My guest blogger today is Sharon Black who has just released her novel, Going Against Type, a humorous, fun, romantic novel.
Going Against Type is set in the world of Dublin-based national newspapers. It’s about two rival newspaper columnists, who write under pen names. They fall in love, without realising that they are bitter enemies in print. They have good reason to keep their alter egos safe from each other. So their relationship develops, each of them blissfully unaware of whom the other is. Until they are forced to reveal themselves….
The idea for the rival columnists came after I remembered one of the fabulous old Hollywood films, that I adored when I was a teenager. (They were shown at odd hours on Irish TV – I’m not old enough to have seen them on the big screen!) In Woman of the Year, starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey, she plays a high brow pundit, who rubbishes sport in one of her columns. Tracey is a sports columnist who leaps to attack her, and so they start to spar. In the film, however, they meet quite quickly and despite knowing who the other person is, they fall in love.
What I did in Going Against Type, was to turn the stereotypes on their head. It meant making my heroine the sports buff. At the beginning of the story, she is given a chance to write the new, anonymous sports column, Side Swipe. My hero, Derry, is a fashion writer and also writes the back page gossip column The Squire for the rival paper. They fall in love, but they don’t discover that they’ve fallen for their bitter rival until half way through the book. While that whole build up was really fun to do, I had to ensure that Charlotte and Derry’s columns were quite acerbic. That way, you could see a huge contrast between their views in the papers – their weekly banter – and how they were with each other. It also meant there was more at stake.
The hardest column to get right was Charlotte’s. Paradoxically, she turned out to be a wonderful character to write. Although I don’t know an awful lot about sport, I researched well. I read a lot of sports columnists, I checked all my facts, and then I tried to put myself into the head of a feisty, twenty-something woman, working in an area that’s largely dominated by men. Her columns took a lot of writing and re-writing. I wanted them to be sharp, funny and very controversial.
A lot of people are surprised when they see that my hero is a gossip columnist and fashion writer. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule, but mainly these are areas in journalism that tend to be dominated by women. I wanted to write a strong male character, who is completely comfortable in his own skin, not to mind his fabulous tailor made suits! He is manly, yet completely relaxed with having a female boss and working in a features department, surrounded by women. Actually, he likes that a lot!
Like all romantic comedies, once things start to go wrong, everything seems on course to keep this pair apart. But I promise a happy ending!
Sharon’s book is available at tirpub.com/gatype
Sharon’s author page: Sharon Black Author Page
Sharon Black grew up in Dublin. She studied history and politics at University College Dublin and then did post-graduate in journalism at Dublin City University.
She has worked for national newspapers, including The Evening Herald and The Irish Examiner.
She had short stories published in U Magazine and won the 2010 Dromineer Literary Festival short story competition.
When she is not writing, she reads, walks and sees friends. She co-founded a local book club 14 years ago. She loves theatre, old Hollywood films, science fiction and good stand-up comedy.
She lives in Sandymount, Dublin, with her husband and their three children.