One Step Closer to You which was published this week.
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book One Step Closer to You?
One Step Closer To You is a story about family secrets, addiction and relationships, both good and bad. Ultimately, it’s a love story with a dramatic twist, exploring the choices we make and how it is possible to change direction on even the darkest path in life. I think it’s my most romantic book so far…
After Polly ends her relationship with the father of her young son, Louis, she is determined to move on. All she wants is to focus on her job, her friends and to be a good mum. No more looking over her shoulder. No more complications...
Then Polly meets Ben.
Ben is guardian of his niece, Emily. They become close, with Polly teaching Ben how to plait Emily's hair, and Ben playing football with Louis. Their friendship is unexpected. Polly’s never been happier.
But when Louis's dad reappears in their life, all Polly’s mistakes come back to haunt her and her resolve weakens when he swears he has changed.
Will she give herself a second chance to love?
Where did the inspiration come from for Ben to be guardian of his niece rather than a single dad?
I thought it could be more interesting and unusual. Ben, up until now, hasn’t wanted to settle down, he has no domestic gene in his body. Nor has he had to cope with any responsibility in his life; it’s always been about work, drinking and partying to excess. So when his sister tragically dies, leaving a daughter behind, suddenly he’s grieving but also the only one who can raise her child. Ben’s guardianship of Emily is the making of him; I really enjoyed seeing how his character grew and how his friendship developed with his niece, along with single Mum Polly and her son, Louis.
When creating characters do you picture them as someone famous? If so, who was your Polly and Ben?
Ben is Mark Ruffalo – good looking but a bit wild and rough around the edges! Polly is the beautiful Emily Blunt.
What's next in the pipeline for you?
I’m working on another romantic comedy, set in an office this time and also partly set in Cornwall.
Are you a plotter or a start writing and see where it takes you writer?
I am definitely a plotter and researcher – I have to know my characters inside out before I begin, but as I write, the chapters do begin to write themselves if that makes sense. I know where I want to take each person and how it will begin and end – but I never sit down and do graphs or list what’s going to happen in each chapter because I don’t really know until I write it.
If you were going to look back on your career in the future, what do you hope to have achieved?
I’d love nothing more than to see one of my novels made into a film. That is my ultimate dream. I’ve come close with options so would love to go just that one step further.
Are there any authors who inspired you when you were starting out on your writing career?
Bella Pollen, my first cousin, taught me so much. I owe her a huge amount. She really inspired me to write my first novel, A Will To Win (now Another Alice), telling me how I had to dig deep and write from the heart.
If you could do a writing collaboration with anyone, who would you like to write with and why?
Sally Wainwright, who wrote Last Tango in Halifax and Happy Valley. In my dreams I would love to adapt By My Side or One Step Closer To You with her. She writes with so much emotion and it’s all about the characters. I hugely admire her work.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
As Bella Pollen said to me, ‘dig deep and write from the heart’. Also I’d say not to give up.
When you’ve finished writing a book, do you treat yourself to a reward?
Yes! All the time! I think it’s important to mark the end of a project. After finishing One Step Closer To You I bought myself a pair of Kate Spade earrings – I love anything sparkly.
Where would be your idyllic location for a writing retreat?
The Maldives. I have yet to go but I dream of white sand and turquoise sea. In between writing I could snorkel, sunbathe, drink cocktails… actually I wonder if I’d get any writing done?! Probably not…
One Step Closer To You http://amzn.to/1smO1xs
September 25th; Quercus