Thursday, 12 January 2012

Never Mind the Botox Series by Penny Avis & Joanna Berry

Never Mind the Botox Series

This is a set of four books about four professional women all working on the same deal; the sale of a high profile cosmetic surgery business.  I am more than intrigued to see how Avis and Berry are going to incorporate the same deal into four books without too much repetition. 

The first book focuses on Alex who works on the legal team aspect of the deal determining if there are any legal issues and negotiating the sale and purchase with the other side.

The second focuses on Rachel who works for a prestigious accounting firm and is working to discover the valuation of the business, and any skeletons in the closet that might affect that.

The third book (which won’t be out until Spring 2012!!!!!) follows Stella, a cosmetic surgeon at the business being bought.

The fourth and final book (which won’t be out until Summer 2012!!!!) follows Meredith, a senior banker.

Never Mind the Botox: Alex

I started with the first book which focuses on Alex, a high-flying lawyer chasing both partnership and wedding bells.  I was especially keen to read this one as I’m just about to embark on my very own legal career.

I found this book to be instantly engaging and I absolutely loved it! You get to know the characters in this book really well; they’re totally 3D.  I loved Dan!  The authentic setting of the book also really helps – Joanna Berry (co-author) has a first class honours law degree, is a qualified solicitor and has been a partner at Eversheds and so if anyone knows how to write a book about being a solicitor, it’s her!

I devoured this book as quickly as my sleeping schedule allowed!  It’s a wonderfully unique book that isn’t based on just women’s love lives but also on their career! I’m living in hope that I didn’t just love it because of the law connection, so I’m about to dive into the next book which focuses on Rachel to find out.

Never Mind the Botox: Rachel

Penny Avis (co-author) trained as an accountant and until 2009 was a high flying corporate finance partner at Deloitte.  Once again, like for the first book, this has allowed Avis and Berry to create a realistic world and transaction which makes it all the more interesting to read. 

I loved that these books didn’t just focus on one aspect of the heroine’s life (not just her shopping habit, her love-life dramas or her high-flying career).  It incorporated all aspects of the working women creating wonderfully 3D characters.  Real-life working women don’t JUST go to work; they also go out and play.  These books really focus on both sides of the career women and boy does it work for them!  I felt the social side more with Rachel but it’s certainly also prevalent in Alex as well.  Despite seeing Luke for much less time than Dan (from Alex) – I loved him more!

I shouldn’t have been concerned about the overlap following the same deal through four books.  Yes, there are cross-overs but that certainly isn’t a bad thing.  After a while, it then branches off into new twists which you didn’t uncover in the first book.  There are quite a few overlaps with the legal and financial side of the deal but from reading the synopsis of the third and fourth book, it would seem that they split even further to discover other completely unseen before twists, turns and skeletons affecting the deal.  I think it's a really unique and wonderful concept to allow the reader to discover the deal from a completely different angle each time.

Never Mind the Botox: TV SERIES

Joanna and Penny have signed a deal with Future Films for a TV series of Never Mind the Botox.  I can’t wait to see how they develop this fantastically unique set of books into a TV series!  Featured in Bella Magazine - it’s tipped to be a UK version of Sex & the City:

Question & Answer with Penny & Jo

Finally, Penny & Jo have kindly taken the time out to answer some questions for us: 

Book – Love – Bug: Do you think being a co-author bring additional complications and challenges to writing than doing it alone? Or does it bring much needed reassurance?

Penny & Jo: We much prefer writing together, particularly when it comes to plotting out the stories. Two heads have always been better than one for us.  If we could make each other laugh, or surprise the other with a plot twist, then it helped give us confidence that we were on the right track. It also makes it a less lonely profession and at moments of doubt or where we want to bounce ideas off each other it provides reassurance and an early editorial perspective which and individual author wouldn’t have.

Book – Love – Bug: I've always thought the best books come from those where the author can draw from personal experience.  Has it made it easier for you to write with the knowledge you've gained from your own careers? Did you need to do any additional research?

Penny & Jo: We totally agree! The advice to debut authors is nearly always ‘write what you know’ and that is what we’ve done.  Our personal experiences have been hugely important and we know that the settings for what we are writing are totally authentic. We researched the cosmetic surgery industry quite thoroughly before we started though, as that was new to both of us.

Book – Love – Bug: How do you think these books stand out from other books focused on career-women?

Penny & Jo: We really wanted to write about women who care about their careers as well as shoes, shopping and searching for Mr Right. We felt in other books, career women were often portrayed as very dominating or with very flawed personal lives. We feel our books focus on fun, likable, everyday characters just trying to get on with their jobs. We also hope our books provide an insight into the professions of the lead characters; professions which we don’t think have been represented in women’s fiction very often, if at all .

Book – Love – Bug: You must be really excited about the TV series - how much involvement will you have with it? Will you be avid viewers?

Penny & Jo: Really excited! And as we have signed a joint venture agreement (rather than just signing over the rights), we will be involved every step of the way. You bet we’ll be watching and will maybe even try and wangle a walk-on part!

Book – Love – Bug: Do you find the time to read as well as write - if so, what are you reading at the moment?

Penny & Jo: Right now, we don’t have much spare time for reading but Penny has ‘What the Nanny Saw’ by Fiona Neill on her bedside table and Jo is reading ‘I left my tent in San Francisco’ by Emma Kennedy.

Finally a big thank you to Lucy Black from Midas PR who somehow uncovered my blog and sent me out copies of both books for review!

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