I have the most incredible respect for English teachers – after all, I used to be one, so when I realised that Charlotte Butterfield not only has a book out in paperback today, but is also an English teacher I simply had to ask her how one affects the other. Luckily, Charlotte agreed to tell me and I have a super guest post to share with you to celebrate today’s publication of By This Time Tomorrow.
Published by Hodder and Stoughton in paperback today, 12th May 2022, By This Time Tomorrow is available in all formats through the links here.
By This Time Tomorrow
Jessica Bay has it all – and it’s all too much. Between moody teenagers, a hectic job and a husband who can recall that the last time they slept together was 632 days ago but somehow can’t remember to put the bins out, Jess is close to breaking point.
Desperate for change, she moves the family to a tiny island in the English Channel. An island that has a secret: it can take you back in time to relive any day in your past. To have another go at doing it right.
But as Jess becomes dizzy with the fact that she can, she forgets to consider if she should. Because changing even one moment in your past will change your whole future in unknowable ways. How much of her supposedly imperfect life is Jess willing to gamble? And will she realise the risks before she loses everything?
The joys of being a writer and an English teacher…
A guest post by Charlotte Butterfield
Whether it’s getting six of my most eager Year 9 girls to brainstorm titles for my new book based on a quick blurb, or scanning my register for good character names, it’s fair to say that being an English teacher has very real benefits when it comes to being a writer. It also means that in theory I know what a comma splice is; how to use a fronted adverbial along with the best of them and can spell ‘onomatopoeia’ (which I even managed to shoehorn into my latest novel, don’t ask me how).
As any teacher will attest to, during term time you’re a hamster on a wheel, so the only writing I tend to do while teaching consists of ‘Remember your capitals for proper nouns and you’ve written three pages with no paragraphs.’ But come the holidays I switch off from marking, planning and reports and reacquaint myself with my fictional friends, so the first drafts of all my books have all been written in the long summer holidays.
Inspiration-wise, a school is a never-ending source of stories. My new novel, By This Time Tomorrow, is about a harried mum of two teenagers, and while two of my own three children are just entering this hormonal paradise, my teen students were convenient unknowing muses, although thankfully none of them was quite as bad as my entirely made-up Molly and Liam! A staff room is also one of the best places in the world to eavesdrop for future plotlines, although sitting there with a notebook and pen frantically scribbling down what my colleagues are divulging is seemingly frowned upon and ‘makes people feel uneasy’. Who knew?
It’s not all positive though, one of my Year 7 students came skipping in to class after Christmas once to say that my second novel Crazy Little Thing Called Love – about a woman taking a vow of celibacy after a series of disastrous relationships – was in her Christmas stocking. I then had to have a very embarrassing conversation with her mother that went a little like this:
‘Hello, firstly, thank you so much for buying my novel for Harriet* (*not her real name) I really appreciate the support, but it’s not really suitable for an eleven year old; I write adult fiction’ [Cue sharp intake of breath from said mother as I suddenly realised what she thought I meant] ‘no, no,’ I gushed quickly, ‘not that type of adult fiction!’ [Cue relieved exhalations]. She then confiscated the book, read it, liked it, reviewed it and suggested me for her book club. She’s now one of my good friends, so I deftly managed to sidestep that potential landmine, sell a few more copies and make a prosecco-buddy into the bargain! All’s well that ends well.
All’s well that ends well indeed Charlotte! Reminds me of a time a parent donated some books for the school library. One made Fifty Shades of Grey look like a Ladybird book!
About Charlotte Butterfield
Contrary to the impression her novel might give, Charlotte Butterfield loves her life just as it is. A former magazine editor, she was born in Bristol in 1977 and studied English at Royal Holloway. She moved to Dubai by herself on a one-way ticket with one suitcase in 2005 and left twelve years later with a husband, three children and a 40ft shipping container. She now lives in the Cotswolds, where she is a freelance writer and novelist. Her first novel won a Montegrappa award at the 2016 Emirates Festival of Literature, and she went on to publish three romantic comedies with One More Chapter (previously Harper Impulse). By This Time Tomorrow is her fourth novel, and the first published by Hodder & Stoughton.