IS THAT ME IN YOUR BOOK?
It’s one of those things non-writers think writers do all the time: put the people we know into our fiction. Well, sometimes we do, and sometimes we don’t. About 20 years ago, I wrote a novel which was, partly, inspired by a dream I had, which involved a fuckbuddy of mine, belonging to a motorbike gang (which he didn’t) and fucking me up the arse in front of all of them (which he hadn’t). Having had the dream, I wrote the book, and changed my friend’s name and all the rest of it, but I did let him know about the dream and how the story did, sort of, feature a version of him. He was actually quite pleased because, he said, the character was a lot cooler than he was. Some years later he told me that he’d seduced a girl by giving her a copy of the book and explaining that one of the main characters was ‘based on’ him…
A bit more recently, I only realised some time after publication that the hero in a short story I had written didn’t just look like someone I had an enjoyable encounter or two with twenty years ago, but actually had his first name, as well. But, again, I did make him incredibly cool (and much more rich and famous and, erm, sexually inventive than he actually was – or is, given that I have never seen or heard of him since). And the name is fairly common, and the physical description more a matter of height, hair colouring and style of dress rather than That Very Distinctive Tattoo/Scar/Extra Head. So should the real person ever read the story, he would hopefully not mind enough to sue…
Damn right I’m not saying who it is, or what the story was, or who published it.
Because Spring In My Step is set among Morris dancers, of whom I know loads, and is a story which necessitated a moderately big cast of minor characters – Morris dancers belong to teams of at least eight people on the whole – I did have a few panicky moments of trying to make sure that I hadn’t called anyone in the book after anyone I knew or, if I had, that it was nice and obvious that ‘Ethelred’ in the story was a completely, totally and utterly different creature to any real-life ‘Ethelred’ I might ever have met. I hope I succeeded.
(There is no one in Spring In My Step Called Ethelred. Nor do I know anyone by that name. Put those lawyers’ phone numbers down.)
We made our way quickly into the ring of couples just as the caller was outlining the steps of the dance for the benefit of those who either didn’t know it or had forgotten the sequence. Then the music started, and we were off. And it was probably the most erotic experience I ever had with all my clothes on. There wasn’t any actual groping on either side: both of us had better manners than to go in for anything quite as crass as that. Also, obviously, there was the fact that we both knew we shouldn’t really be dancing together, and people were going to be looking at us. Somehow, in a nasty sort of way, that made it even dirtier and more intense. I was incredibly aware of his fingertips, of the heat of his body, whether he was behind me, turning me or swinging me, face to face. I kept wanting to look up into his eyes and forcing myself not to. If I looked him in the eye, I would see the same sort of overriding, consuming desire that I felt, and that might be a little bit more than I could take right now.
Round the circle we both went; slide, sway, turn, forward and back, close and then apart and then close again. Neither of us was putting a foot wrong; not a single stumble or wrong turn. It was just like before, just like I’d known, somehow, that it would be if we ever danced this dance. We were in perfect harmony while the music was playing and I wished it would never stop. My lips were tingling, my heart rate double the time of the band, and I don’t think I have ever wanted to kiss someone quite so much.
When Cath meets Robbie for the first time, she decides to hold back on telling him she’s a Morris dancer who’s about to be featured in a TV programme about contemporary British culture. She’s not expecting more than a one-night stand in the first place, so there’s no need to complicate things. However, what started out as a bit of fun looks like it could turn into something more, as the two of them find their mutual attraction too strong to resist.The documentary crew are on the hunt for juicy controversies in the run up to the May Day festival at Waterleigh Bridge, and it seems that Robbie has a secret of his own. If he and Cath find out the truth about one another, will it bring them closer or tear them apart?
Sallyanne Rogers has written articles for adult magazines including Forum in the past, and has previously worked on market stalls selling vintage clothes and magazines. This inspired her first novella for Xcite, Midwinter Heat. She has also been a morris dancer for about 15 years.
Her website is sallyannerogers0112.wordpress.com and she is on Twitter @dswsallyanne and on Facebook as Sallyanne Rogers (there is more than one person by that name, though)