BR Launches

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Author Jacky Gray Launches Edge of the Blade at Planet Ice in Coventry.

Fourth in the popular Bryant Rockwell series, this story features Jude’s struggles to compete in a national ice skating competition as she alienates family, friends and even her boyfriend in the pursuit of her dream.

The idea of this story has been received with enthusiasm by staff and students at Coventry’s prestigious Figure Skating Club, and they have all done their part to lend technical credibility. Author Jacky Gray picks up the story. “I skated regularly during my sixth form, and always watched the skaters, especially the ice dancers, whenever competitions were televised. But that was several decades ago when the scoring was more straightforward. So when my editor questioned some of the technical aspects, I contacted Planet Ice and was overwhelmed by the level of support. Richard Beamish, Assistant Manager at the International School of Skating based in Coventry, spent a great deal of his valuable time helping me to understand the complexities of the International Judging System (IJS) used to score each skater.”

Richard explained that, “The IJS is much more objective than the old system as each element, such as a jump or spin, is entered by a technical panel, with a score reflecting the difficulty.” He also pointed out a number of places in the story where the organisation details needed changing to reflect normal practices. His enthusiasm for every aspect of skating was so infectious, Jacky is contemplating a new series based on the adventures of some of the key characters in the club. Richard loved the idea, mentioning one of their top skaters who is currently attending the Warsaw Cup championship. He said “Harry’s inspirational story deserves to be told, it would make the basis for a great movie.”

Planet Ice’s manager, Chris Carpenter, pulled out all the stops to arrange the launch. “This kind of thing is good for the sport and it’s great to highlight the time, effort and sacrifices these young figure skaters commit to on a daily basis. We were really keen to get involved – anything that encourages youngsters to read more and also inspire them to get involved with ice sports is brilliant. Planet Ice Coventry is producing top level skaters at a phenomenal rate and we were thrilled to be the setting of the main story.”
On the day, several of the club’s skaters wore their competition finery to add colour and style to the event, and Jacky was overwhelmed with their interest as she explained the obstacles her character overcomes to realise her dream. They were thrilled to receive an autographed copy of her book; some of them even started reading while posing for the photos. One of the older girls, Lauren, explained why. “There are very few stories about ice skating, especially in the UK. I often find writers do not check their facts and have skaters doing a triple jump after only a few weeks’ training. It’s great to have a story about a believable character in a realistic setting.” The others were keen to share their own experiences, giving heartfelt quotes: “There’s never an off season; I am always cold, but it’s worth it,” and “It’s not just about the sparkly dresses, we are tougher than you think.” Tash added, “I think if you don’t fall, you’re not trying.” Every single skater was passionate about their sport: Emily said, “Skate with your heart and your feet will follow,” and Izzy summed it up with, “Skating is my life.”

Jacky was particularly impressed by the awesome commitment from the youngsters (and their parents), some of whom had 3am starts as they travelled from all over the country to train with some of the country’s top coaches in the ISS. She watched some of the older skaters teaching the younger ones; one of the girls enthused about the camaraderie, saying, “Everyone has something to learn and something to teach.” The rink manager, Chris, said the club brought a great energy and atmosphere every Saturday morning. John Leon, the CFSC chair, spoke of how ice skating was so much more than a sport, and Karl Sparrow, who photographed the event, agreed. “You have kids as young as eight having the nerve-wracking experience of being alone on the massive expanse of ice, facing a panel of judges, an audience and the silence before the music starts.” Lauren embodied the club’s ethos with her wise parting advice, “Never let anyone dull your sparkle.”

A few days after its release at 11 am on 11th November, Edge of the Blade was the number one Hot New Release in Amazon UK’s bestselling lists for Teen & YA Sports Fiction and Teen & YA Dating & Sex Fiction. It also hit the top ten in bestseller lists in America and Australia.
Sales this month from all over Europe, Canada, Mexico, India and even Japan make Bryant Rockwell a truly international series. The third book, Leader of the Pack, recently topped bestseller charts in the UK, US, Australia and Germany. New Kid in Town, the series opener, received a five-star medal from Readers Favourite and several great reviews from other prestigious sites. It has been praised as: “Funny, intense and endearing,” “Snappy, well-pitched and edgy” and “A pitch-perfect blend of teenage drama and romance for fans of 13 Reasons Why and 10 Things I Hate About You.”

Following in the footsteps of other bestselling Coventry authors like Lee Child, Jacky’s books are gathering a following all over the world, and she’s thrilled that the internationally acclaimed Coventry author, Cathy Cassidy, currently has the book on her reading list. Jacky’s dream is that this story will help to spark a passion for reading among the more sporty teens, and a passion for skating among teens who love to read.

Edge of the Blade is available at only $3.99/£3.05 – get your copy here.

Details of the Bryant Rockwell series can be found at Jacky's blog.

Click this link to read the first few chapters of any of Jacky's books.

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