Secrets – May 2006
‘Engrossing, exciting and with lots of twists and surprises…this great read is a thriller, a romance and a family story – and in only 90 pages!’ www.gwales.com
I’m both proud and excited to have been involved in the Quick Reads Initiative, launched on World Book Day 2006, which aimed to bring mainstream adult fiction to emergent readers on a scale that, to my knowledge, had not been done before. And good on them, I say! One of the problems of getting to grips with reading for pleasure as an adult, is that there’s a dearth of titles about that can achieve that; most available material, obviously, being written for children. It’s a great honour, therefore, to find myself part of an initiative that counts the likes of Maeve Binchey and Joanna Trollope among its number.
My first title, Secrets, (published 18th May 2006, to coincide with Adult Learners Week) was one of the trickiest things I’ve ever attempted, writing wise; not least because of having to re-think my whole way of writing – dispense with the ‘rather flowery style’ that is obviously something of a hallmark. So said the Literacy officer when she edited it, anyhow, about which I’m still smarting a little, it must be said…
Moi? Flowery? Perish the thought. Yet in some ways she’s right. No, my mobiles don’t ring, they invariably chirrup, before being rootled from pockets or bags. My tongue-tied heroines twerble, my falls guys galumph, and my heroes oftentimes find themselves afflicted with tics in their jawlines that beat out tattoos. During times of great sexual tension, of course… Writing what you like, and precisely howyou like – however eccentric or bizarre – is one of the great joys of being a writer, and being someone who tends to write as I talk, it’s naturally a big part of what makes my style mine. Having, then, to strip my words of all the nuances that make it feel like it’s ‘me’, has been an interesting and singular process. And one that’s actually been very gratifying.
It’s amazing, once you stop and give some thought to the matter, what a joy and a privilege it is to have been taught to read. And also just how complex our written language is. How impenetrable, also, to those of us who are not in a position to take it for granted. The use of idiom, cliché, metaphor, the structure of a sentence or a paragraph; all these are things I had to re-visit and re-think, making the finished short novella the most considered 16,000 words I’ve ever done.