Friday, 12 October 2018

Salisbury Literary Festival: Q&A with Karen Hamilton

Today is the final Q&A as part of the Salisbury Literary Festival features, although I do have one more guest post coming up on Monday, so it's my absolute pleasure to welcome Karen Hamilton back to the blog to talk about her debut novel The Perfect Girlfriend and her appearance at the festival next week. 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing journey?
Thank you. To be a writer was always 'the dream' however I didn't take it seriously until after my middle son was born. I worked as a long-haul flight attendant, however it was becoming harder for me to leave my children as I missed them when I went away, so I thought it was time to concentrate on writing. It took nine years of learning by attending literary or book festivals, practising (I wrote two books) rejections, lots of reading and determination before The Perfect Girlfriend was published. Something that really gave me a confidence boost was coming second in a first chapter competition for Grazia magazine a few years after I began writing. 

If you had to give an elevator pitch for The Perfect Girlfriend, what would it be? 
It's about a women who obtains a job as a flight attendant to win back the affections of her pilot ex-lover. 

Juliette really was an unhinged woman on a mission to win back her man, did she turn out the way you originally intended or did her character take a path of her own once the writing process began? 
I sensed her as incredibly damaged, so I always knew she'd be utterly ruthless and determined. In the original drafts, she was worse (which is a bit scary) and I'd 'toned' her behaviour down by the final draft! 

Juliette loves Nate.
She will follow him anywhere. She's even become a flight
attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him.

They are meant to be.
The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing.
Because Juliette has a plan to win him back.

She is the perfect girlfriend.
And she'll make sure no one stops her from
getting exactly what she wants.

True love hurts, but Juliette knows it's worth all the pain...

How did you feel to be invited to be a part of Salisbury Literary Festival? 
I was delighted to be asked.  It's always a genuine pleasure to be given an opportunity such as this. I don't live too far away from Salisbury and I spent some of my teenage years there, so it's always great place to visit. 

Have you been on a panel at a festival event before? 
I have, but this is only the second time I've been with this particular group of authors, which is exciting as we all did the Faber course, albeit at different times. 

What are you most looking forward to about your event? 
Chatting with readers and writers and hearing new book recommendations. 

What would you most like to be asked about?
I'm always happy to answer questions (hopefully, if I know the answer). Sometimes I meet people who are aspiring writers and if they'd like me to, I'm happy to share my own experiences (every author seems to have a different path).

Karen's Vanguard Readings event with Richard Skinner, Molly Flatt, Rose McGinty, Helen Trevorrow, Libby Ruffles and Dan Dalton is at 7.15PM on Saturday 20th October at Fisherton Mill, tickets can be purchased here.

What essentials do you need to have close to hand when you are in writing mode?
I'm lucky in as much as I can write anywhere. I can ignore almost any kind of noise so I carry my laptop around as much as possible. I edit on my Kindle, so that is always in my bag. 

What would you say was the best thing about writing? And on the flip-side, what is the hardest? 
The best thing, cliched as it sounds, it that it is a dream come true. I get to work my own hours around my children and it doesn't feel like work. On the flip-side, I get nervous when people I know are reading my book.

What novel have you read that you wish you had written?
Lots. Nearly every book I read I think I wish I could be as good a writer as the author. My all time favourite books are Rebecca, The Thorn Birds and She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb. I'm a real Agatha Christie fan too. I also love all The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. I think he brings Botswana to life and I'd love to be able to write as quickly as him!

Do you treat yourself to something to celebrate the publication of your debut novel?
We went to Disneyland Paris around the time the book came out with my three sons. I like to spend quality time with them when I'm not working.

And finally, what can we expect from your next? 
It's a psychological thriller with another damaged woman at its heart. 

All book titles in bold are Amazon UK Affiliate links which will earn me a few pence if anyone clicks through and makes a purchase - any money earned will go towards buying books or gifts for giveaways.

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