Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Quality Times Blog Tour - Guest Post by Gayle Ramage.

I had the pleasure of studying a creative writing university course with Gayle a couple of years ago. Even then, the darkly humorous twists to her tales impressed me, so I'm chuffed to be able to host her on her first book tour. Please welcome author Gayle Ramage!

A massive ‘thank you’ to Pippa for letting me take over hosting me on her blog, today, as part of my Quality Times Blog Tour. One more day to go! Thanks for stopping by!

Today, I’d like to discuss the book/writer who influenced me to pick up a pen, grab some paper and start writing my own stories. The writer in question is Armistead Maupin, and the book is Tales of the City.

For those who are aware of ToTC, you’ll know the book has nothing to do with Science Fiction and Fantasy, but a hell of a lot to do with an eclectic bunch of San Franciscans in the 1970s.

My memory fades when I try to recollect if I’d read the books before watching the TV series which was broadcast across here in the UK, in 1994, but I do remember getting the Omnibus edition in a local library around about that time (there is currently eight Tales of the City books in the series).

The characters are well-written and well-rounded characters. Reading all the books, you end up liking characters you previously didn’t (and disliking some you had liked in earlier books).

We have Anna Madrigal, the laid-back, pot-smoking landlady of 28 Barbary Lane who acts like a mother figure to her tenants. She’s also a post-op transsexual.

Michael “Mouse” Tollier is a young guy who’s looking for love in the city. He’s an out-and-proud man... except that his parents have no idea and think he’s just not met the right girl yet.

Our way into the story is through Mary Ann Singleton (bit of trivia - Helen Fielding got her ‘singletons’ phrase, in the Bridget Jones’ Diary book, from Tales of the City). A mid-twenties secretary who, on a whim, decides to remain in San Francisco while on a vacation, and ends up one of Mrs Madrigal’s tenants.

Of course, becoming a fan while in secondary school, I tried to write my own version which was C.R.A.P. Hand on my heart, I basically wrote Tales of the City, but set it in a different city with slighty tweaked characters (a bit like Fifty Shades of Gray and Twilight...).

I soon binned my story but it did get me thinking about writing more stories. Original stories, I hasten to add. Where the sci-fi/fantasy elements crept into my stories, I can pinpoint it to watching a certain sci-fi series which returned in 2005, but I’m talking about Tales, today.

There were three mini-series adaptations of the books made - Tales of the City, More Tales of the City and Further Tales of the City. It doesn’t look likely that any more books will be adapted (though I may be wrong) but I would have loved Babycakes to be filmed, as it has Michael heading over to England, and bumping into an estranged friend.

Most recently, Tales of the City - The Musical has been created, with involvement by Scissor Sister’s Jake Shears. Not seen that yet and, unless they tour Scotland, I probably never will. *sob*

To celebrate the release of my book, The Whispering Tombs, I’m giving away an e-copy to one lucky commenter. All you have to do is tell me what book inspired you to start writing (and if it wasn’t a book that inspired you, what did?). A winner will be picked, at random, on the 3rd of June, the day after the tour ends. Just remember to include your email in the comment section!

Meet Quality Times, just your average 21st century woman who happens to own a shrinkable time machine. Along on her intergalactic adventures is Tim, a self-confessed sci-fi geek who takes everything in his stride.
In ‘The Whispering Tombs’, Quality and Tim are residing at the luxurious Baala Haven Resort, on an unpronounceable planet, when they’re invited on a quest to find ancient hidden treasure by a wealthy alien archaeologist. Reaching the caves of Azrokaran, however, loyalties are tested to the very limits as those within the group reveal their true colours.
A light-hearted mix of science fiction, adventure and humour.
Gayle Ramage is a writer, living in the Scottish lowlands. She would love to grow her own TARDIS if only to go back in time to find out if her ancestors were as mad as she is.


  1. Thanks for hosting me, Pippa!

  2. I've never heard of Tales of the City - I'll have to check it out. Thanks :)

  3. What a great interview! Thanks, Gayle!

  4. Lauri - No problem. Glad you enjoyed!


I always love to hear your thoughts.