Thursday, November 12, 2015

Spotlight - The Near Miss by Fran Cusworth + Guest Post: Fate vs Choices + GIVEAWAY

Today we welcome Fran Cusworth, author of The Near Miss as she discusses Fate vs Choices. Welcome to One Book Shy of a Full Shelf Fran! 

TITLE:    The Near Miss
AUTHOR:     Fran Cusworth
INFO:    Fiction, 200 pages
PUBLISHED:   HarperCollins, 2015
GENRE:   General Fiction 

ABOUT:  Grace, hardworking and tired, wants another baby. But she's dealing with debt, a manic 4-year-old and a jobless husband determined to make his inventions into reality. Can they both get their way, or will competing dreams tear their marriage apart?

Eddy analyses risk for a living, but his insecurities have brought his own life to a halt. He won't let go of the flighty, unfaithful Romy, but will he ever risk believing in himself?

Melody is trying to raise her son Skip in the city while holding true to her hippie lifestyle. But will past mistakes and judgement from other parents force her to leave her beliefs behind?

This is a story about real life aspirations, and whether you can chase your dreams at the same time as raising children and paying the bills. It's about friendship, and how the people you meet in a moment can change your life forever.

EXCERPT:  Grace stood at the door of the waiting room and watched these three strangers, man, woman and child, and breathed a fresher air than the air she had left behind in the ward, where blue face masks and plastic tubing absorbed all the oxygen. Around them here, families gathered in little clumps, some staring at her with surly envy. They wanted in. Children wailed and coughed and grizzled. Grace went over to the man and woman.

She’s going to be okay,’ she told them. ‘She’s strained a ligament and bruised her foot.

But it’s relatively minor.’

Lucky,’ said the woman. She had extraordinary blue eyes.

Lucky you were there,’ said Grace steadily. ‘What’s your name?’

Melody. We just moved here last week. From up north.’

Where up north?’

A commune. Tuntable Falls. Have you heard of Nimbin?’

Of course,’ said Grace. Drop-out ’sixties scene, up in the rainforest mountains.

Explained the dreds. ‘I didn’t think there was anyone up there under sixty.’

Plenty,’ said Melody. ‘Their kids.’

You grew up there?’

No, here. Donvale. Most boring suburb in the world. Probably why I fled to Nimbin as soon as I could.’

Grace nodded. ‘Well, I for one am glad you came back! Hey, do you think you could both come for dinner one Saturday night? My husband Tom and I, and Lotte, we live just near the ice-cream shop. We would like to say thank you.’

The man beamed and looked absolutely delighted. ‘Can I bring my girlfriend?’

Of course.’ She looked at Melody. ‘Do you want to bring someone? Besides your son?’

Uh. Maybe.’

Is your car alright?’ It was the polite thing to ask, although Grace could not have cared less about the car. I do hope my child’s body didn’t dent your fender?

Eddy blushed. ‘It’s fine. We drove here in it, remember? From the scene of the crime.’

Oh, yes. Sorry.’

So to speak. Wasn’t really a crime.’ The man spoke hastily, as if sensing Grace’s burning guilt, and the two women turned as one to study him for a moment.

I’m so sorry,’ he said, his hand on his heart.

It wasn’t your fault,’ Grace said gloomily. It would have been nice to blame something other than her daughter’s lunacy, but in this case it was not possible. ‘She’s always been a runner. I’m just lucky you both have quick reflexes.’ She tore a corner from a magazine and wrote. ‘So here’s my address. I’ll see you.’

At her feet, the boy, who must have been Lotte’s age, shrieked and pointed. A tiny tin train peeled away from his feet and skittered across the floor merrily, over the linoleum, under seats and between feet, carving a straight line through the lives it passed. The hippy looked accusingly at the man.

You fixed it.’

He looked sheepishly proud, and crouched by the squealing, delighted child.



The Near Miss is available now at:


Fran Cusworth

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fran is a writer based in Melbourne, Australia. She worked as a newspaper journalist for twenty years, and recently had a midlife career crisis and retrained as a nurse. She won the Guy Morrison Prize for Literary Journalism in 2013. She is married with two children and she once lived in a commune, like Melody, and at another time she desperately wanted a second child, like Grace. Like Tom, she has pursued a few foolish dreams, and like Eddy, her courage has at times failed her. This is her fourth novel.


Fate vs Choices
Fran Cusworth

In my new novel The Near Miss, a small child runs away from her irritable, uptight mother and onto the road outside a suburban ice cream shop. Cars crash, and the child is snatched up just in time by a dreadlocked woman in a flowing dress. A male driver (with an engagement ring in his pocket) who has just slammed on the brakes, triggering a chain of car crashes in the street behind him, stops with his heart racing and wonders whether the child was hit. These three adult strangers will meet as a result of a young child’s impulse and the relationships they form will go on to change all their lives.

I’ve always been fascinated by the way one decision, one impulsive move, one thought, can change the direction of our lives, and therefore the lives of those we come into contact with. Sometimes it’s tragic – people who will forever be haunted by thoughts of ‘what if we had never gone swimming that day’ – and sometimes it’s feeling blessed – what if I had never taken that turn, met that woman I married, entered that lottery. I met my own husband, now the father of my two sons, in a tiny country pub far from both our homes, and while our eyes had met across the room, it was he who plucked up the courage to approach and start a conversation before I left. What if he had never taken a deep breath and risked rejection? It’s something I remind my children; you are here because your father put himself out on a limb and took a risk. It was chance that we were in the same place at the same time; it was choice that brought us together.

What if is the question that drives all great stories, be they novel, film, or made up at a child’s bedside. We all have a lifetime to wonder about paths not taken. Is our life fate, or is it choice? I would say it’s a muddle of divine chance, and generally ill-informed decisions. Life itself seems to me incredibly, terrifyingly, beautifully random, and that’s why I love writing novels: I get to exert some control, to shake the rug out and tidy things up a bit. Except for those days when the characters start taking over and writing the story for me, as if to remind me that I was really never in control at all.


Fran will be awarding three (3) lucky winners an ecopy of The Near Miss at the end of this blog tour. Be sure to enter below and then check out the other stops to learn more and gain more entries. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Image and video hosting by TinyPic

~~~~~ Disclaimer:  All opinions expressed on this blog are 100% my own.  I do not receive monetary compensation for my reviews but do utilize affiliate links.  I may receive books in  order to facilitate a review, but this does not guarantee a good review - only a completely honest one.  Each review post denotes how I obtained the book.


Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us. Feel free to tell us what you think. (Please note that we have comment moderation turned on so we'll never miss a message from one of our readers.)