Going Against Type


SOME would say Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan has it all. Beautiful, smart, athletic, and a great job working as a journalist – in the almost exclusively male sports department. But Charlotte is not quite so sure as she seem. Recently split from her overbearing boyfriend, she escapes for weekends surfing in the Atlantic, and spends her free nights watching sports, roaring at the TV.

Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer, gossip columnist, and sophisticated man-about-town. The go-to guy for any woman seeking expert advice on what fabulous outfit to wear for any given occasion. He’s also tall, dark, good looking . . . and straight! So what’s the snag? He has a track record of dating glamorous, vain, and shallow women.

Charlie gets an opportunity to write a new column under the pen name Side Swipe, but soon is drawn into a war of words and wit with a rival paper’s columnist, The Squire, and their verbal fireworks get readers and editors talking. Yet neither Charlie nor Derry knows just who the opponent is.

When Charlotte and Derry meet at the Races, the attraction is instant. As their relationship develops, so much more proves at stake than protecting their alter egos. But a blunder puts Charlotte’s job in jeopardy just as Derry’s past makes front page, and Charlotte begins to doubt her feelings. When Side Swipe and The Squire are finally forced to reveal themselves, will they revert to type – or confound everyone’s expectations?


EXCERPT

So, did you get lucky?' a deep voice drawled....
Charlotte spun to find Mr Panama Hat grinning down at her. Bloody hell, she thought, smiling back despite herself. Any other man she knew would look utterly ridiculous in what seemed to be a tailor-made, striped linen jacket and trousers, combined with that damned hat. But he carried it off with a self-confidence that bordered on swagger.
'Yes actually, I did,' she admitted, still smiling. 'What about you?'
He grimaced.
'I lost. My own fault. I took a flier on somebody else's tip.'
Charlotte grinned sympathetically.
'Oh?'
Mr Panama Hat shook his head, scowling briefly.
'I read some bloody sports columnist from Ireland Today. Had a few winners earlier this week. As I said, it's my own fault. I never normally bother with racing tips. Whoever it is, he obviously doesn't know a horse from a three-legged stool.'
Charlotte swallowed hard.
'So how much did you lose?' she managed, trying to sound casual.
'A thousand.' He caught Charlotte's horrified expression and laughed. 'Hey, don't look so worried! I'm a big boy.'
Charlotte stared at him in amazement. Who did that? Maybe he was a rich eccentric, the kind of guy who hung around the race courses betting big. Not caring whether or not he won - or lost everything on the day. That said, she was damned if she'd come clean!

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What the Reviewers are saying:
"Very enjoyable read! The storyline seems to model similar storylines from the 1930s-40s era of "screwball comedies" but the plausibility of such a scenario taking place is part of the appeal!"

"I’m delighted to say I would definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for a little adult summer chick lit with true character development and storyline. Honestly I look forward to reading this author’s future work; she has a natural flare for writing."


"The novel reverberates with authenticity…you won’t be disappointed with Going Against Type. I think it’s the first Irish novel I’ve read that wasn’t historical, which makes it both refreshing and light."

"The story is well paced and conversation driven, with witty one liners and a great show of knowledge by the author. No frilly romance scenes here, only funny, modern relationships portrayed in punchy and real circumstances, that keeps you turning the page."

"This is the real deal...Sharon Black could very well be the next Sophie Kinsella or Meg Cabot. She had me laughing and grinning until the end."


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This Post first appeared on author Angela Highland's Boosting The Signal.
http://www.angelahighland.com/category/boosting-the-signal/page/6/

AN OPEN LETTER TO READERS OF BOOSTING THE SIGNAL, FROM CHARLOTTE ‘CHARLIE’ REGAN, THE PROTAGONIST IN GOING AGAINST TYPE.


Dear reader,
My name is Charlotte. My friends and colleagues at the paper usually call me Charlie, so you can too. I’m a 29 year old Dublin girl. Most importantly, I’m a sports reporter for a national Irish newspaper, Ireland Today.
     Which isn’t easy. I mean, the work is fine. Better than fine. It’s great. I adore sports. Even wanted to be a professional soccer player, until I injured myself. And I’m not afraid to go after the big stories. I’m surrounded by men—they do dominate sports reporting. So I have to prove myself.
     And a few weeks ago, it paid off! The editor gave me a shot at writing the new sports column, Side Swipe. It’ll be written anonymously—which is fine by me. For the moment.
I can almost feel the other reporters looking over my shoulder. Don’t get me wrong, most of them are great. Recently, some of us even spent a weekend in the West of Ireland, surfing in the Atlantic. Loved it!
     But any reporter worth his salt would do pretty much anything to get his own column.
What’s a girl to do? Well, I’ll tell you what this one’s going to do. Write the best damned column I can. Week after week. Which is why it has to be spiky and sharp and controversial. No holds barred. What I have I got to lose?
     Only the column! Because if I’m not careful, I’ll lose it to somebody who thinks they’ve earned it, just because they’ve been here the longest.
     And when I’ve put my stamp on it, they’ll have to give me a by-line, right? Because by then, they won’t want to let me go.
     Which would be straightforward enough, if a rival columnist hadn’t declared war! No sooner had my first column appeared, than The Squire let loose on me. The Squire is the gossip columnist at The Irish People. I don’t know who he is, of course, because his scathing column is anonymously written. But I loathe him.
     A couple of years ago, he went to town on a friend of mine, when her marriage was in trouble. Her celebrity husband had been having an affair, and that despicable man at The Irish People ran the sordid details for weeks in The Squire.
     Anyway, he had the nerve to attack me! I had merely pointed out the stupidity of professional footballers, getting involved with big brand sponsorship. Fashion, in particular. I mean, I’m a huge sports fan. I’m just getting a bit tired of seeing my football heroes modelling briefs. Not to put too fine a point on it, I only want to see balls going into the back of the net!
     But back to The Squire. Whoever he is, he’s picked the wrong girl for a fight. Because, as I said before, this girl isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty.
     Thing is, the whole thing has escalated, and it’s turned into this weekly war of words. It seems everyone is following us. Broadcast media, social media, you name it. Which is a lot of pressure!
Of course, I’m absolutely determined to win. There is no way I’m going to let this arrogant slime, whoever he is, get the better of me.
     The other exciting thing that’s happened, is that I’ve met somebody. He is seriously hot! Derry Cullinane. Tall (the guy must be a foot taller than me), dark and dapper. He’s actually a fashion writer for The Irish People. Which is a bit weird, I must admit. But this man is not only comfortable in his own skin, I think he actually enjoys being surrounded by women. Although maybe it’s not that shocking. He’s definitely a bit of a player.
     Funny thing about our first meeting. I was covering Ladies Day at The Galway Races, and this guy steps back on my foot. He apologised, but he had the cheek to suggest that I might have been standing too close to him! Anyway, when I bumped into him again later that day, he told me he’d read Side Swipe‘s racing tips and had lost €1000!
     He asked me straight out who wrote Side Swipe, by the way. I told him I hadn’t a clue. Pretended I was just there to write about the fashion. There was no way I was owning up to getting that one wrong!
     I nearly blew it though. We met a few weeks later, through mutual friends. When he told me he worked for The Irish People, I started ranting about how much I hated The Squire. You’ve never seen anyone change a topic of conversation so fast. It’s a wonder he asked me out at all.
     I don’t really understand why he did. You have no idea, we are complete opposites. I just don’t think I’m his type at all.
But right now, I deserve a bit of fun in my life.
And after my last boyfriend, I have no intention of getting hurt again.
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My Inspiration for

Going Against Type

I OFTEN wonder when I read a book I love, just where the author got their inspiration. But then, inspiration is something we all need every day, isn't it? Whether we're an author, or an artist, or a dancer, a teacher, plumber, doctor, mechanic, carpenter...a parent. Especially the last one!!
So I'm delighted to be able to share a little about myself and where I got my inspiration for my debut. 

As you've probably gathered from my biography (About Sharon page), I have a background in journalism, and worked as a features writer for national newspapers after I left college. It was a hugely varied job, which I loved.
I married a fellow journalist, and I was lucky enough to be able to take a substantial break from paid work, when my children were small.
Down the years I did a lot of writing, including short stories for magazines and competitions. Sometimes I got lucky. I also attempted a lot of novels. The back of my wardrobe is full of half-finished, awful stuff, that should never see the light of day!
By the time I was really ready, it seemed natural for me to write about what I knew.
Going Against Type is a romantic comedy, set in the world of Dublin-based national newspapers. But I drew my inspiration from the 1940s Hollywood film, Woman of the Year, which starred Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey. They were a terrific on-screen pair.
In Woman of the Year, Hepburn plays a high brow pundit, who rubbishes sport in one of her columns. Tracey is a sports columnist who leaps to defend his beloved sport and in turn, attacks Hepburn’s views, and the sparring begins. In the film, they meet quite quickly and despite knowing who the other person is, they fall in love.
In Going Against Type, I turned the stereotypes around. So Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan is the sports buff. At the beginning of the story, she is given a chance to write the new, anonymous sports column, Side Swipe.
My hero, Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer and gossip columnist, The Squire for the rival paper. He’s sophisticated, man-about-town and a bit of a playboy. They fall in love, and that’s where the fun starts.  
While that whole build up was great fun to write, it was also quite difficult. I needed to make sure that Charlotte and Derry’s columns were very sharp and acerbic. I wanted to paint a perfect contrast between their relationship via their columns – and their personal relationship together. And of course it meant there was more at stake.
The hardest columns to get right were Charlotte’s, but she was a wonderful character to write. I hugely admire people who are sporty, and I wanted Charlotte to be very different from me.  I didn’t want anyone to think I was writing bits of me into my heroine.  
So I did a lot of research. I read a lot of sports columnists, then I tried to put myself into the head of a feisty, twenty-something woman, working in an area largely dominated by men.
Her columns took a lot of writing and re-writing. I wanted them to be funny and very controversial. As her columns got better, Charlotte came to life on the page. In the end, she felt like a real person; somebody I had known a long time. And I liked her.
A lot of people are surprised when they see that my hero is a gossip columnist and fashion writer. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule, but mainly these are areas in journalism that tend to be dominated by women.
Apart from wanting to shake things up, I wanted to write a strong male character, who is completely comfortable in his own skin, and his fabulous tailor made suits! He is manly, yet completely relaxed with having a female boss and working in a features department, surrounded by women. Actually, he likes that a lot!
I know it’s a cliché, but writing this book was a huge learning experience. Before I started to write, I armed myself with the tools: the nuts and bolts of novel structuring.
I knew I had a good story. And I'm grateful to Tirgearr Publishing for wanting to publish it. I loved writing
Going Against Type. I hope you love reading it.

Hugs & xx
Sharon.