Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Lies. Whether little white gaps in the truth or whopping black holes in reality, those little buggers can come back and bite you in the arse one day. Like when I first met my in-laws and was served a heaping plate of venison. Eating Bambi made me queasy, but I complimented the cook and forced it down. Twenty years and over fifty family meals later, I wish I’d politely declined. That’s the problem with lying—you either own up straight away or eat venison pie for the rest of your life.  

I can live with that, and with the unavoidable porkers I sometimes dish out. Because, really, how easy is it to tell a fragile friend her new dress does make her look like a balloon that’s overdosed on helium? Or your moaning boss his wife left him because he’s a belligerent tosser who doesn’t—ahem—meet her needs? When the truth won’t do, “you look great” and “she’s having a mid-life” seem harmless deviations from reality. Easily forgivable ones.

But what about the unforgivable lies, the painful shockers that end people’s happiness, that twist or destroy their lives? Could someone be forgiven for telling such a whopper if they owned up to the truth? Would confessing “set them free” or would it cost them everything they held dear? What deception could be so terrible, so life-shattering that two people destined to love each other could be torn apart by it? And what sort of woman, for example, would deliberately destroy a man’s life, and why? What about her guilt?

Pondering these questions over a margarita (okay, three, I’ll own up) is how Hate to Love You came to life. Creating an abrasive heroine from a dingy housing estate and pitting her against an upper crusty lawyer whose life she shatters with her unforgivable lie was not only fantastic fun to write, but a gritty, pulse-rocketing ride. It threw up questions about the nature of honesty and deceit –and the murky area in between-- conundrums I still discuss over margaritas.

Could you forgive someone for telling a lie that destroyed your happiness, if you loved them? And if so, could you build a life with them? I’d love to know where you stand so please do leave me a comment. One brutally honest answer will be selected to win a free copy of Hate to Love You. Be quick though, winner chosen on 15th June!

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Instant Gratification or Slow-Burn Anticipation?

Book Hugging GirlAsk anybody who knows me how I react in front of a dessert tray and you’ll know which one I prefer. I love dessert and I love it now. Banoffee pie, lemon cheesecake or ice cream, whichever flavour. Yum. I think of reading books in much the same way as eating dessert—something I can never get enough of. When I find a novel I like, I want to devour it immediately, let its characters and setting flavour my imagination and transport me to another world. Time was when I lived in a large city and could walk into a high street book shop and take my pick of stories on offer. Not so easy when you’re in a remote area of Scotland, so when I looked out the window and saw a bunch of sheep I knew it was time to buy a Kindle. Sure, I could order books online, but I had to wait for them to arrive – sometimes for more than three days. My ice-cream would melt! Like I said, I’m unapologetically into instant gratification.

Still, I resisted buying a Kindle. For me one of the joys of reading is holding a book in my hand and turning the pages. The smell, the colour, and the heaviness of bound paper give me a little buzz every time I read. And there’s nothing as enjoyable and practical as reading a new novel on summer holiday. If the sun gets too hot and I need a siesta, it comes in handy for protecting my face—not something I can do with a Kindle.

In spite of the e-reader’s weaknesses in the sunscreen department, I took the plunge and forked out for a Kindle. Suddenly I didn’t have to check the tracking feature on my ‘Accounts’ page, or wait for the postman to know when I’d be reading my much anticipated books. In less than sixty seconds I could leap into the next instalment in a series or start something entirely new. Chocolate éclair paradise. Of course I still love reading paperbacks, just as I still lust after that dessert tray. But now, having my pick of what’s on offer is only a click away.

What about you? Do you prefer reading books with an e-reader or holding a paperback in your hand? Or, like me, do you enjoy both? Leave me a comment and your details for a chance to win my debut e-novel from Carina PressHate To Love You.

Winner to be announced on my blog on June 16th.

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