The third person in my unholy trinity of writing personae is Rupert James, who emerged a few years back for a brace of big blockbusters aimed squarely at the commercial women’s market. Why the new name? Well, we thought it might help to get a good deal if we distanced the project from Rupert Smith, author of ‘gay’ literary fiction. I’m still not sure about the arguments pro and con, but it worked – I got a stonking great deal from a major publishing conglomerate that would never have touched Rupert Smith with a bargepole.
Silk is the story of three ambitious women: divorce lawyer Christina, her fashion-designer daughter Isabelle, and the scheming mistress Victoria. Stepsisters tells the tale of Elizabeth and Rachel, two very different young women thrown together when their parents marry. In the words of French and Saunders, ‘it’s got men, it’s got women, it’s got lipstick.’
Silk and Stepsisters both sold well and got enthusiastic reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. Silk even came tantalisingly close to being optioned for telly, until someone else came along with a project set in the legal world called – what do you know? – Silk.