A Lover of Books

Guest Post by Gina Kirkham

gina-kirkham

The fabulous Gina Kirkham has written a guest post for my event.  Her debut novel, ‘Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong’ is being published on the 18th May 2017.

 

GIN, BOOK & LAUGHTER

Opening one eye as light sneaked its way through the gap between my budget B&Q blind and the window frame, I stretched lazily out in eager anticipation of the summer day ahead.

Slipping out of bed, my knees popping and crackling like a bowl of Rice Krispies, I simultaneously chided myself for getting old and patted myself on the back for having managed to negotiate my way to the bathroom without falling over the cat.

This was to be my first day of no shirts to iron, no SWAT boots to polish, no shifts, no pub fights, no 999 response runs and no paperwork.    This was my first day of retirement as a Police Officer.

I was a civilian again.

To be honest, my visions of slipping into Gin & Tonic induced  ‘Nana Naps’ in the garden, shaded from the afternoon sun by dappled shadows from the trees, whilst the busy world I had been part of carried on without me, had seemed rather exciting.

Sadly, as romantic as this vision had appeared, it was doomed to failure.  The reality was that the first three months offered only perpetual rain, high winds, which are the downside of living by the beach (along with globs of sand sticking to your lip gloss when you step out of the front door) and a huge price increase on the gin!

So, logs on the fire, a pot of tea on the go, half a packet of Ginger Nuts and three sheets of paper later, I had drafted out a plot, a character and a story and I was off on a most exciting adventure.

I was going to write a book.

It would chart my career in the Police, not as a Super-Detective or a muscle-ripped fighter of crime, but as an ordinary woman, a single parent, who looked towards humour as a coping mechanism in a demanding career.   This book was not to be for public consumption, after all, I had never written before and I certainly wouldn’t dare to think that anyone would be interested in reading my ramblings.   It was to be cathartic.  A way of storing my memories of a fabulous career, honour those I had worked with…..

…. actually no, scrub that!   It was to fill in the hours whilst the rain systematically destroyed any hope I had previously held of staggering around my back garden like a manic Miss Hannigan after a litre of homemade sloe gin, once boredom had set in.

Within eighteen months I had completed my first manuscript, all 142,000 words, and had avidly scoured the pages of The Writers & Artists Yearbook 2014  for the do’s and don’t’s of submitting and the etiquette of querying.  By page 639 I was frantically editing down my offering to 78,000 words whilst wailing in despair into my coffee.   For someone who suffers from verbal diarrhoea at the best of times, particularly when nervous, a reduction in words can be deemed to be complete and utter torture.  I then had the added trauma of producing a work of art called a ‘Synopsis’.

I mean, come on….what’s that all about?  Eighteen months of my life, a final 78,000 words, 1,478 mugs of tea, 23 packets of Aldi Digestive biscuits, 19 packets of Polo mints and a rather alarming increase in the size of my derrière, only to be told it all had to be reduced down – my writing, not my derrière, I hasten to add.   Not to be downhearted I ploughed on, carefully creating ‘My Book of Submissions’.  This masterpiece was crafted with the best four-ring binder I could find, that sported a rather fetching picture of Joyce Grenfell on the front.  Various coloured felt-pens were used to rigidly mark-up columns and headings with the assistance of a freebie Kellogg’s Cornflakes coaster in the absence of a ruler.

I was on a roll.

Each submission would have its own page so that I could meticulously keep track of who I had submitted to and who had replied.  In the very real fear of forwarding spelling bloopers, poor grammar and dreadful predictive howlers, I read and re-read my first submission e-mail over and over again before my index finger hovered over that one button on a keyboard that could suddenly make even Donald Trump become super-indecisive –  the SEND key…..

……I pressed and clicked…..

……and no sooner had the ‘swooooosh’ sound informed me that it had gone, did my keen eye catch my sign-off at the bottom.  I felt sick.  Hands trembling, a trickle of perspiration meandering its way down my back, I re-read my email to the poor, unsuspecting Literary Agent, again.

‘…….thank you for allowing me the opportunity to query and submit my novel, Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Polyester Thong.

Kindest regards
Gonorrhea Kirkham

Jeez, I bet my Mum hadn’t seen that coming when she’d christened me Georgina in the 1950’s pre-predictive text era.

If announcing the rather off-the-wall title of my book wasn’t bad enough, I had also fan-fared a name that would never, ever grace the cover of a book on the shelves of Waterstones.  I also knew, with another bout of absolute gut-wrenching certainty, that after making a first impression of that calibre, I had about as much chance of getting a reply and an offer of a publishing deal as Elvis would for a comeback concert.

I’m just hoping the shortened version I now use won’t get me into trouble, although if you get rid of the ‘a’ and add Tonic…. I’m actually back where I started!

Gina

 

Links

‘Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Handcuffs-Truncheon-Polyester-Thong-Kirkham/dp/191133171X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488735781&sr=1-1&keywords=gina+kirkham

Website:  www.ginakirkham.wordpress.com

Twitter: @ginageejay and @MavisUpton

Facebook: MAVIS UPTON page

 

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8 thoughts on “Guest Post by Gina Kirkham

  1. Wonderful, Gina, with a laugh-out-loud punchline! Your infectious humour and your personality emerge so clearly from this piece, readers can’t fail to know exactly what to expect from Handcuffs etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What Simon said, chortle chortle! I loved the extract, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Guest Post by Gina Kirkham | Gina Kirkham

  4. Good luck Gina – I’ve written the 18th May into the diary to remember to order it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you so much Deirdre 😊, I know it’s a long way from you, but if you just happen to be visiting Liverpool on 18th May there’s complimentary Prosecco & cupcakes (and humongously large thongs) on offer at Waterstones Liverpool One, 6.30pm for the launch. Would be lovely to see you again.

    Like

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