Shelly Harris, bestselling author of Jubilee, explains why she chose to celebrate the publication of her new novel Vigilante by giving away some very special underwear.
What if a woman had a midlife crisis, and coped with it by taking on the persona of a superhero? What if she wasn’t heroic at all, but someone completely ordinary, someone so fed up being herself that she decides to become someone else?
These were the questions which jump-started Vigilante. For me, the premise was irresistible. There are so many stories about men who feel these things (the midlife sports car, the midlife mistress), men who kick at the constraints of domestic life and long for heroism. Women, by and large, are presented to us as the grounded ones, for whom domesticity is, in some way, ‘natural’. This is the tale we hear over and over again, but it doesn’t match my experience. I will say it now (and hope that, as you’re reading this, there’s a part of you that feels it too):
I want more. I want to be remarkable. I want to be a hero. In Vigilante I got to explore the extraordinary things that start to happen when you act on that desire.
Vigilante is about more than just a mask and cape, but for my hero Jenny Pepper, her costume carries huge symbolic significance. Clothing defines us – and it can help redefine us too. One of my happiest discoveries last year was the brilliant social enterprise Who Made Your Pants?, a company which shares so much common ground with Vigilante that I basically begged them to work with me.
WMYP was set up by Becky John (Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2014!) who is something of a superhero herself. She saw a way of offering jobs and skills to refugee women in Southampton, and making beautiful, sweatshop-free pants into the bargain. What’s more, those gorgeous knickers are marketed in ways which make women feel fabulous about their bodies – no super-skinny models, no retouched photos. I couldn’t be prouder that Vigilante has teamed up with WMYP and I would suggest that if, like Jenny, you enter a phase of your life when pants are best worn on the outside of your clothes (literally or metaphorically) these are the very best pants to do it in.
Enter here to win a hardback copy of Shelley Harris’ Vigilante and a week’s worth of of ethical pants.
Closing Date: 31st January 2015. UK & Ireland only. Read full terms and conditions here.