I was really pleased yesterday to be rung up by a male friend who had just read the book. I had become convinced that men don’t read books unless they’re sporting autobiographies or war memoirs. This chap – an accountant by profession and a man not given to frippery, provided a succinct but glowing rating on Amazon.
This is what he said.
“This is a well constructed and beautifully written book, cleverly drawing the characters together in a story of betrayal. I found I was drawn into the story, which has various twists and turns. The book makes you care for the characters and what happens to them. I read the second half of the book in one go as I was so keen to find out how it all worked out.”
Well thanks mate – I’ve glimpsed your inner soft personality that you’ve hidden from me on all those previous drink fuelled binges.
The next day another friend e mailed and said
‘The offspring gave me a Kindle for Christmas and the first thing I downloaded was The Guest Who Stayed. Thoroughly enjoyed it and was quite sad to have to say goodbye to them all – made my life seem really rather boring! MY Kindle then ended up in (husbands) hands and he read it too even preferring to read YOUR book to his daily obligatory Sudoku.'
This really pleases me. When I first conceived the story, I felt passionately that it was about the evolving relationship between two men as defined by their very different experiences of love for the same woman. However, when I sat down to write the story, I found that I really wasn’t very good at long agonising polemic about the nature of love and the impact on the two men of an imploding love triangle. So I invented some action – some story – and found that I quite enjoyed writing this. It took the pressure out of having to explore every motive and every nuance of behaviour. By the time I’d finished, I’d almost forgotten about the destructive love triangle and was more elated by what I felt to be - a dramatic story.
Then, when I finally made myself sit down and read the completed novel again – it was there – the evolving and transient relationship between Jack and Jed – at one time burning with hatred but in later life, dependant and supportive before it implodes once more.
So what I think I’m trying to say is that I have written a romance that is relevant to men – complex men, spiteful men, but always vulnerable men.
It reminds me of one of the first reviews I received on my favourite site ‘youwriteon.com.’
The reviewer said:
‘I like the way Jed cried in the prologue as this goes against the mainly tough stereotype of men often presented in books and is much more interesting. As I’ve written this, I realised that you have presented the male characters to be weaker and the female characters to be stronger………’
Oh dear. I’d better find a macho alpha male for my next novel. Any ideas?