A friend asked me this the other day. Who is speaking on your blog? Is it you or your book character? Or are they quite alike?
Well, er, it's me talking on the blog, it's not her. Her name is Marilyn and she's invented. And of course we're not alike. I mean, I'm just not her, I mean how can I be? She is tall, half-Hungarian with knockers and big cheek bones, divorced from a television executive with a couple of unflinching British teens. She's done the subordinate wife thing for too long, the woman behind the man, the madre in a cardigan, the food shopper, the woman sipping cups of tea. I can't say how much I enjoyed creating a woman so DIFFERENT from myself.
Whereas myself, argh, let's leave that. I just live here, wrote the book, write this blog. Suffice to say that I do love story-telling, creating an entire world that you can enter and even smell when you lay your thoughts to rest at night. And Marilyn's new Italian world was created from the many elements I thought would make a cracking read for a woman as demanding and fortified as myself. Someone who likes sex, men, teenagers, architecture and good wine, and not always in that order.
I started writing 'The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy' at a time when I began to realise that thirty-year-old (traditional chick lit market) and forty-year-old women have very different needs. There is so much that a woman has/is striving to/still wishes to accomplish over those dense pre-50 years. And yet these are the years when women begin to fade away. When we may be dumped/betrayed/jaded. When our clothes are advertised on girls younger than our daughters; when we appear most often (on Italian tv) in ads about dust, hygiene or bloated stomachs!! I just wanted to shift a few deck chairs and stir up some arresting humour around an older lass who learns how to get crude again, to perk up and work out which hat she could be wearing.
So Marilyn, my book character, is not me. She is just the vehicle for a rant, a laugh, a vent for my espresso fixation and a reason to hang around Venice and Milan.
Although that Australian character, Fiona, that saucy red-head who grabs the ball and runs with it, now she's the one you should probably cross-examine...
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ps GRAZIE MILLE to poet JOHN SIDDIQUE who is hosting my 'Culture Diary' on his blog this week http://johnsiddique.blogspot.com. I am reading his sexy and sensitive poems in Full Blood.
pps wonderful news from Ether Books who have a selection of my stories online - stories based on the cusp between European and African ways of thinking! Do take a look there are amazing writers present! www.etherbooks.com