The first novel I ever completed, and I can’t remember the title, something about ghosts and screens or mirrors, was quite short and it was about a young early twenty-something’s passion for a much older man who went on to marry her mother! As I was a young early twenty something myself, I expect I thought it was deep and rather daring (not by the standards of today, of course) but now I read it and it’s gauche and rather embarrassing to acknowledge as my work… except that some of it is quite well written, and when I’m not writing about love and passion, some of it is not too bad. The characters are all stereotypes, as if I didn’t trust myself to write about real people, or realistic people! I can’t imagine ever being able to do anything to it to make it readable for anyone else… and even the plot no longer appeals.
The second novel I completed, ‘The Man in the Sun’ was much longer and was about a group of young people who met on holiday in the south of France, in Menton; a glamorous brother and sister, a young Anglo-Chinese woman and an English lad who was working in a café and pretending to be Italian. They returned to the brother and sister’s home in the west of England. It was a farm, and the night they arrived the farmhouse and surrounding land was flooded, and they were cut off for several days in the house with the father, uncle and the housekeeper. That was pretty much the whole cast of characters with the addition of the English/Italian waiter’s sister who arrived unannounced and flirted with pretty much everyone. There was a murder, but that all fizzled out without being very interesting or exciting, and the denouement was when the uncle was revealed to be the father of the young man… complicated? A bit, but not enough to be interesting. It wasn’t quite as embarrassing as the first, and again there were some quite readable passages as well as many more toe-curling parts! Again, I don’t think there is much to salvage from it!
My third novel was ‘Telling All The truth’; and was my best so far. It was better written, tighter, with more believable characters and a fairly intriguing premise. Susie, the cousin of the main character, Viv, rings her to say she has just shot and killed her fiancé (Susie’s fiancé) Viv rushes round to Susie’s flat to find the police have arrived (who Susie has also called) and that a body has been found up on the moors, although not where Susie has described. The body is the fiancé and he has been shot. Susie is arrested and Viv is left puzzled because the one thing about Susie is that she always, always tells the truth, doesn’t even tell a white lie to save someone’s feelings. So if she has told the truth about killing the fiancé, why has she lied about where it happened? This story has more characters, Viv’s best friend, an annoying policeman who fancies Viv, his superior who warns him off, the murdered man’s two strange cousins, and a stranger who is found slumped in Viv’s porch overcome with pneumonia. There is humour, there are a couple of exciting chases through the back streets of Manchester, there are a variety of scenes and settings and although it is a bit raw and rough round the edges, I can see that with a bit of work it could be knocked into something presentable… maybe… or maybe not!