Hello, my fellow readers, it's time for an interview! Today we have the lovely author of Ralph's Party and After the Party;
When and why did you start writing? What inspired you to become a writer?
I started writing Ralph’s Party, my first novel, in October 1996.As much as I would like to say I started writing because I was unable to control my creative urges, I actually started writing it for a bet. It was only due to the pushy friend who made the bet with me insisting that I send it out to some agents that I ended up finishing the book and getting a book deal. Having said that, I had always harboured a secret fantasy about writing a book, but thought it would be an intense Irish Murdoch style affair that I would not start writing until I was well past middle-age.
What's your favorite thing about being a writer?
Everything, apart from the writing. I love being my own boss, setting my own pace. I love being published, seeing my book in a shop, holding it in my hands. I love telling people I’m a published author and seeing that thing in their eyes when you have turned from a person into an interesting person. I love being friends with other writers and going out drinking cocktails with them. I love being able to take my children to school and pick them up at the end of the day and never having to miss a bedtime. I just really really don’t like writing. It’s much too difficult!
If you weren't a writer, what would you be?
I would like to be either a midwife (but let someone else do the, erm, repairs) or an editor. If I’d never written a book though I'm pretty sure I would still be a secretary. I was very good at it.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I have just discovered my favourite place to write. It is a bench in my local café that faces out towards the front door. I take my laptop and get more done in an hour there (without internet access) than I used to get done in a whole six hours at my desk. I might take up tennis.
Favorite book and author?
Naming a favourite book would be like naming a favourite child. Absolutely impossible. I have at least twenty favourite books, but nowadays I tend not to follow authors, rather I choose books that I know will have me turning pages in a frenzy. I read so little that when I do I really want it to be compulsive and satisfying, not a chore. If a book doesn’t grip me in that way it can sometimes take over a month to read it. Life’s too short and there are too many books I want to read.
Which character from all your books is your favorite? Why?
I like Toby Dobbs from Roommates Wanted. He is a sweetheart.
You wrote Ralph's Party, your debut novel, in 1990. Why, after so many years, did you decide to write about Jem and Ralph?
I suggested a sequel to my publishers because I was about to sign a new contract and I wanted to give them something to get excited about. After that I was left with the challenge of how to do a sequel to a book that was essentially about strangers living in the same converted house ten years ago. I’d just had my second child and thought maybe I could use Ralph and Jem to explore the issues that had arisen in my own relationship. The first book ended with a first kiss and I think I wanted to peel away the happy ever after and look at what really happens in long term relationships.
How do you feel when you see your books in the bookstores and when you see that there are lots of people who read, enjoy and love your books?
Ecstatic! It never fails to thrill me. And of course in this age of social networking I get feedback constantly, direct from readers which is incredibly gratifying.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Beyond the obvious – just do it – I would say that having a trusted friend read as I wrote was very helpful, both in terms of motivating me and in terms of providing me with constructive criticism. I also would recommend some kind of creative writing course if you've never written before, just to get you into the habit of sitting down and writing something, even if it's only half a page.
Are you working on a new novel? Can you talk a little bit about it?
My new novel is called BEFORE I KNEW HER and is about a young girl called Betty coming to London in the mid 1990’s to try to locate a woman named in her grandmother’s will who no one in her family has ever heard of. The story of Betty’s detective work is interwoven with scenes from her grandmother’s life in London just after the First World War. It’s very different to anything I've done before; I'm having to do research, for the first time ever! But I am enjoying it.
Thank you so much for your time and your answers. Hope you have a wonderful day! : )