I have another Interview post! I love this series so much, and I love it even more knowing it's also part of Jenny In Neverland's blog tour. Let's get started;
Sometimes, Happy Ever After is where the real trouble begins…
Chelsea Donnolly wasn’t supposed to amount to anything. But if there’s one thing the bad girl from the estate liked better than trouble, it was a challenge. So, to the amusement of her best friends Evie, Mollie and Ruby – and the disbelief of her teachers – this bad girl turned good.
These days, Chelsea is the kind of girl people are proud to know – and, after a surprise trip to Venice, she has a ring on her finger to prove it. But to get there, she’s had to learn to keep her deepest secrets from everyone – even her fiancé. And when wedding preparations threaten to blow her cover, Chelsea can’t help but wonder: in her battle to the top, might she have left the best parts of herself behind?
Hi Andi, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I trained as a writer, doing an English Lit and Creative Writing degree at UEA, then an MA in Creative Entrepreneurship. I’m interested in the wellbeing benefits of writing, so I’m just in my last year of an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes, and I’m doing a research project in how writing can help in eating disorder recovery. Also, I work as an editor for a mystery dining company, meaning I write about food a lot!
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I’d like my books to reach bestseller status, get a few into paperback, and to just keep writing! That said, the movie/tv adaptation is always the dream, isn’t it!?
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Chelsea is a massive contradiction. She grew up as the tough girl on the estate, and after some trouble, she decided she wanted out of her tiny town. She ends up getting into Oxford and has a pretty sweet life, a good job, nice flat, lovely boyfriend. But she constantly feels like she’s hiding her history and that part of herself, especially as her boyfriend’s family are so rich, she feels like they’re from completely different worlds. I love her because she’s ballsy, she doesn’t shy away or bite her tongue, and because I think it’s a hard thing to allow yourself to grow up and change.
Would you mind sharing a favourite quote from your book?
‘This isn’t just your average “let’s list my top three favourite flavours of hummus from Waitrose” rich, this is proper rich.’
Where do your ideas come from?
My friends at work will start to see parts of their stories in the background of the books, but they often start as a kernal of something else I’ve seen or watched, and then they go off in a different direction and have a life of their own! I watched Fishtank a couple of years ago, and it really stuck with me, about that desperation living on the estate, and nothing changing, and I stuck with that theme, even though my books are nothing like that movie.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I have a rough outline, so I know where it’s starting and ending, and a couple of points in the middle, but usually it has a life of its own. For book 3, I’m going to plot a little more!
Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
When I’m really ‘in’ the process, I write every day (usually towards the end as I’m nearing a deadline!) but at the beginning I do it in chunks, writing in a notebook for a while first, not at all in order, just exploring the story and the character. Once it’s on the laptop, I’m a little more regimented about it all.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
When I’m being good, I aim for at least 1000 a day, and usually end up between 1000-2000. Some days it’s just 500-900 words, but it all counts!
How much research do you do?
I’m not good at it! My attention span is not great, so I prefer to talk to people instead of sifting through a thousand people’s opinions online. However, this book is set in Lake Garda, in Italy, so I took the time to do some in-person research on holiday last year. It’s easier to see things, feel them and absorb them, than it is to read about the population of a town and their agricultural histories. I want to see people’s faces and really immerse myself, so I can recreate it honestly.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
You can be completely aware of your own process, and it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference. I can know that when I get three quarters of the way through, I’m going to think I’m crap, wonder what I’m doing and that the book is rubbish. I do this EVERY time, and yet, it still happens! I think it can also be pretty heartbreaking when you’ve worked hard on a book, and then it just sits there, no reviews and getting no love! It’s like seeing your kid in the school playground with no friends!
Do you ever get writer’s Block?
I have times that I don’t write, but I just trust it’s my brain working its stuff out. I do something else, and trust that when I’m ready to get back to it, I will. Normally it’s just being burnt out from the last book, or being stressed about other stuff, and it passes once I start writing for fun again!
What book/s are you reading at present?
Slight obsession with the Outlander series, and I am desperate to get my hands on the re-released version of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I also have Liz Tipping’s Five Go Glamping waiting on my kindle, as I love a bit of glamping!
If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
Wedding or events planner - I love the tiny details in arranging an event and making it special.
Are there any more ideas for future books on the cards?
Nice Day for a White Wedding is book two in the House on Camden Square series, (though they can easily be read separately) so book three will be out in the autumn, called Be My Baby. Then I’ve got a few more fun ideas up my sleeve!
Advice to aspiring writers?
Don’t give up, don’t allow doubt to get in the way of finishing a book - most people don’t finish things because that self doubt creeps in and tells them what they’re writing is no good, or it’s already been done, or no-one will want to read it. Firstly, there is almost always someone who will want to read your book, no matter how weird. Secondly, if you’re not writing for you, for your own personal enjoyment of discovering the story as you write it, then there’s really no point at all. You have to find joy in it - it might be hard and frustrating and soul destroying at times, but the opportunity to simultaneously discover and create a story is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever experienced.
Thanks to Andi for taking part. I can't wait to read her book and I hope you enjoyed this interview! Don't forget to enter the giveaway! Find more about A L Michael Here;