where the action is taking place.’
The story follows the neighbours as they face life-changing events and are forced to assess their priorities in life. With the pressure they’re under, a walk in the park sounds like a great idea.
Katharine studied at the University of Birmingham and liked the city so much she stayed on after graduating. Following a career in flood forecasting cut short by redundancy, she’s now back working for the University. She’s always loved stories and reading but only began writing seriously a few years ago. Park Life is her first book and she took the decision to self-publish it after literary agents and publishers said they liked the story but didn’t think it would sell well enough to make them a profit. ‘I knew there would be interest in it though,’ Katharine says. ‘The book is for and about Brummies and I’m thrilled they’re finally getting to read it.’
For more details go to www.katharinedsouza.co.uk
She will be appearing at The Mee Club at The Kitchen Garden Café in Kings Heath on the 2nd October and the Jewellery Quarter Bookwormers on the 14th November at The Drop Forge in Hockley.
Katharine is a member of the PowWow writers’ group based in Moseley. They’re organising the PowWow LitFest at the Prince of Wales pub in Moseley on the 23rd September 2012. For more details see http://thespidermonkey.co.uk/litfest2012/