The truth, the whole truth and … well, the stuff I write

I managed to get myself on the WI speaker circuit. My talk is titled ‘From Guns and Roses to Hearts and Flowers’. When I am asked what it’s about I tell them it is how I went from being a trained killer of men to writing romantic fiction. The last is totally true but ‘trained killer of men?! Come on.

OK, I was in the army for eight years, I did have a number of postings and I worked with blokes who knew how to fire guns. But… look at me:

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Do I look as if I could swat a fly let alone knock off Johnny Foreigner with my bare hands? I was a trained killer of the filing tray at best. Admin I could do, but killing…? Even a bit of ‘light wounding’  was right outside my skill set. I suppose I could have inflicted a paper cut on someone… maybe… if they’d really pissed me off and it was That Time Of The Month. But not ‘killing’.

However, my description of my transition from army officer to writer rarely fails to raise a laugh, which proves that when it comes to telling a story a little (quite a lot of) embellishment never did a tale any harm. What’s the old journalist’s adage – never let the truth get in the way of a good story? Exactly.

Which is why I write fiction because, with a novel, you can take a good idea and tweak and twist and, maybe, exaggerate bits and bobs until it becomes something much more interesting, much more compelling. And let’s face it, most of real life is as dull as ditch-water and who wants to read that stuff anyway? Making things up is so much more fun.

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