When I finished Patently in Love, I found that Marshall’s sister Stevie was still clamouring around in my head, trying to tell me that she was more than Marsh’s off-the-wall little sister. So, in the end I sat and listened to her.
Having a Ball is about how Stevie tries to show her brother, and herself, that she can look after herself. She takes on a job organising a charity ball for a group of retired ladies in North Oxford. There she meets her brother’s old housemate, Tom, whom she’s always had a crush on. The trouble is, he still thinks of her as a frightened teenager.
Tom is overworked and heading for a nervous breakdown. He’s been working extra hard to get a promotion so that he can finally prove himself to his mother. When Tom is forced to take some time off to recharge, his mother persuades him to help with the ball, which puts him into contact with Stevie. As they work together, he realises he genuinely cares for Stevie, but he knows he’s going to leave if he gets his promotion and Stevie has been abandoned by too many people already.
Stevie is cautious about love, but she can’t help falling for Tom and his haphazard family. So what is she going to do when he leaves the country to take up his new job?
I wrote the first draft of ‘Having a Ball’ (or The Stevie Book – which is how I always think of it) whilst on maternity leave with my second child – she was late arriving, which gave me a chance to finish the draft! Since then I’ve hacked it up, removed 20000 words, added about 12000 new words, changed a few bits around here and there and put it all back together. I think it works now. So, it’s time to start submitting it.
Here’s hoping that someone picks it up.
Update: ‘Having a Ball’ will be available from Uncial Press in Spring 2013!