Posts filed under White Lies

Bare Fiction and an interview

Hey, here's some quick news:

bare fiction prize results

My story, And There, was chosen for the shortlist of the Bare Fiction flash fiction prize, which is pretty damn cool. The full rundown of winners and runners up for all categories can be found here. Massive congratulations to everyone on the list!


Just before Christmas, Scott Mullins interviewed me for This is Writing about inspiration, fear, writing habits aaaaand sex puns. If you'd like to ask me about writing - or simply have an awkward question you'd like to challenge me with - you can do so at my Goodreads page.


You can find a lot of my short fiction online here, and a handful of other interviews here. Or dive right in and buy a copy of White Lies. I would like that a lot.

2014: an excellent year of booky things

2015 snuck up like a sneaky thing with sneaky bits, didn't it? Jo Gatford books

All things told, 2014 was a pretty good year for my bookshelves. My first novel, White Lies, was published by Legend Press, my story, Bing Bong, won the Fiction Desk flash fiction competition, another story, Someone Elsewas a finalist in the Aesthetica Creative Writing competition, and yet another, Vitamaximafeatured in the beautiful third issue of Vector Press. Online, the wonderful editors at Sundog Lit and FlashFlood published a couple more of my stories online.


And if that wasn't enough, I ended 2014 with two very exciting pieces of news... which I can't yet shout about, because they're highly covert and, well, I love a good dramatic pause.

So, as the first day of 2015 settles its cold, cloudy arse down upon the land, I will start the year as I mean to go on: by making a cushion fort with my kids and reading comics by torchlight.

Thanks to everyone who made 2014 an excellent year of books and writing - to the generous and supportive publishers and editors who decided my work was worth the paper; to the readers who picked up a book with my name on it, left a review, or listened to a live reading; to the many wonderful writers who have held my hand, kicked me up the bum, raised a glass, and helped me be a better writer; to friends and family, my tirelessly encouraging husband and my ever-inspiring boys.

Cheers for a great year, and here's to a brand spanking new one.


Posted on January 1, 2015 and filed under Competitions, Flashes, Novel, Publications, Short Stories, White Lies.

White Lies: Reading at Jubilee Library for World Mental Health Day

As part of World Mental Health Day, I'm going to be reading an excerpt from White Lies and taking part in a Q&A at Jubilee Library, Brighton at 2pm on the 10th of October. Come along and grab a coffee and a piece of cake from the library cafe and get a copy of the book signed after the event! Mind in Brighton and Hove will be celebrating World Mental Health Day with other well-being organisations and services across the city. Drop by the Community Pavilion at the Level from 10.30am – 3.30pm or find out more here.

world mental health day brighton


Posted on September 28, 2014 and filed under Events, White Lies.

Two Reviews and an interview

Sort-of-kinda thinking about reading White Lies but need the encouragement of someone who's actually put in the hours first? Sounds like you need to read a review or two, son.

Fran Slater had this to say about the book in Cadaverine:

"With so much going on in White Lies, there is drama and intrigue on every page. But rather than becoming busy and complicated with so much content, the novel maintains a slick and powerful pace throughout. With almost every chapter concluding on a mini-cliffhanger, the reader is dragged through by an irresistible impetus. 

Most impressive of all, perhaps, is the fact that in a novel so full of pain and upset, Gatford manages to tell the tale with humour and make her characters likable and relatable even when they are acting questionably. It’s a novel that feels very real. A novel in which the characters are so well drawn, that you can imagine you know them. It’s a worthy winner of the Luke Bitmead Bursary, and a brilliant start to a promising career." [Read the full review here]

And the lovely author Sarah Naughton pounced on me on Twitter to warn others against the effects of reading White Lies: 

She survived, however, and then wrote this fantastic review for Families Online which has the best opening line ever:

"This is a book that grabs you by the throat and shakes you violently before finally allowing you to limp away with a crushed windpipe and post-traumatic stress." [Read the full review here]

My work here is clearly done.

AND as if that wasn't enough, my friend and awesome blogger of all things book/tea/make-up/knitting Stephanie Pomfrett took it upon herself to interview me the other week, along with a great summary of the book:

"I found it engrossing and the descriptions of Peter’s descent into himself was heartbreaking, funny and infuriating. The book also includes one of my favourite descriptive sentences of all time: part of the old people’s home is described as smelling of ‘chips and disappointment’. There were times when I wanted to strangle characters, others when I laughed and again when I felt deeply upset. There’s a lot here for a debut novel." [Read the full interview here]

There's also a handful of (ahem ahem) five star reviews hanging out on Amazon, and a few more insights at Goodreads. Thanks to everyone for their kind words - in review form, by tweet, or to my own blushing face - it's good to know that you're enjoying the book. And if you're a book blogger or reviewer and would like a copy of White Lies, please get in touch with me!

Posted on September 8, 2014 and filed under Interviews, Reviews, White Lies.

A launch and a poem for 'White Lies'

White Lies by Jo Gatford

My book is released on Tuesday (1st July) although several friends have been shouting excitedly at me that they've already received their copy. It's all a bit mad. The launch party is next Wednesday (2nd July at Brighton Waterstones from 7.30pm - come along if you're in the area, there will be free booze and nervous reading!) and I'm being interviewed on BBC Sussex radio on the Tuesday (around 4.20 pm) to talk about booky-type things. To say I'm anxious/ecstatic/fluff-brained would be an understatement. This beautiful monster of mine has taken me 6 years and now it's in print - and although selling hundreds of thousands of copies would be frankly marvellous, simply holding my book in my hands as a real, live thing (you have to put your ear really close to hear it breathing) is all I've ever wanted.

So... all is well.

If you've bought, borrowed or stolen a copy, I'm gonna have to ask you to leave me a review somewhere - Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter, on a slip of paper sellotaped to a bus stop, whatever. Ever picked up a book (or clicked one into your virtual basket) because of a really enticing review? It really helps get the word out and encourages more people to take a look, so I would be eternally grateful for your reviews and thoughts - even if you hated it - because readers' opinions are so important to an author's success. (Holy shit I'm an author now...)

This whole marketing spiel wasn't meant to be the point of this post. I actually planned on coming here to post up one of my favourite Dylan Thomas poems. His collection has been sitting neglected on my bookshelf for a long time but I flicked through it today, remembered Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night, and realised that it is the perfect introduction to both central characters in White Lies. I'll just leave it here, and hope it inspires you to read a) more Dylan Thomas, 'cause I love him, and b) my book, to find out how this poem relates to Peter and Matt...


Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

By Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.