It’s Here! The Day For A New #AuthorTakeOver. The Story Behind the Story Part 1 by Gina Kirkham @GinaGeeJay @MavisUpton #GuestPost #AuthorTakeover

Posted May 30, 2020 by Zoé in Author TakeOver, Guest Posts / 2 Comments

I am so excited by this #AuthorTakeOver with Gina, she has become a true friend to me over the last couple of years, she never fails to make me laugh with her stories….ok so it doesn’t always favour her but she knows how to tell a story and make you smile at the same time! Gina has been really hands-on with this takeover and has written some brilliant posts, so for the next 15 days I am handing over to Gina!

Kicking us off, we learn about the story behind the story, looking at Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong, the first book in the fabulous series about Mavis Upton!

Over to Gina……

I thought it would be fun to show how much is truth and how much is artistic licence in the Mavis Upton series of books. The first extract is from Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong, which was my first foray into writing. We join Mavis and her young daughter Ella taking a trip to Asda to use the photo booth as Mavis needs to supply a headshot to go with her application to join the Police. Being a single mum, jobless and short of money, every penny counts.

The Story


“Muuuuum, what you doing in there, can I come in and see, please Mum, please?”

I leant forward, coins in hand trying to find the slot. “Not now, just wait by the curtain so I can see your legs underneath; I’ll only be a few minutes.”

Ella was undeterred. “Why my legs Mum, is that so you know I’m still here and not stolen, hey Mum?”

Exasperated, I pulled the curtain to one side. “Yes Ella, please this is important for me, I just need one good photograph.”

She let out such a big sigh for a little girl. “Okay Mum.”

I lined up the shot in the reflective glass, jiggled and wriggled to get my best angle, and then it happened… …all in a split second.

As the first flash sent out a bright light and a resounding ‘woompf’ which caught me off guard, I struggled to regain my composure for the second shot as a small foot clad in a pink spotty wellington boot edged its way underneath the curtain and kicked down hard on the seat adjuster arm.

Flash… woompf…and the seat disappeared into the floor with me still on it.

“Ha-ha Mum that is soooo funny.” Ella’s voice giggled outside as I tried to extricate myself from the corner of the booth where I had become wedged.


“Ella, for goodness sake, you silly girl!”

Good grief, I was starting to sound even more like my Mum.


And then it was over.

As the booth spat out the photographs, I could only look down at the metal slot in horror whilst my ample boobs continued to wobble from the sudden impetus of the unexpected seat drop.

Photo No.1 gave a fabulous view of my head, proving that a trip to the hairdressers for my roots to be done was horrendously overdue. Photo No.2, slightly blurred by the motion of the seat disappearing into the depths of the floor was a particularly startled, wide eyed shot evidencing the force of gravity and its effect on rather large mammary glands. They were touching my chin and pointing in two different directions. Photo No.3 was a hand and partial Gluteus Maximus shot as I had tried to stand up. Photo No.4 showed me dishevelled, harassed and grinning like a lunatic on an uneven tilt to starboard.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. “Well thanks to you Ella I’ve spent up, so this one will have to do. Just five minutes of peace, that was all I asked for!”

She kicked the toe of her boot into the side of the kerb, chewed her lip and let a giggle catch in her throat. “I’m so sorry Mum, I was only trying to help.” She checked the tip of her wellington and grinned at me.

Shaking my head, I clipped photo No.4 to the form with a warped paper clip I’d found after rummaging around in the bottom of my handbag. Trying not to laugh, and remembering my own escapades, I gave her a hug.

“Well, we’ll just have to wait and see what they think then won’t we?”

Trudging through the still falling leaves to the post box, watching Ella skipping and jumping puddles again, I hoped with all my heart that this would be the start of a better life for us. We needed a bit of luck.

The Truth

I did make a trip to use one of the photobooths with my daughter Emma for the much-needed photograph, but it was to the precinct in Birkenhead, not far from where I live. I used Asda in the book as I felt it would be more easily recognised and imagined by the reader as everyone knows or has been to ‘The Asda’ rather than having them sitting in puzzlement wondering where on earth Birkenhead was.

Emma did have a lot of fun with the seat adjuster arm in her plain red wellies, which resulted in the most awful photographs you have ever seen, just as described in the book. I’m not particularly photogenic to start with and really do have a phobia about having my photo taken, I hide behind anything that’s large enough to cover me, be it wheelie bin or Corporation bus, when someone whips out a camera or mobile phone, so standing there seeing what I really looked like (no filters in those days) was excruciating. Fortunately they were so bad, they didn’t make it as far as the

My next-door neighbour who was a photographer took pity on me and
did a freebie photo shoot in his kitchen. It was murder! Combine my
phobia with the fact I’m a born smiler (and giggler) and I was supposed to have a solemn expression, this was the result. It was a sort of knowing smirk, a cross between a naughty child who has just been told off and potential psychopath. Maybe Merseyside Police were too terrified not to accept me after seeing it!

Gina – this is a fab photo! I love it!! Thank you for sharing the story behind the story. I do love the snippets like this! I remember reading this in the book and I know I was chuckling the first time and I still am! Thank you for an amazing post to kick off your #AuthorTakeOver

Until next time xxx

Click the picture to start your journey with Mavis!
Gina Kirkham TakeOver



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