AFTER LULU QUITS her job at the fashion magazine, it takes her seven months to finish her first book - Lover's Socks, a title inspired by Sade's Lover's Rock. The book is based on her own six-year on-and-off relationship with former boyfriend, Ximu. In Lover's Socks, the male character Daiwu, like Ximu, goes to France to study fashion with his new wife after graduating from a top Chinese university. Like many Chinese emigre couples, the wife abandons the husband, marries a Frenchman, and stays in France. Somehow, the wife's decision sets Daiwu free. He returns to China and soon emerges as a top fashion designer. He has no difficulty hooking up with young model-type women. But his soulmate and confidante is a young fashion magazine editor named Jade, who worships him wholeheartedly. Smart and understanding, Jade never pushes Daiwu to marry her because he claims to be a free spirit who does not want the shackles of marriage. But Daiwu betrays Jade by secretly marrying a woman who is half-Chinese and half-French. This is his way of getting even with his ex-wife. The publisher is keen to promote Lulu, the young, fashionable and talented author. The plan is to make the book semi-autobiographical - a method sure to generate more buzz and sales. But Lulu wants to change the location from France to Japan to give the characters anonymity, and cut some of the things that happen to the man. Her editor tries to dissuade her. 'Don't be afraid of revealing your private life. Even Hillary Clinton had to write about Monica Lewinsky in order to sell her book. Victims like her, and like Nicole Kidman, get a lot of sympathy. I bet your book will be a tear-jerker. You'll get a lot of supporters, especially sympathetic female readers who'll rally behind you against these heartless womanisers. But to get this, you have to make them believe it's a real story.' 'But I'm not concerned about my own privacy,' Lulu says. 'I'm concerned about Ximu's.' 'If you're worried about lawsuits, don't be,' the editor says. 'We'd be thrilled if he sued us - it's called free publicity. If he were to sue, we'd invite all the journalists to press conferences - much more effective than book signings to pump up sales.' 'But I just don't think it's fair to Ximu,' says Lulu. 'Was he fair to you? He lied to you and then cheated on you. Why are you still treating this shameless man kindly?' As they are debating, the telephone rings. Lulu picks it up and gestures to her editor that it is Ximu. The editor puts the speaker on so she can hear what he says. 'So I heard you wrote about me,' Ximu says to Lulu. Lulu doesn't deny a thing. 'Yes. Do you mind?' 'No. Not at all.' Ximu sounds happy. 'As a matter of fact, I'd prefer you use my real name.' 'But the character is not an honourable man, as you know better than anybody,' Lulu mocks. 'It's flattering to be written about by a young, beautiful and very promising writer. I'd rather be notorious than be normal. If you want, I can help you find investors who might be interested in turning the book into a movie. Our story might become a legend.' Hearing his words, the editor gives Lulu an I-told-you-so look. 'You're treating my book like free advertising for your fashion designs,' Lulu says. 'Why not? The most difficult thing nowadays is to be taken seriously. Actors, designers and pop singers reinvent their love lives to promote themselves. We have a real one, why not go for it? Lulu, let's make some noise and sell our past together.' For a moment Lulu says nothing. Then she says: 'What do you mean, 'we'? You didn't have any trouble going your own way before. You wanted to write some new chapters in your life without me. Now I'm the one writing it, so I'll be the one selling it. Bye bye!'