Thailand’s ladyboys receive little serious coverage in the media, and also I don’t know of any work of fiction that attempts a serious explanation of the phenomenon. When I wrote No Angel, available now for download from Amazon, I wanted to describe Thai ladyboys in a credible way, and to describe what it is like to know them intimately. I also wanted to place them against a realistic background. Whether or not it works, I really don’t know.
What I did do however was to draw upon many of my own experiences. The material was just too good to ignore. Consequently, much of the book is pure documentary. So, yes, there really was an Angel, and she was much as she appears in the story. Her background was the same, and her appearance and personality the same. But of course there is a point where the real-life Angel and the fictional Angel separate, and the character depicted in the book can be regarded as fiction.
There was also an Apple, and the Twins. At least, the original inspiration for them existed: in the story, the characters quickly left their origins behind and became pure imagination. Suki and the travelling cabaret really existed. The Major has his origins in a real-life character, but he never did have a sliding panel and two-way mirror. The three Kevins I met, although in real life they weren’t called Kevin.
The apartment on Suan Phlu existed, and disappeared in similar circumstances to those described. The drunken apartment manager and the Mousekeeper are both based on reality. So too is the mansion apartment in Ramkhamhaeng, and much of what is described in the book actually happened there.
What is however a complete work of fiction is the political background against which the story is set, and the characters and events depicted. Bandhit owes his existence purely to a Chinese man I knew many years ago in Hong Kong, who had the same startling appearance. Arthit, Prakit, and Chao Cheewit have their existence only in the mind of the author.
The choice of illustration for a cover gave me some problems, in that I had plenty of material to choose from but that I had to make the final product acceptable to potential readers, rather than catering to my own interest in ladyboy bottoms. I discarded two versions, which I’m posting here, before deciding on the version that appears at the top of this column.
I would welcome the feedback from anyone who reads the book. A review on Amazon would be great, as it pushes the book up the search engines. The first one and a half chapters can be read for free by clicking on the thumb of the cover in the Amazon store.