What's in a name? Author Gina Kirkham on alter-ego PC Mavis Upton

Steve Evans and Heather Smith with author Gina KirkhamAn up and coming author has invited Radio Clatterbridge listeners to come up with a name for her next book.

Gina Kirkham was in the studio to promote her first novel - a story based on her life as a police officer in Wirral.

She decided to pick up her pen after people kept telling her she should write a book about her experiences after retiring from Merseyside Police.

Handcuffs, Truncheon And A Polyester Thong is the result - although it is seen through the eyes of her alter ego Mavis Upton.

Mavis is a 30-something mum with a young daughter who recounts the humerous side of the job.

"At the end of the day police officers are human beings and we have a particular sense of humour that helps us cope with the things that we see." - Gina Kirkham

Presenters Steve Evans and Heather Smith read the book and invited Gina on to the Coffee Club programme to share her stories with listeners.

Now a grandmother, she had a successful career which even took her to Downing Street - although she didn't get to meet the Prime Minister.

Listen to her full interview to find out why.

Gina, who was based at Wallasey police station, revealed that some of her former colleagues have recognised themselves in the pages of the book.

However, she revealed that some parts of the story are made up for dramatic effect.

The book cover... and Gina in her police uniform

Gina took 18 months to write the book and found it was a cathartic process following the loss of her parents to cancer.

The novel is dedicated to her mum who won national awards from her poetry in her 50s and was halfway writing her own book when she died from gastric cancer at 67.

Mavis also experiences the loss of her mother.

"It was a hard chapter to write... but I felt it was a story that needed to be told. The book needed that balance."

Gina is becoming a literary success.

A book signing at Waterstones in Liverpool was sold out, as were the copies they had in store.

She's had great reviews on Amazon and has now been nominated for The Guardian's Not The Booker Prize.

"Just being nominated is fantastic. I really am very chuffed with that."

Gina shared with listeners her stories of getting her first book published and why the name had to be changed.

But it's the name of her next book which has yet to be decided.

She's half way through writing the next chapter in Mavis's life and appealed for anyone with any ideas for the title to get in touch.

The book is also available from Lingham's in Heswall.


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