WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO WRITE THIS BOOK?
A notion struck me one day: what might be the one thing that would keep two lovers apart who were supposed to be together? That would set them on completely different paths for the rest of their lives? And the answer that came back was: if one of them thought the other was dead. At the time I had recently become a mother and was experiencing fierce, tiger-like waves of protectiveness towards my new baby, and a character was born: a mother who would protect her child, regardless of what it took, if she was convinced he would come to harm if she did nothing.
The more I thought about it, the more it raised question and debate with me; just how far would a mother go to protect her child? And how would she justify it? Protecting your child is such a powerful, animalistic thing to do and I also wondered how anyone could not? I was excited to explore this conundrum further but then there was also such a strong counterpoint to this tiger mom – Cherry.
In my late teens, for a short while I worked in a high street bank. It was mind-numbing work in the back office, processing the daily transactions by literally typing in the day’s debits and credits into a large machine. It was something I’d fallen into as I desperately needed to earn some money and the expectation was that I would have to remain in the ‘machine room’ for a considerable time before I might expect to be promoted. Soon after I started, a graduate joined us on a Fast Track scheme and I’d watch as she spent only few weeks working in each section of the bank, moving swiftly on after getting a taster of each area, and was exempt from working out what I was beginning to see as my ‘sentence’. She was being groomed for a high-level job, which she would get after only six months – and all because she had a university degree. If you couldn’t afford to study for a degree you had to spend years on each desk and crawl up the promotional ladder – regardless of how intelligent, capable and ambitious you were. This struck me as deeply unfair, particularly as it transpired I had achieved much better grades at school than she had. Cherry is smart – probably smarter than most girls her age and yet, if she were in this scenario, she too would be held back – just because she couldn’t afford to attend university. I wanted to create a character that looked at ways of bypassing the system, of being intelligent enough to educate herself in areas that made her fit into the world she wanted to belong to. And I wanted her to come up with a clever plan that would make her leap many places up the snakes and ladders board of life, and in honesty, who could blame her? Continue reading “Meet the Author of The Girlfriend – Michelle Frances”