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Here's the cover for LIES LIKE LOVE - to be published by Penguin books in July.
and to whet your appetite further, here's the blurb:
'There were a few problems . . . bullying . . . a fire . . .'
'I think she's verging on psychosis . . . now she's lashing out.'
'She's got no one else to fight for her.'
Sixteen year-old Audrey just wants to be normal.
She's trying to fit in.
But what happens when the person closest to you suffocates you with their love?
What happens then?
Happy New Year!
This blog has been dreadfully neglected, for which I am truly sorry, but I can't seen the point in blathering on when I've nothing to say.
But, even though wary of making "announcements", I think I'm fairly safe to tentatively suggest that this year my second novel Lies Like Love will be published. At least Amazon tells me so.
So, with that in mind, if you're one of my wonderful readers who plans on risking another encounter with my imagination, thank you for waiting for so long. The last couple of years have felt like an eternity of searching for the right story, gnashing of teeth, pulling of hair and writing and rewriting and writing again. But hopefully it will all have been worth it.
As for Lies Like Love itself, you'll have to wait and see. It's not giving too much away though to say that it's a book full of love and hope, despair and horror, fear and courage. I hope to be able to reveal the cover sometime soon - the mock-up the fantastic Penguin team have shown me is AMAZING.
May I suggest a bit of early Christmas shopping and helping an incredibly important cause at the same time?
Lots of fabulous authors, agents and publishers are donating their time and books and all sorts of other lovely things to raise money for this cause. You can bid for all sorts of things. I'm trying to think of something to donate - if you have any ideas let me know; it may just have to be a load of dosh.
Black Heart Blue is out in Brazil and Novo Conceito, the Brazilian publisher, is running a pretty cool marketing campaign. Images like this are really stark and powerful. The text comes from the novel and is a translation of this line (I think!)
But you can’t hide poison forever, it has to seep out sometime and I could smell its trails on the air.
Since it's International Women's Day I want to celebrate a few of the great female characters in fiction by exploring why I love them and why they're so memorable. Their authors too, many of whom are men.
Let's start with Chaucer's Wife of Bath. What a loud, loquacious lady she is, vividly described as "gat-toothed" (in medieval symbolism - a bit of a man-eater). With her red stockings and massive hat in the shape of a shield, she's a woman ready to take on the men. A survivor of domestic violence, she turns Janckyn's (husand number five) rhetoric back on him, ripping up his "Book of Wicked Wives" in the process and tells a fabulous story. Pretty radical, I think, even if she did fall for the wrong chap.
Moving on to Shakespeare, I can't help but admire the wickedness of Goneril and Regan. With a father like Lear, domineering, childish, petulant and narcissistic, is it any wonder they reduce his retinue from 100 to 50 to 25 and then to...1. Mind you, eye-gouging is a little too extreme even for my tastes and their evil is indisputable by the end of the play. So how about, if we're looking for a Shakespearean feminist hero, Beatrice from Much Ado. Witty, feisty, hugely loyal to her wronged cousin Hero, she won't love or marry just to fit in with society's expectations and only takes on Benedict on her own terms. Great character.
Then you've got to have a bit of Jane Austen. Fanny Price is a bit too pious for my liking, Emma Woodhouse a bit too spoilt. But Lizzy Bennet - can we fault her? She won't let anyone put her down, she sees through (eventually) vice and folly and is a loyal daughter and sister.
“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”
Then there's Hardy's Tess. Oh, I love Tess. Her struggle to deal with Victorian hypocrisy, her incredible sensitivity, curious mixture of both humility and her pride and the cruelty meted out to her never fail to wring my heart. One of my favourite characters and novels ever.
“Because what's the use of learning that I am one of a long row only - finding out that there is set down in some old book somebody just like me, and to know that I shall only act her part; making me sad, that's all. The best is not to remember your nature and your past doings have been just like thousands' and thousands', and that your coming life and doings'll be like thousands' and thousands'.”
Another great female is Prue Sarn of Mary Webb's novel "Precious Bane". Like Rebecca in Black Heart Blue, Prue is marked out by her disfigurement - a harelip, the "bane" of the title. She is a character who battles against her brother, her circumstances and society and who ultimately triumphs. A wonderful, wonderful book and character.
Stand-out characters, noteworthy for their courage and indomitable spirit in more modern fiction include Katniss of The Hunger Games and then there's Harper Lee's Scout, L.M. Montgomery's Anne Shirley, and Dahl's Matilda. As a young reader I adored Tamora Pierce's Alanna series and the eponymous lead character. She dresses as a boy in order to achieve her dream of becoming a knight and goes through all kinds of adventures that test both her physical and emotional strength. But I suppose the character who stands out most to me is Celie of Alice Walker's The Colour Purple. The book is a fascinating study of the power women can find within themselves and from each other when faced with the most brutal circumstances. It's a must read.
This is a long list. I haven't even mentioned Hester Prynne, Jane Eyre, Catherine Earnshaw, Pippi Longstocking. Hope they'll forgive me. If I haven't mentioned one of your favourites, feel free to scream.
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre