Hi Jane! Thanks for popping by today, I am a huge fan of your books!
Could you tell us a little bit about it?
Well, it’s my seventh book and it started as the grain of an idea when I was on a flight, returning from a holiday. I wanted to challenge myself to write a novel set over a very short period of time – literally days – but still packed with drama, comedy, friendship and love. That was how Imogen, Meredith, Nicola and Harry were born. I then sent them to a glorious hotel in Barcelona and put them through an intense, magical and relatively madcap few days, which changed all of them in different ways. It was an absolute joy to write and I really hope people love reading it too.
What inspired you to start writing?
Very simply, it was a love of reading. I wrote books of varying quality* when I was younger and had always dreamt of being an author (*i.e. dire). But you don’t just leave university and go on a graduate traineeship to be a novelist. My first career was as a journalist – which I loved and eventually became Editor of the Liverpool Daily Post. But it was only when I was on maternity leave that I came up with the idea for Bridesmaids and, convinced I was onto something, decided to really go for it. It unfolded from there and, nine years on, here I am.
What made you come up with the title for your new book “The Time of our Lives”? (I have Dirty Dancing’s classic song while typing these questions, tehe.)
A title is really important – it’s got to grab you, intrigue you and, obviously, give clues to the themes of the book. I’ll be honest though and say that I always find them difficult to come up with. I refuse to go with something unless it’s exactly right and, consequently, I’ve written entire manuscripts in less time than it’s taken to come up with the title! The Time Of Our Lives was longer than I usually go for but I loved it – it captured the lovely, feel good vibe that (I hope) shines through in the book, despite some of the major challenges thrown at my characters.
How will you be celebrating your release of The Time of our Lives?
I always pour myself a glass of champagne (or several) to toast publication day as it’s the culmination of such a lot of hard work. This year was no different but I’ve also been lucky enough to have some brilliant events organised around publication too, beginning with a launch event in conjunction with Stylist magazine at The Folly bar in London. It’s not all over now, of course – I’m at the Bookmark Festival in Oldham on World Book Night on 23 April and there are other events coming up over the next few months. So, it’s been one long celebration really – my favourite kind.
Did you ever think you’d become an author?
I’d always wanted to, but quite honestly it’s so competitive I sometimes felt as though I might as well say I wanted to win the X Factor. I was genuinely shocked when I sent off my manuscript and found an agent (a brilliant one at that) who was interested. I know that for some people their dream job doesn’t live up to expectations, but in this case it absolutely has. I think being an author is like having children in some ways – it’s sometimes hard-going, you have have moments of self-doubt - but overall it’s the most joyous experience imaginable. I really love it and consider myself really lucky to something for a living that I’ve always wanted to.
Out of all your books which character did you love writing about the most and why?
This is so hard to answer – that’s like asking which is my favourite baby! They’ve all had elements I’ve loved, but if you really pushed me, I’d narrow it down to three: Imogen (from The Time Of Our Lives) for her sheer determination and the way she’d rebuilt her life; Henry (from My Single Friend) because he was such an antidote to everything we expect in a hero – geeky and gorgeous at the same time! - and Emma (from The Wish List) for the sheer comedy I unleashed when I wrote her (I’m especially fond of the scenes in the bar and the GUM clinic!)
5 words to sum up “The Time of our lives”...
Funny, warm, fast, glamorous, emotional.