Weaving together a fascinating past and a present full of emotional turmoil, Sandra Howard draws us into a world she knew so well,
of glamour, style and high society, but where, below the surface
extravagence, insecurity and infidelity run rife.
I had some unique experiences and wild old times in the Sixties that had cried out to be told, but what always put me off was the thought of writing an autobiography. It felt too self-serving and embarrassing by half. I’d have felt very inhibited, trailing out my whole life for inspection, and left out all the juiciest bits, which would have made for a much drearier read. So I decided to write my stories of the sixties as fiction.
Tell the Girl draws heavily on personal experiences, real people are mentioned, some historical events and true situations too, but the principal characters are fictional. Susannah Forbes, my heroine, relives her past, her Sixties heydays that in many ways mirror my own, but she isn’t me. She’s a whole lot more successful for one thing, more glamorous, better looking, better legs… need I go on?
Writing fiction gives you the freedom to think outside the box, unleash private feelings and let rip. I love getting to know my characters, watching them grow and develop, often in ways I’d never have anticipated. I love the way they take me over and rule my life, how they lead me by the hand down unexpected paths; writing fiction is always a roller-coaster ride of surprises.
Tell The Girl is set both in the sixties and the present day with Susannah as a girl in her twenties and as a much older woman. And with Daisy, the other principal character, a woman in her late thirties, I had the chance to write about three ages of women, their innermost fears and longings, where they were at different stages of their lives.
Researching the Sixties was a revelation too, how it reawakened old memories and brought back the wildness of the times, the racy fun and whacky goings on, the excesses of smoking and boozing, all the liberties taken… The ad-men of Madison Avenue were straight out of MadMen, pouncing almost before you were in the door. But they were never as drop-dead gorgeous and sexy as Don Draper, no such luck.
Writing novels is addictive. There are worse ways to spend a cold wet Monday morning than writing a sexy love scene, but I’m lured up to my stuffy little study at the top of the house on the sunniest of days as well. I love nothing better than to be alone with my characters, no one about, no calls or callers, it’s bliss. I urge anyone to have a go!
# # #
About The Author