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A Boozy Lunch and a Notebook

Selkie Moon facing her demons

Selkie Moon faces her demons.  Photo: Clarita, the Morguefile


Research Can Be Tough

Research can be tough  Photo: Chasnz, the Morguefile


Selkie Moon is a modern complex main character who faces escalating threats as her new life unravels into chaos. She’s on the run from an abusive husband and tangling with suspect lovers and other frightening phenomena, so I wanted to get into the heads of some young women to make Selkie’s reactions authentic.

Five gorgeous single thirty-somethings agreed to share a boozy lunch with me and spill their secrets. It was a wild ride at times and I learnt a thing or two. The experiences below are based on their own:

1. Gaydar

Selkie will have at least one gay friend, who will be like her ‘sister’. But if she’s run out on her husband and is new on the singles scene, she’ll need her ‘gaydar’ to avoid guys who aren’t available.

2. Friends with Benefits

My lunch companions explained this term and what it stands for. He won’t be the man of her dreams, but any girl ‘between partners’ may need an FB.

3. Google Him!

If Selkie is interested in a guy she’ll definitely google him before dating him. She’ll want some power, meaning no surprises!

4. Soul Mates Suck

Many men are looking for a ‘soul mate’. The guy arranges to meet a girl, expecting lights to flash and an orchestra to play or he’s out of there. This puts pressure on her to be his perfect woman. If a girl writes ‘forget the fireworks and the violins’ on her online dating profile, the responses drop by fifty percent.

5. Committed to Non-commitment

A modern girl can have so many lovers and be so focussed on casual relationships with no strings, that she can overlook the guy who’s really ‘into her’ and discover too late that he’s settled down with someone else – someone who’s uncannily similar to her.

6. Not Passion, Control

Some ‘charming’ men are closet psychopaths, masters at emotional abuse. This type picks a girl who’s smart, got a great job and a flat, while he’s a penniless couch-surfer who spends his nights ‘playing in a band’ and his days living off her. Soon he begins to undermine her confidence because control is the only way to keep her. He’s into her big time – telling her what to wear, getting insanely jealous over nothing, putting her down in twisted ways, isolating her from family and friends – until she loses sight of her sense of self and her sanity. The only way to survive is to escape, which may be as drastic as changing flats, even jobs.

A Woman under Pressure

These women gave me insights into their work, from life coaching to copywriting, the challenge of short-term contracts and a freelance life, their attitudes to the biological clock and children versus career. They provided the background to make Selkie Moon a complex character.

If you read The First Lie you’ll recognise elements from that lunch. The mystery involves her love life, with shocking results, but it’s the interweaving of her relationships with new friends and the bizarre circumstances that befall her that creates this multi-dimensional story about a modern woman under pressure. Selkie is forced to investigate a frightening psychological puzzle – with touches of the mythical and the surreal – in order to discover the truth about herself.

I’m grateful to my lunch guests for their generosity and honesty. Selkie is ‘real’ because of them.


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A version of this post first appeared on Heather Reviews Blog in July 2015.