99 Problems – Author's note
You know it's hard to believe it now, but I never even used to like Keffy as a couple. When I started IHAFICC I never intended to get them together at all. But as many writers will tell you, stories have a tendency to write themselves sometimes. I never plan what I write from start to finish, so things have a tendency to evolve. It wasn't until I was writing the Glastonbury chapters of IHAFICC that the seeds of my Keffy were sown in some throwaway line about Katie taking Effy under her wing. I had only ever intended it to be a friendship, but then I began to like the idea of it being an intense and ambiguous friendship, and during the course of that story I kept it that way (frustrating some of you intensely in the process).
But damn them, they kept invading my consciousness, and as I was writing the last few chapters of IHAFICC, I already knew that I wanted to tell their story, and to do it with the same set of events seen through their eyes. It was an interesting challenge to connect it into the same timeframe – and the hardest thing of all was trying to find excuses to keep them apart till the end of the tour, when they were clearly both madly in love and needed to just jump each other's bones.
I know these author's notes are traditionally a long list of thanks to other writers and reviewers, but fuck it, you already know who you are and that I love you and respect you. And I wanna talk about something else instead.
I have loved Effy ever since the first time I saw her on Gen 1, and I wasn't disappointed when they decided to show her experiencing mental health issues in S4. She had always been on the edge, even though she hid it well at times. That coupled with stellar amounts of substance abuse, could quite realistically have led to that type of psychotic breakdown. That bit was done well. But then came the whole John Foster nonsense, inserted purely for dramatic reasons, and the opportunity was lost to really look at what this illness means for someone. I wasn't that mad that Freddie died (sorry Freds), but I was disappointed that such a complex and fascinating character as Effy (and the only one apart from Anthea and Doug to cross all four seasons) did not get any kind of decent resolution.
I wanted my portrayal of Effy to be as realistic as possible, and so I did a lot of reading and research into people's experiences with psychosis. I've had quite a few people get in touch with me about the mental health side of the story, both professional and people undergoing similar experiences, and I was happy that they seemed to think I was getting it right. One of the websites that was most useful was the site for the UK mental health charity MIND. So for anybody who wants or needs to know more about this subject, that is a good place to start – www mind org uk (insert dots where the spaces are as FF doesn't let you give out normal web addresses). In particular they have excellent information for anyone wanting to come off medication.
Anyone interested in the brain chemistry of love can visit www helenfisher com – the Dr Fisher referred to into the story and whose research I took from for Effy's responses to falling in love.
But of course, this story would have been nothing without Katie Fucking Fitch, and what a magnificent creation she is. Of course there is only one KFF, but you can see women like her all over Britain. Foul mouthed, feisty and fabulous women struggling to confine themselves into the crappy little worlds that surround them. Hard-headed angels with fucking hearts of gold. It's been a delight to write both of them as they are such complex and fascinating characters. Writing Effy was hard, and took me ages, and putting myself inside her head was sometimes pretty difficult, But KFF seemed to just come pouring out of me so much that she wrote herself. All I would have to do is switch off the profanity filter and let her loose.
So there you have it. It's been just over a year since I started posting IHAFICC, and I think two full-length novels in a year ain't bad. Two love stories, one about a couple drawn together by an intense physical desire and finding love and friendship because of it, and the other couple drawn together by friendship and discovering intense love and physical desire along the way. And surrounded by many other different forms of love, sibling love, parental love, friendship love and tribal love, just a big old love fest really….and a hell of a lot of shagging… Of course there was a reason for that. I am interested in sex as a language between couples, and wanted to explore what went on between them after the Hollywood Moment of consummation, without inserting unnecessary drama or external threat. I wanted the dilemmas that these women faced to be something that would occur naturally in their day to day lives, such as Naomi's relationship with Cook, Effy's relationship with her illness, and Katie and Emily's relationship with their mother, and how these things impacted on their partners.
This time twelve months ago, I was headed off to Belgium with my broken arm to join the circus. Tomorrow I am leaving home again for a while, not such an exotic destination this time, just the other side of the UK where I will be throwing one of my best mates off a building (repeatedly, safely and in the name of art, I hasten to add). I don't know when or if I'll be writing on here again. There are stories in my head, but this is one hell of a time consuming hobby, and one that can take over your creative brain leaving little room for anything else. So I might write a play, or make some music, or shoot a film or hold a photo exhibition or learn to dance the tango. Either way, I'll probably have a little break from here…
So, I bid you au revoir for now, writers keep on writing, readers keep on reading, and if you're thinking about having a go… then just do it. Some of the greatest stories on here have come from first timers who have started nervously and then gone on to great things. Since doing this I have made some great new friends, and encountered some very special people. Next time it could be you…
Bye then. I'm off for parties and adventures on HyperFitchedWorld….