Note To Boy
By Sue Clark
A comic novel about what happens when the worlds of a 1960s fashion diva and a modern teenager collide
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Outrageous former fashion celebrity Eloise Slaughter and introverted Kilburn council estate kid Bradley McCreedy are poles apart. She’s an extrovert, seventy-something, gin-soaked diva. He’s a seventeen-year old who’s learnt it’s safer to keep his eyes down and his mouth shut. She has a past she likes to boast about. He’s already given up on his future. Yet against the odds, as this comic novel describes, the two of them become a formidable team.
Bradley and Eloise’s relationship is volatile, not helped by her devotion to Bombay Sapphire gin and an increasing tendency to confuse the past with the present. While Eloise struggles with memories of long-ago betrayals and humiliations dating back to her days as a 1960s ‘shock frock’ fashion designer, Bradley grows in confidence and cunning. A locked room in Eloise’s chaotic London flat adds to the mystery.
Note to Boy is an entertaining romp that touches on universal truths: don’t write people off, just because they’re unimpressive or annoying; don’t let your past screw up your present; and value friendships, no matter where you find them. Oh, and it’s funny too.
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If you’ve got a long memory and good eyesight, you may recall Sue Clark’s name from the credits of various radio and TV comedy shows. Alas Smith and Jones? Weekending? News Huddlines? Jason Explanation? Giggly Bitz? Fast Forward? Ring any bells?
She’s also written for magazines and newspapers, as well as contributing to the online satirical website Newsbiscuit. She’s worked for the BBC, ITV, newspapers and PR agencies.
She’s grilled John Humphreys, exchanged quips with Ronnie Corbett and penned funny lines for the likes of Lenny Henry, June Whitfield, Tracy Ullman, Roy Hudd and David Jason. But she’s never done what she’s always wanted to do: write a novel. Until now.
The background to her comic novel Note to Boy was inspired by a time when she worked in London for a film company, lived in a flat opposite Liberty’s, bought her miniskirts in Carnaby Street, and bumped into James Bond actors at parties. It was almost as glamorous as it sounds.
She now lives in the sort of Oxfordshire market town that spawned Midsomer Murders with her husband and a fluctuating number of adult children.
Note to Boy is her first novel.
She weren’t a bit like I expected.
‘Kindly remove your headgear,’ she goes, ‘in the presence of a lady.’
Well, that’s me done for, I think to meself, pulling off the beanie. Just when everything was going smooth as.
It’s a miracle I get there at all. Never go in that newsagents no more. On the Parade. On account of the creep behind the counter. He’s a gawper. One of the worst. That’s why I always wear a beanie or a hoodie when I’m out. Both sometimes. On account of the gawpers.
ET I call him, inside my head. His fingers is black, you see, from the papers. All except one. That’s pink, glowing pink, like ET off of that old film. Why? ‘Cause it’s always up his nostril, that’s why, digging for buried treasure. One minute he’s snot mining, the next he’s serving sweets to little kiddies. Makes me want to vom.
Like I say, it was stroke of luck I saw it. Sellotaped in the corner of the window.
‘’Wanted!! Urgent!! Refined, respectable lady authoress seeks domestic assistant of same ilk. A degree of reflexology. Usual rates.’
And a mobile number.
Well, I get the ‘domestic assistant’ bit. That’s a cleaner, right? But I don’t know nothing about ilks nor degrees. Still, what have I got to lose? I break my rule, nip into the newsagents and pretend to be browsing in the gardening section. I glance over. ET’s got his elbows on the counter, head deep in a mucky mag. As I’m leaving, I feel his dead, gawping eyes follow me to the door. Don’t matter ‘cause I got the card in my pocket. Well, don’t want no-one else going for it, do I?
I go home. Just my luck, Dom’s up. He’s in the kitchen, ramming a sarny in his gob like he ain’t ate for a week. Raspberry jam dripping everywhere. Right off, he eyeballs the card. Next thing, he’s snatched it.
‘Watch it,’ I go. ‘You’ll get jam over that.’
‘You’ll get jam over that,’ he goes, in a stupid whiny voice what’s supposed to be me. ‘What’s this then, Bradley? Postcard from your boyfriend?’
He’s always saying stuff like that.
‘It’s a job,’ I tell him. ‘Leastways, could be.’
‘You stupid or something?’ he snorts. ‘You know Ma’ll go mad if you get a job. What about her bennies?’
‘No, it’s sound,’ I go. ‘Cash in hand.’ Leastways, that’s what I’m hoping.
‘What kinda job?’ He squints at the writing. Never were much cop at reading, our Dom.
‘Dunno ‘til I call, do I?’
‘Cheeky,’ he goes, cuffing me one round the ear. I take my chance and reach for the card. He grabs my wrist, twists my arm up my back and shoves his pie-hole up against my ear. ‘You come across anything interesting, you be sure and let your big brother know,’ he hisses, spraying jammy paste over my cheek. ‘No sneaking behind my back, you little freak.’
He loosens his grip and for a sec I think that’s it. Then he comes back at me, jabbing a nasty little Bruce Lee punch above my elbow. He strolls off, still chewing. I hear the flatscreen fire up and stand there, wiping jam and tears off of my face.
- 4th October 2019 The Day I Went Head-to-Head With John Humphrys
Even a decade ago, his reputation was fearsome. Smug industrialists, vapid celebrities, pompous academics, complacent clergy and slippery politicians all wilted under his relentless interrogations. Morning after morning, John Humphrys chewed them up and spat them out, before most of us had spooned down our soggy Choco-crispies. Now it was my turn for a grilling.
Luckily, it was a phone interview…4th September 2019 Note to Boy begins its journey
A very quick note to let you know I've submitted the manuscript of Note to Boy to Unbound for the editing process to begin. Exciting! I wonder what the lovely people there will make of Eloise and Bradley. Watch this space!
I couldn't have done if without the 169 of you. So, once more, thanks for your support, belief and patience. And just a reminder that copies can still be pre…20th August 2019 A note to pledgers about NOTE TO BOY
Phew, we did it! Yes, it's true. I didn't dream it. My comedy fiction is 100% funded. Now it's onwards and upwards to publication.
What happens next, you might ask? Good question. Well, first the manuscript - which I finished writing quite a while ago - has to go off to Unbound so the lovely people there can take a forensic look at it. How will Bradley and Eloise fare? I'll let you know.
When…9th August 2019 We got there!
I'll keep this brief. Yaaaaaaaaay!!
Note to Boy is as of today 100% funded thanks to you, my 169 lovely backers. It's been an up and down experience. Crowdfunding, let me tell you, is not as easy as it looks; and it looks flipping difficult. Sometimes I wondered what the hell I was doing. Most of the time, actually. But it's been worth it for this feeling.
Note to Boy will happen. Bradley and…30th July 2019 Countdown to lift-off!
Time's running out if you want to be part of my comedy fiction Note to Boy. The crowdfunding final countdown - cue cheesey music - begins today and will END, come what may, in under two weeks on FRIDAY 9th AUGUST.
Not long to go if you want to get your name in the book. I'd love to have you on board.
If you've already supported the novel, a thousand thanks. Cheeky thought. Have…24th July 2019 Nostalgia for something that doesn't exist - yet!
What's the word for yearning for something that never existed? Took myself to London to soak up some Sixties nostalgia at the Victoria & Albert Museum. It was the Mary Quant designs that were drawing the crowds but I was unhappy. Something was missing. Or rather, someone.
Where was Eloise Slaughter and her shock frocks? The Rag Bag dresses? The Elephant Woman wedding gown? In comparison, the Quant…8th July 2019 Tick-tock tick-tock, time is running out
Friends, I have news. Me and my comedy novel have now scaled the giddy heights of 94%. I'll say that again. 94%!!! Not quite there yet but close enough to see the finishing line. With luck, a fair wind and your continued support, Note to Boy should be starting on the last leg of its journey to publication later this summer.
So this message is to thank again those 150-something lovely people…27th June 2019 It’s a hard life
Why do we put ourselves through it? Having seen my debut comedy novel Note to Boy almost on its way at 84% crowdfunded, I am now starting the whole process all over again. This Is me, slaving away on the current work.30th May 2019 Bring it on, Dame Hilary!
So Hilary Mantel's much-awaited final novel about the life of controversial statesman Thomas Cromwell is due to be published in March 2020. By coincidence, my own much-awaited comedy novel, about the life of controversial fashion guru and Swinging Sixties celeb Eloise Slaughter could, given a fair wind (and a few more pledges), hit the bookshops at around the same time.
The big question is…23rd May 2019 The Results Are In
The Note to Boy grand prize draw has taken place! No expense was spared to ensure fairness. The latest hi-tech, laser-powered randomiser crayons (£3.99) were employed, and a celebrity guest invited to make the draw. Two lucky winners will be contacted soon. Congratulations!
Our celebrity guest took her task very seriously, as you can see.
PS Note to Boy is presently scaling the giddy heights…12th May 2019 80% - ALMOST there!
'Thrice blessed are they... erm...' I forget the rest of the Baldy of Stratford's quote but I really couldn't care less, because I am feeling thrice blessed. I'll tell you why.
1. Note to Boy hit a humungous milestone last week. 80% funded and surely on the home straight! Cue, jumping around and a certain amount of childish squealing and wine glugging.
2. Unbound is running a promo all…29th April 2019 Book Giveaway!
Note to Boy is at 79% Amazing! So amazing I can hardly believe myself that 144 lovely people have backed my book. To thank them (that is, you!) I’m running a prize draw competition. Two lucky people will win ... what? Why, books of course.
Everyone who’s already preordered my comic novel or does so from now until I have 150 supporters will be entered into the draw. TWO lucky people, picked…5th April 2019 Things are hotting up here on Planet Note to Boy.
Snakes alive, we're at 75!*
My debut novel has reached 75% crowdfunded. That’s right. And it’s thanks to my lovely supporters, all 141 of you, who have pre-ordered a copy of the book from Unbound. One more push and a few more pledges will see it reach 100% and from there onto publication and out into the the big, wide world. How exciting will that be?!
Thank you, thank you to everyone who…5th March 2019 Maths, cats’ rear-ends and John Humprhys
Yaay! Note to Boy has reached 74% funded. That's almost three-quarters, right? Thank you everyone who's shown such faith in me. By my calculations I just need another 37.333 backers to come forward and we'll be there. Actually, I just made that up. I've no idea how many more supporters it will take to reach 100%, just that it's fewer than last week.
Maths, you see, is not my thing. Writing…11th February 2019 Note to Boy on the air!
I’ve got the trousers but where the hell's the jumper? And why is it raining, today of all days? I’m not panicking. I am not. I am going to stay calm and mindful, as Ruby Wax advises in her wise books.
What’s happening? I’ve been asked by Radio Oxford to do a live interview about Note to Boy, that’s what. And I’m caught on the hop. Even though I sent them a press release offering to do an interview…29th January 2019 69 - oo-er, missus!
Sorry about the dullness of this image, dear readers. It was either this or unadulterated filth.
Let me explain. Note to Boy is at 69%, after a rush of January pledges. A cause of considerable joy. My thanks to those who, full of post-Christmas bonhomie, have backed my book. As we approach the three-quarters mark (I’m rounding up quite generously here) it seems its publication may be a reality…29th December 2018 The Last Mincer in the Fridge
Well, boys and girls, did you survive? Are you retrenching, ready for New Year’s Eve? Did you, like me, find when everyone had gone that one lonely mince pie was quietly going stale in the fridge door?
When you come to read Note to Boy (which can’t be too long now. See note at the bottom for progress report) you’ll discover that Eloise and Bradley were so keen to celebrate Christmas, they brought…21st November 2018 A present that's better than pants
Just look at those puppy dog eyes! This is a blatant appeal on behalf of a truly worthy cause. This Christmas, instead of novelty pants, fluffy slippers or handkerchiefs, why not give your friends and family the lasting pleasure of something wonderful to cuddle up with on the sofa. Yes, I'm talking about offering a forever home to an Unbound book on the 'still funding' list.
Through no fault…3rd November 2018 It's beginning to feel a lot like ...
No, not what you think. I was going to say .... getting published. ***
That's right folks. Note to Boy is now 64% of the way towards publication, with 125 wonderful people backing it. Thank you, one and all. In celebration, here's a little snippet-ette from the novel, to whet your appetites.
*** PS Your eyes do not deceive. Lurking in the background of this stylish shot are two packs of…25th October 2018 Peace, man! Let’s go back to the sixties
People sometimes ask me - all right, one person once asked me and she was backed into a corner and couldn’t escape - how I did my research for the Swinging London section of my book, Note to Boy? Easy, I responded, releasing her arm from my iron grip, I lived it.
You can read more about my Flower Power past, when my elephant jeans were as wide as they were long, in this lovely interview by the…9th October 2018 Mistress Clark’s Diary - October 2018, Waterstones Emporium of Literature
Up betimes, by carriage to Nottingham and thence to The Curious Tavern where met with sundry entertaining scribes, scribblers and wits allied to the crowfundingly glorious company Unbound.
Gathering in the following forenoon we traversed the city to Waterstones Esteemed Book Emporium for a day of exceeding pleasant discussion, readings and bantz. Much erudition and laughter on display - as well…26th September 2018 Sixty per cent!
Wow! Note to Boy is now 60% funded. That's more than halfway, right? Almost two-thirds. Won't be long before it's three-quarters. And then ... and then....
Boundless thanks to all who've helped me get this far, particularly those loyal folks who've recently upgraded their pledges or donated.
In a little under two weeks, I'll be part of an exciting and unique Unbound authors' event at Waterstones…28th August 2018 Slow and steady wins the race*
Not so much Usain Bolt as Shinzo Kanakuri. You must know him! You don’t? He’s the man who holds the record for the world’s slowest Olympic marathon. (More than 54 years, since you ask. Even I might do better than that. If I had the wind behind me.) To get back to the matter in hand, progress on Note to Boy is slow but steady. I’m pleased to report that Note to Boy is now 57% funded.
I have a few…20th August 2018 Passing the great milestone of 120 backers - and another thing!
Two very exciting things happened today.
Firstly, we reached the fantastic milestone of 120 backers. That means 120 people - some of whom I haven't even blackmailed - have put their pledges where their mouths are. I can't thank this lovely 120th pledger in person because he or she has decided to remain anon, but I do thank them - and all of you - through this Update and the medium of a little victory…26th July 2018 Harken! Eloise would like a few words
There are two main characters in Note to Boy. Bradley and Eloise. Seems to me (but I'm only the writer after all) that Bradley has had it too much his own way. We haven't heard from Eloise. And believe me, she always has plenty to say. Except when she's in a monumental sulk. Then she doesn't speak for days.
So below. Eloise lets rip. But before she does, just time to say a very big thank you to…5th July 2018 Scandalous Truths About Unbound Author Revealed!
My secrets revealed, my life laid bare in this searing grilling by Eamonn Griffin. Read it if you dare!14th June 2018 Be In The Book While You Can
Hi Lovely Supporters,
Thanks to the generosity of someone who's just pledged to name a character in the book, Note to Boy has now reached the magnificent total of 54% funded, with 111 backers.
Do you fancy being immortalised in print? If you've always secretly hankered after being a 1960s fashion model, a lairy modern teenager, a lawyer with flexible principles, or one of the other colourful…23rd May 2018 Thanks Ewan. Your books will soon be on their way.
This motley collection of 1960s-themed books will soon be winging its way to the generous backer who edged Note to Boy past the 50% mark. These are some of the titles I read for background amusement - it would be a stretch to call it research - in writing my comic novel. Thanks so much to Ewan, and to all my generous supporters. Only another 50% to go!16th May 2018 Hooray and Huzzah, halfway there!
Very excited to report that Note to Boy is now halfway to publication. Yes,, we crossed the 50% point this very day, thanks to the generosity of a discerning backer called Ewan.
As his reward he will shortly be receiving a bundle of well-thumbed tomes on 1960s fashion which I used in what I laughingly call ‘research’ for the book. It’s comic fiction, right? It doesn’t have to be historically accurate…10th May 2018 Teetering on the brink of the edge of almost tipping over into halfway there!
NOTE TO BOY is 49% of the way to publication. For those of a mathematical bent, that means a gnat’s crotchet away from halfway. Next comes a big one. 50%. Who will be the lucky person to receive a bundle of 1960s related books, as an reward for getting us to 50%? All it takes is a click on Pledge. And you get a special edition, personalised copy of the book too! A cool and hip offer.
Thanks to…30th April 2018 100 backers and counting!
One hundred backers! I never thought when I set off on this journey into the unknown with Unbound that I would be able to persuade, cajole, nag and blackmail one hundred people to pledge support for my book. But I did. And you have. Thank you, thank you, thank every single, wonderful one of you.
Now, I've never climbed a mountain and probably never will, but I've seen Touching the Void twice…27th April 2018 How many gin puns can you think of?
Many GINiuses have been GINspired by the juniper-flavoured drink to create puns to help them GIN and bear the GINsanities of life. OK. I'll stop now. You can have too much of a good thing after all. But you get my drift. Puns about gin abound.
One of the main characters in Note to Boy, Eloise Slaughter, is very fond of a cheeky G&T. In order to research her character and ensure authenticity…18th April 2018 Less than 3% off halfway - and your chance to win an outrageous prize!
Listen up. I have a special treat for someone. Only 3% to go before we reach halfway. As encouragement to reach that magical point, I'm offering my copy of the autobiography, Moll: Making Of Molly Parkin, to the lucky person whose pledge tips the total over to 50%.
Who is Molly Parkin? In the 1960s she was a fashion celebrity and hell-raiser, promiscuous, potty mouthed and a total one-off. At…10th April 2018 It's A Numbers Game
Unbound Authors are obsessed with numbers. How many people follow them, like their posts, retweet their tweets?. How many people have backed them with pledges? And the biggie, what percentage funding have they reached?
For a while now I've been obsessed with getting to 50% funding. Somehow, I feel once I'm halfway to being fully funded, the road to publication will become less bumpy. I stare at…20th March 2018 Is there STAWberry jam still for tea?
Am I weird? I enjoy the editing part of writing a novel. Creating a draft is either a feverish affair, as my brain and fingers struggle to keep up with my ideas, or else a painful slog when the ideas seem buried deep, encased in concrete, under a motorway bridge.
With editing, you've got something tangible to knock into shape, like bashing a baggy slab of dough. OK, so whole sentences, paragaphs…11th March 2018 Naming of names
I’ve often wondered if I should use a pen name. There are some lovely, colourful and exotic monikers among the Unbound community. And Sue Clark isn’t exactly unusual or memorable. But it is my actual name.
What if I called myself Tallula Featherstone Witty or B K Broomhead? Would it improve my reader (and pledge) appeal? I know some authors change their names almost as often as they change…20th February 2018 Life begins at 40 ... %!
OK. I know it's not a great headline but I'm too excited to come up with another. After languishing in the 30s for a while, thrillingly, Note to Boy left 40% eating dust and is now resting (temporarily, of course) at 41%. That's more than two-fifths of the way to publication, people. Or, for those of a more precise mathematical nature, damned near to nudging halfway.
So, yaaaay! And thank you to…15th February 2018 Scrappy scripts and messy manuscripts
Browsing through other Unbound authors' pages, I discovered several offer as rewards early drafts of their manuscripts. How brave of them. They must be better organised than me. I mean, who in their right mind would pledge to own the bundle of scrappy papers, post-it notes, cuttings and scrawls that eventually turned itself into Note to Boy? Exactly!
Thank you pledgers! We're getting close to halfway…7th February 2018 What do you know? My eternal gratitude has been claimed!
You're too late. It's gone. My eternal gratitude is no longer up for grabs. An anonymous supporter has generously pledged for it. I'm still trying to work out who it could be? Cillian Murphy? Ian McEwan? Richard Curtis? The woman down the road with the fluffy dogs? More seriously, I'm wondering how I'm going to be able to write a personal dedication to a person who's anonymous. Whatever, my vow of…30th January 2018 What do you know? Note to Boy has reached 33%!
Note to Boy, according to my O level maths, is now a third of its way along the journey to publication. Hooray, and thank you to all my supporters! You're a wonderful bunch of heroes. It would be great if we could get it past the 50% landmark, then I could perhaps relax and not keep checking progress every few minutes.
Thanks also for your kind comments about the video. I hope it made you smile…22nd January 2018 The video is up!
Check out the Note to Boy video on Unbound. You thrilled to the spectacle of The Last Jedi and the drama of Darkest Hour. Now comes Note to Boy - the Movie. Two and a bit minutes of ... well, me. Hope you enjoy it. Thanks to my trusty film crew for their patience and skill.17th January 2018 Biggest pledge yet
Received my biggest pledge yet, to join me on a tour and tasting in a gin distillery. Such a great feeling to know people believe in Note to Boy. Or maybe just really love gin. Either way, thanks.10th January 2018 Wow, 10% already!
A huge thank you to the generous and lovely people who have pledged their support. With your help, despite Christmas and New Year distractions, Note to Boy is 10% of the way along the road to publication. Your reward will be ... wait for it ... a short video, ready soon, telling you a bit more about the book. Sorry about the presenter. It’s the best we could do. Even though he’s now available, Stephen…4th January 2018 Lights, camera and ... hold on a minute
Takes longer than you think, this filming lark. Just spent an afternoon getting three minutes of usable material for the Note to Boy video. Let’s hope our talented editing team can sprinkle some fairy dust.1st January 2018 Pinch, punch, first of the month
Thanks to all those lovely supporters who've dragged themselves away from the mincepies and the awful telly to pledge their support for my book. I don't deserve it. No, really I don't. Well, maybe I do. A bit. It's only the first day of the New Year and already we're up to 6%. What happens next? The video, that's what. The film crew and I have been green-screening and CGI-ing like mad (not really…22nd December 2017 First pledges are in!
Yippee! We’re out of the traps and the race is on. My sincere thanks to the lovely people who’ve already pledged their support. You’ve made my day.21st December 2017 We have lift off!
The Note to Boy campaign has been launched. Eloise and Bradley - heaven help us! - are out in the big world, depending on the kindness of Unbound supporters for their survival. She, gin-soaked and demanding, and he, quiet and cunning, have scores to settle and a racy autobiography to write. Help me get them into print by pledging your support. You’ll be rewarded, not only with a glow of satisfaction…
These people are helping to fund Note To Boy.
An anonymous donor
Sarah Nelson Smith
Amanda de Grey
An anonymous donor
An anonymous donor
Zazarina Ferguson Hemmings