GOING AGAINST TYPE
by Sharon Black
Some would say Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan has it all. Beautiful, smart, athletic and a great job working as a journalist – in the almost exclusively male sports department. But Charlotte is not quite as sure as she seems. Recently split from her overbearing boyfriend, she escapes for weekends, surfing in the Atlantic, and spends her free nights watching sports, roaring at the TV.
Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer, gossip columnist and sophisticated man-about-town. The go-to guy for any woman seeking expert advice on what fabulous outfit to wear for any given occasion. He’s also tall, dark, good looking – and straight! So what’s the snag? He has a track record of dating glamorous, vain and shallow women.
Charlie gets an opportunity to write a new column under the pen name Side Swipe, but is soon drawn into a war of words and wit with a rival paper’s columnist The Squire – and their verbal fireworks get readers and editors talking. Yet neither Charlie nor Derry knows just whom the opponent is…
When Charlotte and Derry meet at the Races, the attraction is instant. As their relationship develops, so much more proves at stake, than protecting their alter egos. But a blunder puts Charlotte’s job in jeopardy just as Derry’s past makes front page, and Charlotte begins to doubt her feelings.
When Side Swipe and The Squire are finally forced to reveal themselves, will they revert to type – or confound everyone’s expectations?
* * *
Buy Link: tirpub.com/gatype
Charlotte sat down, flipping over the coffee shop’s copy of The Irish People and skimming through a snippet in The Squire.
Style crimes. The Squire will fight them on the beaches, in the streets, in the shopping centres. He will never surrender.
Most of the perpetrators are sportspeople. I’m launching a crusade to name the shame the football chavs.
It’s time footballers banned all clothing associated with hip hop culture. Jewellery, baggy shorts, throwback jerseys, headphones, indoor sunglasses – all look ridiculous on players.
Or indeed on anyone over the age of seventeen.
Charlotte shook her head. The man was an idiot. Helen turned to the new waitress.
‘Julie, table four please.’ She loaded up the tray and then gave Charlotte her full attention.
‘So, did you not enjoy the date?’
‘Oh Helen, don’t get me wrong, he’s the perfect gentleman. You know, thoughtful and entertaining and completely relaxed with everyone. It was like Grand Central Station during the interval, but he also knew the director so we were invited back to the Green Room after the show. And I was completely out of my depth.
Helen sipped her coffee.
‘You’re a big girl. Stop looking for problems. Was he flirting with other women?’
‘Other way around: they were flirting for Ireland. But some were definitely ex-girlfriends!’ She groaned. ‘I think the worst moment of the night, was when one of them asked me what was the last play I saw?’
‘You remember last Christmas when I took Anna and Daniel to Jack and the Beanstalk!’
Helen’s eyes lit up.
‘Did you tell her that?’
‘I figured, what the hell, be truthful.’
‘You know what it reminds me of? That scene from Pretty Woman, where Richard Gere brings Julia Roberts to the opera and the old lady asks her if she enjoyed it, and Julia Roberts says, ‘It was so good I almost peed my pants…’ Helen stopped as she caught the expression on Charlotte’s face. ‘Probably not the best example.’
‘Probably not,’ Charlotte agreed, then ruined the effect when she giggled too.
* * *
My inspiration for Going Against Type.
Going Against Type is a romantic comedy, set against the backdrop of Dublin-based national newspapers.
It’s the story is of two rival newspaper columnists, who write under pen names. Unknowingly, they fall in love with their bitter enemy: each other. They have good reason to keep their alter egos safe from each other. So as their relationship blossoms, each is blissfully unaware of whom the other is. Until they are forced to reveal themselves….
The idea for the rival columnists came after I remembered one of the fabulous old Hollywood films, that I adored when I was a teenager. (They were shown at odd hours on Irish TV when I was growing up, and I saw them all!)
In Woman of the Year, starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey, she plays a high brow pundit, who rubbishes sport in one of her columns. Tracey is a sports columnist who leaps to defend his beloved sport and in turn, attacks Hepburn’s views, and the fun begins. In the film, however, they meet quite quickly and despite knowing who the other person is, they fall in love.
In Going Against Type, I turned the stereotypes upside down. So Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan is the sports buff. At the beginning of the story, she is given a chance to write the new, anonymous sports column, Side Swipe.
My hero, Derry Cullinane (he’s originally from County Cork; Cullinane is a very Cork name), is a fashion writer and also writes the back page gossip column The Squire for the rival paper. They fall in love, but they don’t discover that they’ve fallen for their bitter rival until half way through the book.
While that whole build up was really fun to do, it was also extremely challenging. The main reason was that I to ensure that Charlotte and Derry’s columns were quite acerbic. That way, you could see a huge contrast between their views in the papers – their weekly banter – and how they were with each other. It also meant there was more at stake!
* * *
About the Author:
SHARON Black grew up in Dublin. She studied history and politics at University College Dublin and then did post-graduate in journalism at Dublin City University.
She has worked for national newspapers, including The Evening Herald and The Irish Examiner.
She had short stories published in U Magazine and won the 2010 Dromineer Literary Festival short story competition.
When she is not writing, she reads, walks and sees friends. She co-founded a local book club 14 years ago. She loves theatre, old Hollywood films, science fiction and good stand-up comedy.
She lives in Sandymount, Dublin, with her husband and their three children.