I’ve been writing for years. I write all sorts, from historical novels to thrillers and, more recently, Romcoms, aka Women’s Fiction, aka Chick Lit. My main characters are women, so do I know enough about the opposite sex to make my heroines credible and sympathetic to my readers? The way I look at it is this: we writers have to draw upon our imagination as far as the plot is concerned, so why not use this same imagination to think ourselves into the heads of our readers?
And why write for women anyway? That’s easy; it makes good business sense. You lot read more than the male of the species. One of the characters in my first book, Dirty Minds, suggests this might be because men spend too much time watching soccer and drinking beer. I couldn’t possibly comment, but I do know that I’ve been glued to the Rugby World Cup on TV over the past few weeks.
My latest book, What Happens at Christmas… is written from the point of view of Holly, the main protagonist. She isn’t a clueless little thing, desperately on the lookout for a man to support her and look after her. Very much the opposite. She’s her own woman with a successful career and high standards. Her interest in men up till now has tended to wane as she approaches the third date with any one individual. They just don’t match up to her ideal and she isn’t going to settle for any less. She knows what she wants and she certainly isn’t stereotypical. After all, her hobby is car mechanics and the love of her life, at least at the start of the book, is a thirty year old sports car.
In one of my earlier books, When Alice Met Danny, the eponymous heroine, Alice, loses her job. This is the job she has lived and breathed for seventeen years. But does she sit down and cry about it? No, she sets about creating a whole new life for herself far away from London, far away from the cutthroat financial world where she used to work. She casts off her old life and makes a new start. I don’t know about you, but there have been times in my life when the idea of pressing the Reset button and getting the hell out of it has had considerable attraction. But Alice has the balls to do it.
Back in What Happens at Christmas…, Holly finds herself having to sort through the contents of her dead father’s house. No easy task, especially when she hasn’t seen or heard from him for over twenty years. She has to sift through his belongings and choose what to keep and what to dump. Most unexpectedly, she discovers that one of his possessions is a far from inanimate object. Enter Stirling the Labrador. Now, to some people, having sixty pounds of hungry dog thrust upon you might be daunting. It is for Annie, too, but she gets on with it. When she finds herself taking him for walks in the wilds of Dartmoor in the pitch dark, she grits her teeth and does it. When she wakes up to find the dog doing his best to climb into bed with her, she turfs him off and makes him behave. And when she manages to stick one of her much-loved Jimmy Choo ankle boots into a large pile of horse manure, she doesn’t let that get her down either. She picks herself up, wipes the shoe off, mutters a few well chosen words aimed at all things equine and carries on with her walk. Like I say, my girls have got balls.
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