Tinker, Tailor, Schoolmum, Spy: 'Her spiky heels will come in handy if she needs to stab someone'

Welcome to author and winner of The Comedy Women in Print Prize Faye Brann who has dropped by to tell us about her novel Tinker, Tailor, Schoolmum, Spy and to give us the lowdown on one of her characters.

While we're waiting for your guest to arrive, Faye, can you tell us a little about your book?

Vicky Turnbull has never regretted giving up her career for family life in the suburbs. And apart from being outstandingly good at paintball, no one would ever know that in a past life she was an undercover spy and has been trained to kill a man with her bare hands. Not even her husband, and certainly not the other mums at the school gate.

But beneath the school runs and bake sales, Vicky had never quite said goodbye to the past. So, when a newcomer on the PTA sets alarms bells ringing and MI5 comes calling, she’s determined to prove that despite her expanding waistline and love of pink gin, she’s still every bit the cold-eyed special operative.

When the assignment gets uncomfortably close to home, Vicky must decide if she has got what the job takes after all, and if home is really where her heart is…

Who will you be inviting for a cocktail, and why?

I’ll be bringing Vicky Turnbull along, from my debut novel Tinker, Tailor, Schoolmum, Spy. She’s a 46 year old mum of three and a secret agent with a licence to kill. I reckon it would make for an interesting evening, especially as I know for a fact she can’t hold her liquor. She’s also pretty fun at parties but she’s got to get up in the morning to deal with the kids and her less than sympathetic boss, which means we’ll be messy drunk by 9pm but on the train home by 11pm. Or maybe 12. Or maybe we’ll just get an Uber...

What will they be wearing?

Now, this is a very good question. She really needs some new clothes - all her old ones are covered in baby sick from 2010 or don’t quite fit anymore. She’s quite partial to fancy dress, but it’s not that kind of place... I reckon jeans and a nice top will be what she plumps for in the end, with some spiky heels she’ll regret about five minutes into wearing them, but that will come in handy if she needs to stab someone in the head unexpectedly.

What will they order off the cocktail menu? And why?

Sangria, probably. She drinks it like lemonade. Also partial to a martini if she’s feeling nostalgic, shaken not stirred.

How will they react if one of our waiters spill their cocktail over them?

It could go one of two ways… either she’ll try and get free drinks for the rest of the night or she’ll assume he’s a Russian spy trying to poison her and stab him with a stiletto.

What can they tell us that will make us stay for a second drink?

State secrets. But she never will, or she’d have to kill you.

Faye Brann is the winner of the unpublished Comedy Women in Print 2020.Her debut novel Tinker, Tailor, Schoolmum,Spy is published by Harper Collins and is available on e-book, audiobook and paperback from all good bookshops.

Follow Faye on Insta and Twitter @writerfaye or on Facebook @FayeBrannWriter

Visit for links including a downloadable bookclub event sheet and a free sangria recipe!

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