A Life Less Ordinary
by Victoria Bernadine
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Fiction
Length: 371 pages
Release Date: December 10, 2012
For the last fifteen years, Rose “Manny” Mankowski has been a very good girl. She turned her back on her youthful fancies and focused on her career. But now, at the age of 45, she’s questioning her choices and feeling more and more disconnected from her own life. When she’s passed over for promotion and her much younger new boss implies Manny’s life will never change, something snaps. In the blink of an eye, she’s quit her job, sold her house and cashed in her pension, and she’s leaving town on a six month road trip.
After placing a personal ad for a travelling companion, she’s joined in her mid-life crisis by Zeke Powell, the cynical, satirical, most-read – and most controversial – blogger for the e-magazine, What Women Want. Zeke’s true goal is to expose Manny’s journey as a pitiful and desperate attempt to reclaim her lost youth – and increase his readership at the same time. Leaving it all behind for six months is just an added bonus.
Now, armed with a bagful of destinations, a fistful of maps, and an out-spoken imaginary friend named Harvey, Manny’s on a quest to rediscover herself – and taking Zeke along for the ride.
Manny laid in bed, staring up at the ceiling and waiting for sleep. She plucked restlessly at the blanket and wished she could relax. Tomorrow was Steph’s first staff meeting. Today she’d reacquainted herself with everyone in the office then spent the rest of the day with Manny being briefed on the details of the work of the branch and any current issues she’d need to resolve within the next few days. That meant Manny’s own work had been delayed, and tomorrow it would be delayed again–and Manny would have to leave early in order to meet Rebecca and Daisy at the lounge for drinks before heading to the club.
Manny took a deep breath and slowly let it out. It wouldn’t be too bad, she staunchly told herself. Steph was young, energetic, and had a shrewd intelligence almost obscured by the cleavage-revealing shirts, short skirts and a figure that could stop traffic–and probably did. Manny wondered if Craig truly understood what he’d gotten himself in for by promoting Steph rather than Manny.
Cleavage and legs.
She mentally rolled her eyes at Harvey’s dry, cynical tones.
Maybe–but that’s not really fair to him, is it? He’s not a bad guy.
But he is just a guy.
She does bring a new perspective–a new way of thinking about things. She’s not a bad choice–and I can’t argue with Craig’s idea that shaking things up could make things better.
And where does that leave you?
No worse off than I was before.
And no better.
If you’re not going to be helpful…
Harvey glanced down at his suddenly ruffled shirt opened to the middle of his muscled chest and skin-tight breeches. He glanced back at her with a ruefully amused smile.
Watched the Ice Pirates again, did you?
Oh, shut up–it’s a classic no matter what anybody else thinks!
I’m just sayin’–if I was real and regularly wore pants this tight, I’m not sure I’d be of any use to you. If you know what I mean.
Manny groaned and shook her head, and Harvey blinked out of existence. She wondered when she’d managed to lose control of a figment of her imagination–one she’d eventually felt compelled to name after an invisible rabbit.
She groaned again, rolled over and pulled the covers over her head. It was going to be another long day tomorrow.
Complete with dancing.
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Let's Learn a Little about the Author:
1. What is your writing environment?
Currently it’s a couch and a twenty-pound cat sitting on my lap. Not really that productive, but still remarkably comforting.
Seriously, though, it’s usually the back of a bus, my couch or my bed. I wrote and edited most of A Life Less Ordinary during my daily commute (45 minutes each way), and finished it off in bed while watching TV.
Now that my daily commute is only 20 minutes, and it’s usually standing room only, I don’t know if I’m ever going to get my next book finished! ;D
2. Who is your perfect hero/heroine? Why?
Anybody who’s strong in the face of adversity, and who remains true to themselves and their core values. And have a great sense of ha-ha. That’s always helpful.
3. Which authors have caught your interest lately? Why?
Christopher Brookmyre. He writes what’s been called “Scottish Noir”. It’s black, and twisted, and violent and bizarre, all while being incredibly smart and funny. The description doesn’t do him justice. The first book I read was One Long Day in the Middle of the Night, and it was amazing. Since then, I’ve been making a point of looking for his books in the stores and picking them up whenever I find one.
4. What type of book have you always wanted to write?
A complex, action packed space opera with a Deep Philosophical Meaning. Or a fast-paced, action-packed thriller with a Strong Moral Message. Or a dark, terrifying, action-packed horror novel with the Best Monster Ever. Or an intricate, action-packed mystery novel with the Good Guys Always Win.
ALL OF THEM. ALL THE BOOKS.
Unfortunately, I can’t write action. Believe me, I’ve tried. Unfortunately, “and then these things blew up and then those other things went boom” just isn’t all that riveting.
5. What’s the last movie you watched and loved?
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Well, until the last ten minutes or so, when I just went “huh?” and googled the ending. But up until that point, it was an amazing movie (although parts of it were incredibly difficult to watch – and if you’ve seen it, you’ll know the parts I mean).
6. Top 3 things on your bucket list
1. Go to Europe.
2. Write a bestseller. ;D
3. Get married to a thirty year old on my 100th birthday, and die the next day (after a great wedding night). That way, I die happy and we part friends.
7. How did you get the idea for this particular novel?
It came from how I was feeling at that particular moment in my life. I was 45, looking at my life and wondering how I’d gotten there, and where was I going. The book began life as pure wish fulfilment.
8. What is your favorite scene in your new release?
Hmmm…I’m biased, so they’re all my favorite. But if I had to choose, probably the scene where Manny and Zeke meet in the coffee shop, and Harvey (Manny’s imaginary friend) is providing commentary. It still makes me giggle.
9. What would you consider a “perfect” date?
One that doesn’t make me reach for the tequila bottle when I get home – LOL. Seriously, I’m happy with dinner, a movie and good conversation. Sex would lovely, but not required.
10. What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a romantic comedy about a man, whose long-term girlfriend dumps him, and a woman who’s a recluse in a small town. It’s called Along Came Jones, and we’re in a love-hate relationship at the moment. I’ve taken almost a week away from any writing, and I’m hoping when I pick up the book again, it’ll be strictly love.
*************About The Author:
Victoria Bernadine (a pseudonym) is, as the saying goes, a “woman of a certain age”. After twenty-something years of writer’s block, she began writing again in 2008. Victoria enjoys reading all genres and particularly loves writing romantic comedy and post-apocalyptic science fiction. What those two have in common is anybody’s guess. She lives in Edmonton with her two cats (The Grunt and The Runt). A Life Less Ordinary is the first novel she felt was good enough to be released into the wild.