Monday, 18 November 2013

Author Interview: Lisa Dickenson

Today I'm joined by the lovely Lisa Dickenson to tell us a little bit more about her debut 6-part romantic comedy novel The Twelve Dates of Christmas.  The second installment for Dates 3 & 4 is out today and my pre-ordered copy has already been downloaded this morning.

Can you tell us a little bit about the twelve dates of Christmas?
Where do I begin? This is one novel, squeezed full of festiveness, that’s been split into six parts. We follow Claudia as she explores dating in Christmassy London town. She has some oh-so-lovely dates, and some dates that make her throw up. But ultimately it’s a story of waking up your life, getting out of a rut, making adventures for yourself and following your heart. Oh, and drinking lots of gingerbread latt├ęs. 

I love the idea of this being a 6-part series as opposed to a complete novel, where did the inspiration come from to do this? 
This was dreamed up by the genius that is my Editor at Little, Brown, Manpreet Grewal. She came up with the idea of a serialised novel, and the 'Twelve Dates' theme cut rather neatly into six parts! It also gave a me the discipline to try and make the ending to each part as compelling as possible, so our busy readers will keep wanting to read all about Claudia's whole December of dating! 

Are there any plans to continue Claudia’s story?
Watch this space! I certainly know what Claudia would be getting up to in 2014!

Are you currently working on a new book, if so are you able to tell us anything about it? 
I’m in the very early stages of my next book, which is about a girl who wins a place at a summer film school in the US. I love writing about adventures in other countries. I’m just struggling at the moment about whether to set it in LA or New York… 

Have you ever had writer’s block? 
Yes! As a general rule, my pesky brain will shut down like a stubborn teenager if I’ve specifically set aside a certain block of time to write. Any hint of forced creativity and its having none of it.

If you weren’t a writer, what career path would you have chosen to follow?
I’m extremely lucky to have dabbled in my two dream jobs – to be a dancer and to be a writer. I taught ballroom and Latin dancing in London for a couple of years before leaving to go travelling, so if I hadn’t got stuck into then trying to do something with my writing I’d like to think I would have got back into that.

Being a writer appears to be such a solitary lifestyle, especially when you’re in the midst of writing, so do you consider the influence of social Media, Facebook and Twitter, a blessing or a hinderance?
Mostly a blessing, because you quickly realise everyone goes through the same struggles, be it other newbies or those with five bestsellers already. There’s a lot of support, cheerleading, advice and virtual hugging that goes on in the Twitter writing/blogging/publishing community. But the constantly updating, alive world of social media can make naughty procrastination win! I’m better at writing during my long commutes to and from work on the bus, because I have no internet, and can’t check what so-and-so is doing now.

Would you say that any of your characters are like you? If so, which one(s)? 
Yes! Claudia totally has my sense of humour. In other words, I find her funny. I also find Nick funny, so maybe he has my sense of humour too. I guess in turn this will tell me once and for all if I’m the only one that finds me funny! 

If you could write another style of genre, what would it be and why?
I’d LOVE to try my hand at writing a thriller. A ghostly tale, something along the lines of Rebecca, the type that chills you without even needing the blood and gore.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Do not listen to those people that say “You want to be an author? Oooo – that’s very hard to get into you know.” Or maybe do, because those are the people that spurred me on to prove to them I could do it.

If you could invite any three authors, alive or dead, to a dinner party who would you choose and why?
Roald Dahl, because I imagine him to be a total hoot, regaling with stories about people with colourful, caricature descriptions. Belinda Jones, because she’s lovely and very easy to chat to, and it's always good to have a strong assembly of red-heads in the room. EL James, because she absolutely catapulted to fame and success, and I think it would be fascinating to hear about the journey, and how her life has completely changed.

Are there any books you’ve read that you wish you’d written? 
Yes, most of them! I usually feel like that when I read something with a very simple but very original and impactful idea, like The Hunger Games. The type of books that make you go, “I wish I’d thought of that.”

When you’ve finished writing a book, do you treat yourself to a reward?

Sleep! And I catch up on the recent books everyone else has been raving about and I’ve had to ignore. I also start treating my body better again rather than filling it with masses of junk food (for brainpower).

Where would be your idyllic location for a writing retreat?
In a house right on the beach on the north Cornish coast. I took a week off from the day job and did just that to finish off The Twelve Dates of Christmas and it was glorious.

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