OK people, here is a snippet from my first novel and I want to know if you think I should carry on writing it.
It's about a young women who ends up getting a job in entertainment PR and ends up managing bands and celebrities. The book shares all her experiences and is really a look at behind the scenes of celebrity. I was inspired by reading magazines such as Heat and Now, along with gossip websites. Having worked in PR myself, I know that not all stories are true and some are made to cover up possible scandals and scenarios.
This is really what I would call an easy read, beach and sun lounger fodder..let me know what you think...
I spent the afternoon going through my suitcase (my brother only had one wardrobe and that was bulging with clothes that I’m certain he had carried over from his university days almost 15 years ago!) to try and find something to wear that looked relatively cool. I wasn’t particularly into fashion then. Whenever I read a magazine, I’d skip past the pages advising you how to look stylish, or what shoes and handbags to help accessorise: Instead, I went straight for the celebrity gossip and news, trying to decipher what was real and made up. Ask me about what colour is in for the season and I wouldn’t have a clue, but get me talking about whose going to be in the next season of Strictly Come Dancing, I could probably tell you.
After practically emptying my case, I managed to pull together an outfit that I thought would blend in with the uber cool music crowd of London without looking like I tried too hard. The outfit being a pair of skinny jeans, an off the shoulder t-shirt and a pair of heels that I felt I would be able to walk in by the end of the night.
Being a devoted trainer wearer, I tend to try and avoid heels if possible. Spending hours balancing on a thin stick of plastic felt quite torturous. Me and heels just didn’t seem to agree, I’d seen men in drag walking in heels more comfortably than me! But as I’m no Elle Mcpherson my legs needed a little boost in order to carry off the skinny leg jean look.
By the time I’d got dressed and attempted a half decent effort at hair and make-up, my brother was literally throwing my jacket and bag at me and pulling me out the door. Having not had a girlfriend for a while, he had forgotten that when asking the question “how long you going to be” and the girls response being “10 minutes”, he should then calculate that it would actually be more like half an hour and maybe just play on his X-box for a while rather than sighing loudly and swearing under his breath.
Me and my brother had a funny kind of relationship, he was older than me by a few years and I think he stopped adding a year to my age from about the time I was 10, therefore I felt like I was still his annoying little sister who was too uncool to have a normal conversation with. Don’t get me wrong, he was a pretty good big brother, reliable when needed and always indirectly making sure I was OK, but we weren’t exactly close back then.
Whilst we were on the tube heading into the centre of London I attempted to make conversation with Ben but he was more interested in catching up on Wayne Rooney’s twitter feed than he was talking to me, so I fished out the latest copy of xx magazine from my bag to indulge in a bit of celebrity gossip and scandal.
Some people have an addiction to cigarettes, others alcohol, but mine was celebrity gossip . I didn’t actually believe most of it that was half the fun for me, trying to decipher or detect which stories were made up. There’s a lot of talk about those of us who have a gaydar, but I tended to concentrate more on my PRdar or spindar i.e. stories made up by celebrities publicists / managers / agents etc, etc, in order to keep their client in the public eye – or sometimes to avert everyone from a story that they don’t want us to find out about.
I quickly read a story about a random soap star who was dating a footballer whilst two timing him with wannabe bad boy pop star, but it turned out that the footballer was two timing her with the pop stars sister who was a glamour model, oh Jeremy Kyle would be salivating right now I thought. The next page ran a feature on an up and coming pop act who was being touted as the UK’s answer to Britney Spears (pre umbrella wielding psycho) / Katy Perry. Basically she was very young (17), very pretty and could write songs. She’d been discovered on You Tube (aren’t they all) by an American record label and had already had a top ten single in the Billboard charts in the USA, but now as she was British she was coming back to the UK to put the “bang back into pop” their words not mine.
As I was reading about how much she missed Fish and Chips and Walkers crisps, I noticed my brother reading over my shoulder. He clocked me and quickly tutted and said “I can’t believe you still read that rubbish.”“Is this the same rubbish that I’ve found twice by your bed?” I replied with a smirk“Yeah, well, I couldn’t get to sleep and there was nothing else to read as I’d chucked out all my music magazines.”“Hmm, yeah right.” I rolled my eyes and carried on reading until the lady voice of the tube announced we had arrived at our destination.
The venue was just a short walk away from the station, which was a good thing because my brother walked quite quickly and it was a little difficult keeping up with him in my heels. So I tottered behind him, trying to keep my balance and not fall and break my ankle before safely reaching the line of people who were queueing to get in. As I went to get in line, Ben tugged on my top and nodded in the direction of the door where an Alexa Cheung look-a-like, oozing with scary cooldomness, stood looking stern with a clipboard in hand.
Following my brother along the line, I could feel many pairs of eyes drilling into me. I never really felt comfortable with the whole getting on the guest list thing and passing all the pissed off looking people who had been waiting for ages to get in to something they’ve paid for unlike the queue jumpers, it’s almost like you’re made to feel ashamed as you pass them by.
As we approached the door the girl gave me a beady look as if to say “get ready to be turned away pronto” but then she saw my brother and broke out into a massive grin and I think I even saw a hint of pink spread across her cheek as if she was very pleased to see him.
“Hi Si, I saw your name was down on the list but I know what you’re like, you say you’re coming and then don’t bother.”Simon gave her a quick peck on the cheek and she giggled“You know what it’s like Tilly, always busy, always busy. But when I heard you were playing guard dog tonight I thought I’d come down and see if you’d bite.”“Oh Si, you know I don’t bite, but I do scratch!!”She gave him a very knowing look and suddenly I felt like this was a conversation that I really didn’t want to be listening to. Without trying to make it too obvious, I shuffled my feet towards my brother’s shoe and kicked his toe. He looked over at me as if he’d forgotten I was there.“Oh yeah, Tills, this is my little sister, Lyla, she’s staying with me whilst she’s looking for job in London job and so as her kind and loving brother I’m providing her with food and warmth for free.”I gasped and interrupted“Let’s just drop kind, loving, food and warmth, seeing as you don’t even know how your oven works and I’ve spent most of my time walking around with a hot water bottle because you’re central heating keeps packing up.”Tilly gave a Si a gentle smack on the arm and laughed“Si, I think even though I’ve only just met your sister I definitely will take her word rather than yours.”“Hi, Lyla, sorry for the daggers, it’s just my show face, I’m a softy really.”I smiled and replied. “Yes, I did almost turn and head to the back of the queue again.”“Well any sister of Si’s certainly has my sympathy.”“Ah well any friend of Simon certainly has my admiration.”“Hey what is this, stamp on Simon night?” My brother butted in “I knew I should never mix family and friends, it’s a recipe for disaster. I better get you in before you start showing people baby photos Ly.” He smirked.“Are you going to after-show party Si?” Tilly called out after us“Hmm, not sure, bit knackered really and might just head home when the lads have finished.”
Tilly looked glum and turned back to the queue looking even sterner than before. I gave Simon a dig in the ribs with my elbow.“Ouch, what was that for.”“Either you’re completely oblivious or just evil; do you not realise that she is completely smitten with you?”“What Tills? Nah, we always have a bit of banter, besides she’s too cool for me.”I stopped in my tracks. Simon, to me had always given off this sense of aloof confidence; he had no time for nonsense talk and could be quite acerbic in conversation.“God, you’re such a bloke! the signs are all there.”Simon suddenly seemed a little uncomfortable; we’d never really discussed our relationships before, I think it goes back to the fact that in his eyes I will always be about 10 and therefore any talk of men was just not good.He started looking around the venue as though he had not heard what I had said.“Come on, I see some of my mates by the bar.”With that he dashed off ahead of me and I had to stand on my tip toes to follow his head.
When I finally caught up with him, he was already deep in conversation with a guy who was probably in his 40’s but dressed like Liam Gallagher circa 1997. He had greying hair which flopped over his face and even though it was boiling hot and sticky in this place, he was wearing a long green coat. Next to him was a petite girl, with very straight hair that flicked up at the bottom. She had on a short 70’s style dress that pulled in at the waist and flowed out at the knee. As it seemed that Simon was now ignoring me I decided to go and talk to her.
“Hi, I’m Simon’s sister, Lyla.”For a moment the girl just stared at me and then replied,“Erm, right, yeah.” Then just looked straight past mePart of me wished I’d just stayed outside with Tilly talking about Simon“So how, how do you know Simon?”Again for a moment she didn’t reply and when she responded she did it without looking at me.“Don’t really know him that well actually, he’s friends with my boyfriend, Desi, the singer in Fortune Founders.”“Oh right, that’s the band on tonight isn’t it.”She looked at me as though I was speaking in Japanese“Sorry, I’ve not been in London that long so I don’t really know many local bands.”“Actually, they’ve already had a single out and been on BBC Radio 6 loads of times.”She said with a hint of exasperation“Oh, wow, that’s great. I guess I must be totally out of sync with music, I’m still listening to all my music from uni and that was a couple of years ago now.”She gave me the weakest of smiles and then looked over my shoulder as if to see if she could make an escape somewhere. I suddenly felt like I was at school again standing next to the coolest girl in school with my braces in and fuzzy untamable lion’s mane hair.
Fortunately, Tilly was coming towards us with a couple of other people.“Hey Lyla, you OK?”“Erm, yeah, yeah,” I looked over to where the other girl was standing and she had now fully turned her back to me, then turned back to Tilly and shrugged my shoulders.“I see you had the pleasure of meeting Georgia. Don’t worry she’s like that with pretty much everyone, unless you were Anna Wintour or some top fashion designer. She’s fashion editor for some Z list celeb magazine but she thinks it’s comparable to Vogue!”As I mentioned earlier, fashion had never really been a dominant factor in my life, and maybe Georgia had sussed that quite quickly.“Oh, think I might just come in a rain mac next time so she can’t see what clothes I’m wearing.”Tilly laughed and shook her head.“I couldn’t give a shit about what she thinks, just cause she writes about fashion doesn’t mean she knows what it is. Most of the stuff she features in her column is pretty much from the PR people who send her loads of freebies. It’s all pretty much the same all the time. It’s the same with a lot of journalists, the more you give the nicer they are to you and the more column inches you get.”
She went on to tell me about how she really struggled at first when she started out in her job working for the music management and PR agency that looked after Fortune Founders. Journalists would put the phone down before she even had a chance to tell them about the bands she was looking after. Some would shout at her for wasting their time even though they had not even listened to the CD she sent.
“I realised I had to be more persuasive without being too pushy. So I just began inviting journo’s out for a drink and that seemed to heighten their interest.”As she said that, Tilly rolled her eyes.“But what about Si, he’s a music journalist, but I can’t believe he’s like that?” “Si’s a bit different than a lot of music journalists, he genuinely loves music. I don’t know many people that puts their music collection into categories and chronological order!”So she’d been to Si’s flat, I started to think that my brother was hiding something.