Vampires and Victorians. . . here comes my bestseller

POPULAR CULTURE: Lynne's blockbuster first novel promises to be incorporate all the themes that get

POPULAR CULTURE: Lynne's blockbuster first novel promises to be incorporate all the themes that get books to the top of the bestseller charts... Fifty Twilight shades of Paradise - Credit: Archant

One of the main things younger people get wrong about older people (and I speak as a representative of the latter), is that as we age we cast aside ambition and settle into placid acceptance.

Just because a pair of slippers finds its way on to your Christmas list doesn’t mean you want to spend the rest of your life watching telly with a blanket tucked round your legs, eating easily-digestible food and reminiscing about the old days. Just because the words “comfort waist band” have become strangely attractive, doesn’t mean you can never wear a thong again.

Just because you use a kneeler when weeding the garden doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten about Mellors, in the potting shed, with the gladioli.

In case you were wondering, yes, I am feeling a bit ratty this week. I haven’t been sleeping too well and that always triggers my snarl reflex.

I’m not sure why my slumbers are so affected. It isn’t as if I’m not tired. I am. Always. I drop off really quickly and then I wake up about two hours later. Try as I may, I just can’t get back to sleep (top ewe count 2,214). And, the longer I’m awake the worse it gets because I then start to wonder if I need to get up and go to the loo. I enrol myself into a 30-minute bladder assessment, appraising how badly I need to go, when I last had a drink, how cold it might be on the journey to the bathroom, whether I could just ignore it and, if I do ignore it, how dangerous that might turn out to be.


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So, eventually, I get up, visit the lav and go back to bed... usually waking my husband when I grab his foot instead of the bedpost. Then we both lie awake but don’t speak in case we disturb one another’s sheep census.

One of my ambitions is to use those wakeful night-time hours to solve the mysteries of the universe. I bet Albert Einstein didn’t use his huge cerebral capacity to worry about his bladder. It must be almost impossible to contemplate e=mc² when you need to go.

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But it is never too late to learn something new and it is never too late to achieve a long-held ambition... although, obviously, becoming Miss World is out of the question for too many reasons to list here, although cellulite is a factor. Honestly? Even in my physical prime I never had the necessary statistics. My hour-glass figure had all the sand at the bottom and I can’t see a thing without my specs.

No, never go back.

So what I am trying to do is look to the future and come up with a sure-fire bestseller. I was prompted to consider what I might write about in my blockbuster first novel by the Rushmere WI who last week invited me along to their meeting to talk about myself.

Rushmere, by the way, has a thriving group of around 70 members. One person was missing because, wait for it, she had given birth just three days earlier. I have spoken to a number of Women’s Institutes in the region and this was my first WI baby.

I was asked, if I wrote a book, what I would write and, thinking aloud, I outlined a whodunnit featuring a Victorian she-vampire with S&M tendencies who works in a ladies’ dress shop. Since then I have expanded this to make my heroine the illegitimate daughter of a boy wizard and a member of the Downham aristocracy.

It hasn’t got a title yet but I’m hopeful my synopsis will attract a six-figure advance... no prizes for originality though. I have already undertaken research.

Last weekend, searching for some costume ideas (Scout’s honour) for the stage musical Witches of Eastwick (in which I do not appear), we entered the Ann Summers emporium of eye-catching and, indeed, eye-opening novelties. And there, in its own little section devoted to the notion of gentle restraint, alongside fluffy-lined handcuffs, was a roll of pink gaffer tape. I trust it is not as fiendishly adhesive as B&Q standard black, but I couldn’t help wondering if this strange concept is part of the 50 Shades of Grey effect.

Either this, or Ann Summers is branching out into pastel-inspired DIY.

I confess to having little, actually, no experience of S&M. The closest brush I can claim is being given a cup of tea without sugar. I daresay a little careful Googling will bring me up to speed. Only today I received an email tagged: “10 things you may be surprised to know about stretching,” which could prove useful. I can’t remember the last time I was surprised while stretching.

The vampire strand won’t be a problem. I have read the Twilight books although never understood what Bella (female love interest) saw in her vampire boyfriend Edward. She describes him as being cold as marble. Speaking as a woman whose feet haven’t been warm since last November, the last thing I need is some pale, chilly bloke in bed with me.

It has to be said today’s vampires are very different to the ones in the Hammer Horrors of my youth.

In the 21st Century they have reflections, don’t hang around in high-collared capes, sport fairly understated fangs and appear to be relatively unaffected by aromatic vegetable bulbs.

So, unless she breathes on someone, it won’t be too much of a problem for my heroine (loosely based on me) if she likes moules marinières and garlic bread

The popularity of costume dramas leads me to set the action in a late Victorian ladies clothing store which is frequented by the three feisty daughters of an Earl. One of whom will undoubtedly be a bit of a feminist in that she marries into the working class and owns a pair of trousers.

Another of them will be, I think, the first victim. She will be found rolled up a length of damask in haberdashery with two puncture wounds on her neck, Art Nouveau-design gaffer tape over her mouth and the deeds to a Downham estate smallholding in her handbag.

But wait, what am I doing? First, I must review the ethics of blatantly poaching other people’s ideas simply in order to craft my own gripping page-turner and makes pots of money... right, I’ve reviewed them and that’s fine.

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