Drum roll please. My new book ‘The Key To It All’ is out tomorrow, so I’d better tell you what it’s about.
The idea came for it after talking to my mate Sara in the pub, who told me about a city bloke she knew who’d received an exclusive corporate gift – a sort of instant upgrade pass, which gave him first class flights and entrance into swanky clubs and restaurants. The idea stuck, developed and I worked it up into the kind of twisting and turning cliff-hanger laden story I love, throwing in some of my favourite plot devices for good measure. (I guess my box-set addiction comes in handy after all.)
The result is a story about five random strangers – in far flung corners of the globe – who simultaneously receive a mysterious silver key. When they plug it into any computer, they get access to a personalized webpage asking them to name their desires. They soon realize that the key can unlock a door to luxury and privilege beyond their wildest dreams. However, as each of them begins to use the key, they are propelled into a world of hazy moral choices and they start to question the enigmatic gift, who is funding it and why they have been chosen to receive it. Obviously, only the bravest will use it to find out the truth, but along the way, there’s intrigue, murder and romance.
With each of my five characters, I explored their very different reactions to receiving such a gift, from suspicion to out-and-out avarice. I’ve been asked in quite a bit of the publicity blogs I’ve done about what I would do if I were to receive such a gift, but whilst is sounds great in theory, in practice, I’m not sure I’d like it. I’m naturally suspicious of freebies and I wouldn’t want anyone else waiting on me hand and foot. I tend to make friends with staff. I can’t help myself.
That said, writing this book was so much fun. I honestly loved the writing process. Some books are like pulling teeth, but this one was a joy. There are the friends listed in the acknowledgments who obviously went through the usual tearful ‘I can’t do it/yes you can’ phone calls as I tried to rein in my gigantic plot. But for the most part, it was fabulous to get the chance to sit at home in my tracksuit bottoms and imagine myself cycling along on a beach in Rio, or what it would be like to flounce around on a mega yacht, or throw an epic party where every Hollywood A-lister came.
However, at the end of the day, for me, I know that true happiness is being on my shabby sofa with Emlyn and our girls. And it’s free. The key to it all isn’t money, or having someone else solve all your problems. It may sound very cheesy, and yes, this is a spoiler for the last line of the book, but I do believe that the key to it all is love.
‘The Key To It All’ by Joanna Rees is published by Pan Macmillan priced £7.99 and is available in Tesco, Smith’s Travel and online at Amazon.