What I know

I wrote last week that my book is not autobiographical or yet another tired look at the gritty scandal, greed not to mention sex in the city (damn, there goes 90% of my potential readership. Fair enough, 99%). Well, not really, anyway. Or perhaps, well okay, okay, it is just a wee bit (and before I obliterate my entire audience, fear not, there is some sex in it).

Of course when I decided to pen a novel I remembered rule number one of writing. Write what you know. Hmm… this is gonna be tough, really tough. Naturally, for me anyway, this ruled out quite a bit indeed. Let’s see now, I’m not very well going to write a legal crime thriller, not mad on sci-fi, fantasy, or erotic fiction (again, there goes my audience). It would preclude imparting any particular expertise on say sport, farming, cooking, sewing, knitting, gardening, weeding (scratch that, i’ve been known to pull a weed or two), mountain climbing, spelunking, BeDazzling, or say the history of Turkmenistan. So there we have it, I couldn’t write a story about a farming, Turkmenistani ex-footballer-turned-french chef with a penchant for sequins who went climbing the Alps, fell into a cave and had to weed himself out. (Or maybe I could??) But you the picture. There’s a LOT I don’t know.

So what do I know? Ah, I have it! I was, a banker. I’ll write about the City! Excellent, good start. But really, analysing capital structures, bond spreads and relative value charts hardly makes for a page-turner. So perhaps a tawdry tale of an ambitious woman climbing the greasy career pole forced to compromise her morals and integrity in the sexist, testosterone-soaked pit of the trading floor. Yawn. (Okay, so there may be trace elements of this, but they don’t dominate.) Frankly, I’m over women playing the sexism card, or any other card for that matter and generally tend to shun any sort of ‘-ism’. Truthfully, in my 12 years banking I was never coerced into a strip club, forced to drink myself into oblivion ‘to be one of the boyz’, harassed (unless one counts jibes over my vast and girly shoe collection) nor to my knowledge paid less than my peers. (Here’s a hint, you don’t ask, you don’t get.) Too much noise is made about career inequality. Credit where it’s due, with the odd exception here or there, I worked with decent people and largely managed to avoid some of the darker tales one hears about the City. Contrary to popular myth, we’re not the spawn of Satan as the press or Vince Cable would have everyone believe. (Well, not all of us, anyway.)

Wow. I’ll get off my soapbox now. Apologies for the tangent.

Anyway, that is not to say my years in the City lacked drama. I experienced my fair share of challenges, scandal, intrigue, excitement, job uncertainty (and loss), some unique to banking, but none of which I would trade or regret. My time here made me the person I am today; a chapter in my life I look upon with fondness. It provides the ideal setting for my story and perfect launchpad for, quite literally, my new chapter now.





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