Thursday, November 22, 2012


Do all ex-girlfriends have to be nasty? I was wondering about that while writing my latest novel.
I don't think it's necessary. In Tilly's Trials my hero has a new girlfriend. She is, I think, justified in being very wary of Marsh's ex-wife. She isn't popular with his family but that is to do more with them realizing that she isn't right for him. I don't think she is particularly nasty just human,.we have all been there I'm sure!

My next book out has a real humdinger of a love rival. She is a genuine nasty piece of work.I loved thinking up the tricks she got up to. However, was that also her nature? Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca was an unpleasant woman, her malign presence, even though she is dead, haunts this novel, she is kept alive by the equally horrid Mrs Danvers. These women can really take over a novel. Care is needed to sometimes reign them in.

Is my rival for Lander's affections justified in being an arch manipulator? Of course not. Certainly she could be hurt and upset but she takes it much further. She is selfish and unkind and not only to my heroine but to her daughter as well. There is no excuse for her behaviour.

However, it can be tedious if all our love rivals are downright wicked. In Beloved Deceiver the hero's ex-girlfriend has a generous nature.At first I was nervous about how it would work but fortunately the novel was well received and I think everyone liked Fabia. Of course even Fabia hadn't to outshine the heroine, or why else would Mars Collingwood choose Flora?  That was not difficult to do. I won't tell  you how I did it, find out yourself!!

On the whole though my love rivals have not been particularly nice. Sometimes it is not that they are still in love with the hero. Sometimes they just can't help themselves, like Maddy's twin sister Milly, in Eden's Child. Upbringing, lifestyle choice and an inbred instability make it impossible for Milly to be anything other than malign.

Let's face it really bad girls are fun to write about - rather more enjoyable than bad men - but that's only my opinion  What do you think?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Saddest Month

T S Eliot wrote that "April is the saddest month" I don't understand why he did that. For me April is new beginnings, it is early Spring, all around new life is coming forth. There are daffodils along the hedgerows and by the Lakes in the magical Lake District. A primrose peeps up in a wood. Buds are on the trees. It can be cold and blowy, it is possible for snow to descend but there is never anything sad about April for me. Of course there is Easter and Good Friday if you are a Christian, and that is a very sad day but there is Easter Day with the promise of life and all good things.

For me the saddest month is November. It has nothing to do with dark nights (although they can really make you feel miserable) or the fact that the leaves have all but left the trees and lie in soggy piles on pavements. No, it is none of these. I think of the 11th November. The day the Armistice was signed. A recent television programme related the little known fact that because the signing was at 11.00 a.m. young men were still being killed on that day. Stupid generals were insisting their men still fought on. I think the last soldier to die was a young American at around 11.00 a.m.

November makes me feel so sad, it always has. I think of my grandfather and other lads like him fighting in a war that brought them nothing. Remembrance of the First World War should never be forgotten, even though it is for me the reason that November is the "saddest month."

I remember going to Ypres and to the daily ceremony at the Menin Gate. There were lots of school children there, chatting in the way they do and I thought oh what a shame they don't realise the significance. Me of little faith - the moment the Fire Brigade band came they fell silent and respectful. They were wonderful.

Let's think of all service personnel this month. We send them to war zones I never hear them complain. In the words of a cheerful song "Bless 'em All."