Thursday, April 8, 2021

Virtual Book Tour: Ripples From the Edge of Life by Roland Chesters @FromRipples @RABTBookTours

Memoir, Self-Help

Publisher: SilverWood Books

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If you were given just two weeks to live how would you feel? What would you do? How do you prepare for the end? Who would you tell and how? It was this terrible position Roland Chesters found himself in in the late summer of 2006. He knew he was seriously ill but had no idea that he had both HIV and AIDS. Luckily Roland did not die. Expert medical help and his own determination not to give in saw him through. His life though, had changed for ever.

‘Ripples from the Edge of Life’ is Roland’s account of a life changing diagnosis and the impact it had not only on him but on those close to him. More than a memoir, Roland’s story is not unique; ripples spread outwards and this empowering collection gives voice to 14 others who have survived similar traumatic diagnoses. This book contains wisdom, hope humour and inspiration in equal measures. Is an essential read for anyone facing a life changing condition and for those who support and care for them.


Praise for Ripples from the Edge of Life:

“Roland captures his powerful, personal story, and the stories of those who stood alongside him on the way in a book that engages and inspires in equal measure.” Grant Sugden, Chief Executive, Waverley Care

“Ripples” is an absorbing and moving testament to real lives lived, and a tribute to lives lost, in a particular time and place in the story of HIV. The chapters are filled with eloquent voices that tell us how it is to live with HIV and these are voices that deserve to be heard.” Siobhán Lanigan, CEO, The Food Chain

“If this book does nothing else but to assist in breaking down the stigma of a Positive diagnosis then it will have performed a powerful task.” Tremaine Cornish, Trustee, National Long Term Survivors’ Group

“’Ripples’ gives a unique insight into the emotional roller coaster of a HIV diagnosis and its life-long impact. Reading the personal experiences was haunting. Definitely one of my top recommended reads." -Steph Mallas, CEO. George House Trust

“These honest life-changing stories are prime examples of the true faces of HIV. They will touch your heart and enrage your mind.” Ian Howley, CEO, GMFA



Interview with Roland Chesters

    What was the hardest scene from your book to write?

    The part where my partner, Richard, had to tell me that I had two weeks to live. I can never ever forgive myself for putting him in that position. I cannot imagine what was going through his mind at the time. Had the roles been reversed I very much doubt that I would have had the strength or courage to do what he did. I will never be able to express fully my gratitude to him.

    Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

    This is the only book I have written. I wanted to write it because when I was diagnosed I could not find any other contemporary books written by – and for – people living with HIV that were not technical, science based. I was struck by a piece written by Zoe Apostilides in the Guardian in March 2017 titled ‘Why are there so few novels written about AIDS these days?’ and realised my story needed to be written. But I also knew that my story is no more unique or special than any other person who has been diagnosied with HIV or AIDS and that is why I determined to reach out to the UK HIV community and include in the publication the voices of other people who had received the same diagnosis.

    What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

    It was a cathartic experience, forcing me to revist some very very dark times and look at them with a more objective, distanced eye. Realising that having survived this has only made me stronger and given me a voice gave me cause for celebration. Also, being able to sort out the chronology of what happened as the brain disease which was my AIDS-defining illness has somewhat scrambled things up, was a huge relief!

    What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

    Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach. My mother gave this to me to read as a teenager and I always remember the part where Jonathan comes to a crossroads and has to make a decision about which direction to take. I sometime look back on my life and wonder what would have happened had I taken the other direction.

    Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?

    I trained and worked as a Humanist Funeral Celebrant for a couple of years.

    Can you tell us something about your book that is not in the summary?

    I was shortlisted as a Role Model for Disability in the 2019 National Diversity Awards on the basis of the book and the impact that it has had. I have been amazed by the responses I have received from people all over the world who have read the book and have been touched by its contents.

About the Author

Roland Chesters was born in the north of England to an English father and French mother and has lived most of his life in London. He graduated from the Royal Holloway College with a degree in Modern Languages and after a variety of jobs joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a language-testing specialist. Following a diagnosis of HIV and AIDS in 2006, he became a campaigner for disability rights. He is now a self-employed Disability Development Consultant and and was a finalist in the 2019 National Diversity Awards as a Role Model for Disability.

Roland lives with his partner, Richard, in London and enjoys opera, classical music, theatre and fashion (his favourite item of clothing being a bright red corduroy suit). He fights boredom and normality with gusto, and says he is at his best when he’s made a positive impact on someone else’s life.

‘Ripples from the Edge of Life’ is Roland’s first (and only according to him) book.

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