Saturday, 29 December 2012

Bring Back the Bonkbuster!

Anyone who knows me knows I absolutely loathed Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s always awkward when you’re a writer and you admit to people you hate FSoG; you get that pitying smile and the knowing nod that says ‘you’re jealous aren’t you?’ I can honestly say I am not jealous of EL James (well, maybe her bank balance). It just shocks me that something so badly written, repetitive and quite frankly disturbing in places (I won’t go into the tampon episode) could become such a huge-selling novel. Women would strut around town this summer with it tucked under their arm like it was some sort of fashion accessory like a Chihuahua in a Gucci bag and it’s quite interesting to discover that it’s the only novel some women have read. Should I be glad that it’s got them into reading? Maybe. But I could say the same about the autobiography of someone from The Only Way is Essex (I have read one of those and it was better than FSoG!!). I’ve read a couple of Harry Potter books and I think JKR is a genius. I read the Da Vinci Code and whilst the ‘American saves the day as usual’ sentiment sticks in my throat, it was a good romp and I feel no resentment that it became a huge seller. What disturbs me most about FSoG is that the Ana/Christian relationship is verging on abusive and it worries me that in real life men could get confused about boundaries and what women want.

Anyway, enough free publicity for that book. Back to me! I have been on the dole for several months now after being made redundant and I have found myself whiling away many an hour watching, on Youtube, uploads of those glossy ‘rags to riches’ 1980s mini series, like Lace, We’ll Take Manhattan and Lucky Chances. Being on my uppers makes me yearn to know of people who make it from the gutter to unbelievable riches. All fantasy, but it gives me hope. For years now, literature has been dominated by misery-lit – woeful tales of abused children, battered wives and gypsy boys. This all coincided with a healthy economy, rising house-prices and unemployment of under one million. Well, things have changed, we’re living in tough times, money isn’t in abundance, so isn’t it time that we went back to having some fun and enjoying a bit of fantasy (that doesn’t involve handcuffs, love eggs and gray pants)? I want a return to the bonkbuster, the books that populated my youth in the 80s by people like Shirley Conran, Jackie Collins, Judith Krantz and Danielle Steel. I want to read about women who are down on their luck and through hard work and a smattering of good fortune, they become rich and powerful - bedding and marrying handsome men along the way. If you’re on the dole or in a poorly paid job, surely paying a couple of quid (dollars) for a 400 page book about a girl who goes from a Soho hostess to one of the most powerful businesswomen in the world, has surely got to be more appealing than reading about a child who was locked in a cupboard for six years before being found by a kindly social worker?

So, I am making it my mission for 2013 to be my year. 2012 has been quite frankly the most horrid year I’ve had in a long time. I never thought one of my highpoints would be the Olympics, but there you go. Those few weeks in the summer gave me light relief from worrying about money, crippling toothache and trying to find a job. But didn’t we all love the Olympics because it showed people reaping the rewards for years of hard work? It gave us all hope. I am determined to make 2013 the year of fun, and that’s why I’m busy writing and editing The Exciting Life, my latest free novella and its follow up (name to be revealed). A continuation of the Never Forget saga and the start of many novels to come, telling the story of a rich and dysfunctional family. I’d like to think this time next year I would be writing a blog telling you how well my books have done, but even if I don’t, I’ll sure have fun writing them.

Happy New Year everyone and I hope 2013 brings all that you wish for.

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