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NGP Author Stories: Chris Vale

25 July 2014

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The author of ‘The Rhythm Cats’ Chris Vale is the focus of the New Generation author stories for this week.

Chris Vale was born in Manchester, the youngest child of a clergyman and spent her childhood in Rivington, where her father was the vicar.

She received a good education at Rivington and Blackrod Grammar School and went on to study English Literature at Leicester University.

It was there that she met her future husband, a Guernseyman. They married and went to live in the island, raising two daughters and a son. When the children were old enough to have music lessons, Chris took the opportunity to learn to play the cornet.

Around 1970, Chris became the only female member of her local brass band, it was tough at first keeping up with colleagues whose skills were well-honed. At one point the bandmaster was moved to speculate aloud as to what a whole band on women would sound like, this sowed the seeds of her first novel.

Having a solid grounding in the literary field, Chris had done some freelance writing for the local press, so she had time to develop familiarity with the typewriter. (remember the typewriter?) The idea of an all-female band grew until she felt she had to get it out of her system.

The result was her first novel 'Brassy Women', the success of this book encouraged her carry on writing in the same vein - there were other musical male strongholds to be broken into.

So she had five of the characters from the all-girl band, which she had created, form a beat group, a territory dominated by the 'boy band'. The result may be found in 'The Rhythm Cats', now available from New Generation Publishing'.

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