I have loved both of your books, The Disengagement Ring and Girl in a spin – Did you always want to write chick lit?
Thank you so much! When I was younger I wrote what would be classed as 'literary' fiction. I wanted to be the next Edna O'Brien. I wrote poems and the beginnings of novels, but mostly I wrote short stories, and the first thing I ever had published was a short story in a national newspaper. Then I discovered Jilly Cooper and I decided that was the sort of book I wanted to write. The chick lit label wasn't around in those days. When I started writing chick lit I felt I'd really found my niche – what I feel I'm best at and also what I enjoy writing most. I love writing comedy and was thrilled to discover I could make people laugh.
Chick lit can be quite a controversial term, what do you think? Do you prefer to classify your work as something else?
The chick lit term doesn't bother me per se. Chick lit has a lot of detractors, but it also has a lot of loyal, devoted fans. If it makes it easier for people to find the kind of books they like, it's a useful label. However, I prefer to classify what I write as romantic comedy, because the term 'chick lit' is now used to describe pretty much any commercial women's fiction – which might or might not be romantic comedy.
Can you tell us a bit about your typical writing schedule?
Er ... I wish I could because that would mean I have one. I'm not a very disciplined person. I work full-time and I'm a night owl, so I mostly write in the evenings and can stay up writing late into the night.
When I have a writing day it looks something like this: write a bit, check email, chat on Twitter, look up Amazon, do exhaustive internet research for one sentence of book, eat something, update Facebook status, check NovelRank, eat something, comment on others' Facebook status, send emails, write a bit, self-Google, eat something, check website mail ... it's a pretty hectic schedule. I do fit in the occasional game of Spider Solitaire in the midst of all that.
Do you have a favourite place to write?
My absolute favourite place to write is on a balcony somewhere warm and sunny. I do most of my writing at my desk at home, but I find a change of location can really get the creative juices flowing. I think it helps a lot not being surrounded by the daily routine of your life.
Are you more of a plotter or a panster?
I'm definitely a pantser. I've tried to plot because I think it would be lovely not having to worry about where the next chapter's coming from, but it just doesn't work for me. I need to start writing for things to happen, and I love when something pops up that takes me by surprise.
And finally, would you like to tell us a little bit about what you are currently working on?
Yes! I'm in the middle of writing book three at the moment and I'm really excited about it. It's about Romy, a property developer, who last Halloween had sex with a guy dressed as Darth Vader. Now she has a baby and no idea who the father is. She's at a bit of a standstill when her ex-boyfriend, Kit comes back into her life when he's forced to move home due to the recession. He enlists her help in renovating a house he's inherited, and shakes things up in all sorts of ways. It's sexy and funny (I hope!) and of course there's a gorgeous hero who I'm madly in love with.
Thank you Clodagh for the wonderful answers!
I am also hugely delighted to offer a chance to win a copy of 'Girl in a spin' (again thanks to Clodagh). I have three copies up for grabs and all you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is fill out this FORM. Best of luck! (will end 22nd July - open to UK only)
Jenny Hannigan might be a good-time party girl but all she secretly craves is a life of domestic bliss and solid respectability -- worlds away from her troubled upbringing back home in Ireland. So when she crashes into the arms of Richard Allam -- the young, handsome, recently separated politician hotly tipped to lead his party to victory in the upcoming election -- she thinks she's found exactly what she is looking for. But Jenny isn't exactly politician's-wife material so Richard recruits the intensely private, charismatic publicist Dev Tennant to 'spin' Jenny to the Party ...and the public. As the election gathers momentum, it turns out that Jenny has more than one skeleton in her closet and Dev is working overtime to try to keep them there. And suddenly Jenny isn't sure what she wants anymore ...