Tuesday 9 February 2021

Ruthless Women by Melanie Blake @MelanieBlakeUK BLOG TOUR @HoZ_Books @midaspr #RuthlessWomen #BookExtract


Broadcast to millions from its picturesque location off the coast of Jersey, Falcon Bay was once the world's most popular soap opera. But with ratings at an all-time low, a new network owner, the malevolent Madeline Kane, arrives on the private island determined to do whatever it takes to get the show back to the number 1 slot.

Director Farrah, leading lady Catherine and producer Amanda are the driven, ambitious women who've been trying to hold the production together. But thanks to their handsome but corrupt boss, Jake Monroe, Farrah is losing episodes to male colleagues, seventy-year-old Catherine is terrified of losing the public's adoration, and Amanda is battling her desire for a forbidden affair with a handsome new employee.

As Madeline's pressure to revive the show intensifies, she unleashes a true battle of the sexes where the women will do anything to stay in the jobs they love and on the island they call home. Can they team up to bring down their rivals? Or will jealousy, betrayal and revenge rip their friendships apart? As the story reaches its shocking climax, one thing is for certain: only the most ruthless woman will survive...

Ruthless Women by Melanie Blake is published on 18 February 2021 by Head of Zeus.
I'm delighted to share an extract from the book with you today as part of the Blog Tour, organised by Midas PR. 

Extract from Ruthless Women

Falcon Bay was approaching its fortieth anniversary, but where once it had won every accolade and award under the sun, now it had lost more than half its viewers. Not only was it being ripped apart on home soil, where they could usually expect a bit of support, but the international press had started hammering the show too, and once they had you in their sights, it was usually the beginning of the end. The network, which made several popular and cheaply put together reality shows but only one soap opera, had been forced to sell out to an American investment group, and the new owners had promoted Jake with just one thing on the to-do list: get Falcon Bay back to the number one spot. It was a task he intended to deliver on, and he didn’t care if he had to sack the whole room and start again to achieve it. But having been in the business for a long time, he knew axing one person was usually enough to shock the rest into action. It could have been any of them that day. Unfortunately for her, the Mouse had chosen the wrong moment to catch his attention. 

‘You’re all fucking cold!’ he roared. 

The room bristled. The sea churned and spat foam and spray high into the sky. Nobody dared to look out the window, but nobody dared to look directly at Jake either. 

They knew what was coming, and they knew how to survive. Do not meet his gaze, do not let him single you out.

He shook his head contemptuously. ‘Look at the storyboard – there’s not one decent idea up there, not even one! You truly are a pathetic bunch.’ 

Mousey girl, who was new and hadn’t been told that stillness was required when Jake’s mood turned, was trembling, clearly feeling even colder now she’d been shouted at. With shaking hands she slowly started tucking the wrap around herself, almost like a comfort blanket. This caught Jake’s eye as he raged on, his handsome face now almost pink with anger. 

‘This is supposed to be the “creative zone”, people,’ he yelled, using his fingers to make inverted commas in the air. ‘And none of you lazy fuckers are creating shit. No, actually, that’s not true. All of you are creating shit – shit that no one is watching.’ 

As Mouse began tucking the last edge of the wrap under her leg, Jake could stand it no longer. He clicked his fingers and pointed at her. ‘Get out! You’re fired.’ 

The room gasped. 

With one hand still pointing at Mouse, Jake pulled the door wide open, then stood perfectly still. He knew that in reality he couldn’t just fire her like this. HR would have a field day reminding him he needed written warnings and boring stuff like that. But later he would sit Mousey in his office and lay it out for her: she was new, and she was no longer welcome, so she could either take the nice little payoff he’d offer her to go quietly or spend months fighting for it. 

‘But, Mr Monroe—’ she began, her quiet voice squeaking. 

‘Save it and get the fuck out.’ 

Jake was no longer looking at her. He was scanning the rest of the room, making sure they understood what was happening here. She was the sacrifice that would galvanize their collective creativity, or they’d be joining her.

Melanie will be launching the book alongside two of TVs leading ladies Coleen Nolan and Beverly Callard who will be spilling the beans on their own personal lives for a digital book launch “Melanie Blake’s Girls Night in” that members of the public can buy tickets to for £10 including a copy of the book.


A Girls Night In With Melanie Blake | Projects | Fane


‘I loved this novel so much I devoured it in a day.’

Adele Silva, star of Emmerdale

‘An extraordinary look behind the scenes of the world of show business. Ruthless Women tells it as it is; sleazy, heart breaking and hysterical. This book is unforgettable.’

Sherrie Hewson star of Coronation Street

‘People think that TV drama is only for the screen. When you read this book, you’ll realise the truth. Blake’s novel is insightful, vicious and so much fun.’

Emma Samms, star of Dynasty

‘Ruthless Women had me gripped late into the night, desperate to know what happens next. You won’t want it to end.’

Beverley Callard, star of Coronation Street

‘Glitz, glamour and ambition – it's all there! A truly addictive page-turner. Melanie Blake's Ruthless Women is the binge read we all need right now.’ Woman & Home

‘Does for TV what The Devil Wears Prada did for fashion; shows the rotten truth hidden behind the golden facade. The must-read novel of the year; unmissable.’ OK!

'The bonkbuster is back with a bang! Ruthless Women is the read of 2021' Woman’s Own

‘Everything Fifty Shades should have been.’ Heat

A real life ‘Samantha’ from Sex and the City, Melanie Blake was inspired by reading Jackie Collin’s
novels as a teenager to pull herself out of poverty and homelessness in Manchester to become one of the UK’s leading celebrity agents and has worked with everyone from Cher and Madonna to The Spice Girls and Destiny’s Child. Following in Jackie Collins’s footsteps, Blake is determined to bring the bonkbuster back for 2021 and a well as her own novel, she has written the forward for Jackie Collins novel Drop Dead Beautiful being re-issued by Simon & Schuster in November 2021 while her own novel Ruthless Women publishes on 18th February 2021. In summer 2021 Melanie Blake will go on a Jackie Collins author tour alongside Sunday Times Bestselling authors, Jill Mansell, Milly Robinson and Joan Collins’ daughter and author Tara Arkle.

As one as the UK’s most successful agents, managers and publicists for British actresses, Melanie Blake has represented some of the most famous faces on British television and international screens.

Where her debut novel, the No. 1 bestseller The Thunder Girls, was inspired by the early years of her career spent working in the music industry from runner on Top of the Pops, to selling out arenas across the UK, her follow up novel Ruthless Women is heavily influenced by the last 15 years Melanie has spent representing more female actresses than any other agent in her genre. Her clients past and present include Patsy Kensit, Beverley Callard, Michelle Collins, Stephanie Beacham, Emily Lloyd, Denise Welch, Jennie McAlpine, Claire King, Gaynor Faye, Laila Morse, Daniella Westbrook, Sherrie Hewson, Amanda Barrie, Gillian Taylforth and Nadia Sawalha, to name just a few. Nicknamed the Queen of Soaps, there is no one better placed to write a novel based around a continuing drama and its leading ladies.

Over 25 million people in the UK watch soaps every week and now they’ll get a true glimpse of what really goes on behind the scenes of TV’s most popular shows, and examples of the desperate trade-offs their beloved leading ladies go through to survive the very game they are in. Ruthless Women shows that what takes place behind the cameras is way more shocking and scandalous than what happens on camera. Even the actresses, who Melanie was worried would be angry about what she’s written, are raving about Ruthless Women too.

For the first time, Melanie Blake reveals her biggest secret, that her career started as an extra on the set of Coronation Street and EastEnders. It was there she began clawing her way from the bottom of the ‘Soap Opera ladder’ to the very top, going on to represent the leading ladies of the very shows she was hired to stand in the background of.

It’s a one in a million story, by a uniquely determined woman.

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