Monday, August 8, 2011

Author Interview: Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell is the international bestselling author of nine novels, including Ralph's Party, Thirtynothing, and One-Hit Wonder. She was born and raised in north London, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. (Source: Publicist)

Visit Lisa Jewell on Facebook | Twitter
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Tell me about your book.
After the Party is a bleak, but hopefully ultimately uplifting look at a modern marriage, mainly the effect that having children has on a young urban couple who used to be crazy about each other. It’s a sequel to my first novel, Ralph’s Party.

How did you come up with the story?
I decided to do a sequel to make my publishers smile, in the first instance! Then I realised that I could you use the besotted couple I’d left sharing their first kiss on the last page of my first book as ciphers for stuff I was raging about in my own marriage at the time.

Is there a message in your novel that you want your readers to grasp?
I guess it’s that not everyone gets to be crazy in love, and that when that wanes over time, as it must do, especially when there are children involved, you have to use the history of what brought you together as a foundation for a normal life.

What interested you in writing? And is there anything you find particularly challenging when writing?
I always loved to read and even started a novel when I was about ten. By the time I was a teenager I dreamed of being a journalist, but didn’t follow the right path towards that. Then when I was twenty six someone made me a bet to start a book. The rest is history. I find everything about the process of writing challenging. All of it. The hardest thing for me, though, is just finding the right words to transfer great ideas into prose.

Who are your biggest influences/inspirations?
I'm not really influenced by anyone. I can only write the way I write. I have been inspired over the years by Agatha Christie, Nick Hornby and another brilliant British writer called Maggie O’Farrell.

Is there a certain place you like to write?
I have started writing in the café at my local shopping centre, at a bench, facing the revolving doors at the front of the building. I get to watch people come and go, yet have my back to the café so I can write unselfconsciously.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read a lot. You can learn most of what you need to know about the mechanics of writing through reading. Then write a lot. I would never have had the confidence to write a whole novel if I hadn’t shared my progress with a friend. She read as I wrote and offered nothing but encouragement. I also told everyone I knew I was writing a book so I would have that weight of expectation pushing me along. You really can’t call yourself a novelist until you’ve written a novel, so perseverance is key.

Many writers often wonder how difficult it is to find an agent or to get published. Did you find this part of the writing process difficult also? If so, what challenges did face?
No, this part of the process was very simple. An agent had already expressed an interest in the first three chapters, so I sent it back to her when I finally finished it. She then made me practically rewrite the second half and then set up a bidding war and got me a two-book deal with Penguin. It was timing and luck. The right book at the right time.

Music definitely helps me when I write; do you listen to any music when writing? If so, what’s on your playlist?
I used to, but stopped when I had children. My youngest is still at home during the day, and I have this weird need to be able to hear what’s going on downstairs. She starts school in the autumn though, so once my house is empty during the days I just might start giving myself a writing soundtrack again.

Are there any parting thoughts you have or anything you want to say to your readers?
Well, just that I really hope you enjoy my new book. If you read Ralph’s Party, you might find it a bit of a shock to the system. Fluffy and romantic it is not. But hopefully the closing chapters will lift your spirits. As a writer it is really hard not to write the thing you need to write at the moment in your life you have to write it. And I really really needed to write this. Felt much better about everything afterwards!
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Many thanks to Lisa Jewell for this amazing interview.
Don't forget to check out her book, After the Party, coming out on 
August 16, 2011! 
(Cover Provided By: Publicist)

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