We are absolutely delighted to be launching the Last Bus to Coffeeville Virtual Summer Road Trip on Franny & Perks today! This is a blog tour that goes beyond just reviews and extracts. No Exit Press has brought together a host of amazing bloggers who, together with author J. Paul Henderson, are embarking across the world on a virtual road trip this summer. Throughout July and August, the Coffeeville tour bus will be stopping at a whole range of blogs – there will be reviews, interviews, road trip playlists, giveaways and even coffee-inspired recipes! You can follow it all @noexitpress and using the #CoffeevilleRoadTrip hashtag on Twitter. Full line-up is at the end of this post.
To get the road trip started, we thought it would be a good idea to give some background. Last Bus to Coffeeville was published in May earlier this year and has already received some rave reviews…
‘There is heartbreak, black humour…and some of the charm of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry‘- Daily Mail
‘a wonderful cast of eccentric people in the best tradition of old-time American writers like Capote and Keillor…recommend it to anyone who wants a feel-good read’- New Books Magazine
‘A funny road trip story…but this brave debut novel also tackles sensitive issues and does so in a confident manner’ – We Love This Book
‘deftly handled with an offbeat humour & a deal of worldly compassion‘ – Sunday Sport
‘a fascinating and poignant novel’ – Woman’s World
‘One of the best feel-good books I have ever read’ – CultureFly
Wowza. They’re impressive. But my does it deserve it.
The story goes like this:
Nancy Skidmore has Alzheimer’s and her oldest friend Eugene Chaney III once more a purpose in life – to end hers.
When the moment for Gene to take Nancy to her desired death in Coffeeville arrives, she is unexpectedly admitted to the secure unit of a nursing home and he has to call upon his two remaining friends to help break her out: one his godson, a disgraced weatherman in the throes of a midlife crisis, and the other an ex-army marksman officially dead for forty years.
On a tour bus once stolen from Paul McCartney, and joined by a young orphan boy searching for lost family, the band of misfits career towards Mississippi through a landscape of war, euthanasia, communism, religion and racism, and along the way discover the true meaning of love, family and – most important of all – friendship. Charming, uplifting and profoundly moving, Last Bus to Coffeeville is a chronicle of lives that have jumped the tracks; a tale of endings and new beginnings; a funny story about sad things.
I know. You want to read it right now. We think if you liked The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared, you will absolutely love this. Well, to help you on your way, throughout the virtual summer road trip, you can get the kindle edition for just 99p! Yes, you heard correctly. Just click here to nab that bargain. You’ll have no regrets. These guys certainly didn’t:
We’ve both had the pleasure of meeting Paul at the official book launch back in May. He is such a friendly, charming man (you can just tell from his pic can’t you?) and we’re so excited to learn more about him during this road trip. But to quickly introduce him:
J. Paul Henderson was born and grew up in Bradford, West Yorkshire, gained a Master’s degree in American Studies and travelled to Afghanistan. He worked in a foundry, as a bus conductor, trained as an accountant and then, when the opportunity to return to academia arose, left for Mississippi, returning four years later with a doctorate in 20th Century US History and more knowledge of Darlington Hoopes than was arguably necessary. (Hoopes was a Pennsylvanian socialist and the last presidential candidate of the American Socialist Party). American History departments were either closing or contracting, so he opted for a career in academic publishing. He now lives in a house in the North of England, drives a car and owns a television set. And that’s about it.
That bio always makes us chuckle.
So there you have it. If it isn’t already, Last Bus to Coffeeville needs to be one of your summer reads. It’s funny, quirky, incredibly well-written and manages to address some really sad but very real issues that continue to make headlines today.
No Exit Press have put up the opening chapter here in case you need any more convincing but we want to whet your tastebuds right away. Here’s possibly one the best openings to a book we’ve read in a while… J. Paul Henderson, we salute you.
‘It’s started, Gene.’
The voice was deeper than he remembered and older sounding, but there was no mistaking whose voice it was. In the same instant he also understood the meaning of what she said.
‘I’ll be right over, Nancy,’ he answered.
It was only after he put the phone down that he realised he had no idea where Nancy was.
Eight word conversations can have their limitations.
The #CoffeevilleRoadTrip continues tomorrow over at Laura’s Little Book Blog – don’t miss out!
– Franny & Perks