Brit Grit Alley

Brit Grit Alley features interviews, news and updates on what's happening down British crime fiction's booze and blood soaked alleyways.

By Paul D. Brazill 

Down Brit Grit Alley this week we have a sharp slice of gritty fiction from Brit Grit superstar Eileen Wharton.

Nothing To Say Here by Eileen Wharton

Hmmm what to write about? My fame and general fabulosity is obviously spreading as I’ve been asked to write an article Blog type thingy on a subject of my choice. I’m running through the list of my specialist subjects to see which one I shall inflict on you. I could talk about my addictions: Doughnuts and muffins, not much to say about these except I’m beginning to resemble one. I recently discovered the Duffin in Starbucks while writing Blood’s Thicker: A marvellous hybrid with red stuff oozing from its centre. (That could equally be the Duffin or the crime novel) My name’s Eileen and I’m a Duffinholic.

I could of course talk about teaching. That’s my day job. But what can I say about Michael Gove that hasn’t been said before. (Coughs and word tosser escapes. Must be the Tourette’s)

I could discuss Tourette’s Syndrome as I’ve had plenty of experience of that. My son suffers. But once you’ve got past the fact that he calls me a douchebag intermittently and has a twitch that resembles the Moonwalk there’s not much else to say. He almost got arrested once for grunting like a pig. The officer thought he was being cheeky!

Maybe I should write about the research I’m doing at the moment for my current crime novel. It’s Geordie Gore or Northern Noir. My research has taken me into the realms of bizarre sexual practices (just a normal Friday night then): hardcore S and M, Mongolian cluster fucks and furries. (I’ve given up dressing as a tiger for lent thanks.) Cheese graters and rusty trombones aside, it’s a fascinating world and one which I should stop using my work’s computer to explore. ‘Twas most embarrassing when the tech boy wonder revealed my computer’s history. The dirty girl (the laptop, not me) had caught eight viruses. And that was with protection. It’s all material for my next project: The Little Handbook of Handjobs. Could do well in the charts. I figured wankers might buy it and there are plenty of them about!

Speaking of self-love, there’s a trend at the mo. for taking make-up free selfies. I myself have partaken in the strange ritual designed to scare the population into donating money for Cancer Research. The trend is not without its critics. Some have said the participants are attention seeking in a ‘look at me, aren’t I brave?’ kind of way. Personally I think anything (within reason: I do not want to see a naked Michael Gove in a bath of beans no matter how much money is donated) that raises awareness and money in order to combat this horrible disease, can only be a good thing. I’m all for cocks in socks too. Is there one big enough to fit Mr Cameron in?

I could write about motherhood. Been there, done that, got the stretch-marks, cellulite and grey hair to prove

it. You never stop worrying. When they’re babies you worry about the dribbling, the pooing and the crying. Ditto when they are teenagers out on the town of a Friday evening. When they have their own homes you worry whether they’ll be able to afford to keep them, as their electricity consumption when they lived in your home has you in hock to EDF for eternity.

My eldest daughter’s getting married this year. The other girls are bridesmaids and the boys are groomsmen. Given their penchant for trying to upstage each other it could all get rather messy. Determined not to be a fat mother of the bride I’m trying various methods to shed the flab which has crept on through no fault of my own. I think it could be glandular! Do your glands make you eat Duffins? Initially I bought a bike. It’s a pretty hybrid with a basket and a bell. I look like a cross between Mary Poppins and the Wicked Witch of the West. The times I have been riding I’ve ended up with helmet hair and a sore fanny. It’s not a good look. I walk like I’ve had a session with Mr Grey in the red room or an afternoon with Errol Flynn (for all you oldies.)

Then I joined Slimming World. Another strange ritual where you pay five pounds a week for a fat lass to tell you you’ve gained a pound. Who knew Duffins were fattening? They have fruit jam inside. It’s one of my five a day. If the girl who ran the session was stick-thin it might instil more confidence but she’s like a little beer barrel and when she gains a pound she’s in a foul mood for the rest of the night. We sit in a circle and clap for those who’ve lost weight and if you’ve gained she asks you questions like, ‘So what went wrong, Eileen?’ ‘Why do you think you gained half a stone?’ Hmmm let me think, could be the kebab I had on Friday, or maybe the Domino’s pizza with extra garlic butter, could it be the two bottles of red wine? Or maybe it was the MacDonalds I had on the way here. ‘I don’t know,” I say. ‘I’ve stuck to it. Haven’t had so much as an extra grape.’ It’s the truth, I’ve had no grapes at all. I’ve now bought the Davina DVD and it’s currently gathering dust on top of the Sky box. I’ll let you know how that one goes.

I could write about my search for an agent but that’s just bloody depressing. I’ve been sending out submissions for years. Many agents have come close to signing me but I always seem to fall at the final hurdle. I was always told get an agent and they’ll get you a publisher. I have two publishers but still no agent. Many of them extolled the virtues of my first novel SHIT HAPPENS (available on Amazon at the ridiculous price of £1.99 and published by the fantastic Byker Books) Many tell me what they love about BLANKET OF BLOOD and my various children’s books but it’s ‘not quite for them.’ Some say they ‘loved it’ but they ‘didn’t love it enough.’ I’ve even been approached on Twitter by agents who’ve read my work and say they’d like to represent me. I’m not sure where it all goes wrong. I mean I’ve written a bestseller, albeit in Amazon in the humour category.

I sometimes wonder if it’s got something to do with the North/ South divide. Or is it a class thing? The majority of agents and publishers are southern and posh. It’s a fact. They’re called Arabella, Piers or Tarquin and they all went to Oxbridge. I bet they’ve never been in Poundland or Greggs. They think benefits are things Daddy gets for being chairman of the board at the golf club. Not that I’m an inverted snob. Far from it. I have posh friends. They drink Earl grey tea and eat cucumber sandwiches. They shop in Harvey Nicks and read the Financial Times. They have savings! (Don’t even get me started on the Budget.)

I wonder, when they say my writing is too gruesome do they really mean too Northern? Too working class? Or is it just not good enough?

Well I really can’t think of a subject to write about so apologies, Paul. It seems I have nothing to say.

Bio: Eileen Wharton is a mother, a writer and a teacher. She lives on a council estate and has a phobia of tinned tuna. You can find her on Facebook or Twitter. Her first novel is called SHIT HAPPENS and is available on Amazon. It’s cheap as chips. She is not, no matter what the rumours say.

  There'll be more carryings on down Brit Grit Alley very soon, sorta kinda thing, like.

Paul D. Brazill is the author of Gumshoe, Guns Of Brixton and Roman Dalton - Werewolf PI. He was born in England and lives in Poland. He is an International Thriller Writers Inc member whose writing has been translated into Italian, Polish and Slovene. He has had writing published in various magazines and anthologies, including The Mammoth Books of Best British Crime 8,10 and 11, alongside the likes of Ian Rankin, Neil Gaiman and Lee Child. He has edited a few anthologies, including the best-selling True Brit Grit – with Luca Veste. His blog is here.