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  • Writer's pictureHelen Lederer


Updated: May 29, 2020

Dear witty reader I offer a CWIP inspiration in times of tapestry, baking and Netflix – I offer a CWIP success story – Kristen Bailey entered CWIP 2019 and NOW SHE HAS A FUNNY BOOK OUT!!!

Has Anyone Seen My Sex Life? Links are here:

Naturally, I had to ask Kristen these searing questions, to share her success with you because frankly, why wouldn't I?

Have you ever written in the margins of a book in biro?

I'm that annoying person who bends back page corners so I can re-read passages and chapters I like. It's caused many a fight in my house. 'You're spoiling the book!' 'Oh, sod off.'

Have you ever stolen a library book, if so what genre?

I'm an excellent library patron but we did lose one of my kid's books once. I think it was about a comedy elephant. My daughter liked it so much she hid it under her mattress so we couldn't give it back.

Do you like slapstick or prefer misunderstanding as a narrative driver? Or neither?

A mix of the two is always good for comedy but I think my narrative is always driven by the characters, their dialogue and relationships and the reader's investment in them.

Do you go on google for 'witty proverbs' and then make one of your characters say them? More synonyms I reckon. There's a raunchy element running though Has Anyone Seen My Sex Life? and I spent many an hour googling synonyms for penis. Turns out there are hundreds with varying degrees of rudeness. (Helen says 'I lingered over this answer')

Coffee or tea at the keyboard for your 10 am tipple?

Coffee, coffee, more coffee. And coffee.

Thank you, Kristen, for being so open – and now please tell us what attracted you to CWIP and a few more fun facts without the p word

I entered the inaugural CWIP competition in February 2019 with a few scrappy chapters of a book I'd written. My husband said it was 'reasonably funny' (this is high praise from him) so I thought I'd give it a stab. I'd never been able to categorise my writing; there is a strong family-modern-romance-women's fiction element, but I hoped that comedy was the thread holding it together. It was bloody marvellous to see a competition that celebrated this.

I found out I'd got on to the long list in March (yay!) and then spent a frantic few week polishing up the full manuscript. Alas, I didn't make it on to the shortlist, but I went to the winners' event in July (Free Gin! Jilly Cooper!) and from there, I made a promise to myself to keep going, keep writing, use the moment wisely.

Armed with some feedback from the judges, I submitted to agents and publishers. Bookouture came back to me within days and just like that, contracts were signed, and I started editing for my life. The book was renamed Has Anyone Seen My Sex Life? and was published in February. My favourite review came from someone who woke their husband up from laughing whilst reading it in bed. When he complained, she made him sleep in the spare room. My second book comes out in June.

I'm under no illusion that CWIP played a large part in getting my book to where it is now. Had I not seen the link to the competition on Twitter, I'd probably still be faffing about with my writing, thinking it was desperately unfunny and eating a lot of biscuits. So, I will always be grateful for the boost, the pat on the back to tell me my work had potential. For a writer, that can be everything. To those who make it on to this year's long or short list, good luck, a very huge well done, you're a part of something incredibly warm, positive and supportive… in a time when we could all do with a few more laughs, I hope this opens up many doors for you and your writing.

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