The Blondes Have It

I’ve now reached that silly season of my working year when the book isn’t quite finished but the designers need to get to work. Which is why the following query landed on my desk this week: is Nan a blonde or a brunette?

Nan is my current protagonist.  She’s brunette, no question.

I’ve never been blonde, though I’ve often wondered what it’d be like. My dark hair is now rapidly greying but psychologically I suppose I’ll always be a brunette. My guess would have been that the majority of my female protagonists are brunettes too. So I just did a little survey. 5am, you can’t sleep, may as well get up and conduct a poll. Setting aside my two male narrators who have both had hair loss issues, I was left with eleven female, ahem, heads to count.

Poppy Minkel, dark-haired in the cradle but a blonde at heart would undoubtedly have gone to the salon for a bleach job at the earliest opportunity. She’s in the blonde column. Likewise Birdie from Dog Days, Glenn Miller Nights, modelled somewhat on my paternal grandmother, who went to her grave with her roots retouched and somewhat on my mother-in-law who’s still hanging in there.

Buzz Wexler is a bottle redhead. No-one can remember what her natural colour is and if they ever did she’d sue.

The figures are in. If we allow a redhead to be a blonde with extra whistles and bells, the score is six five to the blondes. Extraordinary. I never would have thought it. Writer, know thyself.

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