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The Madeleine Milburn Agency is celebrating the publication of Anna-Lou Weatherley’s WICKED WIVES in America.  Bookouture published WICKED WIVES for all American readers today.  Milburn says: ‘It’s wonderful to expose this bestselling British author to a whole new audience’.  The UK edition was published by HarperCollins this summer.

Wicked Wives

Why does it feel so good being bad? 

A note from the author

It’s a question I have asked myself many times over the years!  I have to admit that I have always had an endless fascination with wicked women or ‘femme fatales’ as I prefer to call them. You know the type of women I mean, effortlessly glamorous whose presence can be felt long after she’s left the room (in a cloud of expensive perfume, naturally), the kind who leaves a trail of broken hearts and promises behind her; a strong, sensual and independent woman who’s not afraid to get what – or indeed, who – she wants while managing to retain an air of vulnerability and femininity about her.

While the female protagonists in WICKED WIVES are sometimes feisty, occasionally fierce and, I hope you’ll agree, always, always glamorous, they are never truly wicked, at least not  in the traditional sense of the word (although Loretta does have her moments!). Being wicked for me is an attitude; it is being unapologetic for taking no prisoners, and of course, for looking fabulous while you do it!

I think it is essential that all women should indulge their inner bad girl at least once in their lifetime. I’ve certainly had my moments; abandoning an ex-boyfriend one New Year’s eve to hitch a ride in a Portuguese pop star’s Porsche springs to mind, as does almost being arrested for throwing a pair of shoes at a man during an argument in a very posh London restaurant – what was I thinking? They were brand new Jimmy Choo’s after all!

So, paying homage to wicked women everywhere I have compiled a list of my favourite luscious lovelies (both real and fictional, in no particular order) who, naughty by nature, put the oh-so good into being bad….

Eve: The naked temptress! Arguably the girl who kicked it all off by taking a forbidden bite out of the serpent’s apple, thus creating the original sin and giving women a bad name the world over. The moral here? Never trust a snake!

Bonnie Parker: One half of infamous 1930 outlaws, Bonnie and Clyde. She may have been diminutive in stature but this bad-girl bandit had balls the size of space hoppers, particularly when brandishing a weapon, which she was want to do on occasion, incidentally.

Cleopatra: The ultimate seductress who not only ruled Egypt, but also the hearts of the world’s most powerful men at the time, Julias Caesar and Mark Anthony. She also liked to bathe in asses milk to keep her skin in tip top condition, as you do, and looked pretty damn hot in a headdress to boot.

Elizabeth Taylor: No surprise then that luscious liz, Hollywood legend and herself a successful seductress, was cast as the sensual Egyptian queen in the epic film adaptation of Cleopatra’s life. Liz went through marriages like pigs through bone, walking up the aisle no less than eight times in her lifetime. Her tempestuous yet wildly passionate relationship with Richard Burton (whom she married twice) was the stuff of legend.

Mae West: The undisputed queen of the caustic one-liner and a true bad gal to the core. Although she was most famous for being a Hollywood sex symbol, minxy Mae was once prosecuted on moral grounds for writing a risqué play entitled ‘Sex’ and was sentenced to 10 days in prison. ‘Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me,’ is just one of her many unforgettable quips.

Nancy Friday – Author of the controversial ‘My Secret Garden’ (or should that be My Secret Lady Garden?’) which caused a right old uproar when it was first published 25 years ago, proving to the world (i.e men) that –  shock horror – women have sexual fantasies and are a little bit naughty too!

Nancy Dell’olio: Something in a name perhaps? She’s the loud, louche, striking Italian diva who seems to have been the same age for ten years and had a high profile affair with one-time England football manager Sven Gorren Erkisson. Ever modest, the unrepentantly sexy Nancy once quipped during an interview, ‘of course other women are jealous, I mean, look at me!’ Plus she also wore a red rhinestone encrusted jumpsuit to number 10. A guilty pleasure.

Joan Collins (as Alexis Coly in Dynasty): The finely arched sardonic eyebrow, the blood red lips, the omnipresent champagne flute, the shoulder pads! Alexis Colby (perfectly played by Joan, another wicked woman in her own right), connived, corrupted and colluded in a bid to get her revenge on her ex-husband, Blake Carrington and his fragrant (yet not nearly so much fun) wife Crystal. Although she was portrayed as ruthless, using her sexuality as a deadly weapon, there was a vulnerable side to Alexis, making her one of the most iconic and best loved TV bad girls of all time.

Joan Rivers: Unapologetic, award-winning motor-mouth US comedienne and talk show host, Ms Rivers is certainly no stranger to controversy. A self-confessed lover of cosmetic surgery, Rivers once handcuffed herself to someone’s shopping cart in Costco because they refused to stock her NY Times best-selling book while shouting ‘ I hate everyone…starting with me,’ through a megaphone. You tell ‘em Joanie.

Madonna: No list would be complete without the original Material girl. The queen of the shock tactic needs no introduction, from her crucifix days gyrating on a gondola while singing about virginity, to that book, to that bra, to the lesbian flings and failed marriages and countless controversial stage shows, the list goes on and looks like it has every intention of continuing still…

Other wonderfully wicked women worth a mention include… Courtney Love, Lady Ga Ga, Tania Turner in Footballers Wives (brilliantly portrayed by Zoe Lucker), Angelina Jolie, Joan Jett, Pam Grier, Dita Von Teese, Bettie Paige, Kate Moss…

I would love to hear from you. Tweet me at @annaloulondon or find me on facebook/ChelseaWives.

And finally, in the inimitable words of Mae West, remember this:

“There are no good girls gone wrong – just bad girls found out.”