Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m English, married with three adult sons and live in a suburb of London.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
I wanted to write about a young woman dealing with the fact that her mother wished her ill even after death.
How do you create your characters?
They tend to create themselves. I put someone in a situation and work out how they would react from their back-story.
What inspires and what got your started in writing?
I used to tell myself stories as a way to get to sleep. When I learnt to read and write it seemed natural to write them down.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
I see a situation or recall a case from my past (I was a community mental health counselor) and put a powerful character (usually female) in that situation.
What do you like to read?
I’m in a bit of a lull at the moment but I tend to read crime novels and thrillers.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Desperation by D.W. Carver
Kate thought that once her mother died, the pain she had caused would end. Then she discovered that a letter had been sent to a prominent television presenter on her mother’s orders taunting him with the fact that Kate now held photographs which would ruin him and probably lead to his arrest. Suddenly Kate is running for her life. She seeks help from Rob, a much older man whom she has only known for a very short time. While at his London apartment, she rescues a teenage girl, Vickie, from a street pimp and over the following days finds a bond growing between them that feels like a lot more than friendship; but with both their lives now in danger there is no time for thoughts of anything but escape and survival.
At the edge of an icy pavement, facing the street and bouncing on her toes, Kate almost fell
when a male voice close behind her said quietly, ‘You’re about to get into trouble.’ She spun round and a man in his early forties was smiling at her, holding up a shoebox-sized parcel wrapped in metallic red paper. It was tied with a large bow on top in the same colour ribbon. He offered it saying, ‘I would strongly advise you to take this and smile.’
Kate squawked, ‘What?’
The man inclined his head to the left. ‘The police officer, who’s been sitting in his car watching you, has just zipped his topcoat. So if you stay here, in about five minutes you are going to be arrested for soliciting…don’t look!’
Kate managed to keep her head still and reached for the parcel as she asked, ‘What are you talking about?’
The man said, ‘In weather like this the vice squad allow about fifteen minutes for young women who are new to this scene to generate the courage to walk into that club. More and they start to wonder. Three times that, like the forty-five minutes you’ve been wandering up and down here, and you get nicked.’ Kate took a shuffling pace backwards and the man went on. ‘I’m going to need the parcel back. It’s a pair of Zanotti sneakers for my daughter’s sixteenth and much as I want to help you, at that price my generosity stops.’ He pointed beyond her right shoulder. ‘There’s a café here. We can get out of this weather and have a hot drink. Now it would be a good idea to nod, smile then give me a daughterly peck on the cheek.’
Feeling as if she had entered some kind of alternate reality, Kate leaned in, kissed the man’s cheek then managed not to flinch as he put his arm round her waist.
When the café door closed behind them, the man said, ‘To stop you worrying about GHB or any of the other rapists’ friends’ drugs; I’ll sit at that table in the window and you can get the drinks. I’ll have straight coffee, milk no sugar.’ Kate just stared at him and the man made shooing gestures. ‘It’s not a good idea for me to give you money: that excites the constabulary far too much. If you don’t have any cash, just tell the guy I’ll pay him later. He knows me.’
Kate placed his package on the table and walked towards the counter, mind barely functioning. She ordered their drinks then looked at the man’s reflection in the mirror finish coffee machine, forcing her thoughts to take shape. She registered expertly barbered hair and a topcoat that fitted much too well to be off the peg. However, by his comment, the Zanotti shoes were a serious investment so he wasn’t dripping with money.
Two coffee cups slid across the counter into her line of vision and she picked them up, smiled atthe bored looking man facing her then murmured, ‘What am I doing’ and started back across the small room.
She sat down, shoulders almost touching the misted window. The man glanced at his coffee and then into her eyes. Kate realized he was classically handsome almost film star level. She began to unzip her coat, looking down without seeing it, mind not on what she was revealing until much too late.
The man said, ‘well now, a boy’s shirt, generic school tie and a well-used school blazer, buttoned boys’ side. So, as I’d stake my reputation on tonight being your first time; what’s the history: your little brother’s casts off or charity shop?’
Telling herself she wasn’t going to respond, Kate said, ‘Charity shop.’ Then, ‘You have a reputation?’
The man shrugged. ‘In certain circles.’
‘Kinky club ones?’
The man grinned then shook his head. ‘Financial ones. I’m an accountant.’
‘Who keeps an eye out for the vice squad?’
‘Just as a hobby.’
Kate released a slow breath then asked, ‘Was all that about the police true?’
The man nodded. ‘I’ve seen it happen. My company own a flat across the road, second floor and I spend a couple of nights a week in town and, well…look out of the window a lot.’
Kate said, ‘That you know the vice cops waiting times and how long newbies spend trudging up and down is weird or heavyweight boredom. Which is it?’
The man thought for a moment then said, ‘A bit of both I suppose; but I hope it’s mostly down to boredom.’
Kate couldn’t stop herself returning his smile. Then she asked, ‘So how long do we sit here?’
The man shrugged, saying, ‘Until that vice cop gets bored or picks another target.’ He glanced out of the window. ‘There was nobody else walking up and down so we have to hope that the cold makes him move fairly soon.’
‘And if he’s been told to sit there until he can make an arrest?’
‘Then I walk you to a bus stop or the underground.’ He waited, watching Kate’s face keenly then said, ‘That’s a relief.’
‘You didn’t suggest you came back to my flat.’
Kate shook her head. ‘It never crossed my mind.’
Kate frowned, saying, voice ready for anger, ‘Did you think I was a prostitute?’
‘Not really but I’ve been wrong in the past.’
Kate told herself to calm down then leaned back in her seat as she asked, ‘have you done this before: rescuing a woman from the cops?’
The man shook his head; stared into his coffee cup and said, ‘I started watching the club’s comings and goings for something to occupy my time then I got interested in the whole scene. It didn’t take long to work out what the vice cops were doing.’ He raised his head and continued, staring into Kate’s eyes, ‘Or to decide that what I ….wanted wasn’t going to be with one of the club girls. And there is no way I would ever put my personal details onto websites. So…’
‘So you watch out for newcomers.’ The man nodded and Kate could see that he was working hard at maintaining eye contact. She asked, ‘Did you ever get what you wanted?’
‘I’ve come close.’
‘You must know this is discipline night for that club so is that it?’ Kate said. ‘You want to cane a girl’s bum?’
The man hesitated then said, ‘That’s right.’ Kate’s eyes and hand moved towards the red package before she realised what that would mean to him then looked into his face expecting anger. Instead, she saw small embarrassment. He said, ‘I could never persuade myself that punishing my daughter physically would be anything but a sexual act, so I never have.’
Kate murmured, ‘I didn’t mean…well…’
‘Natural enough for your mind to go that way,’ the man said. ‘God knows, mine has; specially when she brought her friends in and they got into seven shades of mischief. But I’ve never done anything about it.’ He glanced out into cold darkness. ‘’It seemed like a bit of an omen when I first realised what was going on here; well one night a week anyway.’ He pulled a wry face then continued, ‘I went into the club a few times but found it was mostly couples; and the single girls were more or less a meat rack. Nothing overt of course or vice would close them down, but not something I wanted to be part of.’
‘So you keep an eye out for newcomers; seems reasonable.’ Feeling slightly dizzy and almost sure she shouldn’t be doing this, Kate said, ‘If it’s show and tell time, I’m not gay or transsexual. Mostly I’m really happy being female although I think I might have a touch of body dysmorphia when the moon’s full or something like that.’ He returned her smile and she ploughed on, ‘I’m not looking for casual sex or money, just… hell, I don’t know exactly what I want; but this..’ she touched her school blazer. ‘This seems to be part of it: being dressed as a boy and getting punished as a boy.’ She swallowed hard then asked, ‘Does that make me what you’re looking for?’
The man smiled, a better one, then reached inside his coat and produced a black leather wallet. Opening it he said, ‘You could take a photograph of my driver’s license with your phone and I’ll give you my business card. It has a secure email address.’ He removed the licence and offered it. ‘That’s just a little safety for you. Maybe some encouragement to contact me when you’ve thought this through a bit more.’
Kate squinted at the card then reached for her mobile phone, saying, ‘That seems like a plan, Mr Robert Harrison.’
Kate felt bad about lying to her boyfriend, but not bad enough to stop doing it. He had accepted her ‘severe cold’ excuse, then the one about being forced to do overtime on pain of sacking. Then, she thought, the God of wannabe perverts had smiled down on her and he had been given a new project by his travel agency that meant two weeks in the Far East scouting hotels starting immediately. She knew the whole thing was foolish. Theirs wasn’t a deep or long standing relationship and going out with him two or three nights a week like always, shouldn’t have been a problem. Somehow, from the moment she had generated the courage to enter an internet café and organise an email account, even though she didn’t contact Rob that day, it had felt necessary to keep her mind and her life free of other emotional baggage. Kate sat staring at her part open sports bag and realised that even if he had become suspicious or demanding she would still be sitting here right now, legs weak, stomach painful and experiencing a mix of fear and sexual arousal that, for no reason she wanted to think about, fitted just right.
Sudden noise made her flinch.
She looked at the door and from behind it, Rob’s muffled voice asked, ‘Are you alright in
Kate smiled as if he could see her, nodded then realised he needed words.
‘Yes, ready now. Just remember what we agreed you’d say.’
He didn’t respond. She stood up, tugged the blazer and trousers straight then moved to the door and opened it. Rob stood to her right, the rattan cane held between two hands.
He cleared his throat then said, ‘You know why you’re here, Smith’
Kate said, ‘Yes sir.’
He pointed the cane at a low backed, padded chair in the centre of the room. ‘As your misconduct was so severe, I have decided to administer six strokes on your bare buttocks. Do you accept that?’
Kate managed, ‘Yes, sir.’
‘Then go to the chair and drop your trousers and underpants.’
Kate crossed the room as if traversing shallow water, stood for a moment with her groin touching the chair back then slowly unbuckled her belt. The trousers dropped and she hooked both thumbs into the waistband of her white trunks and drew them down before she could tell herself not to.
Rob said, voice thick, ‘Bend over.’
Kate did it.
Past the blood pounding in her head, she heard Rob groan as he folded the blazer and shirt back. The cane touched her buttocks: a slow hard caress then it withdrew. Kate opened her mouth as she had learned to do very young, heard the familiar sound and her lower body vibrated. Then the pain came: a scalding line a few inches below her coccyx. She almost cried out, didn’t quite and after a few seconds the pain came again and then again. On the sixth she heard her own voice; first not making sense and then too much.
Rob said, ‘Sorry I can’t right now and you told me you didn’t want that.’
Kate walked her hands up the chair’s close weave back until her spine was straight then turned, saying, ‘That’s so embarrassing. I didn’t mean to ask you to fuck me; it just popped out.’
Rob pointed at the dark stain at his groin. ‘You want to talk about popping out embarrassment?’
Kate realised what had happened, put a hand to her mouth and then spread the fingers to cover her face.
Rob went on, ‘If you laugh I might just die of shame.’
Kate lowered the hand saying, ‘So I don’t have to ask if it was good for you.’
Rob shook his head. ‘No you don’t.’
Kate put finger and thumb fractionally apart. ‘I was this close to an orgasm.’
Rob grinned, asking, ‘Would a few more strokes do it?’
Kate touched her bottom, winced theatrically and said, ‘Not right now. My bum’s on fire as it is.’
‘And such a pretty little bum.’
‘Thanks.’ Kate bent carefully and pulled up the trunks and trousers. As she buckled her belt she asked, not able to make eye contact with him, ‘Was I…was I what you needed?’
‘Absolutely; better than any fantasy. What about you?’ Kate nodded hard, tried to speak, found she couldn’t, offered the tiniest of smiles and turned towards the bedroom. Rob said, voice alarmed, ‘If
‘I hurt you too much, I’m sorry.’
Twisting the door handle, Kate said, ‘You didn’t. I loved it.’
As the door closed behind her, Kate found she was thinking about her mother. She slumped down on the bed, gasped, found a more comfortable sitting position then pushed away the usual inner response to thoughts of those days: her internal ‘la-la-la can’t hear you’ with mental fingers in ears, and invited the memories to come as fast as they liked. First it had been a slipper across her bare buttocks and lots of tears. As she grew older that changed to a bamboo cane bought specially and less tears, mostly none. And almost always, this happened soon after the things her mother called ‘frights’. The times she thought she had seen a familiar face in some crowd or heard a male voice call her name. Charity shops were visited. Her mother would purchase cheap wigs and old spectacles for herself and boys clothes for her daughter. And then for days, sometimes weeks, her mother would become Aunty Barbara and Kate would become James whenever they left the house and sometimes indoors too in case of surprise callers. And she could never play the boy well enough. Angry glares and muttering as they shopped was the first sign and Kate would realise with a hot feeling in her stomach that she was going to be punished as soon as they returned home. She pulled a face at her sports bag thinking that none of this was new. It wasn’t some dumb epiphany. She had always known where the need for wearing boys’ clothes and punishment came from. That the canings had aroused her sexually and usually led to masturbation behind the lavatory’s locked door while she rubbed her welts, so, she thought. Let’s hear it for paraphilia’s. But the simple fact that her mother was probably crazy had never been part of it all until now.
Rob’s muffled voice from the main room asked, ‘Are you crying?’
Kate called back, ‘No, laughing I think. I’m fine; better then fine actually.’