Interview by Jade Craddock of Chicklit Club Read it here.
1. Tell us about Never Google Heartbreak.
Never Google Heartbreak is the story of Vivienne Summers, a woman who wants to be married to her fiance but instead learns about heartbreak first hand, sets up a website about it and then finds her love only to lose him and then try to find him again.
2. Where did you get the inspiration for the novel?
When I was once dumped from a great height I remember thinking I wish there was some kind of website with helpful tips about this, instead of advice like ‘have another drink love, he’s not worth it,’ from world-weary colleagues down the pub.
3. What sort of research was involved?
A LOT of sitting in pubs talking to girl friends.
4. Do you think the internet is a help or a hindrance when it comes to matters of the heart?
I think it’s a real help; with it you can check out potential dates in your lunch break, on your commute, organize your weekends etc. Without it you have to moon around trying to make eye contact in bars, joining karate clubs, borrowing people’s dogs to get noticed in the park. The only thing I’d like to see is a mandatory height chart introduced on all dating website profile pictures, like they have on police mug shots. That would save a lot of time.
5. You begin each chapter with some interesting dating tidbits. Are these based on real pieces that you have come across? Which is your favourite?
I love articles in magazines with titles like ‘Ten tips to save your relationship,’ or ‘How to make him fall for you in five minutes.’ I always try them out and some of the best ones are in men’s magazines like this one I read recently; ‘only take her away for the weekend if she’s ovulating..’(!) I used research from magazines, online and anecdotes from friends to make up the chapter beginnings. My favourite is, ‘Be yourself – your mother.’
6. You’ve written children’s books in the past but this is your first adult novel. What made you want to turn your hand to this genre?
Actually I always wanted to write adult novels but I love messing about with paint and playing with little kids and that used to be my actual job so I made the picture books first. I think this genre deals with really important themes that affect everyone.
7. Do you mind your book being branded chick-lit?
Not at all.
8. What do you think sets your book apart from other books currently on the market?
I think it’s similar in theme to other women’s fiction but I wanted Viv to come off as real and strong. I wanted to show her struggling as we all do sometimes.
9. There are plenty of laughs in your book, which books make you laugh?
Thanks for saying so! That’s a real compliment because I think it’s quite hard to write funny. Marian Keyes often makes me laugh and Tina Fey.
10. Who was your favourite character to write?
Obviously I love Viv and Max but I remember laughing to myself writing Christie.
11. Why will Viv appeal to readers?
I think Viv is very honest. I hope her vulnerability will touch them, I hope they’ll cheer her on when she’s being brave and cringe for her when she messes up.
12. Which couple would you most like to have dinner with: Viv and Max, Nana and Reg or Lucy and Reuben?
Great question …Viv and Max.
13. In chapter 7 you include a soundtrack for heartbreak. If you had to choose one song that best represents the novel which would it be?
I have thought at length about this and I’m sorry but I’ll have to have two songs, Nothing But a Miracle, by Diane Birch and also Come and Get It, by Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed.
14. Did you always envision writing a series?
Actually not really – it’s great to be back with Max and Viv though. In the second book they’re together and Viv’s pregnant – all hell breaks loose.
15. People often think being an author is a dream job – what are its difficult aspects?
It is my dream job. You do become a bit of a social recluse because you spend so much time alone locked in a room. People leave soup on my doorstep. When I go to parties people talk to me and I find myself just staring at their moving mouths then jabbering inanely. Also you go through these bouts of self-loathing and biscuit eating.
16. The tagline to the book is “what’s the craziest thing you’ll do for love?” – do you have any crazy stories of your own to share with us?
I once thought I loved this Australian surfer I met while working as a chambermaid in Newquay and he asked me to go to Tahiti with him the next day, so I drove overnight to my mother’s in Middlesborough (other end of country) to get my passport and then drove back again by which time he was gone. I have only my memories as souvenirs. That’s not crazy is it? That’s actually just sad. And I think he was high when he asked me.