Over the next few weeks, some of my fellow chick lit authors from the Chick Lit Chat group on Facebook will be joining me here to tell us about their latest books. Here’s the first:
Every so often, someone ponders if men can write chick lit. Well, yes, they can. And here’s one who does, TA Williams, to tell us about his latest book, When Alice Met Danny.
What would you do if you bought a house full of poo?
You’ll like my book if you’ve ever dreamt of chucking the whole thing in and starting again.
Life can be tough. We’ve probably all hankered for a reset button to press from time to time. Whoosh…no more problems with work, relationships, landlords, mother-in-law… whatever. When Alice Met Danny is a book about one woman who got that chance. All right, it came as a hell of a shock at first. Losing her high-flying job in the city just before she hit 40 shook Alice to her foundations. But she picked herself up and grabbed the opportunity for a new start.
Where better to go for a new start than a sleepy Devon village where she meets an intriguing collection of people? There’s the local vicar who can’t get a date because she isn’t supposed to go out with her parishioners. There’s the body builder who sets out to emulate the Chippendales. There’s the big Canadian who buys doughnuts in packs of twelve and, of course there’s Danny. And another Danny. And another Danny. And, let’s not forget Daniel. Soon she is collecting Dannys at every turn.
When I set out to write this book, I wanted to write about the place where I live. I think rural Devon takes a lot of beating and all of the characters, one way or another, have been inspired by people I know down here. I have got a thing about history, and I hope you will enjoy the way that creeps into the story in the shape of yet another Danny. And, of course, the book had to have a black Labrador in it. No prizes for guessing his name.
There’s one thing that may come as a bit of a surprise. I’m a man. As such, choosing to make my main character a woman was a challenge, and a risk. I hope I’ve managed to think my way inside Alice’s head convincingly. I’m sure you’ll tell me if I haven’t!
This isn’t a book that will leave you drained of all emotion. Reviewers are describing it as an easy read and I’d go along with that. It has its sad parts and its funny parts and I hope you will enjoy the way Alice deals with all the problems life throws at her. And there are some big ones. Like the house full of poo, for example…
Extract from When Alice Met Danny
‘So you bought it without viewing it first?’ Sally was aghast.
Alice looked a bit sheepish. ‘It was at auction, and it was so very cheap. I thought I’d got nothing to lose.’ In fact, she acknowledged to herself, she had been caught up in auction fever. Although she had registered, she had only intended to view the different lots as they went under the hammer. But then when this one had appeared for so little, she had decided to put in a bid. To her surprise, nobody else had followed, and she was now the owner of a terrace house in East Devon.
‘So what are you going to do now?’ Sally still sounded very dubious.
‘I suppose I’d better go down and take a look at it. Then I’ve got to pay for it. Plus I’ve got to arrange insurance and all that stuff. I suppose I’d better get it surveyed as well. While I’m at it, I could look for a place to rent until the other one is finished.’ She swilled the last of the cappuccino around in her cup before swallowing it. ‘I don’t suppose you fancy a trip to Devon some time soon?’
‘I’d love to, Al, but I’ve got my boys to look after.’ Her boys were two Yorkshire terriers and a husband. ‘If I take Cain and Abel on the train, they’ll probably throw up. Come to think of it, Adam might throw up as well.’
‘How is your perfect man?’ Alice had always liked the big, quiet man that Sally had married. For a while they had even tried to set Alice up with his brother, but to no effect. She had always been far too busy.
‘My perfect man is no doubt sitting in a fire station somewhere, rubbing baby lotion on his muscular body after rescuing a few old ladies and a pussy cat.’ Her eyes became positively misty before she returned to the real world. ‘As for Adam, he’s fine. He’s joined a gym because he reckons he’s getting a bit porky.’ She lowered her voice. ‘Between you and me, he’s right. Anyway, how about you and men? Any on your radar, now that you’ve got the time to dedicate yourself to their pursuit?’
‘I haven’t had time, yet. First things first, I need to get my new life on track. Then I can think about men.’
‘What about that tall boy from your office?’ Alice looked blank, so Sally elaborated. ‘You know, the one you introduced me to in that pub that time.’
‘You’re going to have to be a good bit more precise, Sal.’
‘Tall, blond, good-looking, races yachts or something.’
The penny dropped. ‘You mean Danny. He doesn’t race yachts. At least, I don’t think so. He does a lot of windsurfing, though. And, no, he’s just a friend.’
‘A handsome one.’ Sally was doing her best to get Alice fired up.
‘I can’t say I’ve noticed.’ That wasn’t strictly true. Only the other day it had occurred to her, but theirs was now a business relationship. ‘Actually, he’s renting my flat from me once I move out.’
‘With his bronzed Australian windsurfing girlfriend?’
‘Not so far as I know. He says he lives on his own. At least, that’s what he told me.’
‘What a waste.’ Sally glanced at her watch. ‘Well, got to go. I daresay you’ll find yourself somebody suitable once you are down among the haystacks. I can see you in a few months time, plucking cows, milking chickens…’
‘Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.’
What’s in a name?
Devastated after losing her job, eternal pragmatist Alice leaves London for a new start in Devon. It’s there that she meets Danny.
Then she meets another Danny.
And then she meets Daniel – Danny to his friends…
In fact, there seems to be a Danny at every turn! Her neighbour’s a Danny; there’s little baby Danny; there’s a vicar, a windsurfer, even a dog called Danny! And whether it’s laughter, comfort, a flutter of romance or a walk along the beach, they each bring something special to Alice’s new life.
You might say it’s a coincidence. Alice certainly would… at first! But when she suddenly risks losing not just one Danny, but all of them, she begins to wonder: might there be more in a name than she ever guessed?
Available on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and other sites.
I write under the androgynous name, TA Williams, but my name is really Trevor. As my books have a romance element, it was felt best to keep my sex a secret. I’ve been writing for years and years, but it was only last April that I got my very first publishing deal with Carina UK. This tiotally revitalised my writing career and since then I have written four books for them. Fifth book is in full gestation stage at present. I live in Devon with my Italian artist wife. The old Labrador died a few years ago, but I stick him in all my books.
Find TA Williams at his website, Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook.