Amanda Bentley has always dreamed of being a barrister…
But as a platinum blonde bombshell from the wrong side of town, with a perfect tan and sleek high heels, she doesn’t exactly look the part – or fit in with the brash public school boys and cold posh girls of Newcastle Crown Court’s robing room. Amanda’s never been one to back down from a challenge, and so when she wins a prestigious pupillage following law school, she’s determined to make the most of her chance – and make all her dreams come true.
Only three things stand in her way: Sid Ryder – the sexy, irresistible barrister who she absolutely cannot, under any circumstances, sleep with. At all. Marty Gregg – her smarmy law school nemesis, who she's in direct competition with for the top job. And her big, dark secret that could jeopardise everything she's worked so hard for.
Who said that following the laws of attraction was going to be easy…
I'm so delighted to be reviewing this book which is published today on kindle. I have been following Roxie on Twitter (@toodletinkbaby) for a long time now. Whenever there was a courtroom scene in a soap or tv drama we could always ask Roxie if it was portrayed accurately or taken with a pinch of salt. Roxie is a barrister,yes really! So there is no one more qualified to write about a young girl's experiences during her last year before qualifying for the bar.
Roxie did say she was writing a book but I had no idea what it was about I remember wondering how she managed to find the time to write a book with such a demanding job.
When I heard she had not only finished her book but found a publisher I was so happy for her, so look out writers there's a new kid on the block and she's good.
At first glance you would expect this book to be Chick Lit, and I suppose it is. It's an easy read mainly because you are eager to find out what happens.
Amanda's childhood has not been one any one of us would wish to have. As a result of this she made a decision when she was fifteen years old. She was sure she had made the right one but other people had to suffer he consequences of this decision and that prayed on her mind even years later.
Nine years on and Amanada has to obtain a pupilage at a law firm to complete her final year in order to become a barrister. She has entered a very competitive profession where it's every man and woman for themselves.
The characters in this book are very well drawn. Marty, who wants to be the one the law firm keeps on is a smarmy vile individual who you just want to see falling flat on his face throughout the book.
Heidi, Amanda's best friend is supportive and is the one person she can trust with the secrets of her past. Sid is, well ...swoon...he's lovely!
As we follow Amanda through her final year we learn that bullying happens everywhere and that if you can hold your head high and stand up to them it makes them weak.
Amanda is overwhelmed at first by her fellow workers who have been brought up in a privileged background where money talks, where it matters how well known your family is and where you come from. She cannot compete with that but she has came through too much in her life to let those people stop her from reaching her goal.
I enjoyed this book so much. I don't want to go into too much of the story as I'm sure it would spoil your enjoyment. It's always good to find new authors and I hear that Roxie is writing her second novel right now. She has also written a post for you to read.
If anyone reading this has ever thought they would love to write a book,Roxie gives us really good advice here, it's well worth reading.
Thank you for the post Roxie.
The Law of Attraction
Losing The B-Plot…
Back in 2009 when I first started writing my debut novel, The Law of Attraction, I had absolutely no idea how to write a book. I had a great idea for one, involving a working-class blonde bombshell becoming a barrister, but no idea about story arcs, characterisation, sub-plots or any of that. I wrote the first three chapters of this book and didn’t do anything else on it until 2014.
In that time, I researched how to write novels. I made some absolutely amazing author friends on Twitter who gave me advice, guidance and lots of laughs (usually involving Grease 2 gifs, but we don’t need to go there). If it wasn’t for them, this book wouldn’t be getting published, I can tell you that right now. It took me years, and lots of brightly coloured, intricately planned diagrams of how my book would be plotted before I started writing it again.
Amanda Bentley, the protagonist, goes on ‘a journey’ over the course of the novel, which spans 12 months. She’s a different person at the end of the novel to who she was at the beginning. She goes from A to B. Yep, got all that. Brilliant. That’s how all novels go, right? Well, yes…but it was all justa bit, you know…2D.
I’d already planted a bit of a foundation for a B-story, or sub-plot, in the first draft of the novel, but not fully committed to it. “Oh, well that’s a bit interesting,” I thought. “But it’s maybe a bit too dark to explore further and I’m too scared to develop it.” Even when I finished the novel and submitted to agents, I felt confident about the book, but the sub-plot issue niggled at me. It just wasn’t quite right. When my dream agent, Sarah Manning, requested the full manuscript after a few hours of sending the first three chapters to her, I was beside myself with excitement – even more so when she read the entire thing after two days and said she wanted to speak to me on the phone.
She LOVED the book (LOTS of OMGs). However, she said in order to represent me, I’d need to develop the sub-plot, confirming the gut feeling I’d felt all along. She completely ‘got’ the novel and what needed to be done with it. Over the next six weeks I shed the fears I had about the B-story and revised the entire thing. Thankfully, Sarah loved it and said I’d “worked magic” on it.
I learned a valuable lesson. It’s all well and good getting a character from A to B, but if you don’t have a vehicle to get them there, it’s all a bit pointless…and that vehicle is usually the B-story/sub-plot. A relevant B-story connects the character to the action and provides a link to their journey. It turns a story from 2D into 3D; from black and white into full-blown technicolor. Whether it’s a love story, backstory, something which exposes or brings out the motivation or insecurity of the main character – it makes the story real.
In my case, the sub-plot fleshed out Amanda’s character and explained her motivations and why she was the way she was. Without that, it was just a story about a girl becoming a barrister. Fun, yes – but you root for her as a character much more when you understand what her background is. My agent gave me the courage to develop my sub-plot, and I’m so glad she did. The book is much better for it. The foundations were there, screaming to jump out and be explored.
When I started planning my second novel, the sub-plot was one of the first things I thought about. When I read other novels, it’s one of the first things I look out for. I immediately start thinking ‘what will the main character get from this?’, ‘what is relevant here?’ and ‘what does the author want us to see?’. In a novel I read recently, I actually found the sub-plot more fascinating than the main plot. The character’s background and motivations were so interesting, I found myself more interested in that than the action in the novel.
We all have stories behind us, making us the way we are. Characters in novels are no exception. They are complex, real, messy and flawed. That’s what makes them fascinating and real. I really enjoyed creating the character of Amanda Bentley; she made me laugh, cry and cringe, for all these reasons. In Latin, ‘Amanda’ means ‘this girl must be loved’ and by the end of the book, I’d like to think that she is.