Behind The Smile - the Story of Lek, a Bar Girl in Pattaya, Thailand
The writing of 'Behind The Smile - Daddy's Hobby' was not achieved quickly. In fact it took six years, but the research actually took 45 years. 'Behind The Smile' will be seen by many as relating only to Thailand, but that is not the case.
I was born in the port of Barry in South Wales, but I never saw the rough side of town, although many would say that where I came from, the Colcot ('working side', as the taxi drivers called it} was pretty bad.
One evening, after school, when I was about 17 years old, I went with the school rugby team to a couple of bars in town, my first pub crawl. It was St. David's Day and we sang at least one song in each bar in that pre-jukebox era. We sang all night, which in those days was until 10:30 and I was introduced to some appreciative ladies - young and not so young - who were described as 'working girls'.
I knew the expression, of course, but it was the first time, I had ever met any. They did not seem as, as, well..., 'bad' (I suppose) as I had been led to believe by jokes, the TV and general gossip. In fact, I was quite fascinated by them.
I had never seen such women before. They joined in, they danced, they'd be rude and they would just act as if there were no-one (maybe no men) watching them. I was taken with them, although not literally.
A few years later I moved to Portsmouth, which in the Seventies had 20,000 sailors and 20,000 students, but was / is actually a garrison town. Now, most of that lot were men but there were plenty of women about too. However, I was still a swot, well, a little bit less so by then, and I did not get involved until I took a part-time job in the Wiltshire Lamb near the Students' Union.
The landlord's name was 'Sweeney' Todd and he had just retired after a lifetime in the Royal Navy. I earned and learned more after hours that I should have. There were many working girls in the Lamb, especially after closing time.
From there I moved to Den Bosch in the Netherlands and there was a real Red Light District there. I 'had' to walk through it every night to get home from the pub and many times I would stop to chat with the girls. They often asked me to get them a kebab or some chips at two o'clock in the morning while they desperately hung on for the off-chance of a punter.
I knew many of them well, but not physically. We often used to play darts on their nights off. Darts being the 'in thing' in the Netherlands in the Seventies and it was quite chic to be taught by a Brit.
There was also a 'relax' bar there called Daddy's Hobby, which the boys and I used to use quite frequently.
Twenty-odd years later, I ended up in Pattaya and I immediately got on with the girls in the bars. What I wrote in the book, Behind The Smile: Daddy's Hobby, is not autobiographical and nor does it relate to any specific people or bar that I know, but I have heard more than 75% of those tales from the girls themselves and I am forever grateful that they could see the friendliness in me to trust me enough to relate them.
My brother Rhys asked me to write a sequel, so I did, 'An Exciting Future' although some people had remarked that the book finished too abruptly, which came about because the characters in my head did not want me to finish their tale, but I had to stop somewhere. Four people asked me to write another, so I wrote 'Maya - Illusion' in order to complete the trilogy
'Behind the Smile' refers to the fact that Thailand is known the world over as 'The Land of Smiles'.
Read more here: http://behind-the-smile.org or here: http://owencerijones.com
A blurb about 'Behind the Smile':
'Behind the Smile' is the story of a farmer's daughter from northern Thailand who gets caught up in the tourist sex industry while trying to earn enough money to save the family from foreclosure due to a bank loan.
The book tells the story from Lek's point of view. it tells of some of her tactics in the sex industry, her thoughts about her clients, whom she calls 'boyfriends', and how she tries to get out of the industry and become respectable again.
It is available as a paperback and a digital download.
Book 1: Daddy’s Hobby
Book 2: Exciting Future
Book 3: Maya - Illusion
Also, Owen is working on another series of novellas about the psychic/spiritual development of a teenager girl called Megan. The first book in the series, "The Misconception" was released in June, and the second, "Megan's 13th Birthday" is a new release. He's writing under the pen name Ceri Carpenter with these, but plans on releasing one a month. I'm sure it's worth checking out. Thanks again, Owen!