In a recent Author Interview I was given chance to discuss the relationship between the writer and his family.

Coincidentally this was brought home to me with a bump last night when I sat my wife down to discuss something with her. We’d had a cracking night out with friends, the banter had been flowing and all in all it was an excellent evening. If you have no banter in your life then your very existence is all the poorer for it.

So I sat Sue down and said I wanted to discuss something with her. She listened with trepidation.

“For the last few months I’ve been a member of this online writers group …..”

“Oh, God!”

“No listen, this is important …..”

“You’re too controversial for them.”

“No I’m not! I’m not! I haven’t argued with anybody. I haven’t spoken a single word about UKIP or even mentioned Nigel Farage at all. I’ve stayed away from religion. I don’t think I even spoke about immigration. I added value to the group. They even made me Author of the Week one week. I promoted another author’s books on there one time instead of my own, and they seemed to like that. I genuinely thought that my diverse sense of humour lightened the mood sometimes when people were getting up their own arse. All in all, they seemed like a really nice crowd.”

“Go on.”

“They’ve booted me out!”

And do you know what, she absolutely pissed herself laughing. She laughed so hard tears rolled down her leg! She was literally rolling on the floor laughing. This is the respect I get. This demonstrates just how seriously a writer’s family takes his writing.

Once she was able to catch her breath she said, “That’s priceless. You must have pissed someone off.”

“I didn’t! I swear. They all seemed like really nice people. There was one horrible cow a few weeks back who disagreed with something I’d said, I can’t remember what it was now, but she got pretty nasty about it. I hope they’ve chucked her out as well. But no, I didn’t, I didn’t say anything to piss anyone off.”

“Karl, love, listen to me, how long have you been a member of groups like this?”

“Ten or twelve years or so I suppose.”

“Then you know full well how precious these bloody writers can get. I don’t know why you bother with them at all. Have you sold any more books since you’ve been a member? Have your book sales gone up.”

“No, they’ve remained the same.”

“Then it’s a waste of bloody time, isn’t it? Why bother with them? They’re probably all vegetarians who stay in at night practicing ‘Bobby Shafto’ on their recorders.”

“Well yeah, I suppose so.

“Let’s face it; you wouldn’t invite any of them to a barbeque, would you?”

“But they’re not all like that. I’ve made some friends, people I’d trust.”

“I’ve no doubt, but they’re the exception, aren’t they? I bet there’s no real banter on these writer’s sites, is there? You, of all people, know full well that banter frustrates the types you find in these writer’s groups because that form of verbal jousting requires both mental agility and precocity, both of which they believe they hold the monopoly on. So they get all precious about it.”

“But the admin staff seemed nice enough.”

“Well, clearly they’re not, are they? Otherwise they wouldn’t have been so unprofessional. They’d have discussed things with you rather than just booting you out with no warning or explanation whatsoever. Have you asked them why they booted you out?”

“Of course, but they’ve all buried their heads in the sand, which is kind of cowardly.”

“There you go then. Karl, my love, when you meet people in person you’re a really good judge of character - except that guy in prison who killed whatsisface, of course - but you really don’t know what these people are like when you meet them online. They come across all respectable, and make every effort to portray that impression but in reality they need to lighten the fuck up!”

She speaks a lot of sense, Sue, I must admit.