Spotlight – The Near Miss by Fran Cusworth + Guest Post: Fate vs Choices + GIVEAWAY

Today we welcome Fran Cusworth, author of The Near Miss as she discusses Fate vs Choices. Welcome to One Book Shy of a Full Shelf Fran! 

TITLE:    The Near Miss
AUTHOR:     Fran Cusworth
INFO:    Fiction, 200 pages
PUBLISHED:   HarperCollins, 2015
GENRE:   General Fiction 

ABOUT:  Grace,
hardworking and tired, wants another baby. But she’s dealing with
debt, a manic 4-year-old and a jobless husband determined to make his
inventions into reality. Can they both get their way, or will
competing dreams tear their marriage apart?

analyses risk for a living, but his insecurities have brought his own
life to a halt. He won’t let go of the flighty, unfaithful Romy, but
will he ever risk believing in himself?
is trying to raise her son Skip in the city while holding true to her
hippie lifestyle. But will past mistakes and judgement from other
parents force her to leave her beliefs behind?
is a story about real life aspirations, and whether you can chase
your dreams at the same time as raising children and paying the
bills. It’s about friendship, and how the people you meet in a moment
can change your life forever.

stood at the door of the waiting room and watched these three
strangers, man, woman and child, and breathed a fresher air than the
air she had left behind in the ward, where blue face masks and
plastic tubing absorbed all the oxygen. Around them here, families
gathered in little clumps, some staring at her with surly envy. They
wanted in. Children wailed and coughed and grizzled. Grace went over
to the man and woman.

going to be okay,’ she told them. ‘She’s strained a ligament
and bruised her foot.

it’s relatively minor.’

said the woman. She had extraordinary blue eyes.

you were there,’ said Grace steadily. ‘What’s your name?’

We just moved here last week. From up north.’

up north?’

commune. Tuntable Falls. Have you heard of Nimbin?’

course,’ said Grace. Drop-out ’sixties scene, up in the
rainforest mountains.

the dreds. ‘I didn’t think there was anyone up there under

said Melody. ‘Their kids.’

grew up there?’

here. Donvale. Most boring suburb in the world. Probably why I fled
to Nimbin as soon as I could.’

nodded. ‘Well, I for one am glad you came back! Hey, do you think
you could both come for dinner one Saturday night? My husband Tom and
I, and Lotte, we live just near the ice-cream shop. We would like to
say thank you.’

man beamed and looked absolutely delighted. ‘Can I bring my

course.’ She looked at Melody. ‘Do you want to bring someone?
Besides your son?’


your car alright?’ It was the polite thing to ask, although Grace
could not have cared less about the car. I do hope my child’s body
didn’t dent your fender?

blushed. ‘It’s fine. We drove here in it, remember? From the
scene of the crime.’

yes. Sorry.’

to speak. Wasn’t really a crime.’ The man spoke hastily, as if
sensing Grace’s burning guilt, and the two women turned as one to
study him for a moment.

so sorry,’ he said, his hand on his heart.

wasn’t your fault,’ Grace said gloomily. It would have been nice
to blame something other than her daughter’s lunacy, but in this
case it was not possible. ‘She’s always been a runner. I’m just
lucky you both have quick reflexes.’ She tore a corner from a
magazine and wrote. ‘So here’s my address. I’ll see you.’

her feet, the boy, who must have been Lotte’s age, shrieked and
pointed. A tiny tin train peeled away from his feet and skittered
across the floor merrily, over the linoleum, under seats and between
feet, carving a straight line through the lives it passed. The hippy
looked accusingly at the man.

fixed it.’

looked sheepishly proud, and crouched by the squealing, delighted



The Near Miss is available now at:


Fran Cusworth

is a writer based in Melbourne, Australia. She worked as a newspaper
journalist for twenty years, and recently had a midlife career crisis
and retrained as a nurse. She won the Guy Morrison Prize for Literary
Journalism in 2013. She is married with two children and she once
lived in a commune, like Melody, and at another time she desperately
wanted a second child, like Grace. Like Tom, she has pursued a few
foolish dreams, and like Eddy, her courage has at times failed her.
This is her fourth novel.
Fate vs Choices
Fran Cusworth
my new novel The
Near Miss
a small child runs away from her irritable, uptight mother and onto
the road outside a suburban ice cream shop. Cars crash, and the child
is snatched up just in time by a dreadlocked woman in a flowing
dress. A male driver (with an engagement ring in his pocket) who has
just slammed on the brakes, triggering a chain of car crashes in the
street behind him, stops with his heart racing and wonders whether
the child was hit. These three adult strangers will meet as a result
of a young child’s impulse and the relationships they form will go
on to change all their lives.
always been fascinated by the way one decision, one impulsive move,
one thought, can change the direction of our lives, and therefore the
lives of those we come into contact with. Sometimes it’s tragic –
people who will forever be haunted by thoughts of ‘what if we had
never gone swimming that day’ – and sometimes it’s feeling
blessed – what if I had never taken that turn, met that woman I
married, entered that lottery. I met my own husband, now the father
of my two sons, in a tiny country pub far from both our homes, and
while our eyes had met across the room, it was he who plucked up the
courage to approach and start a conversation before I left. What if
he had never taken a deep breath and risked rejection? It’s
something I remind my children; you are here because your father put
himself out on a limb and took a risk. It was chance that we were in
the same place at the same time; it was choice that brought us

is the question that drives all great stories, be they novel, film,
or made up at a child’s bedside. We all have a lifetime to wonder
about paths not taken. Is our life fate, or is it choice? I would say
it’s a muddle of divine chance, and generally ill-informed
decisions. Life itself seems to me incredibly, terrifyingly,
beautifully random, and that’s why I love writing novels: I get to
exert some control, to shake the rug out and tidy things up a bit.
Except for those days when the characters start taking over and
writing the story for me, as if to remind me that I was really never
in control at all.

Fran will be awarding three (3) lucky winners an ecopy of The Near Miss at the end of this blog tour. Be sure to enter below and then check out the other stops to learn more and gain more entries. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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