That was some good advice I got from my lovely friend and fellow author, Caroline Batten. I’d been to stay with her (look out for that post shortly) and after a bit of a chat, an idea was hatched for a new book. I’d had a bit of a panic because the main character loves sex. Yes, yes, I know we all do, but it’s different when you’re writing.
Back in the day, a heap of chick-lit books revolved around sex. Casual, mostly, until Mr Charming came along and swept the heroine off her feet. Mine is a bit more topical and less chick-lit, but one of the main characters gets down and dirty in the opening chapter with someone she’s only just met. On Tinder. And therein laid my problem.
I don’t write erotica, no – just no – props to erotica writers but I just can’t do it, it’s bloody tough! But I do want to write about someone normal, who happens to like getting laid. I spoke about the plot outline with two male friends at the weekend and they all said ‘NO!’. You can’t possibly write about a female who likes casual sex, it’s offputting. One of these guys is one of my best boy mates and always gives good advice, but I struggled with this view. They’re not my target audience, I admit, but while I disagreed, it did get me thinking about whether it would be too much for some.
The main character in question is Claire, Sarah’s sister in Together Apart. I always wanted to develop her a bit more and give her a story of her own, and this idea seems perfect. But it’s difficult enough trying to get your own fan base when you’re a writer – the last thing we want is to alienate people because of subject matter. But then again, how many books do people read and wish it could have been just a bit more? A bit more different, a bit more daring, a bit more real.
After speaking to Caroline, she told me to get a grip and write the book I want to read. And this is the kind of book Iwant to read – something REAL. It’s what I’ve always set out to do, with Together Apart and with Heart Shaped Bruise. Probably not much point in changing what I’m doing now!