Since my début novel, 'Turtles on the Beach' was published in 2015, I've been working mainly as a ghostwriter. After studying marketing I started my own business targeting a niche market, which has paid dividends.
As my novel is partly autobiographical fiction, that's the field I specialise in. I've also written scores of romantic genre books. However, as I don't read romantic genre, it isn't really my thing. I enjoy books that change the way you see the world, so that's what I strive for with my fiction. Indeed, my current work in process is more than a little iconoclastic. My ghostwriting clients have tended to have controversial stories.
I have a first class honours degree in Creative Writing with Media Writing. Much of the course and my thesis focused on the use of psychology in fiction. I am particularly familiar with Freud and Jung. I use this knowledge to deduce back stories for characters with unusual traits. It is this, along with my ability to slip into character like an actor, that distinguishes my writing.
I am currently available to convert your memoirs into compelling fiction that everyone will love to read.
Published my own literary novel, Turtles on The Beach, which is a romance that sheds an alternative light on how the Cold War ended.
Ghost written a full length novel for a woman that made world wide headlines in 2004. This is true crime that can be bought on Amazon.
Contracted to write a full length novel for a man that had many illicit encounters with politicians' wives.
Ghost written scores of romantic genre books that can be found on Amazon.
Books, Online writing
Chapter Twenty one – Friday afternoon
Trust Clive to make a nuisance of himself. Just when she was starting to get into the swing of things as well. Rosa would have to run the place without her. She might need some help, despite her being an able deputy.
Then there was the packing to do. And what about Christmas? Exactly how long would she be in England? England—she wanted to say ‘home’, but there was nothing for her there anymore, apart from work. Maybe one day she’d be able to oversee the running of a national newspaper from a cottage in rural Spain, but unfortunately technology had not yet advanced so far. The office’s welcoming atmosphere and cheery faces would eventually be thrust upon her. She was just hoping to have a bit more time away. All that would have to wait though. Friday was the restaurant’s busiest night.
Just as things were starting to liven up, a British couple entered. Late fifties at least, maybe even early sixties. They looked trustworthy enough, but she’d have to stay round the back for a while. But then again, what did it matter now? She was leaving in a few days anyway. No one could accuse her of taking advantage.
The chatter was deafening. There was hardly any room at all to stand at the bar without encroaching on the tables. Charlotte slipped into the saloon, caught the eye of the British couple, and said, “Let me guess. Two medium Ports?” The relief on their faces was priceless.
It was a good night. Takings were high, the customers were happy, and the English people she’d spoken to failed to recognise her.
Once the last customer had left, the glasses washed and the floor swept, she trudged back to the cottage, pausing to wave at some of her regulars on the way. The door caressed its frame as the ground floor illuminated.
For a good five minutes, her fingers swallowed everything. Tomorrow, she’d have to tell the staff she was leaving, and it could be for good.
That prisoner—the one she’d seen on TV—he just wouldn’t let her be. Anna had always insisted he was alive. He probably wouldn’t remember her though. And even if he did, what were the chances of them ever meeting again? No, it couldn’t possibly be. There were millions of Russian men. It was inevitable that some would look similar. The enlightened restaurant cushioned her resounding footsteps with a bed of tears.
The phone. It was almost deafening. “Saturday. Five thirty. Between the ceremony and reception.” Apparently Clive was having his reception in a pub with an upstairs room they could use whilst the catering staff got to work.
With any luck, Clive wouldn’t bother her again once his inheritance came through. No wonder he had been so desperate to marry her. She should have worked it out for herself. Whilst she knew that Clive had not been directly responsible for all the break ins, thefts and muggings she’d suffered, somewhere at the back of her mind, she got the feeling that he’d had a hand in them.
And something else. If he hadn’t burnt down her newsroom, why had he pleaded guilty? Maybe he was forced into it, or threatened. Maybe it was the same person that had been responsible for the break ins. Anna definitely knew something. For years, Clive and she had been like sparring partners, each trying not to give away what they knew about the other. Maybe Anna’s room would provide her with something to go on.
The staff had been told, now it was the customers’ turn. They weren’t happy. An elderly lady who had been a regular right from the start, began to cry. If the restaurant was gloomy, the cottage was worse.
Three suitcases took centre stage. All her memories packed away. Along with all the laughter, woes, conversations, and new friends she’d made. This time tomorrow it would be over. In a week, she’d be in the office, overseeing TheTribune’s smooth running. There were still a few things lying around. Photos, toiletries, bedding and the like, but they could wait till morning. The flight to Heathrow was at three pm. The taxi was booked for eleven. He’d been instructed to wait by the back entrance. No need to upset the customers even more than she had already.
On arriving back from the market, she placed the food by the door, and walked back to the cottage to fetch her suitcases. Agony ploughed down her forearms and palms. She should have taken up Rosa’s brother’s offer of help, but he was already running her to the airport for free, so she didn’t want to push her luck.
As Rosa got to work in the kitchen, an elderly man asked for a glass of chilled water. Charlotte obliged, then found herself trying to converse in broken Spanish. Anything to quell the nerves she always felt before a long journey.
Her watch read ten minutes to eleven. Her ride was cutting it fine. Voices filtered through from the bar. Not Spanish, English, or any other language she’d come across during her time in Galicia. She smiled. They were enjoying Rosa’s company despite the language barrier.
Rosa’s brother pulled up climbed out, and gestured for her to open the door so he could take her suitcases. Just one last look at the place. The phone rang. Without any time to lose, she opened the door. The caller was persistent. It might be important.
“Thank god I’ve caught you.” She should have known. Alex had a knack for making a grand entrance. “Listen, I’ve got some news. The girl’s mother can’t make it. Couldn’t resist the temptation of a last minute booze cruise.” His over emphasis on the last two words was almost sickening. “The girl wouldn’t hear of getting married without her presence. So it seems there’s no point in you coming home now. Looks like you’ve had a reprieve.”
She dropped into a wooden chair, took a whiff of the delicious aroma escaping from the kitchen, and watched the taxi disappear. The bell sounded the arrival of some new customers in need of attention. Maria was still busy with the foreigners. On her entrance into the other side of the bar, the group of regulars before her received the biggest smile she’d produced in months.
Chapter Twenty Two
“Gracia.” Charlotte put the customer’s money in the till and passed their drinks across the bar. Maria was still with the foreigners. They were looking for work. Maybe something could be found for them at Anna’s.
An empty lager stained glass stood on the corner of the bar, evidently escaping Maria’s attention. This wouldn’t do at all. The glass raised a few inches from the surface, she froze, unable to divert her attention from what she saw.
That prisoner—the one she’d seen on the TV—he was chatting to her waitress in broken English. Beneath the thick beard, he looked familiar. He was very handsome. He just reminded her of —.
Her hands evaporated. Slashing apart every occurring conversation, the smash shot tiny fragments to all four corners of the room. Resting on the counter, Charlotte took several deep breaths.
Maria was the first to react. “This is Charlotte. She’s the boss.” The muttering commenced.
Both foreigners extended a hand as Charlotte crunched towards them. The one with a limp looked like he’d seen a mermaid emerging from a sea of blades. “Mary?”
“My name’s Charlotte Woolfe. I’m an English restaurateur fulfilling my contractual obligations.” Fearing her legs were about to give way, she dropped onto a chair.
“Your name’s Mary Granger, and you’re a journalist.”
Maria’s gasp resounded around the room, whilst the other foreigner tried to dissuade his friend form persisting.
But he refused to take heed. “Mary. My name’s Igor. You don’t remember me do you?”
“Igor’s dead,” —she paused— “but as I said, my name’s Charlotte.”
He lowered his gaze. “Look, I didn’t mean to scare you. I used to be engaged to an English journalist. Being locked up for years plays games with a man’s mind. Our first date was in a café not too dissimilar to this and—“
“Igor?” Tears nurtured a smile.
Placing a hand on the back of her head, he kissed her crown. “I can’t believe it’s you.”
Pressing her head harder into his chest, she sobbed until his shirt was sodden and Rosa rushed across with a tissue.
In no time at all, Rosa had sectioned off their side of the bar, shielding them from the customer’s prying eyes. Several old ladies had already begun to sob.
The other foreigner extended a hand to Rosa. “Anton.”
Mary had lost count of the number of times she’d dreamt of this moment over the years. All the times she’d awoken drenched with tears of joy, only for them to become tears of sadness seconds later. This was no different. She was shortly to wake up in a flood of tears. Reaching up, she found the skin beneath his beard. “Just wanted to make sure you were real”, she said, as he tilted his head towards her hand. “I’ve dreamt of this moment so many times.”
Igor smiled. “No. It’s not a dream. This is really happening.”
She struggled to find her breath between sobs. “They told me you were dead.”
He explained how he was shot and subsequently imprisoned by the authorities. “It was a lie, just to save face.”
Mary made a noise as if to say something, but was silenced by an obstructive sob. “Igor. I’ve been through so much. But it was nothing compared to your suffering.”
“It’s just the way things are. The way they were.”
“Tell me what happened. I mean everything.”
It was a long tale. Following his injury, he spent years in hiding. (He skimmed over this period.) When he was put in prison, he expected a rendezvous with the firing squad, but kept on being reprieved. Then without warning he was released. “It was written in the stars. Some things are just meant to be.”
No one else had spoken to her with such sincerity. This was her Igor alright. True he was older, wiser and looked a little different, but underneath he had the same romantic soul.
It escaped their attention that the customers had evaporated under the baking sun. At least three rounds of drinks later, it became a little cooler and the customers reappeared. As they watched the sun sink behind the hills, it got busy through the other side of the bar, forcing Rosa to end their seclusion. They continued their discussion whilst strolling along the narrow streets.
Conversation soon turned to the surrounding countryside, the birds, and even the sky. Igor had never seen anywhere quite like this, despite his travels. When occasionally their hands collided, Mary was quick to withdraw. The painful dreamed experiences had cut deep.
Both Igor and Anton stayed in a flat above the restaurant for the first week or so. Igor’s English soon improved, and even Anton began to pick up a few words. They were given jobs. Anton as a waiter, and Igor as a delivery man. This way, he wouldn’t be stressing his leg too much.
The barrier of pain and awkward thoughts seemed impenetrable to begin with. Maybe some things should just be left unspoilt. Quick to sense what was going on, Igor begged her to trust him. Not to take advantage of this opportunity would be the worst kind of sin. They were different people now, but they could still rekindle what they once had.