With a love of chick lit and of the fabulous seventies, I decided to combine the two and my That Seventies Series was born. As the title implies, it's all about the 70s and the challenges facing women at the time.
But it wasn't all bra burning and doom and gloom, there was a lot of laughter, too. I like to think I've captured this authentically.
To help get you into a 70s' state of mind, here's a little video I put together. It was so much fun finding the right sort of images and footage. That image of Burt Reynolds was a big hit back in the day - no really, it was.
Close to being evicted, this Surfer’s Paradise Meter Maid needs money, and fast. Lucky for her, he’s rolling in it. Not so lucky is the homicidal blonde he's married to doesn't like sharing.
Brenda’s life isn’t easy. Growing up with parents who were as larcenous as they were stupid, she spent her childhood fending for herself and life hasn’t changed a whole lot since.
Currently without a man gullible enough to fund her lifestyle she’s one step away from living on the streets, and it’s this that sees her walking the streets as a Surfer’s Paradise Meter Maid.
The upside of the job is that the gold lamé bikini she wears as a uniform attracts men like moths to a flame.
Enter Hilton Taylor, man about town, seemingly rich and definitely gullible. Unfortunately she hasn’t even managed to ‘top up his meter’ when she runs into his wife. Whether it’s the pills Hilton’s wife pops, or the alcohol she washes them down with, she’s Brenda’s worst nightmare; and one that could prove fatal.
Will Brenda snare Hilton, or will his wife succeed in introducing her to the bumper of that late-model Mercedes she drives? The odds of Brenda surviving, or worse having to get a proper job, aren’t looking good.
A cheating boyfriend, a boss who’s hitting on her, and revenge served seventies-style. Will moving three thousand miles away be far enough
to keep her safe?
Sam’s life is perfect until she finds out her boss wants to bed her and her boyfriend is bedding someone else. It’s not something she’s taking lying down. Fleeing to Australia to avoid her pay-back biting her on the arse; she’s making the most of being on The Pill when she runs into an Italian Stallion.
Only on sobering up does she discover he’s named his appendage for a popular deli meat and is perfect for a starring role in Planet of the Apes. Add to this his nasty habit of stalking, and once again Sam is in danger of being hurt by a man, this time physically.
Sick of looking over her shoulder, she’s close to swearing off men altogether when she meets Chris. This Australian is gorgeous and different to any man she’s ever met. So much so, there’s no way he’d ever be kicked out of bed for bad behaviour.
Before Sam can make up her mind about him, competition arrives in the form of a tiny blonde who’s cute on the outside but nasty to the core… Will Sam decide if Chris is as good as he looks, or will the new girl on the block steal that choice from her?
A mother who’s putting the hard word on her to get married, and a gene pool that’s ankle deep at best? Will six months in the city be long enough to find a husband who’s not related before the ceremony?
Out from under their mother’s watchful eye, Janey and her sister Maria are making the most of everything late-seventies Melbourne has to offer. And with Maria’s Catholicism being mainly for show, there’s no one to put the brakes on the lifestyle their mother had hoped to forestall when she’d sent the younger girl along as a chaperone of sorts.
With the gene pool in their small Victorian country town shallow enough your knees are definitely staying dry, neither wants to waste a minute of their six months in the city. They're on a mission to find husbands who are at least twice-removed relations. If this means a few of their mother’s rules need to be bent, then so be it.
Shame then it’s them helping a friend that has everything blowing up in their faces, throwing their mission into jeopardy and proving beyond doubt you can say as many hail Marys as you like and it won’t make a blind bit of difference to a bad boy cop who’s on a mission of his own.
She’s lost her soul mate. She doesn’t believe you get a second. Will the least likely candidate of all be able to change her mind?
Jennie Farrell always believed there was a happily ever after out there for everyone. Shame she’s missed out on her own. Rocking up in London with close friend Samantha, Jennie falls back on her long-ignored artistic skills to make ends meet. Her future is even looking bright when she runs into Rupert Smythe-Brown, an aristocratic prat used to getting his own way, no matter who gets hurt in the process.
Painted into a corner, Jennie turns feral and Rupert doesn’t know what’s hit him. Well he does, but for once he’s not enjoying it. Thank goodness she’s got Mark, a strapping six foot four Aussie bloke watching her back and keeping her out of trouble — at least when he’s not trying to get her into it.
Brush With Fame is a chuckle along, feel good book for any woman who’s ever wanted to fight back but hasn’t felt strong enough.
Her other half is soft in all the wrong places. She’s on the bones of her arse. Could freedom come in the unlikely form of a jar of pickled onions and a small tartan thermos?
For primary school teacher Vivienne, life has turned into one long detention. Stuck in a dead-end relationship, nothing’s working, especially Kenny her live-in boyfriend.
Viv isn’t sure why she snaps that Friday night. Is it that his foreplay will never rate a mention in Cosmo, or her having to spend yet another night on a couch infused with Chinese takeaways?
Perhaps it’s a bit of both that sees her bolting, reasoning anywhere is better than there. Now all she needs is a new job, a new home and a new life. A piece of cake, right?
Landing a live-in nanny role sorts two of these. Now all she has to deal with is a seven-year-old who’s an unnatural shade of blue, an over-zealous member of the British slap and tickle club and the rekindling of an old flame.
Will Viv’s patched-up new life be strong enough to resist her past?
A stolen nest egg, historic art thefts, and politically-charged B&D? Life's never boring when Brenda is around.
Brenda Munroe was mercenary even as a child. It was that or going hungry, or worse. From stealing school lunches, she’d moved onto bigger, better and even legal things. Life is finally looking up for her when her carefully created world comes crashing down. Stuck thousands of miles from home and broke, it’s going to take every ounce of her street smarts to survive this time.
Strapped for cash — and with a real aversion to the old nine-to-five — Brenda opens a residential school for girls, teaching them in weeks what it’s taken her years to master. Namely, how to get by on good looks and a bucket-load of charm.
Will her students be the only ones learning new skills, or will Brenda finally understand family’s about a whole lot more than the blood relations you’ve been lumbered with?
Strapped for Cash is a rollicking, laugh-out-loud book for any woman who’s ever wanted to take life by the scruff of the neck and shake the heck out of it.
While there are a lot of humans in my books, the list of stars doesn't end there. Here are just a few of the dogs that feature in the books as well as Charlie the Cougar, who is scarrier than any lap dog.
Friday Night Fever
Gentian Silver (that's blue to you and me)
Sapphire has a room at least five times the size of Sam’s. The bloody dog’s even got a double bed complete with a pale blue satin cover and bone-shaped pillows. A basket, full of balls, leather chews and assorted bits of fluff, sits next to the bed. The dog has a newer model telly than the girls have at the flat.
Jack Russell Terrier
Loves swimming and burying shoes
Sam absently walks back across the curved step. Monty follows, tight on her heels and up to his undercarriage in water. She swings around and starts the return journey. Monty doesn’t. She overbalances and does a headlong tumble into the pool.
John-John de Graaf
Pug - Fawn
Weight challenged, great balance
They hear yapping from the back of the house that makes its way towards them confirming for Sam that John-John is definitely not human. He flies around a corner and into the entrance hall. Once he clears the white carpet and hits the marble, he demonstrates cornering skills more commonly seen in competition-level speed skating.
Brush With Fame
Charlie the Cougar
Tuxedo Cat of Mixed Origins
Has been known to be vicious
“Charlie, out of there now,” she hisses at the large black and white cat who’s concentrating on sucking a pale yellow t-shirt into submission. He ignores her, the goofy look on his face proving beyond doubt that he’s entered his catnip zone.
Hates Polaroid cameras
While Jennie chats to their hostess and gets a feel for the style of painting she’s after, Sam takes some Polaroids of Peanut. This proves difficult when the micro dog explodes into a fluffed-up, bouncing, yapping mess each time the flash goes off and a photo pops out of the front of the camera. Sam gives up after three attempts and the small dog calms down.
She walks over and picks up the limp and sleepy pooch. Monroe hardly rouses, draping herself limply over Caroline’s arm. The little face is clear of a fringe, the hair pulled back tight and held in place with a pale pink bow. The eyes, nose and mouth look dark in comparison with the pure white fur. If it weren’t for those features and the bow, the dog would be borderline albino.
Strapped For Cash
Hates Charlie the Cat
Countess transforms from shivering and timid to pulling on her leash in an effort to reach the cat and rip it to shreds, but if Charlie’s concerned, he doesn’t show it. Rather than become a fluffed-up spitting ball of mean, he growls deep in his throat; on seeing his bum winding up in readiness to launch himself at the interloper, Brenda jumps between the pair.