Article published on November 4, 2016.
A charming, unconventional love story, with a Christmassy twist, by a mystery author…
Henry Quantum has several thoughts going through his head at any given time, so it’s no surprise when he forgets something very important — a Christmas gift for his wife, Margaret, which he realises on the morning of December 23rd.
So Henry sets off in search of the perfect present for Margaret: a bottle of Chanel No. 5.
But much like Henry’s ever-wandering mind, his quest takes him in different and unexpected directions, including running into the former love of his life, Daisy. Meanwhile, Margaret is questioning whether she and Henry belong together after all …
The Heart of Henry Quantum is a sweet, funny, and touching debut which shows how the seemingly insignificant events of one single day can change our lives forever — perhaps, if we’re lucky, for the better.
We are pleased to present this seasonal delight to you as a nudge Recommended Read – get your free* copy from the nudge shop, while stocks last!
A short Q&A with Pepper Harding, whoever he may be…
Did you feel that in writing a book for women, it was necessary to hide your identity as a man – as Pepper sounds like it could be a woman’s name?
I just wanted to hide my identity, period. But I did like the feeling of gender de-identification. It was liberating. I wanted the book to be judged on it’s own merits, of course, but in reality people read all kinds of things into a cover, an author’s name, a résumé. By the way, the only other Pepper Harding I found on Google is a high school coach in the Midwest – a man.
Are you a bit of a Henry Quantum yourself?
Aren’t we all? But yeah, my mind is all over the place. Though I have say, I’m much better at buying presents. The real similarity, I guess, is that it took a great act of courage to say “No” to Margaret and “Yes” to who he really is – this was something I learned long ago, but seem to have to re-learn from time to time.
What was it like writing as Pepper Harding? Did you feel liberated?
It was the most fun writing I’ve ever had. The origins of the book are conversations I used to have with a couple of pals – we’d go on and on about things we knew nothing about – quantum physics, the origin of every-day expressions, how to solve income disparity. A stream of consciousness, in fact, leading nowhere but endlessly interesting and amusing. One day I said, ‘I wonder if I could write a book about a guy who had those kinds of conversations, only with himself’. I had no idea where it was going to go. I just let Henry take me along for the ride.
Were you inspired by other writers who don’t use their own names?
No, I just knew it was done all the time, so it gave me permission. Though I have to say several of my favorite authors have pen names, most particularly Romain Gary who wrote what was translated as Madam Rosa – one of the best books ever.
The book explores how sometimes we just don’t understand the people we are close to – or ourselves. Why did you choose to write about the ways that miscommunication between men and women can happen, and did you learn anything about that subject while writing the book?
It goes without saying that no one understands anyone. Kurt Fischer, a teacher of mine, once said the greatest thinkers were the worst readers, by which he meant that because they misunderstood what they read, they formulated new and exciting ideas. I’ve found that that creative misunderstanding is a great gift, even if it leads to problems. As far as men and women are concerned (or parents and children) we just have to accept that there are places where we meet and places we don’t, and that’s a beautiful thing. Also, humor arises from misunderstanding, doesn’t it? Inversions, surprises. But these in turn create a recognition of our commonality. This is important to all writing, in my opinion. To balance that which is common and recognizable in all of us with that which is mysterious and individual.
About the author
Pepper Harding is the pen name of a San Francisco writer known for an entirely different kind of literature. Born in faraway New Jersey, educated in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and finally at the University of Chicago, Pepper is a longtime resident of the city, with stints in Marin, Berkeley, and, currently, Sonoma County. Pepper has two kids, two cars, one spouse, and, some say, multiple personalities.
The Heart of Henry Quantum by Pepper Harding, published on 10 November, 2016 by Scribe UK, in paperback at £8.99
*UK only; P&P applies
The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley
The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir by Lesley Allen – a nudge Recommended Read
You may also like
- 16 JunBookDiva
Margaret Cain reports: In an unprepossessing Berkshire shopping centre, among the inevitable charity shops and ......