I’m thrilled to be part of the launch celebrations of It’s Not You, It’s Them by Portia MacIntosh. It’s Not You, It’s Them was published on 4th November 2016 by Harper Collins and is available for purchase here.
To celebrate It’s Not You, It’s Them I have a fabulous guest post about real life happy endings from Portia MacIntosh and a super extract from the book.
It’s Not You, It’s Them
First comes love. Then comes family…
After a lifetime of kissing frogs, Roxie Pratt has given up on finding her own fairytale romance. That is, until she meets her very own Prince Charming, Mark Wright, and he sweeps Roxie off her feet!
So when Mark finally gets down on one knee and pops the question, there’s only one thing left to do: meet the family! And when everything has been picture-perfect so far, what could possibly go wrong…?
An Extract From It’s Not You, It’s Them
When I met my boyfriend one year ago, I couldn’t believe my luck.
You’re probably not going to believe me when I tell you this, but the way we met was like a fairy tale.
I was covering an event for work: a big, fancy-dress ball hosted by a children’s charity. I’m not much of a comic-book nerd, but the second I saw Margot Robbie dressed as Harley Quinn in the Suicide Squad movie, I knew that was who I wanted to dress up as. I pulled my long, blonde hair into pigtails before temporarily spraying the ends blue on one side, pink on the other. I watched hours of make-up tutorials so that my face was just right and then I slipped on a tight-fitting T-shirt, some hot pants and some Converse and was ready to go. I grabbed my baseball bat, brandishing it at myself in the mirror as I got ready to leave the flat, just as my flatmate Gil walked by me.
‘You’re showing your arse at a children’s charity ball?’ he said, laughing.
‘There won’t actually be any children there,’ I replied casually, making a pouty face as I snapped a photo in the mirror. But as I headed to the ball, I did worry that maybe Gil was right. Funny really, considering what a hot mess he is for a forty-something man. That’s actors for you, though.
Thankfully, when I arrived, there wasn’t a minor in sight – unless you count a guy I recognised from Game of Thrones who had, bizarrely, turned up dressed as a baby. The huge ballroom was packed with celebrities, journalists and people who worked for the charity… and then there was Mark. Mark Wright, head of PR for the charity, was the brain behind this fundraising ball, and very much the man of the hour. People were crowding around him – mostly women, I couldn’t help but notice – just to talk to him, get a quote from him, buy him a drink – or just anything, really, that would capture his attention for a few seconds.
Amid the chaos, our eyes met across a crowded room – I know, that old one – but they did. My body not having quite the same proportions as Margot’s, I was just starting to feel self-conscious in my hot pants, awkwardly pulling at them – like that was going to make them any longer – when I spotted Mark, sitting at the bar, facing out into the room, people all around him, trying to get a piece of him. He was dressed as The Joker (Heath Ledger’s portrayal, not Jared Leto’s – but that’s not important) so I smiled at him. His reaction was to applaud me, tilting his head down a little and narrowing his eyes, perfectly replicating Heath’s sarcastic clap in The Dark Knight, before turning his attention back to his audience.
Despite Mark’s temporarily messy green hair, that ghostly white face, black eyes and red, twisted smile, I could tell he was gorgeous. I don’t even think it was the usual characteristics that attracted me to him physically; it was the fact he had a smile on his face every time I looked at him (a real one, not the one painted on so he could tell everyone to ask him ‘how he got those scars’). He had kind eyes and, when he gave people his attention, I saw them light up – that’s Mark, though. With his good looks, charm and kind nature, he makes you feel like the most important person in the world when he talks to you.
Twenty seconds of attention from him and I was smitten, so I spent the rest of the night subtly following this unconventional Prince Charming around the ball, just trying to find a way to get his attention, but feeling like an unworthy Cinderella and chickening out.
Can I Have A Happy Ending?
A Guest Post by Portia MacIntosh
When I started writing It’s Not You, It’s Them, it got me thinking about a lot of things in my real life – mostly, what it means to love someone. I don’t just mean like someone a lot, I mean really, truly, cannot-live-without-them love.
In the story, Roxie finally meets her future in-laws and not only does she not get along with them, but she realises that maybe she and her fiancé want different things in life.
As I wondered how I could possibly give them a happy ending, I started to wonder if anything can actually be done to fix a situation like this.
If you love someone, but you want different things, do you need to break up?
All things considered, I decided that the answer was: no. To find someone you love, who loves you too, is such an incredible gift. Whatever problems you have, you figure them out. If my boyfriend really wanted something, I would do whatever I needed to so that I could give him whatever it took to make him happy, and I know he’d do exactly the same for me. If I didn’t get on with his family (although fortunately, I do), it would be hard luck, because if I want to be with him forever, then his family will be my family too – and you can’t choose your family, right?
I know that, no matter what the issue is, while I love my boyfriend and he loves me too, it doesn’t matter what problems we face, we’ll overcome them and we’ll make it work – we’ll do whatever it takes to make each other happy.
That’s why, when I was writing the story, and worrying about whether or not it could have a happy ending, I realised that of course it could, because when you love someone, you make it work.
About Portia MacIntosh
Portia MacIntosh has been ‘making stuff up’ for as long as she can remember – or so she says. Whether it was blaming her siblings for that broken vase when she was growing up, blagging her way backstage during her rock chick phase or, most recently, whatever justification she can fabricate to explain away those lunchtime cocktails, Portia just loves telling tales. After years working as a music journalist, Portia decided it was time to use her powers for good and started writing novels. Taking inspiration from her experiences on tour with bands, the real struggle of dating in your twenties and just trying to survive as an adult human female generally, Portia writes about what it’s really like for women who don’t find this life stuff as easy as it seems.