Like many people, I have always wanted to be creative. Always yearned to have an outlet for the voices in my head. I can't draw or paint, I can only sing whilst inebriated and as a cook, I excel at anything you heat in the microwave. Books, stories... writing seemed like the natural choice. I started to read at a very young age, my parents were firm believers in books fuelling the imagination and I vividly recall being around 7 when my Mum gave me the Enid Blyton Mallory Towers books. Oh I was in heaven. Boarding school hi-jinks, tuck boxes and lacrosse sticks. I spent about a year pleading with them to send me away and I don’t think I ever really got over the fact that they refused. Books were my refuge when life was sad, giving me an imaginary world to bury myself in for a few hours. They were like long lost friends, to re-read a favourite novel is like the very best kind of hug, warm and cosy and deeply emotive. Books are a lot like sex, even when they aren’t great, they are still pretty enjoyable, and if they really are diabolically bad, at least you’ve learnt what you don’t like.
I started writing properly when I was 16, emboldened by Judith Krantz’s “Scruples” which I’d stumbled upon a year earlier in a box of my Mum’s old books. If you are unfamiliar, it is a sprawling novel centred around Billy Winthrop-Ikehorn and her evolution from the overweight "poor relation" in an aristocratic Boston family to become a thin, stylish woman who is left a vast fortune by the death of her much older first husband and who goes on to found an upscale Beverly Hills boutique called "Scruples." As an overweight poor relation myself, I was obsessed with it, reading it so frequently the spine was cracked and the pages dog-eared. “Scruples” had it all, power, wealth, socialites, profanity and sex. Lots and lots of sex. The first book I ever read that featured the ‘C’ word. Damn, it’s such a trashy, glorious novel.
So there I was, word processor whirring as I embarked on my own tale of lust and wealth and filth and glamour. Only at 16, I knew little of any of it personally so I trotted out little vignettes of what I thought it would be like to be a carefree 20-something, free to love and lust with abandon. These early tales are so bad, they are just bad, and I can barely bring myself to even think about them, let alone read them. But I learnt, reading more and more and finding writers and genres that appealed to me. By the time I was in my late teens, I had read everything ever written by both Judith Krantz and the formidable Jilly Cooper and decided that a sprawling 800 page bonkbuster was probably always going to a step too far for me to write. I discovered Janet Evanovich and her laugh out loud (for the most part) Stephanie Plum bounty hunter novels. I read David Niven, Jane Austen, George Elliot, Shakespeare, switching between trashy novels and the classics to make myself feel like less of a book slut, something I still do today. A literary palate cleanser if you will.
Over the many years since Mallory Towers, I have read more trashy fiction than I’ve cooked hot dinners, even the execrable 50 Shades trilogy. Some so atrocious that I have actually stopped reading completely for a few days to numb the experience. I have also found writers I adore, Sylvia Day and Jasinda Wilder both make me yearn to be half as good as they are and yet equally make me think that I never could be so should stop writing altogether. But I still endeavour. So this year I haven’t actually written anything but I have been formulating ideas in my head, researching and plotting so that when I do finally get back to it I won’t be stammering about for inspiration. So far I have three different ideas buzzing around, any or all of which may come to life. I may or not publish them, I may upload to Amazon and Smashwords or I might choose to make them free reads on Literotica. I don’t know yet what I’ll do and that’s the beauty and joy of writing.
Everything is my decision to make. From the first wisp of an idea, fingers flowing manically across the keyboard as day turns to night, watching that idea take hold and characters appear on the page. Sometimes those characters will be exactly as I imagined, other times they need tweaking. A line of dialogue intended for one may ultimately sound better from the lips of another. That entire tiny world is mine to control, like a word spewing Dictator and I won’t lie, it is such a control trip. In my world, the pretty girl doesn’t get the guy, the quirky fat girl waltzes off with him into the sunset for an orgasm soaked HEA. It is a fantasy world that unravels from my head onto the screen and if I’m lucky, finds its way onto someone’s Kindle.
And I hope that for the few short hours, or sometimes even minutes that they spend reading my stories, that they get the same pleasure that I do, of being transported somewhere far away from their reality.
Until next time