I decided to do a scrapbook post of sorts for the book I’m writing at the moment, combining some songs, pictures and movies that have inspired the creation of the story. It’s called Painted Faces and it’s a romance about a woman who falls in love with a drag queen. I’ll also post a snippet of the very start of the book at the end here;)
When starting out writing this story I considered making it a big mystery what the male lead(Nicholas) does for a living. But then I thought it could leave me facing a few disgruntled readers, since obviously some people won’t want to read a book that turns out to be about a woman who falls in love with a man who dresses up as a woman. I know it will only appeal to a select few, but I just have to write it.
It’s one of those stories that gets into your head and keeps pouring out of you, I don’t think I’ve ever loved two characters as much as I love the two leads in this novel, and that’s saying something because I have a massive soft spot for most of the characters I create. I’m in that honeymoon phase where all I want to do is write about them. This is also the first full on adult book I’ve written, it’s quite liberating to be able to write with no holds barred. Anyway, enough of me gushing, posted below are the first few pages, (as yet to be edited) enjoy!
I Call You Viv?
thing I’m not wearing lipstick or I’d look like some sort of circus
clown. A lunatic escaped from the asylum perhaps. A sudden downpour
of rain is soaking through my clothes, leaving my skin full of goose
pimples, my curly hair a soggy mess and my boots squeaking with the
liquid that has gotten inside. I’m the picture of a modern woman who
doesn’t own a car and doesn’t possess the forethought to carry an
call Summer in Dublin ladies and gents, one minute the sun is beating
down on you, making you all sweaty and the next it’s lashing rain.
Either way, you’re going to end up damp. I’m carrying what feels like
about a million plastic shopping bags, though in reality it’s only
three. The bags are most likely adding to my appearance of being an
escaped psychiatric patient. Is it just me, or do the psychologically
unstable always seem to carry plastic bags around?
truth be told, but at least it’s central. I fumble for the keys in my
handbag which is slung over my shoulder, as a couple of the local
kids walk by me, snickering at my struggle. I want to tell them to go
fuck themselves, but of course societal rules prevent adults such as
myself from swearing at children. I suppress a snort at the idea, it
would again add to the façade I’m unconsciously cultivating of being
off my trolley.
very end of my bag, wouldn’t you know, beneath a half empty bottle of
spring water and a half eaten bar of chocolate. I live on the third
floor and the building doesn’t have an elevator, so I have to trudge
my way up the stairs, soggy clothes, plastic bags, open handbag
(since I’m too lazy to zip it back up after finding the keys) and
nicest of neighbours, so I always tend to hurry getting from the
front entrance up to my apartment. Just as I’m slotting in my keys,
the door from the recently empty apartment next to mine flies open.
I’m curious to see who my new neighbour is this time. A single mother
with three little brat kids who’ll make an unholy racket day and
night perhaps? Knowing my luck it’ll be something like that. Only it
isn’t, a very smartly dressed man emerges. He has a crisp white shirt
on, the first two buttons casually undone, expensive black trousers
and black dress shoes. Well, well, well, perhaps Nora and I are going
to have a respectable neighbour for once.
three years now in our two bedroom apartment in the city. Not as
glamorous as it sounds let me tell you. In those three years we’ve
lived next to a junkie couple, a single mother with two obnoxious
children, and a young husband and wife with a baby who, when the baby
wasn’t crying the building down, would have noisy rows at two o’clock
in the morning. The couple moved out about three weeks ago, providing
myself and Nora with some much deserved peace and quiet.
about as much as an Indian tiger belongs in the Dublin Zoo. He has
jet black hair, sort of midway between long and short, ice blue eyes
and a classically beautiful face. His physique is lightly muscled in
that kind of athletic way, and when he smiles at me politely his
whole face lights up, his eyes are all shines and sparkles.
there,” he says, shutting the door behind him and locking it with
his key. His accent is Australian, posh Australian, not Irish. He
steps toward me, holding his hand out for me to give it a shake. I
give him a look that’s probably somewhere between confused and
exasperated, as I clearly can’t get my hands free for the shake he’s
must be Freda, your flatmate Nora invited me in for a cup of tea
earlier. Lovely girl.” He says.
men, and I’d say she thought this fellow was a fine specimen. Even
within this short conversation I’ve noticed something sort of
electric about his personality, something addictive. His eyes pull me
in, like they hold secrets that could make my boring old life so much
more exciting. His kind are certainly few and far between. You don’t
come across men this alluring very often.
everyone calls me Fred,” I tell him stupidly, placing the plastic
bags down on the floor so that I can finally shake his hand.
palms touch, our fingers entwine, and I can’t believe I’m admitting
this, but the tiniest tingle goes through me at the contact. Of
course, he doesn’t know that, and thank fuck, because he’d probably
think I was some kind of maniac. I mean, who exactly gets tingles
when they shake a person’s hand? You might as well say, Hello,
you’ll be starring in my dreams tonight, Mr Blue Eyes.
Not creepy in the slightest. Perhaps it’s been too long since I last
had a boyfriend.
wonderfully low sound that vibrates through to my toes. “Okay Fred,
you can call me Vivica.”
funny enough to solicit a laugh. “Cool, if we become close friends
can I call you Viv?” I respond.
and puts on a sweet Marilyn Monroe voice. “You can call me whatever
you like, Frederick.” The gesture suddenly opens my eyes to a
certain fey aspect in his demeanour, maybe he’s gay. He certainly
dresses well enough.
thanks, I’ll keep that in mind, Viv. It was a pleasure to meet you, I
hope you’re finding the place to your liking.”
it’s a palace fit for a queen, Freddie, a real find.”
backwards down the hall, twirling his keys around his fingers.
Clearly he has somewhere he needs to be.
nods and leers at my wet top, where my purple D-cup bra is blatantly
visible through my cream t-shirt. “Damn it,” he says humorously.
“Did I miss the wet t-shirt competition, again?”
The way he’s staring at my top makes me 99% sure he isn’t gay.
you did I’m afraid, in Dublin we put on some great ones too. We all
gather down by the river Liffey and dive in with our clothes on. When
we climb out the junkies on the board walk give us marks out of ten.”
eleven. Sounds like a real classy affair Fred, I’ll make sure I don’t
miss the next one.”
along any time, we always welcome newcomers.” I tell him, running
with the joke.
corner. It’s only at that moment that I realise he still hasn’t told
me his real name.