Tuesday 27 September 2016

George Hook goes from rugby to erotica

Impending retirement prompted the broadcaster and rugby pundit to pen a naughty book, which, he teases, has roots firmly in fact

Published 24/08/2015 | 02:30

George Hook has penned a 'naughty book
George Hook has penned a 'naughty book

The last few months have been fun, as the media has got itself in a twist at the prospect of me writing an erotic novel. After the enormous success of Fifty Shades of Grey, there seemed to be an element of bandwagon jumping, but in truth, the idea had been in my head for a long time.

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With retirement from television a reality and just 14 months to go before I call a halt on my radio career, like any sensible person, I was making plans for my retirement. Writing a book seemed as good an idea as any to fill the time.

In September 2016 I will have spent two decades working my butt off to make up for the previous 30 years of failure. Eighty-hour weeks were the norm as I reached the ultimate happiness of working at my hobby. I do not intend retiring to a life of bridge and golf.

I had written two books, albeit non-fiction, and it seemed a small step to move to fiction. The great Jeffrey Archer gave me the idea when he told me in a radio interview how he had saved himself from bankruptcy by writing a bestseller. Off air, he suggested I could do it and encouraged me to try.

My last book was on rugby, but there was one chapter about a fictional game of rugby between the greatest rugby players of all time from New Zealand and Ireland. I discovered I loved the idea of letting my imagination run riot, but using true elements of the past.

So the idea of writing a book in retirement was born. A newspaper picked up an idle remark on the radio about my first efforts and its erotic content and the story grew legs. Initially, I played the interviews for fun, but all the while a story was growing in my head, and I started to write every morning.

But why erotica, you may ask? Archer's advice was to write about something I know, hence my previous effort about rugby. My generation of Irishmen, fuelled by Catholic guilt, had more fantasies about sex than any other males on the planet, so I had a treasure trove of erotic ideas.

Who among us has not heard of stories of friends, workmates or even celebrities and their exciting lives? So my hero became an amalgam of all the people I've known. I opened the story by placing him in the throes of a terminal illness and reflecting on his life.

The stories flooded into my mind. I remembered as a callow immigrant aged 19, working in an insurance office in London's Trafalgar Square, being given advice by Geoffrey Bryan, the department supervisor, never to engage in an office romance. I followed that advice all my life, but many of the people I've worked with did otherwise. So naturally my fictional character, which I named after that first boss, saw lots of action in his working life.

I remembered also a party on the Marylebone Road where, searching for the toilet, I stumbled into a bedroom where a couple were having sex. All OK, except he was wearing her bra as headphones and using her nipples as dials, saying, "Starting bombing run now".

Rugby tours peopled by young men on testosterone always had episodes of sexual adventure. There were the guys who flaunted their conquests and the quiet, unassuming types who never missed a trick on tour, but nobody knew. One legendary swordsman and rugby international, when asked if he had strayed from the marital bed, responded "Show me the photographs". There was not, and would never be, any evidence.

As he lay dying, my hero, a former radio broadcaster and much-travelled businessman, reflects on his life. There was lots of sex, and the reader can try and guess whether the stories are true or not and also on whom the various characters are modelled.

This will not be just a dirty book, as over 50 years I have met some extraordinary men and women whose stories are, in fact, the stuff of fiction. They are all there in the 120,000 words of my imagination and memory.

My first attempts have been fun and I am eager to see where it all ends.

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