I’ve been a fan of Karen Wheeler’s books about her life in France for ages so it was a pleasure to meet her on Twitter. I loved her latest book, Tout Soul, and I’m an avid reader of her blog, Tout Sweet, too. Her stories of how she hung up her fashion editor’s high heels and left chic west London to start a new life in rural France make me want to abandon grey, wet Oxford and cross the Channel right this minute.
This week Karen (@mimipompom1) invited me to take part in a web event called My Next Big Thing, where authors answer a series of questions about their latest project.
So I took a deep breath and here are my answers:
What is the working title of your book?
I am completely hopeless at titles but the working title is Three in the Morning.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
That’s such a hard question! My second novel, Moving On, was inspired by a newspaper cutting about two sisters who took over their family business. But for this one I had loads of ideas floating through my head, all of which became intertwined – family, bereavement, Fleet Street, Pendle Hill in Lancashire, teenagers, teachers… I’ve somehow blended all of them into the first full-length novel I've written since Taking Sides.
What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary drama. It covers a multitude of sins but that’s the genre, I reckon.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
The main characters are three sisters. So my choice would be Vanessa Kirby (she was Estella in BBC One’s recent adaptation of Great Expectations) for Jess, the youngest sister. Helen McCrory could play the eldest sister, Flo, and Claire Danes for the middle sister, Finn. They'd make a very starry line-up...
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The three Barker sisters never spend any time in the same country, let alone the same house – so how do they cope when a family crisis flings them together for the first time in years?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Three years – in between novellas and journalistic work!
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I love Marian Keyes’s books because they combine heart and humour. I only wish I could write like her…
What else about your blog post might pique the reader’s interest?
My first three books, Hard Copy, Moving On and Taking Sides, were published in quick succession. They’ve never been available electronically before but Piatkus is publishing them as ebooks in January, February and March next year (2013), which I’m thrilled about. Also, Endeavour Press has just published my second romantic novella, School Ties.
And now I’m going to nominate four fantastic writers to tell us about their next big thing:
Kate Lace (@LaceKate) has written 15 novels, including The Chalet Girl and Moonlighting, and two non-fiction books. Cox, her latest novel, is the unputdownable tale of two rival hotshot rowers and has been dubbed “Jilly Cooper in a boat.”
Liz Harris (@lizharrisauthor) is the author of The Road Back. Her debut novel is a love story set in a remote region north of the Himalayas. Liz writes contemporary and historical fiction and her blog is called Welcome to My World.