Relationships. Some people get it. The rest are men…
George and Joan Bachelor are the proud (albeit slightly disappointed) parents of three grown-up boys whose lives aren’t quite what they had hoped for…
Adam is addicted to TWKGs (The Wrong Kinds of Girls); Luke bears the scars of a savage divorce; and ‘baby’ Russell’s love life contains nothing but heartache.
When months shy of his 40th wedding anniversary George Bachelor announces he’s leaving the family home to try his hand at the single life, everything is thrown into turmoil. Now as well as sorting out their own love lives, the boys have got to sort out their parents’ too…or face losing the one thing they thought they could always count on.
The idea for TIBB had actually been swimming around in my head for quite a while because just like the Bachelors I'm one of three brothers and I liked the idea of looking at relationships through the eyes of three different people.
No, not at all! When I was thinking about their characters it was Adam's who came to me first. I wanted someone who was big and brash who would leap off the page and for me Adam does that from page one. It was Russell, the youngest brother who came to me next. I wanted someone who was going to be the opposite of Adam to add some contrast but his character soon developed beyond that initial requirement into something I hadn't quite expected. Then finally with Luke, I saw his central dilemma first and then his character came after that which is unusual for me.
I think I'd have to agree with that point. Adam is definitely the man. The quintessential modern bachelor. The ladies love him and he loves the ladies! But although he puts a great deal of effort into appearing shallow the very fact that a simple throwaway comment about the type of girl he likes results in him attempting to turn his life around indicates that there's a hidden depth to him. It was a lot of fun writing Adam's character because he was so big on the page that it was easy to have fun at his expense.
I think it's open to interpretation and so the reader's opinion is as valid as my own. But for me it's all about love. Love between family members and love in romantic relationships and how both can be difficult to maintain at times. On some levels of course it's also about male relationships. Growing up in a household with four men and only one woman it's quite a revelation when you meet people where the male/female balance is different to your own. For the first fifteen years of my life I didn't realise it wasn't necessary to cough over your food to try and stop people from stealing it!
You're right, they are all quite different but the one thing they have in common from Mrs Bachelor struggling with her husband's secret right through to Angie wrestling with Russell's infidelity, is the fact that they know the men in their lives better than the men know themselves. This is one of the things that has always fascinated me about the differences between men and women. It's like one half of the human race got handed a manual at birth while the other half have to resort to picking up information when and where they can and hoping that somehow it will all make sense.
The Importance of Being a Bachelor is once again set in Chorlton. So are we right in thinking that this is the end of your so-called Chorlton trilogy!
The Chorlton trilogy was just a joke that sort of got out of hand, (although the sharp-eyed amongst you will notice a fleeting cameo from a couple of characters that you've met before) but yes, TIBB will probably be my last novel set in Manchester. It's probably time to move on to other parts now so feel free to make suggestions. The book I'm currently working on is set (with very good reason) in Birmingham, and it's nice to be back working on my home turf.
Back to the book again. One of the things people love about your books so much is that the characters seem so real.
The world's full of people who even though they're in their thirties never quite got over being a student and Russell is certainly one of them. He's a bit of a dreamer who hasn't yet found the right gear yet. Do I know people like this? Of course I do. I'm sure we all do. What I found most interesting about Russell though is that he has all the makings of being a good guy. His fatal flaw is his being in love with someone who he shouldn't be in love with and it's this that in the end causes his undoing.
I think there are pros and cons to writing in the first and third person and so I prefer to take it on a case-by-case basis so this is definitely not me saying good-bye to the first person. I think as a writer it's good to flex different muscles every now and again anyway but first and foremost it all comes down to plot. Having three protagonists in TIBB made writing in the third person a necessity allowing me to jump in and out of their perspectives when I needed to do so.
The book I'm currently writing that's set in Birmingham, could only of course be one thing: the sequel I'm writing to Turning Thirty. Of all the books I've ever written Turning Thirty is the one I've most wanted to revisit because there's so much unfinished business there. The idea of catching up with the characters who have meant so much to so many people ten years down the line was too good an opportunity to pass up.
I tried out all kinds of titles for TIBB and for a long while it was going to be called The Bachelor Boys then I changed it to The Bachelors and then finally a few weeks after I'd give it to my editor I was looking through my bookshelf when I spotted a dog-eared copy of The Importance of Being Ernest, had a eureka moment and emailed my editor straight away to ask her to change the title.