ROMEO AND JULIET DIDN’T HAVE TWITTER…
WDA Publishing’s MANGO BOVEL Division is proud to present Suzanne Carroll’s new book – STARCROSSED.
A desperate student deprived by an assignment of her computer and her smart-phone, begs her mother for advice on how to go through life with out Apps or search engines; and ends up learning about the power of persistence, and the lengths an inventive mind and a constant heart and will go to find it’s other half.
After all, Romeo and Juliet didn’t have Twitter…
Australian Author Suzanne Carroll has gifted us with a delicious love story, and a very relevant parable on the power of love in a society dependant on instant communication, and the world-wide web.
STARCROSSED is based on Suzanne Carroll’s original short fiction “The Thunderstorm”, which won the First Prize in the 2012 AUDIO GO Original Fiction Contest.
Suzanne is a successful novelist who lives in Sydney with her husband and children.
By day she works in an office where she quietly scribbles story ideas on yellow sticky notes and hopes they don’t accidentally end up on the departmental monthly report; by night she writes her delightful stories. This is Suzanne’s second published work, and rumour has it that there is another one in the works…
Fish and chips on the pier. Art. Music. Moonlit walks along the beach. For the busker and the art student it’s the perfect summer romance. Until it ends suddenly with a savage thunderstorm.
A heartbroken Georgia thinks she’ll never see Tom again. But Tom doesn’t give up easily and months later they find each other in the most unexpected place…
In the days before search engines and social networks, what lengths would you go to, to find the love you lost?
It was one of those days.
The traffic was impossible and the weather miserable, all grey skies and a drizzle that reflected Georgia’s mood. The afternoon’s meeting had gone on way too long; the clients wanted to change the floor plan again, she’d have to re-do all the drawings, completely re-work the kitchen, and the Project Manager had brought the deadline forward a week. But right now Georgia didn’t want to think about all that. All she wanted was to get home, and find a few minutes to have a glass of wine, and put on some music. Mozart, she thought, would be nice.
The endless line of red tail lights gradually broke up and the roads cleared as she finally made her way out of the city, and deep into the suburbs of London. The train would have been so much quicker. Some days, having a designated parking space at the office didn’t seem worth it. But a little while later, Georgia smiled and her body began to relax as she pulled into her driveway and switched off the engine. Leaning back against the headrest, she took a moment, breathing and deep. She let her mind wander, taking her away from meeting rooms and peak hour gridlock, down a different path. Her thoughts led her back to the art exhibition she’d snuck out to see during yesterday’s stolen lunch break and she smiled as she revisited that precious half hour of luminous colour and subtle shadows in the small gallery next to the wine bar. And that took her to thoughts of her old easel, tucked away in the attic, collecting dust. It had been so long since she’d painted anything except her fingernails…
Georgia stared down at her perfectly manicured hands and remembered when they used to wear smudges of oils and inks. Back in the days when her auburn hair was long, and her skirts were short. Now it was the other way round. Though her sapphire eyes still held the fire they had always had.
Georgia’s thoughts scattered, and she looked up quickly. The front door was open and Sophie stood on the top step with her panic face on, twisting her dark curls with one hand, laptop clutched to her chest with the other. “Mum, help! I need you!”
Georgia sighed and climbed out of the car, bracing herself for whatever new drama had befallen her teenage daughter.
“What’s up, sweetheart?” She kissed Sophie’s forehead before hanging up her coat and dropping her bag onto the hall stand. “Something happen at school?”
“You were alive before the internet, right?”
Georgia bit back a smile. “It wasn’t that long ago, Soph.” Although, Georgia knew that, at forty-three, she probably seemed almost elderly to her seventeen-year-old daughter. “Why? What’s happ…”
“You’re not going to believe what my English teacher, Mr Gormsby, has done,” Sophie interrupted, then paused, taking a deep breath before announcing, “He’s set us an assignment and we’re not allowed to use or refer to the internet or social media, at all. In any capacity. Apparently, according to him, my generation is too dependent on search engines and social networking, can you believe it?”
Actually, Georgia could believe it. Sophie’s head was almost permanently bent over her phone or laptop and it was the same with her brothers, Alec and Max. Though this afternoon it sounded like the fifteen-year-old twins had their video games fired up; the faint sounds of a zombie apocalypse floated down from upstairs. But Georgia kept her traitorous opinion to herself and hid another smile before calling out hello to her sons and asking if they’d had a good day. They called hello back, and yes they had. Then Georgia suggested she and Sophie go to the kitchen for a cup of tea and a chat. Mozart and wine would have to wait.
While Georgia filled the kettle and got out the mugs and teabags, Sophie pulled up a stool and set her laptop and her phone on the counter, glaring at them like they’d offended her somehow. “You know,” Georgia said, “Your father and I survived school and university without the internet. It’s not that hard.”
“Oh! I nearly forgot.” Sophie looked up suddenly and glanced at the phone on the wall. “Dad called a while ago. He’s going to be late tonight, but he’ll pick up a curry for dinner on the way.”
Georgia paused at the fridge, milk carton in her hand, and wondered why her husband had rung the home number, and not her mobile like he usually would. “Did he say why he’ll be late?”
“Something about…I can’t remember. Picking something up?”
“Something apart from the curry?”
“I think so. I don’t know. Maybe.”
“Sophie…” Georgia shook her head as she moved to the counter and splashed a small amount of milk into each cup. “How hard is it to take down a simple message?”
“It’s not my fault he was so vague. If it was important he would have texted.”
Georgia rolled her eyes. That was the way with Sophie; if it wasn’t in a text, it wasn’t worth remembering. Mr Gormsby definitely had a point. “What’s the assignment about?” Georgia asked. Her question was answered with another dramatic sigh.
“Short essay on popular culture in modern fiction.”
“Without using the internet for research? That shouldn’t be too diffi…”
Sophie held her hand up sharply. “Wait, that’s not all. We also have to write a short story about searching for something and it has to be set before 1995, so the characters can’t turn to the internet for help. No Google, no Facebook, no Twitter.”
“Searching without search engines, huh? Actually, that sounds like fun. And you like writing, you’re good at it.”
Sophie groaned and rubbed her hands over her face. “I know but this is…ugh. Jenn’s doing a detective piece. Rex is writing about someone looking for their birth parents and I have no clue what to do.”
Georgia chuckled as she passed Sophie a steaming cup and stirred some sugar into her own. “And I suppose that’s where I come in?”
Sophie gave her a hopeful smile. “Yes, please,” she said eagerly. “Tell me what it was like before the internet. Did you ever have to search for something? Or someone?”
Georgia stopped stirring. Goosebumps prickled her skin as memories began to stir, taking her back over twenty years, to a boy on a beach. She wondered how different things might have been, if they’d had smart phones and Facebook back then.
“Actually, I did try to find someone, once,” she said quietly, staring down at her tea. Even now, her heart fluttered as she remembered. “But my search started with a necklace. And a TV talent show.”
Sophie’s eyes widened, and she leaned forward. “Oh my God, really? Who were you searching for?”
“A boy.” Georgia hesitated a little. “He…he was called TJ.”
“TJ.” Sophie tried out the name. “Who was he? What necklace? What show?”
“It’s a long story. And you’d have to turn your phone off while I tell you.”
Sophie’s face reflected a brief internal struggle, but she did as her mother asked. “Okay, phone’s off, and I’m listening,” she said. “When was this?”
“In 1991. It started on a Sunday night, when I was supposed to be studying…”