IMG_7162My sons have recently asked when they can read my novels. For years I’d say ‘when you’re older’ and re-check that copies were out of reach – but the boys are now eighteen and twenty-three. We’ve moved, and the novels are on the bookshelf these days. OK, they might not think of looking there, but they could have downloaded one for less than a bus ticket. Why do they need my permission? They seldom want it for anything else.

I don’t expect them to read my women’s fiction; I’ve got girlfriends who haven’t, it’s alright. I’m just intrigued by their hesitation. Possible reasons for it:

  1. It’s ew to read Mum writing about romantic stuff (likely)
  2. I’ve told them that they’ll see traces of themselves in the young characters (but hopefully be amused/chuffed)
  3. They resent the time I spent writing the damn things

I can’t rule out the last one.  How do you combine the selflessness of motherhood with the selfish drive to get down that story in your head? The need to be positive for them, with the need to be in touch with your insecurities for the sake of your writing? It hasn’t been easy. Nor for many fathers either, I imagine.

It’s Mother’s Day, and I never feel I really deserve it. But the boys seem to have turned out OK – and usually bring authorial-quality chocolate.



I’m off to see a ballet superstar perform – with the anxiety of an ex-alcoholic before a hen night. You see, I used to have an obsession with ballet. OK, ballet men. Straight, gay, macho hispanic, sensitive blonde, hyper bendy redhead, shorty with enormous jumps – all of them really. That ravishing fusion of athleticism and art, of virility and gentleness… Covent Garden was a pricey place to be fixated – but it was ultimately worth it: I got the idea for my first novel (MEN DANCING) there, and had great fun writing (and researching) it.

Eight years and three books on, I’m anxiously waiting to meet an idea for my next one. It’ll happen. I know it. Don’t I? Uff. WHEN?! The search is beginning to feel like my forcedly cheerful years without a boyfriend – in which pals arranged a series of dire blind dates (e.g. to a guy with the surname Tree, I ask you) and told me to get out more. I’m currently on a series of dates with background reading books, and getting out to lots of windy locations. Getting closer and enjoying myself, but heaven help me, I recently found myself singing along to Michael Buble’s I Just Haven’t Met You Yet

In the past I’ve been fired up by a Spanish musical genre, empathy for a childless friend, a city, a group of Twittermates, even an Edwardian navigational aid… Jeez, I’d happily fall in love with a post box, if it could inspire me to stop sitting around sharing Facebook videos of piano-playing cats and start opening my writing notebook. 

But I’ve got a date with my old flame BalletMan, and who knows, sitting on the train, just when I’m not looking for it, an idea might tap me on the shoulder. I’ll keep you posted.






linkedinTapping on my mobile half asleep one night, I must have hooked up with LinkedIn. The next day, I couldn’t believe I’d given in to this smug monster, and quickly reached for a Morning After Unsubscribe. But the trouble is that you have to log on to bog off, SlinkIn to SlinkOut, kiss before leaving – and I couldn’t remember my bloody password.

So years passed, with daily Linkvitations in my Inbox reminding me not to wander onto the internet while under the influence of Ovaltine. I fervently hoped it would all somehow go away.

But something’s happened: I’ve now got a Proper Publishing Deal, and need to be on everything. Including LinkedIn, which, Google promises me, will increase my Search Engine Rankings. Since I don’t know my current ones – or what the hell these actually are – this will be difficult to prove.  It’s also supposed to increase my connections – but I can do that on Twitter, with more fun and less waffle. To be honest, at the moment I’m only really after a few more readers for my new blog – and the hopefully swift and simple pacification of scores of unanswered Linked friends.

So after a few hours LockedIn, what can I tell you? Well, it’s blue, which is nice. Easier to navigate than Goodreads – but then so is the Strait of Magellan. And… well, nothing really, all the same faces, and the people who I wish were on Twitter aren’t in here either. Hackles started to rise with the profile page, which, despite the encouragements (‘Cherry, your Summary is looking good!’) insists on boxing your life into its own peculiar linxpectations.  For example, apparently I don’t live in Eastbourne but in ‘Holywell, E. Sussex’ – which is great, but basically just a section of the beach. As for my living in two countries – even though surely this is relevant professionally – no way was this allowed. But the true horror is the ENDORSING. Visiting pages of people I know and hoping to encourage, I’m soon going: ‘WTF? When was she ever a Fiction Writer? He’s a Director there? My arse…’ Then I see that somebody has endorsed me for Short Stories – something she can’t possibly vouch for unless she’s had secret and ill-advised access to my ‘Cherry – Junior Sch.’ box file. Or maybe this is actually her suggestion, after trying one of my novels. Who knows what people are trying to say on here? Or what they do when they’re off it. There are some great posts (presumably also available elsewhere), but it mostly feels a bit pushy and shouty. I know, I know, I’ll give it a little longer – and please, tell me I’m wrong – but at the moment it feels like one hook up too many.