After too many celebratory posts on Social Media over the last year or so, broadcasting to the world that Just Say It! was finished, it wasn’t.
I was both naive and deluded.
Six months ago it read like an okay draft. Since them, I’ve received input from both Melissa Irvine of Red Pen Editing, LLC and Bristol-based editor, Laurence French, who both made me feel I had a story worth telling,
I’ve now implemented their suggestions, knitted together a few loose ends and – hopefully – curbed my tendency to use multiple POV’s.
Just Say It! is the funny, bittersweet story of journalist Lisa Grant and the fragile relationship she has with her mother, the mollycoddled and manipulative, Elizabeth.
Despite Elizabeth’s atrocious behaviour over the years, Lisa has never been able to cut the cord. When Lisa turns forty, she decides to investigate her mother’s past. Shocked by what she finds, she understands why Elizabeth lacks empathy but, now she knows the truth, can she find it in her heart to love her mother?
I am about to start querying carefully selected literary agents, again. Last time, I randomly sent out the opening chapters to agents, the manuscript wasn’t ready. It is a daunting task, and, this time, I hope I’ve done enough, but I’m under no illusions, it will be a bumpy ride. If I don’t succeed, I will either self-publish or serialise it.
Excerpt from JUST SAY IT!
Rural Gloucestershire 1979
A 17-year-old-Lisa has just returned home from boarding school after taking her A-Levels.
‘Of course, men always look at the mother first to see if they are ageing well. Hopefully, you will age well, Lisa, dear, but that is one reason I always spend time making myself look as good as possible. Mind you, I look so young you and I could easily be sisters. I look at myself in the mirror every morning, and I find it impossible to believe that I’m thirty-six. On a bad day, I only look twenty-five. Unfortunately, you’ve inherited more of your father’s genes on the facial front. I think it’s fair to say you look more like him than me.’ The mention of her father sparked disinterest, and Lisa turned back to look at her typewriter.
‘How would I know Mother? I haven’t seen him for eleven years. I can barely remember what he looks like, let alone whether I look like him. But you can’t be serious? Why on Earth would you want to look good for anybody interested in me? Is it some sort of sexual fantasy you have? I don’t have to dress up like a bloody tart to attract a man. I want somebody to love me for who I am and not what you look like! I’ve read The Female Eunuch, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I also know what I want to do with my life, and I don’t have to dress up like a bloody Barbie doll to achieve it. For God’s sake, Mother, why do you always have to talk such bloody rubbish? I don’t have time to go clothes shopping and please, close the door on your way out.’
Elizabeth’s eyes were wide open, and her bottom jaw hung open, revealing her lower set of pearly white Harley Street enhanced teeth. She was the one who always had the last word, not a petulant teenager wearing jeans and an oversized T-shirt.
‘You need to buck your ideas up a bit, Lisa; you will never find yourself a husband if you always look like you’ve just fallen off the back of a hay cart.’
‘But I don’t want a bloody husband, Mother. I’m only seventeen!’
‘I’ll be outside in my car at 2 pm, and we will be going shopping together.’
Raising her chin, Elizabeth looked down her nose at her defiant daughter and swept out of the room. As she slammed the door behind her, the poster of the smiling Peter Frampton sellotaped to the door, slid to the floor.