Tell us about Swimming Upstream
Set in the early 1990s in Cambridge (England) and London, Swimming Upstream is the story of a young woman, Lizzie, who has begun to achieve all the things she thought she had ever wanted: her own home, a glamorous rock musician boyfriend and an interesting career in radio journalism. She realises, however, that she is far from happy. Then she steps out into the path of an oncoming car, and her life begins to unravel, setting off a life-changing chain of events.
Lizzie leaves her boyfriend and her home and moves to London to pursue her career. There, she reconnects with two old friends, Catherine and Zara, and attempts to overcome the legacy of her past and find her true direction in life.
Her friends, however, have struggles of their own. Catherine is in denial about her violent and controlling boyfriend, Martin. And throughout the novel it becomes clear that Zara is battling with mental illness. When Martin goes a step too far the friendship of all three women is threatened and Lizzie must reconcile herself with the moral choices she has to make.
What genre is it?
Women’s fiction. There is some romance but it’s not a romantic tale. It focuses rather on female friendships and relationships, though it also has some elements of a psychological thriller.
What kind of readers will it appeal to?
Swimming Upstream will appeal to women of all ages who are looking for a little more than a romance and who enjoy realistic thought-provoking stories about women who are facing problems in their lives, stories about death, divorce, hardship, finding good friends…stories with more interior exploration of character.
Tell us a bit more about Lizzie Taylor.
Lizzie Taylor is a young woman in her late twenties. She is a journalist and is driven to succeed in the world of broadcasting. However, she also needs love and friendship as important parts of her life. She harbours a secret from her past that has held her back. She craves the freedom to find her true path in life but is quite insecure as a person.
Complete this sentence for us: if you like ____________, then you’ll love Swimming Upstream.
If you like Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, you will probably love my book. It is also about a woman who questions her life, though this is not a memoir and has a very defined plot with several twists and turns.
What are you most proud of with this book?
I am pleased to have written something that resonates with people. I have had such positive feedback, including from some book bloggers and Amazon Top 500 reviewers.
How have you marketed the book?
I have used Twitter, Amazon and Goodreads with good results. I am still getting used to Facebook! I am fairly new to social media.
Really? Let’s see if we can give you a leg up. If you tell us your Twitter and Facebook accounts, we’ll see if we can get people to follow you.
Facebook Author Page.
And have you got a website?
Yes, it’s http://www.ruthmancini.com. There is a blog page on the website too where I blog about issues such as loneliness, friendship and surviving life’s difficulties including my own.
Your difficulties? Maybe you should tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a writer, lawyer and a mum of two. I still practice as a criminal defence lawyer and fit my writing around that at present. My eldest child has severe learning difficulties and that’s been a challenge too. Life is very busy!
The inspiration for Swimming Upstream came from a painful relationship breakup many years ago when issues from my own past came rearing up to haunt me. I have survived a lot of difficulties over the years and that, combined with my work, got me interested in the question as to why some people survive life’s challenges whilst others become “mad, bad or sad”. That’s the underlying theme of the novel.
I have an idea for my next novel. I hope to start writing it soon…
Enjoyed this interview? Then check out our conversation with Danielle Younge-Ullman, author of Falling Under.