Write the book you want to read

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!

Meet my main character – Blog Hop

Facebook is ace for making new connections. This week, I ‘met’ the lovely Laurie, who told me about a blog tour – of course I hopped on board! Be sure to check out her site Looking on the Sunnyside where you can find information about her and her book ‘The Misadventures of Me and My Uterus’ – the cover is super cute too.  You can also check out her answers to the Blog Hop questions here.

So, as the title suggests, we’re writing about our main characters. Since I’m currently in something of a writing frenzy with my new book, I’ll be talking about that one. Here are my answers:

What’s the name of your main character? Are they a historical figure, or fictional? My main character’s name is Cassie Barton-Cole. When we meet her, she’s just married her husband, Oliver. Prior to that, she was Cassie Abbott, and she’s totally fictional. This is how I see her in my head.

Anna Shaffer
Cassie…aka Anna Shaffer


When and where is the story set? It’s set in the here and now, 2014 and is predominantly in south London, Clapham, to be exact. Other destinations that feature are Koh Tao in Thailand, and Westport in County Mayo, Ireland. Both beautiful places.

What do we need to know about her?

Cassie is a tough cookie, but she hasn’t had it easy. Raised by a single mum, she was left to fend for herself at 15 when her mum moved to a commune in Spain. As a result, some might say she likes to cling to people and things, and some, her mum in particular, would say she has abandonment issues.

What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

Two boy shaped things: Oliver and Smith. Smith ‘messes up’ her life by returning from travelling on the day of her wedding. No huge drama in itself, except to his mind, they weren’t quite finished when he left. As for Oliver, he starts out as the perfect, ideal man, but soon turns out to be violent and manipulative. The conflict is in Cassie – between the badboy she shouldn’t love, and the nice guy she should. And, just because I can’t help a good visual, here’s what they look like to me….

What is their personal goal?

All Cassie wants is stability and a normal life, which for her is a house, husband and 2.5 kids. Given her past, it’s not entirely surprising, but chasing it becomes her undoing.

Is there a working title and where can we read more about it?

Yep. The title is Heart Shaped Bruise, and early chapters are up on Wattpad. You can check them out here.

When can we expect the book to be published?

Early 2015 … not long to go!