Fiona Cooper

Born in Bristol in 1955, she now lives in Northumberland.


(At the moment, I give the titles, year of publication, publisher, ISBN where I have it, the cover designer for the paperback edition, and the blurb that appeared on the edition that I have. Be warned: the blurbs aren't always very useful (or literate), especially for the earlier novels; that's down to the publishers, not Fiona Cooper.)

* Rotary Spokes (1988, Brilliance Books; 1990, Black Swan; 1995, Serpent's Tail [ISBN: 1 85242 507 5]; cover illustration by Paula Cox, design by Sue Lamble)
"Rotary Spokes, motorbike mechanic and six-foot-something blonde in black leather, discovers there's more to life that her `don't-blink-else-you'll-miss-it' town of Normal. From the awakening of self-awareness and the naiveté of first love to the realisation of the religious bigotry surrounding her, Rotary finds a new way of life. She, her Guardian Angel and the extraordinary women she meets along the way engage in a series of adventures both funny and moving on their journeys in seach of freedom, true love and womanpower. First published in 1989, Fiona Cooper's debut novel established her as a gifted, empathetic and outrageous writer who knew about life on the edges."
* Heartbreak on the High Sierra (1989, Virago Press [ISBN: 1 85381 056 8]; cover by Barbara Britton)
"`I heard there was a place a woman could hang her hat up without any trash bothering her.' This is the wary hope of the enigmatic, world-weary reporter, Helena Stanforth, aka Typewriter, aka Fools-rush-in, as she keeps moving west, `always a little ahead of what they like to call civilisation'. Hounded from Chicago to Crazy Man's Coolee, all her dreams are at least realised in Kimama, the valley of the butterflies. Here, Suzanna LaReine and her pistol-packing outlaw crew wisecrack along in harmony until trouble comes in the form of Darknell van Doon, `an oil-tongued reptile pirate in a fancy suit'.
"It takes a bizarre kaleidoscope of talent to finally crush him. Wisdom and magic; a trouble-shooting reporter with a marshmallow heart; the canny wiles of Isabella Bird; the mighty muscle of twin mud-wrestlers. Calamity Jane herself rises from the grave, and we find out what really happened to Amelia Earhardt after she 'disappeared'.
"Heartbreak on the High Sierra is a lesbian western in true spaghetti tradition, bubbling with thrills, spills, and suspense; a story that begins with cataclysmic storm and builds up to a rip-roaring climax; a romance where love and laughter reign supreme, and all the baddies bite the dust."
* Not the Swiss Family Robinson1 (1991, Virago Press [ISBN: 1 85381 220 X]; cover by the Senate)
"Monica Robinson, raised in the `middle of nowhere', discovers early on that the American Dream isn't what it's cracked up to be. Even Pop, who likes the odd tipple, and Mom, whose blistering tongue rules the roost, ain't her real parents. What's more, they're sure fixed on the notion that get herself a beau. Monica has other plans.
"An afterschool job at Sam's bar is the means to stash away a few dollars. Meanwhile, her desirable English teacher entices Monica with tales of scholarship and, apparently, much more. Consumed with yearning and terrified by the dismal prospect of smalltown life in What Cheer, Monica takes a plane east and to England...
"Angst, unrequited love, and all the jostlings of adolescence converge in this humorous, sassy novel, written with Fiona Cooper's characteristic verve. This is Not the Swiss Family Robinson: here are no shipwrecks, no islands, but a young lesbian in middle America can sure feel marooned sometimes."
* Jay Loves Lucy (1991, Serpent's Tail [ISBN: 1 85242 218 1]; cover design by Roy Trevelion, cover illustration by Amanda Hutt)
"In the emotional No-Go zone of unrequited love, Cupid and Psyche are battling it out.
"Jay, mid-thirties and comfortable with the single life, finds her world turned gloriously upside down when she falls in love. But Lucy, the beloved, is mid-forties, divorced, devoted to her only son, and has never even kissed a woman before. Jay is the woman who won't take no for an answer; Lucy, mistress of the endless maybe. The corks of the pink champagne bottles pop aplenty as the wooing gets ever keener.
"Sly and funny by turn, Jay Loves Lucy describes a rite of passion, from love's first flutter to its fall and in so doing paints a painful portrayal of opposing sensibilities."
* The Empress of the Seven Oceans (1992, Black Swan [ISBN: 0 552 99490 1]; cover illustration by Stephen Player)
"It is the swashbuckling seventeenth century, and witch-burning and superstition are sweeping England. Puritanism and paranoia abound. An old soak salt of a woman named Queenie has to rescue her godchild who has been accused of witchcraft. Queenie steals a boat, The Mermaid's Eye, and takes to the high seas with her goddaughter and her best friend.
"Hounded from their village, Rowan and Esther live deep in the woods. When they are hunted by witchfinders they take to the river, picking up a bewildered nun on the way. All rivers lead to the ocean, where they join Queenie and crew. The Mermaid's Eye becomes The Empress of the Seven Oceans and the women embark on the strangest voyage of all.
"Fiona Cooper has a unique and outrageous voice, and in The Empress of the Seven Oceans she has painted a vivid, hilarious, and ultimately very moving picture of women together."
* A Skyhook in the Midnight Sun (1994, Serpent's Tail [ISBN: 1 85242 357 9]; cover design by Sue Lamble, cover illustration by Paula Cox)
"When Caz Hewson chucks in her London life and moves north, she isn't sure what to expect. From her council flat in Galleon Heights on the edge of Newcastle, riding high above the desolate urban landscapes of post-Thatcherite Britain, she discovers to her surprise a warm community and a living history that help her come to terms with the tragedy of her past.
"Fiona Cooper boldly incorporates elements of fairy tale and legend into her portrayal of Britain in the 90s to produce a novel that is complex as well as comic, savage but full of symapthy."
* Blossom at the Mention of Your Name (1995, Serpent's Tail [ISBN: 1 85242 399 4]; cover design by Sue Lamble, cover illustration by Paula Cox)
"When Gerth and his friends stray one night into a gay club the last thing he expects is to fall in love, yet his first sight of Callum is enough to send him shopping for an embroidered shirt. True Love brings them together but is Callum's fairy magic enough to overcome the strains of Gerth's flourishing career? Will Callum and friend Wol's drag double- act prove too much for Gerth? As the spirits of friendship, destiny, and madness encircle their lives and those around them, Callum finds hope for the future in the unlikely form of Eleanor, an amnesiac, whose carrots are growing through hic ceiling!
"In this remarkable new novel from the author of Rotary Spokes and Skyhook in the Midnight Sun, life on the edges is portrayed with wit, humour, and compassion."
* As You Desire Me (2004, Red Hot Diva [ISBN: 187374192-8])
"Ms Cooper's first foray into the genre of erotic fiction, As You Desire Me is a first-person account of cynical dyke Alex's sexual escapades and runs the gamut from deliciously kinky to moving, subtle eroticism as Alex gives up on Love and settles for a series of lusty adventures. A snappily written and witty tale, As You Desire Me details the juiciest parts of a bad girl's life, in the vein of the best-selling sex book Cherry."

Short Stories

* I Believe in Angels (1993, Serpent's Tail [ISBN: 1 85242 284 X]; cover design by Sue Lamble, cover illustration by Paula Cox)
"In this dazzling collection of short stories, Fiona Cooper turns her witty gaze on a kaleidoscopic mix of characters. Here are wronged lovers and passionate dreamers; dole-queue heroes and French-Resistance heroines; children taking faltering steps in a chaotic world and waltzing grannies; religious fanatics, true believers, painters, and penguins. Interspersed with the joyously whimsical are tales that turn a searchlight on our deepest hopes and our darkest fears. Wry and ironic, this is nevertheless a celebration of love from a writer very firmly on the side of the angels."
  • Aubade: The Maggots of Enlightenment
  • Recession
  • Kid's Stuff
  • Fugue (first appeared in Writing Women, Christmas 1990)
  • Off Season
  • Taking Mae West on Holiday
  • Early One Morning
  • Hay, Hell, and Booligal
  • Ilsa's War
  • Brightly Shone the Moon that Night (first appeared in The Plot Against Mary (1992, The Women's Press)
  • Oh, How I Love You
  • Orchids to You, Dear
  • I Believe in Angels
  • Warm
  • One that Got Away
  • Stars
  • Time After Time

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