Check Out The First Chapter Of Vicky Pattison's Debut Novel, 'All That Glitters'
She's done reality TV, modelling, become an agony aunt and now Vicky Pattison's conquering the world of literature...
She's done reality TV, become an agony aunt, modelled for some of the country's biggest magazines AND become a fitness guru with a best-selling workout DVD.
But none of that's enough for Vicky Pattison.
Now, she's decided to conquer the world of literature.
Her debut novel, All That Glitters, is out today. And because she's awesome, she's given us a preview of the first chapter.
The story follows hairdresser Issy Jones, who's torn between her glamorous ambitions and her love for her family. But when she comes close to getting everything she ever wanted, it becomes clear that fame and fortune isn't all it's cracked up to be. Just how much of herself will Issy have to sacrifice to follow her dreams?
Sounds a bit familiar, right?
"There are loosely autobiographical moments in it, I’m not going to lie," Vicky told Now Magazine. "[It's about] a female protagonist in her twenties, who joins a reality show. She’s feisty, fun and has long dark hair. It’s funny and there’s swearing and sex in it. It’s basically Geordie Shore if Geordie Shore had a book."
If that sounds like your cup of tea, take a first look at the book below...
Issy Jones felt fat warm tears sliding down her cheeks. She grasped her dad’s hand tightly; it felt cold and unfamiliar. She barely recognised the man lying in front of her on the hospital bed, multiple tubes and wires attached to him. He had the same familiar dark hair and even features she knew so well, but his face was pale and so, so still. She squeezed his hand tighter as the machines continued to bleep around them.
‘I promise I will do anything, absolutely anything if you get better, Dad,’ Issy whispered, unsure if he could hear her. ‘And I’ll never leave you again. Just be all right. Please, Dad. Please.’
Still holding her dad’s hand, she slumped down in the hard, uncomfortable hospital chair next to him and rested her head on his arm, remembering how safe she used to feel when he hugged her as a child. She didn’t want to let go, afraid if she did she would lose him forever, and she wouldn’t be able to bear that. Even the thought of it brought tears to her eyes and Issy breathed deeply, trying not to despair.
It had all happened so suddenly. Only the day before she’d been working on an assignment at her hairdressing college in London, when she got a call from her brother, Zach, shakily telling her that their dad had suffered a heart attack. She’d dropped everything, rushed to the station and caught the first train she could home. A tear-filled three hours later, Zach had met her at Manchester station and had warned her that their dad was in a bad way. But nothing could have prepared her for seeing him look so frail.
The man in the hospital bed, wired up to machines, wasn’t the gentle giant who had cared for her growing up. Issy’s dad was a tall, handsome, muscular man, the years working in his garage had seen to that, but the figure in front of her seemed smaller and older than the man she knew.
The change in him had been so shocking her legs had almost given way when she’d first seen him. Zach had grabbed her to stop her from falling, and then held her while she cried. Her mum, Debs, who always had some- thing to say, was silent as they stood together watching his chest rise and fall.
The three of them stayed by his bedside all night. At some point Zach had dropped off to sleep, and while he softly snored Issy and her mum had talked for hours, trying to keep each other’s spirits up. But it hadn’t worked. The fear was visible on their faces and in their trembling voices. Neither of them had wanted to think about what life would be like without the man who made them feel safe.
Issy took another deep breath, reminding herself to stay positive.
‘Issy?’ a husky voice said. She lifted her head off her dad’s arm and tried to blink the tears away.
‘Dad?’ She wondered if she had imagined it. She felt a rush of hope as she saw his eyes flicker towards her.
‘Isabelle, are you crying?’ His voice was croaky and full of concern.
‘Of course not,’ Issy replied, brushing her cheeks. ‘What’s with the Isabelle? You only call me Isabelle when I’ve done something wrong.’
‘I don’t want you crying, kiddo. Help me out and find someone who can tell me what’s really going on here, will you ...?’
‘I’ll call someone and get some help,’ she said, getting up and reluctantly letting go of his hand.
She walked out into the corridor and took several long, deep breaths. A few hours after he’d been admitted the doc- tors had declared her dad ‘stable’, but she hadn’t believed them. Not until now. This was what she’d been praying for, yet she still couldn’t quite believe it.
After steadying herself, Issy grabbed the first nurse she saw, a young woman about her own age who looked perky enough to be early in her shift, so when Issy explained that her dad was awake she followed right after. She was the only member of the family left at the hospital and felt like a child, hopelessly out of her depth. Her brother had gone to check on the garage their dad owned and ran, while her mum had gone home for some rest. She wished they were both here.
When Issy followed the nurse back into the room, her dad had barely moved but his eyes were wide open and there was a sense of awareness about him. Relief flooded through her. He really was going to be all right.
‘You gave us quite a fright, Mr Jones,’ the nurse said sternly but with a smile.
‘Yes you bloody well did,’ Issy added, flashing him a beaming smile.
‘Hey, love, sorry about the fright, but please, call me Kev.’ He winked at the nurse.
‘Really, Dad? One minute you’re at death’s door the next you’re putting a shift in with a nurse!’ Issy shook her head but she was still grinning.
Before he could reply the door to the ward burst open and her mum ran into the room clutching her yapping little dog, Princess Tiger-Lily, followed closely by Zach. She immediately launched herself on her husband, showering him with kisses.
‘Debs!’ Kev spluttered.
‘You can’t have dogs in here,’ said the nurse sounding shocked and angry. ‘We don’t allow animals in the hospital and your husband is still very ill.’
‘You shouldn’t have brought her in here, love,’ Kev said quietly. It was an effort to lift his hand but he gently stroked the side of Debs’s face.
‘I did try to stop her,’ Zach said, turning his attention to the flustered nurse. He mouthed a silent ‘sorry’ at her and she visibly melted. Issy rolled her eyes. Her brother could charm his way into a nun’s pants.
‘Oh for God’s sake, he’s alive, that’s all that matters. And surely you know how important pets are for patient reha- bilitation?’ Debs said, wagging a finger at the nurse.
‘Just be careful. There are a lot of wires,’ she simpered, eyes still fixed upon Zach. ‘I’ll go and see where the doctor’s got to.’
‘You do that, love,’ Debs replied with a smile before care- fully placing Princess at the foot of the bed and launching herself onto Kev again.
‘Mum, you’ll give him another heart attack carrying on like that,’ Zach half-joked.
The nurse backed out of the room, her gaze firmly fixed on Zach, who had been pretending not to notice.
Issy stood in the small, grey hospital room surveying her family. She couldn’t believe all their happiness had nearly been taken away from them. A rush of pure love filled her as she looked around at them all; her dad, her mum, Zach, even Princess Tiger-Lily, right now she’d even forgive all those times her barking interrupted a much-needed Saturday morning hangover lie-in.
It wasn’t normal, it was quite far from normal, but they were hers and she loved everything about them. She meant what she had said before her dad had woken up; she would never leave them again.
THREE YEARS LATER
‘So, what are we doing today, Vi?’ Issy asked, wielding a pair of scissors and standing behind Violet, one of her regulars. They were in A Cut Above, her mum’s hairdressing salon in Salford, on the outskirts of Manchester. It was the most popular salon in the area but that was because most of the clients belonged to the blue rinse brigade. Although there were a few younger customers, it wasn’t exactly what you’d call edgy, and Issy longed to get her creative hands on people who wanted more than a trim and tint. Issy had asked what Vi wanted, already knowing the answer. She’d known Vi and many of her mum’s other clients since she was a little girl.
‘I just want a little bit off, duck. Not too short, mind. I don’t want to look like a poodle,’ Vi replied. Issy nodded. With her tightly permed white hair, no matter what she did Vi always ended up looking like a poodle.
‘Of course not, Vi, God forbid,’ Issy said, smiling warmly at Violet in the mirror.
Issy got to work on Vi’s hair when suddenly a wave of nostalgia hit and she was catapulted back to her days at The Hair Academy. It felt like a lifetime ago that she’d walked away from her course.
The Hair Academy was the most illustrious hairdressing college in the UK, and Issy had worked her arse off to get a place on one of their courses. They only took a handful of students each year so competition was fierce, but back then Issy was full of confidence – and had the talent to back it up. Prior to her dad’s heart attack, she’d been so driven and ambitious. Whether she ended up styling hair for magazine shoots or working backstage at fashion shows – one way or another she had been determined to make a name for herself.
It was a far cry from where she was now.
Issy looked around the salon. She’d practically grown up here – hairdressing was in her blood. Her mum had started teaching her how to style hair when she was barely a teenager. She’d practised on dummy heads, swept up hair, made notes – whatever it took to learn the trade. As a young girl, it had amazed Issy that people could come into the salon looking pretty ordinary and leave feeling amazing. Hair was powerful, she truly believed that. Hairdressing was about more than just the physical, there was a psychology to it too. People poured their hearts out when they sat in the hairdresser’s chair and Issy understood that she was much more than a pair of scissors to them, they put their trust into her when they sat down in her chair.
Issy shook her head to dispel her nostalgia and tuned back into Vi’s chatter about her latest ailments. Issy missed the glamour and the creative challenges of The Hair Academy, but her mum’s salon had heart and the clients were important to her. They needed her and so did her family. Readjusting to living at home again had been hard but Issy had never once doubted that leaving her course and coming back to Salford had been the right decision.
A melodic hum of chatter filled the air. A Cut Above was a medium-sized salon and as well as Issy and her mother, Karen and Brenda, two other stylists, also worked there. Alice, their trainee, completed their small team and though at the moment she was shampooing, sweeping up hair and making tea, she was bright and good with the clients so Issy knew it wouldn’t be long before she had the skills and confidence to start tackling cuts on her own. It was how they’d all got their start.
‘Thanks, Alice,’ Issy said as Alice delivered a cup of milky tea to Violet. Alice smiled back at Issy and said hello to Vi, before going off with her broom.
There was a commotion as the door opened and Issy turned to see Zach walking through the salon. He’d clearly come from the garage – it was just around the corner so they were always popping in and out – as he was wearing his oil-covered overalls, and his cuffs were rolled up to reveal his full-sleeve tattoo. Since their dad’s heart attack, Zach had taken charge of all the manual labour at the garage and Issy’s dad had taken a step back and focused on the office work. Kev insisted that he didn’t mind the change but Issy secretly thought that he did miss getting his hands dirty.
‘Ooo,’ Vi said, turning her head suddenly and almost losing an ear in the process. Issy pulled her scissors quickly out of harm’s way, she knew how Vi could get around Zach, or any young man, in fact. ‘Zach, hi!’ Vi waved flirtatiously as Zach made his way over to them.
‘Hey, gorgeous,’ he said to Vi. She blushed like a girl a quarter of her age and Issy shook her head.
At six foot two, Zach shared the same dark hair as Issy and their dad. He was definitely a good-looking lad, and had been for as long as Issy could remember. She’d been one of the most popular girls in school simply because girls thought they could get close to Zach through Issy. And he was still one of the fittest lads in Salford – not that Issy would ever tell him that. Zach definitely didn’t have confi- dence issues.
‘What are you doing here?’ Issy asked.
‘I had a few minutes so I thought I’d pop in for a sunbed.’
‘Are you going to be naked?’ Vi asked hopefully.
Issy’s eyes sparkled with amusement. ‘Vi, you’re old enough to be his nan,’ she rebuked.
‘I am not,’ Vi replied indignantly.
‘No, Vi, I wear boxers in there,’ Zach said conspiratorially, lifting his T-shirt to snap at the waistband of his Calvin Kleins and exposing a strip of muscular stomach as he did so. ‘Got to protect little Zach!’
Issy looked around the salon. Alice was almost the same colour as Issy’s crimson nails, Vi was grinning from ear-to-ear and Karen couldn’t keep her eyes off Zach’s groin.
‘Right, that’s enough.’ Debs shouted, coming out from the back fresh from cleaning the sunbeds. ‘Zachary Jones, get into that sunbed and leave everyone else to cut hair.’ Zach threw Vi a final cheeky wink and then disappeared.
Vi chatted non-stop about Zach for the rest of her hair- cut. Issy shared a smile with her mum who was sorting out accounts and manning reception. Zach had taken on the lion’s share of the work at the garage for the last three years and she was proud of him – despite the fact that he flirted with old ladies. Although in fairness he flirted with everyone and everything – dogs, pot plants, a packet of chocolate digestives. Nothing and no one was immune to Zachary Jones’s charms.
Issy was just finishing up with Vi when the salon door banged open again and her father appeared.
‘Hello, gorgeous,’ Debs said coming round from the reception desk to kiss her husband, wrapping her arms around him in a display of affection that made Issy feel like an awkward teenager.
‘Hi, love.’ Kev looked around the salon and smiled. ‘Hi, ladies.’
‘Two handsome men in one day,’ Vi said. ‘I shall never recover.’ Issy thought, not for the first time, that despite her age, Vi was still a saucy old flirt.
‘What other handsome man?’ Kev asked, sounding perplexed.
‘Your son, love. He’s having a sunbed.’
‘That’s where the bugger got to. He said he had to pop out for teabags half an hour ago. I should have known where he’d be.’ Kev looked annoyed but deep down he was more amused by Zach than angry. Father and son were like peas in a pod, but Zach was the new generation, for sure. He took care of himself in a way that Kev could never understand. Zach was a man’s man, but a well-groomed one.
At that moment Zach reappeared, a few shades darker than when he’d come in.
‘Bollocks!’ he said on seeing his dad. He ducked down behind Vi’s chair. ‘Protect me, Vi.’
‘Any time, love,’ Vi said, a wicked glint in her eye.
Zach laughed. ‘What are you doing here, Dad?’ he asked, standing up but still keeping a good distance.
‘Well, I was hoping for a word in private with our Issy,’ he said, shuffling awkwardly from foot to foot.
‘What about?’ Debs asked.
‘Yes, what about?’ Vi repeated. Vi loved coming to the salon – it was better than an episode of Coronation Street.
Issy jumped in. Just because it was a family business didn’t mean that everyone got to hear all their business. ‘Give me five minutes and I’ll come and see you – Vi’s my last cut of the day.’
‘Meet me at the café, I could murder a cuppa.’ He shot his son a look. ‘And Zach, get back to work.’
‘Come on, Dad. At least I’m a lovely colour now,’ Zach laughed.
‘A lovely colour? You’re starting to resemble a bloody tea bag, you big girl – now get back to the garage, will you?’ Kev said, exasperated.
‘Oh you really are a lovely colour,’ Vi agreed. ‘If only you’d show me your tan lines.’
‘Bloody hell, Vi!’ Debs shouted, but with a laugh. ‘Boys – out, any more of this and Alice’ll be sweeping up fainting pensioners instead of hair.’
Issy pulled her black cardigan around her as she walked toward the café. It was cold, but she didn’t have far to go. She pushed open the door and saw her dad, sitting at a corner table, reading a newspaper, with two mugs of tea in front of him. She smiled at the woman behind the counter and made her way over.
‘Hiya,’ she said, sitting down and pointing at his mug. ‘There better not be any sugar in that tea?’
‘Course not,’ Kev replied, looking guilty. Since his heart attack, Issy had been on a one-woman mission to make sure her dad stayed healthy. She resisted the urge to take a sip to check. He was pretty patient about her bossing him around but she didn’t want to push her luck.
‘So, what’s going on?’ Issy had a sudden thought. ‘Is everything OK? Is it your heart?’ However many years passed, Issy didn’t think she’d ever stop worrying about her dad having another heart attack.
‘No, it’s nothing like that. I’m fit as a fiddle, promise.’
Issy relaxed back into her chair. ‘Am I in trouble then?’ She smiled at her dad the way she always did when she needed to get round him.
‘No, you’re not in trouble. I just ... well ... OK ... Look, there’s something I wanted to talk to you about.’ Kev looked awkward as he shuffled in his seat. ‘The thing is, well, you’ve been back at home for three years now.’
Issy frowned. What was this all about?
Kev took a deep breath before continuing. ‘Here’s the thing. Three years ago you were in London, following your dream, full of ideas and ambition. We both know why you came home but I’m not sure I know why you’re still here.’
‘Dad, what are you getting at?’ Sometimes her dad took for ever getting to the point. Cars, rather than conversation, were Kev’s strong point.
‘I just want to make sure that you’re happy, you know, living at home and working at the salon. Is cutting old ladies hair really what you want?’
‘There are worse jobs,’ Issy said defensively.
‘I know that, and your mum’s salon is grand. But you’ve always wanted more. You’ve got your mum’s talent but we always wanted more for you as well. Once me and your mum met it was all marriage, babies and bloody dogs. Wish I’d put me foot down and insisted we got a cat.’
‘Dad. I have no idea what you’re talking about. Is this about me or Princess?’ Issy looked her father straight in the eye.
‘Bloody hell, Issy. Can’t I have a proper conversation with my daughter?’
‘Sure.’ Issy smiled sweetly. ‘And if I knew what this was about then I could join in with that proper conversation.’
Kev looked cross at first and then started laughing. He should’ve known better – Issy always cut to the chase.
‘Here’s the thing. It’s time for you to put yourself first,’ Kev said gruffly. ‘You kept this family together when I was ill. Now it’s time I did something for you, and I have a plan.’
‘I saw an advert for a new reality TV show. It’s a hairdressing competition and the production company is looking for contestants. The best thing is that it will be filmed in Manchester.’
‘A TV show? Are you mad?’ Issy loved watching reality TV, she was a hopeless addict, but that didn’t mean she wanted to be on it. Of course the ‘what if ’ had crossed her mind, but she couldn’t see it. She’d never wanted to be famous.
‘You’re perfect for it,’ Kev said. ‘You have the talent for it and you’d still be nearby so you wouldn’t even be leaving us really.’
‘This show – what is it exactly?’ Issy fiddled with a salt shaker as she tried to make sense of what her dad was saying. The idea of it had filled her with an uncharacteristic dread.
‘All I know is that it’s a competition for hairdressers, it’s going to be on TV, and there’s some big prize.’
‘Well, that’s not a lot to go on. It sounds all right but, Dad, a TV show? Come on. They probably wouldn’t want me anyway.’
‘The thing is . . . that . . . I sort of filled out the application form for you and it turns out they do want to speak to you.’ Kev stared at the table as intently as if they were showing an episode of Match of the Day on there.
‘You did what?!’ Issy shrieked. ‘Dad, have you gone mad?’ Issy couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
‘Someone had to do something!’ Kev looked annoyed until he saw the panicked look on Issy’s face. He picked up his mug and then put it back down again. ‘I only did it because I love you,’ he said talking to the table again, a blush slowly creeping up his neck.
Issy was silent for a moment. How am I meant to respond to that? she thought.
‘I love you too, Dad,’ Issy said finally. ‘But what’s that got to do with some daft TV show?’
‘The London thing . . . it was a big deal and you gave it up. For us, for me. I know you felt that you had to prop all of us up and we let you, but only because we thought you’d go back once everything was back to normal.’ He smiled, back on more comfortable territory. ‘It’s time for you to get back to your life and stop living ours.’
‘I’m not sure I have it in me anymore, it’s been too long.’ Issy felt confused. Of all the things she could have imagined her dad was going to say, this didn’t come close. She didn’t know how to react and it was bringing all her unacknowl- edged fears to the surface.
‘Don’t be so bloody dramatic, of course you have. You’re only twenty-five. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you.’
‘This show could open doors for you. Look, you’re wasting your talents here and it’s not on.’ He looked stern and Issy wondered if she was still expected to do as she was told at her age.
‘I’m scared, Dad,’ she admitted, looking at the table herself now.
‘There was a time when nothing scared you.’ Kev reached for Issy’s hand. ‘Where’s my brave daughter gone? The daughter who had bigger balls than most of the lads in my garage? Is she still in there?’
Issy laughed, despite herself. ‘I don’t know, Dad. I need to think about this properly. I’m a little bit blindsided.’
‘OK, love, but don’t take too long. They won’t wait for- ever.’ Her dad looked her square in the eye for the first time since she’d come in. ‘The only thing that matters to me is that you’re happy. And I don’t think you’ve been truly happy since you moved back home.’
Issy stood up and walked round the table so she could sit next to her dad. She enveloped him in a hug. Kev gave her a squeeze back.
The two mugs of tea were left undrunk.
All That Glitters is out now. And don't miss Vicky on Judge Geordie - Wednesdays at 9pm, only on MTV.