Thursday, August 25, 2011

Author of the Week: Louise Wise.

Louise Wise
Author of A Proper Charlie

Although on the surface A Proper Charlie seems like a light-hearted romantic comedy it delves into the dark side of prostitution on the London Streets. Based very loosely on Jack the Ripper the police become alarmed when prostitutes begin to go missing, and tabloids are thrust into a race for the best headline. Charlie (Charlotte) Wallis envisions herself being a journalist at London Core, unfortunately she’s nothing more than the office gofers. A new boss means fresh beginnings – and someone to impress. She dresses as a hooker and sets about getting The Big Story. But hang on … isn’t that her new boss kerb-crawling? Charlie the Investigator? Heaven help us all!

Louise Wise was born in Northampton, England (where the late Princess Diana grew up). A Proper Charlie is her second novel, the first is called Eden, is a straight romance in a science-fiction setting. She’s an active blogger and by day works as a pharmacist.

What age group is you book geared towards?
Sixteen to sixty.

Into which genre would you say your book falls?
Contemporary Fiction.
Tell us a little about your book?
During writing Eden I discovered chick lit and found I really enjoyed the style. I love books to be realistic at the same time though, and so didn’t want to write about shopping, shoes and anything too “girly” and so when a copy-cat Jack the Ripper type nutter hit the headlines I came up with an idea of Charlie Wallis who means well but gets things wrong. Charlie’s background is a sad one (she grew up in a care home) and really all she wants is security and acknowledgment.  I love her.

A PROPER CHARLIE – part review from Amazon:
A Proper Charlie is Charlotte Wallis, a girl who isn't entirely sure what she wants to do with her life career wise. She knows she's insecure due to her parentless background and clings on to men for all the wrong reasons. She's had a poor upbringing and little education but knows she can do better. She sets out to "prove herself" when local prostitutes begin to go missing by researching them and writing an article. But the prostitutes become her friends and so when another of them goes missing, it becomes personal to her. 
Her boss, Ben Middleton, has suffered a bereavement and family breakdown. His mother has died, and his volatile father and head-strong sister have become estranged. He hires a private investigator to find her, and the PI discovers she befriended a prostitute - the same prostitute that went missing. Ben is worried about his sister, and goes out looking for her. 

Unbeknown to Ben and Charlie they meet several times on the streets. At work they both feel an attraction, but Ben feels Charlie's too modern and "out there" for him, in turn Charlie thinks Ben wouldn't look twice at an ordinary office worker such as her. 

And then Ben becomes a suspect for the missing prostitutes... It's an excellent story. It has to be read! Funny and profound all at once.
What is your favourite scene in your book? Can we have a snippet?
Charlie watched as he fell back onto her settee, and then straddled his lap. Oh my God! What was she doing! She was having an out-of-body-experience, she thought. Only she wasn’t dead. She was alive. Very much so. She wriggled against him wonderingly and excitement flared in her body as his own rose to her teasing.
  His lips parted on a groan, and his Cadbury eyes blazed. She was rocking on Ben Middleton’s lap like she was in a third-rate porn movie. Rocking on the man of her dreams’ hardening lap.
  A criminal’s lap.
  She had recognised him the instant he pulled up beside her in the Audi. The hair curling around the ears, the way he held the angle of his head, the slight slip-up on the stupid Scottish accent. Oh, yes, here at her disposal was Ben Middleton. And boy, was she going to see justice done!
  But then he kissed her.
  She felt her body relax like she had been steeling herself against this passion but had now given up. His tongue entered her mouth, and when she met it with her own she knew she was lost. The kiss was explosive and volatile, and suddenly she was lying on the settee and he was on top. His hands were in her hair, as his tongue explored the moist softness of her mouth.
  She wasn’t setting him up in a honey-trap, he wasn’t an abductor or even Ben Middleton. She wasn’t a pretend prostitute, a journalist or Charlotte Wallis. They weren’t even people anymore. They’d melted and fused in a tangle of passionate chaos.
  She felt his hand mould around her breast; her jacket was open at the front revealing the plain white T-shirt. He pulled it up, clumsy and impatient in his desire, and this power she had over him drove her wild! Her flimsy bra was no barrier as her breast came alive under his inquisitive fingers. She moaned and arched towards him. That she’d hate herself afterwards; that he’d hate her didn’t seem to figure in her enflamed, glazed mind.
  Their unchecked passion was frightening. And all at once, he was on the floor and she on top, mouths still together, hands pulling at one another’s clothes.
  The telephone rang.
  Charlie froze. Then all her senses came flooding back. She scrambled up, and ignoring the phone patted her jacket pockets for the knife.
  ‘What’s the matter?’ Ben croaked, he didn’t appear to hear the phone. He looked as soppy as she felt. He held out a hand to her. ‘Come back.’
  ‘Condom,’ she said, and forced a smile. She felt sick. Sick with that she’d lost control so easily. He’s a criminal, she reminded herself. He abducted Sally Readman.
  She pointed the knife at him. ‘I’m armed.’
  ‘Charlie…?’ Ben lowered his hand. He stared from the knife to her. ‘Is this a joke?’
  Charlie’s chin trembled and tears spilled from her eyes. ‘I’m deadly serious.’
  Ben sat up. ‘And I’m deadly confused. One minute we were… and the next you’re holding a knife to my face.’
  ‘It’s a lock-knife, and it isn’t in your face.’ She moved forward and bent slightly so she was at his level. ‘This is at your face.’
  Ben flinched, and Charlie swallowed. She tried to stop her tears from falling and her chin from wobbling, but she couldn’t. She rubbed her nose and almost stabbed herself in the eye.
The phone stopped ringing and the answer machine kicked in. ‘Hi, Lottie, it’s Andy. Just to say, I forgive you and I’ll be home by Friday. Get the beers in, eh? Bye darlin’.’
They both stared at the phone, then Ben scrambled up and grabbed her hand around the knife. Charlie brought up her knee like all girls are taught.
  ‘Ben Middleton,’ she said as Ben sank to the floor once again with an anguished cry of pain. She held the knife out warningly towards him. ‘I didn’t listen to the rumours about you. I believed your innocence,’ she swallowed on some emotion, ‘b-believed you. God, how stupid. I e-even felt sorry for you!’
  Ben stared up at her from where he knelt; his face still contorted in pain.
  ‘You s-seemed sad a-and haunted by something. Now I know what it was…’ her voice broke and her tears fell freely. ‘Guilt!’
  ‘I don’t under –’ he began. His expression was changing to bewilderment. He began to stand.
  ‘No!’ she shouted. She moved towards the phone. ‘Stay where you are. I’m making a citizen’s arrest!’
  Ben’s confusion was swapped with shock. ‘You can’t think I had anything to do with the abductions? Charlie, I was cleared! It was a misunderstanding, that’s all!’
  Slowing standing, Ben held out his hands in a gesture of innocence. ‘OK, I know how this looks, but I don’t normally pick up prostitutes. The only reason I did this time was because I knew it was you.’
  She glared at him and he coloured.
  ‘That didn’t come out right.’
  ‘Sure didn’t.’ She looked away to reach for the telephone and Ben moved in, quickly grabbing the wrist that was holding the knife. Charlie yelled angrily and brought her knee up again, but this time he was ready, catching her leg between his own.
  The close contact reminded her of their earlier desire and embarrassed her. She pushed against him, but he easily held her and the knife slipped from her fingers to fall noiselessly to the carpet.
Breathing heavily, Ben pushed her away from him onto the settee, so he was free to pick up the knife unchallenged. ‘I’m not the abductor,’ he said. ‘I don’t suppose I’m any more a kidnapper than you’re a hooker, eh? What’s going on Charlie?’
  ‘Maybe that’s what you could tell me!’ she shouted at him, but watched miserably as he folded the lethal blade away and pocketed it.
  Ben nodded towards the phone. ‘I trust you not to call the police. You wouldn’t want to be arrested for wasting police time, would you?’ He stared at her, rubbing the back of his neck. ‘What were you doing out on the streets? It was you in my car last week, wasn’t it?’
  Charlie was shocked. He knew it was her? What was going on? Her head began to pound, and her heart-rate gathered pace. Knowing what was coming, she tried to calm herself.
  ‘This is so weird,’ he said. He paced one way, and then the other.
  Charlie said nothing. She couldn’t. She was battling with her breathing. She continued to stare at him.
  ‘I didn’t connect that it was you until after we’d sorted out the overly large stationery order.’ He finally stopped pacing and turned to look at her. ‘Stop looking at me like that! I’m not the abductor. The idea is lunacy.’ He gave a low chuckle. It didn’t hold any humour, but to Charlie it didn’t matter. Her hackles rose. ‘Madness,’ he muttered. He moved towards the armchair as if to sit down, but Charlie launched herself from the settee and began striking him on the chest and shoulders.
  ‘Don’t you dare laugh at me!’ she yelled.
  With all the fist waving and batting of hands, her fist connected with something hard, and with a grunt Ben was knocked backwards against the chair. The momentum caused him to sit down hard so that the chair went backwards, and with him in it, tipped all the way over.
Charlie cupped her mouth in shock. Ben, his feet in the air, didn’t move. Oh, God, had she killed him?

Have your characters or writing been inspired by friends/ family or by real-life experiences?
As I said earlier the idea of writing about prostitutes and the streets of London came about by a real news story.

Can you sum the book up in one sentence?
A passionate story of mistaken identities, misunderstandings and class divide.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
I’ve three main characters: Charlie, Ben and Melvin. I love them all equally. Charlie because it’s her story and she’s so vulnerable but doesn’t realise it. Ben (love interest) is a bit of a geek and feels a little intimidated by Charlie. Melvin – well every girl should have a GBF (gay best friend) and although he’s a little arrogant he’s also adorable.

Which comes first for you – characters or plot?
Neither. I think of a story line, then the characters and then the plot. My stories are all character led.

Who is your publisher and where are your books available? Are there e-books and hard copies available?
A PROPER CHALIE is available as an eBook or paperback from any on-line (paper back is available in stores too) such as Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and so forth.