The Perfect Blend: Coffee and Kane


Guest Post from Sharon Black: On Books & Movies

I’m pleased to welcome Sharon Black back to my site today to chat about her romance novel, Going Against Type.

This post is part of Sharon’s blog tour- make sure you read to the end to find out all the other tour dates, and to take part in a giveaway.

Over to you Sharon…

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EARLIER this week, I sat and watched Miss Congeniality on DVD. It’s the romantic comedy with Sandra Bullock and, amongst others, Michael Caine. As actors, I adore them both. I’ve seen it before of course. Romantic comedy? I’ll make the popcorn and luxuriate in ninety minutes of sheer escapism.

But this time I was watching it through the eyes of my younger daughter, who’s never seen it. When she shrieked with laughter, at the parts that now only make me smile, I found myself laughing again.

And it occurred to me that for some of us, romantic comedies may be timeless. Classics, almost. The sort of movies that you can put on, when you need a bit of comfort viewing.

Books, of course, are the same. Some of us have favourite novels that we return to again and again through our lives. As a child I read a lot of Enid Blyton and E Nesbit, for example. I still remember particular novels, to which I returned, right through my early years. When I was twelve, I read The Diary of Anne Frank, and found myself rereading this through my early teens. Emotionally connecting with a young girl I’d never met. Who’d lived and died long before I was even born. Drawn in, through her honest outpouring, to the tiny world that became hers.

Later, I discovered the wonderful world of romantic comedy. I watched reruns of the great Hollywood romantic comedies of the 1930s and 40s: Adam’s Rib, Shop Around the Corner, Lady Eve, His Girl Friday, and one of my favourites, Woman of the Year. In my early twenties, I discovered great writers of romantic comedy, amongst them Catherine Alliot, and later again, Sophie Kinsella. They became old friends, a pleasure to spend time with in the evening. And, like the ninety minutes of a movie, pure escapism. They are not, of course, my only reading. I read a lot of literary fiction, in particular because I’m part of a great little book club. We read everything from Irish writers like John Banville, Colm Tóibín and Anne Devlin, to American authors like Alice Walker and William Faulkner.

And everything in between.

In between this reading, I always try to dip into commercial women’s fiction, and if it’s  romantic comedy, so much the better.

I once read that the world is divided into readers and non-readers. But maybe it doesn’t always have to be the written word first? I know youngsters who won’t read, but love to watch a good comedy or edge-of-the-seat thriller, instinctively understanding story arcs and appreciating well drawn characters. A well written book in their favourite genre, has the potential to convert!

For me, a good book or a good movie can be interchangeable. Perhaps because I’m a visual reader. I need to be able to see characters and locations very clearly. And the writer who can do that with the least amount of words or flowery description, will grab me every time.

Here’s to the great novelists and the great screenwriters of our time!

***

EXCERPT

‘I hope you like Mexican food,’ said Derry as they drove from Charlotte’s house into the city centre on Thursday evening.

‘Well, I’d love to try it,’ Charlotte said, uncertainly.

‘Maybe another time, so. We’re actually going Greek tonight,’ Derry deadpanned. Charlotte smiled and snuck a glance over at him from the passenger seat of his twelve year old, very beautiful Ferrari. She placed her hands tentatively over her stomach, trying to calm her nerves. She’d spend an hour readying herself, much to Helen’s amusement.

‘Why are you so nervous, Charlotte? It’s just a date!’

‘Oh come on, Helen. The last guy I dated was Mr Uptight Conor, and before that I dated sports jocks. Derry is different. He’s Premier League status!’

‘And you’re Scumthorpe United? Take a look at yourself, woman!’

I’m not sure what he expects, but I’m not his type, Helen. I’m floundering.’ Helen caught Charlotte’s hands and forced her to meet her gaze.

‘Don’t you dare run yourself down, Charlotte Regan. You’re intelligent and totally gorgeous! But you need to do one thing!’

‘What?’

‘Allow yourself to be a woman! How do I put this without you taking it the wrong way? Don’t talk sport all night. You are incredibly bossy when you start. Let Derry take charge a bit. Allow him to be a man!’ Charlotte blinked.

‘Sorry, I just time travelled to the 1950s for a moment. What were you saying?’ Helen smiled.

‘Charlotte! You like this guy! So give him a chance. Don’t send him to sleep with triathlon stats. If he wants that, he’ll go drinking with his mates.’

‘If his mates are anything like him, they probably wouldn’t know a sports stat from the price of heifers in Mullingar.’ Charlotte sighed.
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BLURB

Some would say Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan has it all. Beautiful, smart, athletic and a great job working as a journalist – in the almost exclusively male sports department. But Charlotte is not quite as sure as she seems. Recently split from her overbearing boyfriend, she escapes for weekends, surfing in the Atlantic, and spends her free nights watching sports, roaring at the TV.

Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer, gossip columnist and sophisticated man-about-town. The go-to guy for any woman seeking expert advice on what fabulous outfit to wear for any given occasion. He’s also tall, dark, good looking – and straight! So what’s the snag? He has a track record of dating glamorous, vain and shallow women.

Charlie gets an opportunity to write a new column under the pen name Side Swipe, but is soon drawn into a war of words and wit with a rival paper’s columnist The Squire – and their verbal fireworks get readers and editors talking. Yet neither Charlie nor Derry knows just whom the opponent is…

When Charlotte and Derry meet at the Races, the attraction is instant. As their relationship develops, so much more proves at stake, than protecting their alter egos. But a blunder puts Charlotte’s job in jeopardy just as Derry’s past makes front page, and Charlotte begins to doubt her feelings.

When Side Swipe and The Squire are finally forced to reveal themselves, will they revert to type – or confound everyone’s expectations?   

Buy Links:

Amazon USA: http://amzn.to/1pKAZtF

Amazon UK:   http://amzn.to/1zjr0fT

All buy links:  tirpub.com/gatype
sharonblack

Bio-                                              

IRISH author Sharon Black is a diehard screwball comedy enthusiast. Her first novel, Going Against Type, a contemporary romantic comedy set in Dublin, was e-published by Tirgearr Publishing in September, 2014 to great reviews.  She has had short stories published, and won the 2010 Dromineer Literary Festival short story competition. She worked for a number of national newspapers. She writes a regular blog, This Funny Irish Life, featuring light, fun, personal columns, and tweets at Authorsharonb.

When she’s not writing, she reads, walks, sees friends, and drinks far too much coffee. She co-founded a local book club 15 years ago. She loves theatre, old Hollywood films, every romantic comedy ever made, and edgy stand-up. She hates shopping. She lives in a Dublin coastal village, with her husband and their three children.

Find Sharon: Blog: http://sharonblackauthor.blogspot.ie/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SharonBlackAuthorPage/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Authorsharonb

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Black/e/B00RPI1I10

NOT FORGET THE GIVEAWAY!

Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here: http://www.writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/sharon-black/

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/OGI5ZWM1YmU4ZGM2YmI0ZWQ2MTgyNmNkMjI0MWJhOjE1OA==/?

 ***

Many thanks for coming by today Sharon,

Jenny x


Guest Post by Sharon Black: Going Against Type

Today, I’d like to welcome debut novelist, Sharon Black, to my site, to tell us all about writing her first work of fiction, and what inspired its creation.

Over to you Sharon…

HI JENNY, thank you so much for having me here on your blog today. I’d like to tell you and your readers a little about myself and my inspiration for my debut novel.

My background is in journalism. After I left college, I worked as a features writer for a national newspaper here in Dublin. I married and took a substantial break from paid work, when my children were small, before returning to write for another national paper for a while.

By the time I was ready to write a novel, it seemed natural for me to write about what I knew.

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Going Against Type is a romantic comedy, it’s set in the world of Dublin-based national newspapers. Because the setting was familiar, I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone in other ways.

Going Against Type tells the story of rival newspaper columnists, who write under pen names, and unknowingly fall in love with their arch enemy: each other! They each have good reason to protect their alter egos. So their relationship develops, each blissfully unaware of whom the other is. Until they are forced to reveal themselves….

My inspiration for the book was the 1940s Hollywood film, Woman of the Year, starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey. I loved all their films! Hepburn plays a high brow pundit, who rubbishes sport in one of her columns. Tracey is a sports columnist who leaps to defend his beloved sport and in turn, attacks Hepburn’s views, and the fun begins. In the film, however, they meet quite quickly and despite knowing who the other person is, they fall in love.

In Going Against Type, I turned the stereotypes around. So Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan is the sports buff. At the beginning of the story, she is given a chance to write the new, anonymous sports column, Side Swipe.

My hero, Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer and gossip columnist, The Squire for the rival paper. He’s sophisticated, man-about-town and a bit of a playboy. They fall in love, and that’s where the fun begins.

While that whole build up was really fun to do, it was also extremely challenging. The main reason was that I to ensure that Charlotte and Derry’s columns were quite acerbic. That way, you could see a huge contrast between their views in the papers – their weekly banter – and how they were with each other. It also meant there was more at stake.

The hardest columns to get right were Charlotte’s. Paradoxically, she turned out to be a wonderful character to write. I know very little about sport, having never been sporty myself. But I admire people who are, and I wanted Charlotte to be very different from me. Because Charlotte’s a journalist, I didn’t want anyone to think I was writing bits of me into my heroine.

So I did a lot of research. I read a lot of sports columnists, I checked all my facts, and then I tried to put myself into the head of a feisty, twenty-something woman, working in an area that’s largely dominated by men.

Her columns took a lot of writing and re-writing. I wanted them to be sharp, funny and very controversial. And as her columns got better, the character of Charlotte became more defined and easier to write. In the end, she felt like a real person; somebody I had known a long time.

A lot of people are surprised when they see that my hero is a gossip columnist and fashion writer. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule, but mainly these are areas in journalism that tend to be dominated by women.

Quite apart from wanting to just shake things up, I wanted to write a strong male character, who is completely comfortable in his own skin, and his fabulous tailor made suits! He is manly, yet completely relaxed with having a female boss and working in a features department, surrounded by women. Actually, he likes that a lot!

It sounds like a terrible cliché, but writing this book was a huge learning experience. I had written short stories down the years, and had some of them published. And I’d started so many books – but had never finished them.

This time, I armed myself with the tools: the nuts and bolts of novel structuring. And I knew I had a good story. I was determined to see it through. I’m so glad I did. I became an author and I’m so grateful for that. And I’m very proud of my debut.

***

EXCERPT

Note: Charlotte is sent to cover Ladies’ Day at The Galway Races. It’s here that she meets Derry for the first time.

‘So, did you get lucky?’ a deep voice drawled.

Charlotte spun to find Mr Panama Hat grinning down at her. Bloody hell, she thought, smiling back despite herself. Any other man she knew would look utterly ridiculous in what seemed to be a tailor made, striped linen jacket and trousers, combined with that damned hat. But he carried it off with a self-confidence that bordered on swagger.

‘Yes actually, I did,’ she admitted, still smiling. ‘What about you?’

He grimaced.

‘I lost. My own fault. I took a flier on somebody else’s tip.’

Charlotte grinned sympathetically.

‘Oh?’

Mr Panama Hat shook his head, scowling briefly.

‘I read some bloody sports columnist from Ireland Today. Had a few winners earlier this week. As I said, it’s my own fault. I never normally bother with racing tips. Whoever it is, he obviously doesn’t know a horse from a three-legged stool.’

Charlotte swallowed hard.

‘So how much did you lose?’ she managed, trying to sound casual.

‘A thousand.’ He caught Charlotte’s horrified expression and laughed. ‘Hey, don’t look so worried! I’m a big boy.’

Charlotte stared at him in amazement. Who did that? Maybe he was a rich eccentric, the kind of guy who hung around the race courses, betting big. Not caring whether or not he won – or lost everything on the day. That said, she was damned if she’d come clean!

‘So do you normally gamble this recklessly Mr…?’ Charlotte trailed away meaningfully, biro poised over her notebook. He stuck out his hand, a warm smile forming.

‘Sorry I should have introduced myself. I’m…

‘Derry! Where have you been? They’re just about to start the judging. Come on darling, I have to go line up. I want you to be able to see!’

A tall blonde, wearing a rose pink knee-length dress with tiny matching jacket, pink stiletto sling-back shoes and a dizzy spiral of cream and pink headwear, teetered over and clung to Derry’s arm. She looked, Charlotte thought, vaguely familiar. The blonde smiled tightly at Charlotte and then noticed her press badge.

‘Oooh, you’re from the papers! Maybe I could talk to you when the judging’s over. Do you have a photographer with you?’ She didn’t wait for Charlotte to answer, but rushed on. ‘You’ll have to excuse us right now, okay?’

‘Of course, don’t let me delay you,’ Charlotte said, stepping back.

‘Wait,’ Derry began, shooting her a sudden intrigued look. ‘You’re not with Ireland Today, are you?’

‘Shit. Charlotte managed a surprised laugh.

‘Um, yes,’ she squeaked. ‘I’m er, writing a piece on Ladies Day.’

‘Oh right.’ He frowned. ‘What about their Side Swipe columnist? Do you know him?’

Lie Charlotte. And do it well.

‘No. It’s being written anonymously. I think the writer works from home…’ She smiled brightly at him. Behind Derry, the blonde shot Charlotte a steely glare. Charlotte glanced one last time at Derry.

‘You should go. And I have to work. Nice to meet you.’ She turned and walked away…

***

Sharon 254 ac smaller file

BIOGRAPHY

SHARON Black grew up in Dublin. She studied history and politics at University College Dublin and then did post-graduate in journalism at Dublin City University.

She has worked for national newspapers, including The Evening Herald and The Irish Examiner.

She had short stories published in U Magazine and won the 2010 Dromineer Literary Festival short story competition.

When she is not writing, she reads, walks and sees friends. She co-founded a local book club 14 years ago. She loves theatre, old Hollywood films, science fiction and good stand-up comedy.

She lives in a Dublin coastal village, with her husband and their three children.

BLOG: http://sharonblackauthor.blogspot.ie/

WEBSITE: http://coldcoffeecafe.com/profile/SharonBlackhttp://coldcoffeecafe.com/profile/SharonBlack http://coldcoffeecafe.com/profile/SharonBlack

FACEBOOK AUTHOR PG: http://on.fb.me/1AG4C3J

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/Authorsharonb https://twitter.com/Authorsharonb

ALL BUY LINKS: tirpub.com/gatype tirpub.com/gatype

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Many thanks for visiting today Sharon, I wish you much luck with your new book.

Happy Reading,

Jenny x

 

 

 

 

 



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