FICTION

I write books too.

Yeah. I’m that person

The friend who forgets your kids’ birthdays but relentlessly badgers you to read her manuscript, the friend who’s constantly ghosting you on Whatsapp because she’s gone on “writing leave”, the friend who responds to your deepest, most humiliating secrets with: “That’s so awful. Can I use this in my next book?”

Don’t befriend writers. They’re loyal only to their laptops.

When I was six or so, I used to write little stories over the weekend and (somehow) persuaded my headmistress to allow me to read them aloud every Monday at school during morning assembly. I wish I was kidding. A six-year-old wanted to stand up in front of hundred-plus other students and read something she’d written herself.

What a precocious little brat.

I can’t remember how this rather clandestine deal with the headmistress was struck exactly. There’s something curiously Soprano-ish about it. Who knows, maybe I was surreptitiously scoring her used VCRs on the side. All I know is that this early display of fervent attention-seeking morphed into a very ardent desire to write stuff that makes people laugh. Like, right from their belly.

Want to buy my book? Of course you do.

My debut collection of short stories, “Saucy Shorts”, started life as a podcast of the same name. I started writing them during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 when I feared my copywriting work would dry up (it didn’t) and I decided that doing something truly creative and uncensored would be good for my soul (it was). It’s a selection of funny, moving, sometimes sexy tales that explore love, lust, friendship and various forms of dastardly betrayal.

Check out this extract from Dinner

“The key, the absolute key to landing the big ka-hoo-nahs is your quality of bait…”
“Dar-ling,” Joni perched a bony bottom on Arlo’s lap. “You’re boring poor Will. Look at him. He’s dozing off.”
“Nonsense! Fishing is always exciting. Any fishing down your way, Willy?”
“Fishing? In Twickenham? Not that I know of.”
“No, no! Wales, mate, Wales. I hear there’s some superb wild brown trout to be had in the River Usk…”
“Oh right, got you. Ah, I grew up in Port Talbot so…”
“Is that near Usk?”
“No, not really.”
“And the old man never fished?”
“Wouldn’t know, never met him. It was just me and Mum.”

“Oh!” Joni clutched a hand to her heart. “Oh, Will, I’m so very sorry.” She took one of his hands. “How awful for you.” He was a bit taken aback by the reaction. After all, his dad hadn’t left yesterday. We were knocking on for thirty-one years now and you really couldn’t mourn what you never had.
“Don’t worry about it! It’s done me no harm.”
“Yes, Joni, do pull yourself together, sweetheart. You’re embarrassing the man.” Arlo remonstrated, giving Joni a squeeze on the hip.
“Sorry, I just…how sad.”

Now Will was feeling awkward. He glanced over Joni’s shoulder in the hope of glimpsing Clemmie but her back was to him as she chatted to a woman dressed in a rather racy black lace number. People really did dress up for dinner in Chelsea. Speaking of which, he was starting to feel hungry. His tummy gave a well-timed rumble.

“So, what are we having for tea?” He asked politely, immediately cursing himself for not calling it dinner. Now he felt like a proper knob. Joni waggled her eyebrows suggestively and topped up his wine with a bottle that she seemed to produce from behind her back.

“Aren’t we the eager beaver!” Arlo chuckled at her and nuzzled her neck which only garnished the awkwardness. “Dinner won’t be long, lovely. Just hang tight for a few more minutes.” She leant into him from her boyfriend’s lap, bringing her face very close to Will’s. He thought perhaps she might be drunker than she looked. This idea was given legs when she cupped his face in her hands and kissed him deeply on the mouth. His head sprang back from her grasp like a Jack-in-the-Box.

(*and I’ll stop badgering you.)