I’d written several self-help books and training manuals before writing my first work of fiction. But I’d written some short stories, some of them funny, and decided to try a full length novel. If I’d realised what a massive undertaking it was, I’d probably never have started.
I was inspired to write Winner Takes All by the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich. These books are all runaway best sellers, and all have a number in the title. I think the current one is 25. All the characters in the books are crazy in some way. Stephanie can never decide between two men, her grandmother is a gun-toting live wire, and her mother despairs of them both. She turns to alcohol when it all gets too much for her.
I figured Janet Evanovich knew what she was doing and, because I’d never written fiction before, decided to take her books as a model. I replaced each of her wacky people with my own. My Stephanie Plum was Sarah Winner, accident-prone investigator. An elderly neighbour whose sex life was being transformed by reading Fifty Shades of Grey was in place of Stephanie’s grandmother. Sarah’s father was married to a much younger woman – a Thai Marshall Arts prize winner. Both Sarah and her mother were looking for love, and their attempts sometimes overlapped with embarrassing results.
I have to own up that some of the mishaps that befall Sarah were stories I’d heard about in real life. I daren’t tell you which, although I changed a lot of details to protect the innocent (or guilty depending on your point of view).
But one I can tell you about.
Someone (we’ll call him Darren) who worked with my brother mentioned it was his father’s 60th birthday soon. Darren asked his father what he wanted for his birthday and to his horror his father said he wanted a session with a working girl. ‘But Dad, why not have some golf clubs like normal blokes!’ Darren cried, but his dad was adamant. He hadn’t had a relationship for ages and didn’t want to get out of practice.
Neither of them had any idea where brothels were in their town. Imagine their amazement when they found one was just round the corner from their workplace!
Nervously they visited it and found it all very friendly and matter-of-fact. They discussed the type of working girls Darren’s father specified and they had someone perfect for the job.
‘Do you think I should buy my dad a double session?’ Darren asked the Madam.
‘He’s sixty and out of practice? No, I think one session will be plenty!’ she said with a chuckle.
But here’s a little taster. It’s the beginning of the book. Sarah has recently discovered that the man who she thought was THE ONE was a double-timer
Winner Takes All
‘I sighed heavily and picked a soggy leaf out of my hair, noticing a streak of blood as I caught my hand on a thorn. I’d been sitting in the hedge outside his house for so long I’d lost all feeling in my feet and my back was killing me. But hey, I’d got to know the rabbit, who’d been sheltering from the damp with me, so well she’d invited me to be godparent to her next litter. As one of my self-help books says; ‘always look for the silver lining.’ I decided to give up because nothing seemed to be happening. Double-checking again that there was no one at the windows of the large 1930s semi, I cautiously stood up. Well, stooped up would be more accurate. While I rubbed my aching back, a car came speeding round the corner and screeched into the drive. A woman jumped out wearing more bling than you would find in Accessorize.
‘Hey!’ she shouted with a voice so rough she could use it to smooth my granny’s heels. ‘What are you doing in my hedge?’
If you want a book that will make you chuckle head over to Amazon for a copy of Winner Takes All now.