Louise Wise lives in
IAN. Tell us about your latest book.
A Proper Charlie is a chick lit novel. My character, Charlotte (Charlie) Wallis grew up in foster care and care homes. Consequently she longs for stability, but has been stumbling along meeting unsuitable men and taking on crap jobs. She meets up with her best friend again (Melvin), and he gets her a job at his firm London Core (a newspaper). She finds a boyfriend and thinks life is looking up. But the Middleton Group takes over LC and her job looks shaky, and then her boyfriend dumps her. Prostitutes start to go missing on the London Streets and Charlie comes up with an idea to do a story on them thinking it’ll help her chances of staying with LC and take her mind off her boyfriend.
Ben Middleton is Charlie’s new boss. He’s a troubled character: he is well off and seems to have it all, but lives under the shadow of his tyrant father (Donald). His mother has terminal cancer and on her death bed reveals to Ben and his younger sister that Donald isn’t her father. The sister is distraught and takes off during her mother’s funeral. Wanting to build bridges between Donald and his sister Ben hires a PI to find her, but the PI discovers her possessions with a prostitute. Knowing a could-be murderer is taking hookers off the street Ben worries that his sister might be in trouble so goes to look for her.
The book’s theme is ‘opposites attract’, and how loneliness can affect you even if you’re well-off, surrounded by friends or have a close-knit family.
IAN. How long did it take to write A Proper Charlie?
LW. If it wasn’t for Twitter and other forums I think I could write it in six months. But, the first draft took me a year, second and third draft another year. So in total two years. Internet is an excellent tool, but also excellent for aiding and abetting procrastination.
IAN. What inspired you to write the book?
LW. Oh, Wendy Holden and Sophie Kinsella definitely. I think they are so clever being able to write so lifelike yet funny. My other favourite writers are Dean Koontz and James Herbert. I think they are the ‘grit’ in my novels.
IAN. Talk about the writing process. Do you write at night or in the morning?
LW. I’m an anytime, anywhere, anyplace kinda girl. I can write while my kids are destroying the furniture, and husband is yelling blue-murder that his dinner isn’t ready on time (get your own dinner, chum!). It has been known that I’ve forgotten the time and have missed important events like
IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?
LW. I have an idea in my head, but the outline comes as I write. So, yes I wing it!
IAN. How is your book different from others in your genre?
LW. A Proper Charlie is strictly chick lit, and told in the third person. It’s maybe a little more gritty than others because my character is pretending to be a prostitute to nail a news story, and then gets mixed up in kidnapping and mayhem.
IAN. Is your book published in print, e-book or both?
LW. It’s both. E-books are doing better than paperbacks. I put it down do the fact that e-books are still a novelty. I can’t think of anything worse than reading a book off a screen. Obviously I’m not a Kindle convert!
IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
LW. Bellyache (from laughing), then later: ‘Oh, yeah. I see.’
IAN. Where can we go to buy your book?
LW. All on-line shops like Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Proper-Charlie-Louise-Wise/dp/1908147717 Or it can be ordered from any shop, or even direct from me.
IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
LW.I am so in love with my next book. It’s again in the chick lit genre but the lead character has a mental illness. I’ve a friend with bipolar and another who self-harms, and I thought a character who was not only flawed but deeply suffering would be interesting to write about. My character is ‘stuck in a chick lit novel’, and believes she’s the normal one as all around others are ditzy, maddening and happy.
IAN. Any other links or info you'd like to share?
LW. Wise Words: http://louisewise.blogspot.com
A Proper Charlie by Louise Wise
Page count: 406
Genre: chick lit
It was strange at work on Monday where Melvin fussed over her and even Faye and Sarah seemed concerned. She was only growled at a couple of times by Fanny, but that was probably because he was busy with the merger and didn’t have time to moan at her. And even when he sent her to the canteen to fetch him a ham sandwich and she brought him back pork, because ‘they all look the same’ he only tutted. Charlie wished he could be preoccupied more often.
There were several new faces in the building and lots of coming and goings by different people.
The top floor, previously rented out to a financial company called Askew & Daughter, was receiving a lot of attention. Apparently, Sir Donald was going to make the entire top floor into his office.
‘Oh, I can lend you platforms for Saturday,’ said Faye, spinning around on her chair.
‘Really?’ When Charlie had asked before, Faye said she didn’t have any spare.
‘Sure,’ Faye said, nodding happily. ‘I’ve several pairs.’
‘Thanks, I’ll treat them like they are my own.’
Faye smiled at her and Charlie was so shocked she almost fell off her chair.
‘I’m so looking forward to this party now, aren’t you?’ Faye trilled. ‘Although I don’t know how we were collared into being the Spice Girls. But I’m glad Andy isn’t coming. How can we be the Spice Girls with him tagging along?’
‘He was going as David Beckham.’
Faye rolled her eyes. She rose and sauntered over towards Charlie’s desk. She pointed to the ceiling. ‘As we speak, there are men up there working on Sir Don’s new office. Builders,’ she added with a wink and nodding her head as if she and Charlie were accomplice to the same secret.
‘No.’ Charlie waved her hands at her in denial. ‘I’m off men forever now. I’m a singleton and I’m staying that way.’
‘Once you fall off the horse, you need to jump right back on,’ Faye said.
‘Bollocks.’ Sarah stood beside Charlie’s desk with a cup of coffee in her hands. She saluted Charlie with her cup. ‘Here’s to singleton and never having to shave again!’
Charlie giggled, as Faye looked at her in disgust before hissing, ‘Don’t you have standards?’
Sarah ignored her. ‘You can now leave Tampax wrappers lying about and not worry that he’s going to get all disgusted.’
‘You can lie on both sides of the bed and get the covers all to yourself.’ Melvin spun round in his chair to join in.
‘You don’t qualify in this conversation,’ said Faye. ‘You’re conjoined.’
‘You get to sexually stimulate yourself when you want it, and not just when the footie is over. Or at stupid o’clock in the morning,’ said Sarah, warming to her topic.
‘Why’d men like it in the morning?’ asked Faye. ‘I hate it. I feel all grubby and want nothing more than a shower when I wake up.’
‘Men are strange creatures,’ said Charlie, and Sarah and Faye nodded in agreement.
‘Straight men are strange creatures,’ amended Melvin flicking fluff off his Don’t Discriminate, Hate Everyone T-shirt.
Ben sat in his nearly empty office in The Globe. It was almost cleared in preparation for his new one at London Core next week, but as he looked around at he realised this office was as empty as his life.
Camilla still hadn’t made contact. Her number for her mobile phone was no longer registering. It was as if she had cut herself out from her family. It hurt Ben. He’d lost a mother and felt like he’d lost a sister too.
She had been missing for three days now. It wasn’t long, but it wasn’t like her not to keep in contact.
A knock on his office door caused him to minimise a page he was on on the computer. His PA looked in on him.
‘I’m off to oversee your things being moved to Core,’ she said.
‘Thanks Clair,’ he said. ‘It’s close to your home, isn’t it, so take yourself off after. I’m all finished here, anyway.’
‘If you’re sure.’
‘I am.’ He smiled at her, and waited until the door was closed then he brought the page back up on the monitor. He was searching for a Private Investigator. He needed one that specialised in missing persons and who was highly discreet.
He came back to: Private Investigator, Kevin Locke, sympathetic and particularly experienced in the location of missing persons. The website looked professional, and it promised discretion.
Ben telephoned the number from the website. He was surprised and pleased when it didn’t go to an automated answer line and was answered by a human.
He briefly gave details of Camilla’s disappearance and fixed an appointment for tomorrow morning where they’d meet and discuss the whereabouts of his sister in detail, and assign him a PI. Ben wrote the appointment in his diary, and flicking through the pages he was reminded of London Core’s party this coming Saturday.
God, he’d forgotten! Thank goodness he’d jotted it down, his father wouldn’t have forgiven him if he didn’t turn up.
He was dreading it. He hated parties; work parties especially.
There were four types of people he dreaded meeting at parties: crawlers, superiors, drunks and women.
1. Crawlers: These people fawned all over him and generally made him feel embarrassed.
2. Superiors: These were the types who thought he was ‘uppity’ and either ignored him or treated him with polite distain.
3. Drunks: Need he explain? But, of course, you got the crawling drunk or the superior drunk. Drunks who brown-nosed him were creepy, and drunks who were ‘superior’ often thought it clever to ‘speak their mind’ and tell him a few home truths – usually crap but it was uncomfortable all the same.
4. Women: He liked women, but felt tense in their presence. He never knew how to speak to women out of the office. And then you had the female crawlers and superiors. But worse, worse of all, were drunk women.
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