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Cambridge author Geraldine Ryan releases Riding Pillion with George Clooney and Other Stories

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An anthology of short stories by Cambridge author Geraldine Ryan has been published by Wrate’s Publishing.

Author Geraldine Ryan. Picture: Keith Heppell
Author Geraldine Ryan. Picture: Keith Heppell

Titled Riding Pillion with George Clooney and Other Stories, the book is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle, and all of the stories featured were previously published in women’s magazines.

Geri, as she prefers to be called, had her first story appear in My Weekly in 1993. Since then her work has appeared in Take a Break, Fiction Feast and Woman’s Weekly, as well as in women’s magazines abroad.

Her stories range from emotional to amusing – often within the same story – and she believes her book, which some of you may be sad to learn doesn’t actually feature George Clooney, makes ideal bedtime reading.

Geri says she has so many stories written that she wanted to give a wider readership the chance to enjoy them. “I have published a couple of young adult novels before,” she reveals, “one called Model Behaviour and then another one which was a tie-in with Hollyoaks [The Lies and Loves of Finn] – but that was some time ago. That was more to a young adult audience, whereas these are stories for adults.”

Riding Pillion with George Clooney and Other Stories is a compilation of 12 stories. “I’m hoping to do some more,” says Geri, a mother of four grown-up children, “maybe a winter one... I’ll see how it goes and how it sells.”

‘Popular women’s fiction’ is the genre Geri would use to describe her stories, and surely the mention of George Clooney in the title would be enough to attract plenty of interest? “Well, that’s true,” she says. “The reference to George Clooney is the fact that the title story takes place around Lake Como, where the heroine is on holiday.

“And of course George Clooney has a house there and he’s been known to ride around on his bike. He’s not actually a character in any of the stories but you’ll find out how he pops up in that story if you read it.”

Author Geraldine Ryan. Picture: Keith Heppell
Author Geraldine Ryan. Picture: Keith Heppell

The stories that make up the book all featured in magazines between about 2005 and 2016. “The magazines that I write for were taken over by a company that insisted on taking back our rights, so we couldn’t sell stories again – they wanted all rights to the stories, so I thought, ‘I’m not particularly interested in giving those away’ but I do have a backlog of stories still to share with readers.”

Geri, who also worked as an English teacher for many years, says she started writing short stories in her spare time. “It just seemed to be the thing that clicked with me,” she explains, adding: “I can’t put a figure on it but I’ve written 60 or so serials for Women’s Weekly – what you call ‘cosy crime’.”

Interestingly, Geri’s degree was in Scandinavian studies. “I don’t use it much,” she admits. “I can tell the difference between who’s speaking – which part of Norway they come from or whether they’re speaking Danish or Swedish, but it’s not a great skill, is it? I used to be able to speak Norwegian quite well because I studied in Oslo for a year and worked there during the summer.”

Scandinavia has found its way into Riding Pillion with George Clooney and Other Stories. “One of the stories in my anthology has a half-Norwegian main character,” explains Geri, who grew up in Leigh, Greater Manchester, moving to Cambridge in around 1980, “and her mother’s Norwegian and part of the story’s set in Norway, so I haven’t forgotten it completely!”

Riding Pillion with George Clooney and Other Stories is out now.

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