This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
I have loved Jo Rees since the beginning, when her first novel 'It Could Be You' was published back in 97' under her maiden name, Josie Lloyd. Her writing partnership with husband Emlyn Rees produced some cracking books in the shape of 'Come Together', 'Come Again' and 'The Seven Year Itch', and I am super excited to read her new escapist beach read 'Platinum', which is in the post to me right now, and which you can buy here!
Jo has written a fantastic feature on her writing, reading and modernizing the Bonkbuster and has kindly allowed Novelicious to publish it for your enjoyment!
Look out for a review of Platinum coming soon!
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Making a modern beach read – by Jo Rees
It's that time of year again. The time to choose a book for going on holiday. If like me, you've got kids and a busy life, your choice of summer holiday read is an important one. It's probably one of the only books you'll read from cover to cover this year.
Sure, we might have great intentions to read something literary or that worthy the book group recommended, but the truth is we want something easy and fun, but exciting and engrossing enough to stop us being distracted from the kids having sand fights and husbands rummaging to the bottom of the carefully packed beach bag for the sun-lotion.
But after years of navel gazing chick-lit, I don't want to read about anyone like me. I want full on escapism. I want glamour, a huge roller-coaster plot and the naughty bits being very naughty too.
I was at secondary school in Essex in the 1980’s and I devoured Lace, Flowers in the Attic, Riders and Hollywood Wives. I giggled over them, gasped at them and showed the turned down pages to my mates.
Continue Reading Feature!
I can't help feeling nostalgic for those big “bonkbusters” that kept me awake all night.
Which is why I wrote one – but with a twist. My new novel, Platinum, by Jo Rees is in the shops right now.
It's a big claim to want to emulate those book of my youth. Because after all, the point with those bonkbusters was that we read our mother’s and older sister’s copies at school. They appealed to the whole spectrum of female fiction readers. That’s why they were so successful.
But bonkbusters have to change with the times. And we need a new name for them, don’t we? Believe me, I did a whole load of research on this and re-reading those books now, I realized there’s no way they’d appeal to a modern audience.
For starters we’re all incredibly screen-literate. Sure, we had the slow-burning plot lines of Dynasty and Dallas , but can you honestly imagine this generation of people waiting now to find out who shot JR like we did? It’d be on YouTube in a second.
We’re all watching The Wire, 24. We expect fast moving action and stuff to happen…like…right now. We’ve got phones, instant communications, access to all kinds of information that renders most of those old plot-lines just that…old.
We also have a celebrity culture like never before. We know who the mega-rich are, what they look like and how they party.
But the biggest difference is us girls. We're nothing like those 1980’s heroines. We all multi-task. We do it all. And with shows like Britains Got Talent and X Factor, we have the illusion that the headiest dreams seem achievable for all.
So given all that, how do you engender that fabulous sense of being swept along, like we were back then?
By pulling out all the stops. That’s how.
But it’s not just about sex. It never was. Great sex was just part of the fabulous cocktail that made the best irresistible. As well as sex, there’s got to be romance, intrigue, a huge international plot and a modern hook.
In Platinum, Frankie Willis, a computer whiz-kid and personal trainer is running away from her old life and has landed a job as a lowly stewardess on board Pushkin, one of the biggest mega-yachts in the Med. Peaches Gold, is a raunchy, tough-talking LA madam, with a little black book which could bring Hollywood to its knees and Lady Emma Harvey is an English socialite who’s single-handedly restored the most coveted stately home in Britain whilst helping her gorgeous husband launch his glittering new business venture in the grip of the recession.
Three women who have every reason to distrust and despise each other, but they all hit rock bottom and lose everything, their hatred for one man unites them forever. He’s Yuri Khordinsky, a ruthless Russian oligarch intent on gaining recognition in polite society and nothing will stop him.
Incidentally, they're all on Twitter. My characters are off the page and into the real world. Peaches arrived a few weeks ago in London, only to find that her favorite MP can’t put her through on expenses anymore, whilst Frankie right now is shopping in Milan with €50 thousand euros one of the guests has given her to buy gifts for his girlfriend. And if you’re lucky, Lady Emma Harvey might just send you one of the silver embossed invitations to her Platinum Ball she's just picked up from the printers.
I think that for the new, twittering generation of school girls, Platinum won’t disappoint. I also hope for all the mum's on the beach this summer, or in the back garden, Platinum will be a guilty pleasure they'll just have to share with their friends.
Platinum by Jo Rees is published by Corgi (£6.99)