(a novel, written under my pen name, Ilyria Moon)
The rules are simple in the entertainment industry: Play the game, get burned!
Talented and hedonistic, British rock star Wolf Taylor is in rehab to garner publicity for the new album and doesn’t see why he shouldn’t have a little fun while taking one for the band. Love doesn’t figure in his long-term plans, so the last thing he banks on is developing feelings for a fellow patient, Luna Halliwell.
Luna falls for Wolf and is spun up in his hectic lifestyle and pressured by relentless media scrutiny.
His friend, Lexie Hunter – a tabloid favourite for her bad behaviour as much as her fashion editorials – leads the merry motley crew, gleefully mentoring Luna in her struggle for perfection. But when the press drop a bombshell about Wolf’s past, Luna realises being half of a hot celebrity couple isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Observational comedy with a romantic twist.
Kindle Version (Amazon US)
Kindle Version (Amazon UK)
Did you read my first novel yet? 🤔🤔🤔🤔
‘Ilyria, great writing, gritty, realistic. Having worked in the music biz as press officer for some of the most charming of bands, this rings more than enough bells and the odd balls, for me to love it. Read with juicy pleasure.’
– Sarah Bartlett
’Absolute and utter bliss. A bassist myself, i have survived at the edges of the world you describe. I can see this book doing extremely well cos you’ve picked such an appealing subject. It’s just dripping with potential. Your style is cool in the sense of narrative detachment, peppered with sharp asides, satire that bites.’
– Freddie Omm
‘This is an incredible read. The deeper you go in the more hooked you get. There’s real insight into drugged out rock and roll superstars, spoiled A-list types, rip off managers, media rip-offs, and celebrity hangers-on who will do anything for their fifteen minutes in the spotlight. This is a gritty, raw and definitely commercial read.’
– P.S. Dunn
‘Halfway to Hell…this is quite realistic, and gets you right into the heart of things…there was something in the music business that felt like it needed drugs and alcohol to oil its cogwheels, like good machinery. But instead it broke the mechanism…very good description, merciless, and I would say accurate.’
– Christine Hall Volkoff
’I adore your ‘voice.’ I can really hear it in my head and even see the facial expressions. This brought a smile to my face, not because it’s meant to be funny (though it *is* amusing in parts) but because it’s so much like real life. Your characters are real and sound. They get up your nose and into your heart at the same time. You know just how to do it.’
’There is no doubting that you are an ace at debunking the shallow and I quite revel in it. I have a love-hate relationship to the New Age, Stonehenge visiting brigade amongst your dramatis personae and your gorgeous snipes are like balm to an irritation I keep wanting to scratch. It’s pure catharsis and you must yourself have revelled in your creations. It was Laurence Olivier, I think, who said that the greatest challenge he faced as an actor was to act the role of a punk. The latter seems such a far cry from some of his more macho Shakespearian roles and yet it was a measure of his art and versatility that he could toy with the challenge of a part so wildly different. In your own way, I think you toy with your lesser protagonists in Swallow and I so enjoy that.’
– Raymond Nickford
’Swallow – shines a sharp beam into a subculture that’s usually sensationalised by the media. You pull this off with vivid inside dialogue, very accomplished, admirable.’
– Ashen Venema
’OK, I’ll admit the cover and the title drew me into this book (which, of course, is the point). What has kept me reading, however, is the smooth style of the writing and dialogue, and the intrigue you set up here. Oh, and of course, the sex. This is sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll at its finest, focused on an absorbing sort of motley crew.’
– Mark Mayfield
‘It took me a long time to finish SWALLOW by Ilyria Moon, but I read a lot of things at once, and with a longish book like this, that was to be expected.
The most important thing to point out here is that Moon’s confidence and skill as a writer permeate the book from the opening chapter to the closing one. Although her book is longish, rare are the passages that feel stretched out or lacking in that “moving the story forward” synergy that all good reads possess.
Her tale of a rehabbing British rocker and the unexpected romance he finds on his way to sobriety is entertaining on both the romantic and comedic levels it is striving for. Wolf and Luna appeal and transfix, even in their odder moments.
Clocking in at around 140,000 words or so, Swallow might seem a bit longish for a rom-com; but that’s before you begin to read it and get swept up in the journey of the characters, and the lean skill of Moon’s prose. Despite the time it took me, the book never feels like it’s dragging things out that much, and instead casts its scope around a slightly broader cast than the average rom-com.
By the time SWALLOW concludes, the read ends up feeling satisfying and complete, rather than a thin slice of life. While some readers may prefer a slimmer tome for light reading, SWALLOW delivers a generous tale, told well. While not without the odd niggling flaw, SWALLOW ended up being a better read than I ever anticipated. And I challenge anyone who’s seen GET HIM TO THE GREEK and the remake of ARTHUR not to envision Russell Brand fitting into this role quite nicely, should it ever become a movie. Not sure who to peg for Luna… Karen Gillan, perhaps? Or maybe even Evanna Lynch, already well familiar to roles involving characters named Luna.
In any event, count SWALLOW as an unexpectedly good read. Then swallow your aversion to longer books and get to reading. Well done.’
– Craig Hansen