I received a review recently stating that my characters and their lifestyle appeared too perfect and therefore unbelievable. I beg to differ!
My sister, whose family is the inspiration in part behind my characters in my novel Memories, probably would not call herself or her lifestyle too perfect. That is not to say that the story I have created bears much resemblance to their lives.
My characters of Aisling and Max are a happy married couple – maybe unbelievable, after many years of marriage but actually both my sisters and most of my close friends, along with myself all still fall into that category. This is not to say, none of my friends have gone through bitter divorces; they have and some are even coming out of their second marriages battle scarred and disillusioned.
Max works for an Investment Bank, away all week but home at the weekends; a fact straight from my sister’s life. Both Max and the brother-in-law worked and played hard in Hong Kong before returning to London in pursuit of their career.
My story begins as the family take a holiday in Turkey. At a villa similar to one owned by another sibling but never visited by my sister or her family. This is where the initial action plays out visiting places that do exist. My characters all have elements of fact about them, as do the settings and the backgrounds. The story is however fictional, shaped from my creative, some might say deluded, mind.
How do you define perfect anyway? My idea of perfect is to have my family healthy, to feel secure in my relationships and to have enough money at the end of the month left over to support a couple of families in Africa/India. A feat we did achieve until I was made redundant and took to part-time work while the children are at school.
A friend’s idea of perfect; is his gorgeous wife’s botox and breast enhancement, in order to show her off at all the latest events; Henley, Ascot and Wimbledon to name but a few. Enough money in the bank to buy that little cute cottage as a trinket weekend pad outright or gamble enough on a high risk investment to make a killing but not notice if it fails. Altruism is not a word he comes across too often.
I for one do not think my sister’s life or that of my character Aisling’s life is perfect. We once tried to live apart during the week while Sexy Sporty Dad’s job moved; I stayed with three young children in our newly extended home and secure bubble life. It didn’t work. After 9 months we let the house and moved up to join him.
I have friends who work away during the week and I know in these difficult times I count myself lucky that I have a husband on hand most of the time, as some have no choice. Their weekends are taken up dividing their time between the partner who needs adult conversation and games, whilst the children all demand constant attention, transporting and support for which ever sport they enjoy often in differing directions with more than one child. Monday comes round all too quickly and they are away again. Is this perfect?
I have what I would call a perfect balance at the current time where I work for pocket money and to supplement the family income a little. I have the right to spend on what I think we need and I put away enough to contribute to the annual holiday and to give me the choice not to camp on the floor. I also have time to pursue my own career as a writer albeit non financially viable at the moment, a state I hope will improve soon.
To the reviewer who thinks my characters are too perfect, join the real world. It is made up of all sorts of people and the facade you see may not be the real them. Most of my reviews have been positive, with many reviewers identifying strongly with the family.
I hope that if and when I have the courage to send it to a publisher they too will identify strongly and want to publish the book.
If you wish to read the first chapters of the story – comment and see what you think go to
on the left hand menu – go to “search the site”
check the box – book titles
and put in search box Memories
scroll down for Memories (currently number 11) by Tiggy Hayes
read sample chapters.
None of this is as difficult as it might first seem. You are unable to review the chapters on line; however please feel free to comment via this blog.