Author interview: Lisa Dickenson

Today I am very lucky to be joined by the very lovely Lisa Dickenson for an author interview, the perfect way to finish off my week of reviews for You Had Me at Merlot.

1. Hi Lisa, welcome to Sheli Reads. I have been reviewing You Had Me at Merlot all week and loved it! Where did you get your inspiration for the story?

Mooooorning! Thanks so much for reading and reviewing Merlot – very much appreciated, what a star you are! To be honest, as much as I’d love to say I spent four months at a Tuscan vineyard allowing the story to unfold itself, most of the inspiration just, erm, came out of my head. I’ve visited vineyards in Australia and California, on day-trip wine tastings, so I drew on memories of them. For everything else, I used holiday brochures, relationships I have with people, lovely friends and dreams of hot hot summers to inspire me!

2. My favourite character is independent woman, Elle. Did you base her character on anyone you know?

I think she’s probably, in a way, based on most people I know. Even if you don’t have exactly the same dreams/goals/wants as Elle I think we all have something we crave after as well as that feeling that other people are expecting us to be in a place in our life that we aren’t at – whether for you it’s marriage, babies, owning a house, being at the top of your career or even being the ‘ideal’weight and fitness. I hope she’s relatable, in that way.

3. If you were casting a film for You Had Me at Merlot, who would you like to play Elle and Jamie?

Good question! Ooo, I’m really not sure, as I don’t picture specific people when I write (and I never describe my leading lady’s looks in that much detail as I like people to be able to put themselves in the story). Maybe someone like Jennifer Lawrence for Elle (or Laurie!) and Liam Hemsworth or Jake Gyllenhaal for Jamie? Who would you cast?

4. I liked that the book was released in four parts over four weeks as it gave me something to look forward to on a Monday! How did you decide to release it this way?

Glad you liked it! It was actually my Editor, Manpreet, at Little, Brown’s idea to publish them this way. She wanted to do an experiment with my first novel, The Twelve Dates of Christmas, and she felt it worked so chose to do the same for You Had Me at Merlot.

5. Which authors most inspire you?

I’m very inspired by female authors who’ve made an empire out of their writing – be it because they thought of, at the time, a very simple yet unique idea that skyrocketed, such as a school for wizards or teenage vampires (I wish I’d come up with those concepts!) or because they churn out books writing exactly what they want to write and have become leaders for that reason, like Jackie Collins.

6. Who would be your ultimate dinner party guests? We would have to make sure that there was plenty of Italian wine at the party!!

Yay for wine! And if there’s wine involved… as awful as this sounds I’d love to have a dinner party full of celebs who apparently don’t get on, just to see how they act around each other in real life! I guess this is why I’m such a sucker for reality TV… So people like Jen and Angelina, Britney and Christina, Kim and Paris. And I’d just sit back with my vino and gawp at them all.

7. Where is your favourite place to write? Do you like to have noise around you or complete silence?

I do most of my writing on my bus commute to and from my day job, but in an ideal world my favourite place is either squadged in the middle of my big grey sofa, or somewhere with a nice view, like over a Cornish beach or the Hollywood Hills! I don’t mind some noise – sometimes I listen to certain emotive music to get me in a particular mood for a scene, or I stick some New Girl or Friends on in the background if I need to get my head into a more ‘funny’ mode!

8. Finally, what can we expect from you next?

Well, the complete ebook of The Twelve Dates of Christmas is coming out in October, which I’m excited about, but my next book will be out in Spring 2015 and is yet untitled… I’m really looking forward to writing it though, I have lots of ideas bubbling away!

I’d like to say a massive thank you to Lisa for taking time out to answer my questions. You can follow Lisa on twitter at @lisawritesstuff or visit her website


Author interview: Sue Watson


Today I am very lucky to have the lovely Sue Watson, author of Love, Lies and Lemon Cake, taking part in an author interview and talking about writing, men and of course, cake!

1. Hi Sue, welcome to Sheli Reads. I loved your latest book Love, Lies and Lemon Cake. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Thank you for having me. I hope there’s cake?

Love, Lies and Lemon Cake is a book that has been in my mind for a long time. It was actually a chapter title in my first book Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes and so I started with the title and worked from that, which I have never done before. Faye, the heroine of the novel is flawed, funny, unsophisticated and a bit of a dreamer. She’s married to a man she doesn’t love, in a job she’s bored with and her daughter’s growing up, so when she discovers a ‘living list’ of things she’d planned to do when she was 18 she’s taken back to those heady days of her youth when anything was possible. Riding through Italy on a pistachio-green Vespa, throwing coins in the Trevi fountain, flying to Paris for dinner and having sex under the stars are just a few of the things on the list. But at 42, she is horrified to discover she only ticked two things off that list – getting married and having a baby. So being a dreamer, Faye decides to do something about it – and plans to take her life back, before it’s too late… but what will she have to sacrifice to get that life?

2. When you were planning the book, was Dan always going to be so lovely or did he just turn out that way?

I have to admit, I fell a little bit in love with Dan. I took my unbridled passion for Ryan Gosling and added the sexy Australian accent and came up with a rather delicious recipe for a man. And no I never imagined he’d be so yummy, which makes me think he must exist because he appeared from nowhere and just took over. I have to keep reminding myself he’s not real and the other day I was in the supermarket (buying Serrano ham and queen green olives obviously) and I heard an Australian accent. It was so funny – for a split second I wondered if it was him! Later I decided to up my medication so I was fine, but it really got to me. As for Dan’s physicality – anyone who saw Ryan Gosling in Crazy Stupid Love, will know what I mean – enough said ladies! Ryan won’t mind me using his body for my art – I know we are soul mates – he just hasn’t met me yet.

3. Who was your favourite character to write about?

I loved all the characters – I always do – and by the end of writing a book, most authors will tell you they really miss their characters. But I always enjoy writing the dialogue for quirky characters and Sue (Faye’s friend and boss at the hairdresser’s where she works) was great fun. Sue is a lovely lady but she has delusions of grandeur and uses long words, but they are never the right words. Her husband left her for a red-headed air hostess, and she’s had to embrace the online dating world with gusto – which brings with it plenty of opportunities for humour. I also loved writing lines for Mandy, the tattooed beauty therapist with the looks of a European Princess and the mouth of a docker… these characters write themselves.

4. Reading Love, Lies and Lemon Cake made me extremely hungry – I had to make a goats cheese, Serrano ham and sundried tomato sandwich! Did you snack on anything in particular when you were writing the book?

I only eat ham if it’s been dried in the mountains of Serrano – or the cooked meat aisle in Tesco! J Actually I am always, always dieting – (and always, always overweight) so I have a sensible low calorie breakfast, start writing and by mid-morning I’m starving and end up looking through cupboards for something sweet. If that fails I either head for the nearest shop and buy whatever I’m writing about – or I bake a cake.

5. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I’d always wanted to be an actress and it isn’t an obvious alternative career but I love to get inside the minds of people and imagine myself doing and feeling what my characters do… I suppose in that way I’m doing a similar job to that of an actress. I was a journalist on women’s magazines and national newspapers, then I became a TV Producer with the BBC – so my job has always been predominantly about writing. However, the big difference is that with fiction you can just make it up – after the facts and figures of TV and journalism this was a revelation and a very liberating thing.

6. Which other writers in your genre do you admire most?

I try not to read too much in my own genre because much of it is so good I am worried I will read it and feel completely inadequate. I love Marian Keyes and have been knocked out by some of the newer voices coming through like Renita D’Silva, Kelly Rimmer and Jenny Hale. My favourite genre though is psychological thrillers – I suppose it feels like a break from my day job but I love writers like Gillian Flynn, Tamar Cohen and Helen Fitzgerald – all amazing, intelligent writers with huge talent.

7. Who would be your dream dinner party guests – alive or dead?

Ryan Gosling so I can tell him about the soul mate thing and how we are meant to be together. He could tell me how he loves slightly older women – especially curvy ones originating from Manchester. We’d eat fish, chips, mushy peas and lemon cake.

8. Lastly, what can we expect from you next? Do you have anything else in the pipeline?

I’m currently writing my next book – it’s almost finished. It’s about two sisters who are very different, and live very different lives. When stuff happens to both of them they have to re-evaluate their relationship and where their lives are now taking them. It involves a bakery and the ingredients are cakes, humour, tears … and a scrumptious sprinkling of sex.

Thank you so much for having me Sheli… did someone say there’d be cake?

A huge thank you to Sue for answering my questions, and to Kim at Bookouture for arranging this interview. You can follow Sue on Twitter at @suewatsonwriter




Author interview: Lindsey Kelk

Lindsey Kelk March 2012-24 c Rachael Wright

So, today I have massive news. Actually it’s even bigger than that. I’d say it’s mahoosive!! The lovely Lindsey Kelk is here today for an author interview as part of her blog tour for What a Girl Wants and I am pretty damn excited and may even do a bloody great fangirling eek sort of noise…

     1. Hi Lindsey and welcome to Sheli Reads. What can we expect from Tess this time in What a Girl Wants?

The last book saw Tess having the rub pulled out from underneath her in every aspect of her life. This time, she’s dealing with decisions. I think there is a ton of pressure on women to make huge decisions and you’re constantly worrying about cocking everything up and ruining your entire life if you make the wrong choice. I wanted to take a look at that and maybe show someone who isn’t entirely sure of herself try to work out what she wants, rather than what she thought was the right thing to do, which would have been exactly what the old Tess would have done.

2. Who is your favourite character in the book and why?

I really like everyone in these books actually! I love writing Tess because I don’t think she’s that typical a character – she can be a little bit selfish and forget that other people have things they want out of life, that they’re not just there to make her life easier, but it’s never from a bad place. She’s used to being very single-minded and ambitious and now she’s got to learn how to be at the bottom of the all over again. At the same time, I love Paige and Amy, they’re so different to each other but so similar at the same time and I love writing men because it lets me see stuff from a completely different perspective. Whether I’m right about that perspective or not, is a different matter altogether.

3. In About a Girl we follow Tess to Hawaii. Do we get to visit any more exotic locations in this latest instalment of her adventures?

Well, she was offered a job in Milan at the end of About a Girl and whether she ends up taking it or not, given the cover of the book, I think it’s safe to say we’ll see her in Italy!

4. Did you start out wanting to write a story about love rivals or did the story and characters just develop that way? I’m Team Nick by the way!

I did want to write a love triangle. It’s a situation a lot of women find themselves in, or wish they did! The challenge for me was to start out with obvious stereotypes, the good guy and the bad guy, and turn them around a little bit so maybe the good guy isn’t the usual wet, wimpy option and perhaps the bad guy is a bit more complex – but not a bastard with a heart of gold, he’s still a bastard, it’s just that perhaps he’s worth putting up with. Or perhaps not. I’m still undecided.

5. Which other writers in your genre do you admire?

There are so many incredible writers out there at the moment, I hate naming names because I always miss someone off and feel awful. From a personal point of view, it’s an incredibly supportive community right now, without the other writers I talk to on Twitter, I’d go mad. I love Lucy Robinson, she’s become such a good friend and if that was the only thing I got out of these books, I’d be ecstatic. Rowan Coleman has been a huge inspiration for me too, professionally and personally, but really, there’s amazing writing going on from amazing people. I feel privileged to be putting stuff out alongside them.

6. Do you have any routines or rituals to help you get into writing mode?

I sometimes think I do but really, anything I do is procrastination. I really just have to sit down and start writing. That’s the hardest part, for sure.

7. Where is your favourite place to write?

Usually I’m at home, on the sofa or crosslegged on the bed but I love to get away and write when I can. I’m having a total affair with LA at the moment and I love getting up in the morning and going outside to sit in the sunny garden to write. It makes everything seem a little bit easier, I mean, how mad can you get when you’re eating an orange off your own orange tree?

8. Lastly, the big question that I know all your fans will want to know the answer to. Are you planning on writing any more books in the I Heart series?

I’d tell you but I’d have to kill you. Um, well, I’m writing an I Heart ebook for winter called Jenny Lopez Saves Christmas and after that, we’ll see. Angela will definitely be back in some shape or form, one day, but not for a little while.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Lindsey for answering my questions and to Amy at Harper Fiction for arranging this blog tour. The itinerary of all stops on the tour is below.

Lindsey blog tour banner


Author interview: Joanne Phillips



Today I’m very pleased to have the very lovely Joanne Phillips, author of Cupid’s Way on Sheli Reads for an interview. You can read my review of Cupid’s Way here.


1. Hi Jo, welcome to Sheli Reads. Can you start off by telling us a little bit about your book, Cupid’s Way?

Hi Sheli, thanks for having me. Cupid’s Way is the story of Evie Stone’s fight to save the cute Victorian terrace where her grandparents live. The street – Cupid’s Way – is under threat from developers, and the residents are pinning their hopes on Evie’s efforts.

2. I’ve already read the book and really enjoyed it. Where did you get your inspiration to write about a street which needs saving?

There was a terrace near a place where I used to live that had been saved from demolition 20 years ago when the residents got together and formed a cooperative. That street gave me the inspiration, both for the threat to a piece of our housing history and also for how Cupid’s Way should look. I pictured brightly painted front doors and window boxes, bunting and quirky characters – although Cupid’s Way is of course different to the original street in Milton Keynes in lots of ways.

3. Who was your favourite character to write about?

I think it was Evie’s gran, Mavis. (Could you tell?) Her story was quite difficult to write, actually, because parts were very emotional, but I love her sparky spirit and her funky leisure suits. She’s how I want to be when I’m an old lady.

4. Do you write based on your own life experiences?

You know, I think I do even when I don’t realise it. I’ve led an eventful life so far – and I’m only 44 so hopefully lots more adventures to come! I have lots to draw upon, and one of the comforts for a writer is that no experience, no matter how harrowing, is without purpose. You can always tap into this well of emotions to help bring your characters to life.

5. As someone who is from Cardiff and attends a lot of environmental conferences, I have to ask where you got the idea from to include this in the book?

It was from my proofreader, actually. She proofread the first three chapters back in January, and I had mentioned that I wasn’t sure of the locations and the logistics of the train journey that sees Evie come unstuck early on. I had her travelling up to North Wales from Bristol. Jude suggested I set the action in Bristol – lots of lovely Victorian architecture there – and had the conference in Cardiff, and when I looked into this I realised it was absolutely perfect!

6. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I wanted to be a writer, but this wasn’t on the list of careers we were offered in school 😉 So I became a hairdresser, which suited my need to be creative and my fascination with people. I found I was really good at hairdressing, and did this for the next 10 years or so. But I’ve tried many different jobs, always coming back to the fact that I am rubbish at working for other people. I’m just too independent. Now I have my dream job, and I do feel very lucky.

7. Have you got a favourite place to write? Do you like to write in silence, or can you work surrounded by noise?

I have to write in silence – the quieter the better. We live in the middle of nowhere, which you’d think would be fairly quiet, but there are still tractors and noisy cows and sheep, and of course when my daughter is home from school there isn’t much in the way of silence! I have an office in the house where I write, and a summerhouse in the garden which is a lovely place to work.

8. Which writers from your genre do you look up to the most?

I really admire Miranda Dickinson – she’s professional, fun, and a really great writer. She works hard not only at writing but also at being approachable to readers and engaging people in what she’s doing. And she’s a lovely person too. Another writer I look up to is Linda Gillard. Linda writes amazing books, and went indie after being dropped by her publisher for being ‘hard to market’. She’s since demonstrated that there is a huge market for her style of writing, and she provokes an incredibly loyalty in her fans.

Summerhouse completed

Joanne Phillips lives in rural Shropshire with her husband and young daughter. She’s the author of romantic comedies Can’t Live Without and The Family Trap, and the Flora Lively series of mysteries. Can’t Live Without was an Amazon top 20 bestseller in 2012 and her books regularly appear on category bestseller lists. Before becoming a writer, Joanne had jobs as diverse as hairdresser, air hostess and librarian, but now divides her time between writing and finding creative ways to avoid housework. She’s a fan of super-dark chocolate, iced coffee and Masterchef. Joanne blogs about writing and publishing at








Author interview: Jenny Oliver


Today I’m very lucky to have the very lovely Jenny Oliver on the blog talking about her book The Parisian Christmas Bake Off, patisseries and roasted chestnuts!

1. Hi Jenny! Welcome to Sheli Reads! Tell us a bit about your book, The Parisian Christmas Bake Off.

Thanks for having me, Sheli!

The Parisian Christmas Bake Off is essentially about a girl, Rachel, heading off to Paris at Christmas to take part in a competition to become a world-renowned baker’s apprentice. But underneath that it’s about her coming to terms with the loss of her mother, facing her fears and having the courage to let her talent shine and live in the present again. Plus lots of mouth-watering cakes, competitiveness and sabotage, a sprinkling of romance and whole lot of Christmas!

2. Where did you get your inspiration to write the book?

I had always wanted to write a Christmas book but wasn’t quite sure what my setting or theme would be – apart from lots of snow! I was on holiday this year in a little village in France and fell in love with the tiny patisseries that were piled high with the most amazing cakes, tortes, breads and croissants. They were the bustling hub of the village. Those memories combined with a passion for the Bake Off and suddenly everything came together in this book.

3. There are lots of books out now that involve cupcakes, what made you go for delicate French pastries as your festive food of choice in this book?

My grandmother grew up in France so a lot of the cooking in our extended family has a french origin and a fair bit of what they make in the book I grew up watching being baked by my mum or grandmother – and occasionally giving it a go myself! – so it all felt very familiar. Also, while I’m quite partial to a cupcake, I really love the pastries that you see in the window of places like Patisserie Valerie and other little cake shops – strawberry tarts, millefeuille, flakey almond croissants, eclairs and of course the macaroon. They’re more art than food! When I walk past those places I have to just pause and admire!

4. Did you base the character of the chef, Henri Salernes, on a celebrity chef?

Not one in particular but I watch a lot of Masterchef and I’m always amazed at the hierarchy in the kitchen and how brutal it can be. I’d either be trembling in the corner or walk out in a rage whereas the junior chefs are so in tune with the system and what’s expected that a simple ‘yes chef’ always seems to be the only answer. There’s no quibbling. I liked the idea that no one had ever really had the courage to stand up to Rachel, the protagonist in my book, and tell her that it was time to change, to move on and forward. Possibly the only person who could have done that was her mum and she’s gone. So the idea that this mean french chef might be the one to break down her barriers really appealed to me.

5. I would love to read more about Rachel’s life back home in her village. Will you be writing more about her?

Yes I think so. I’m working on something at the moment where she appears as a secondary character and it’s really lovely to see her and Philippe again – he really makes me laugh so I can’t let him go!

6. What can we expect from you next?

I loved writing this book and I especially liked the community of Rachel’s home town so, at the moment, that’s where I’m headed next.

7. Have you got any tips for aspiring writers out there?

Enjoy what you are writing. And do it as much as possible.

8. I always like to ask a food related question, so what’s your favourite treat to get you in a festive mood?

Last weekend we were watching some terrible Christmas film, had just decorated the tree and we roasted some chestnuts! They’re one of my all time festive foods. I love breaking open the shells while they’re still steaming hot and the flavour just says Christmas to me. The trick is not to forget about them…countless times I’ve left them in the oven till they’re burnt to a crisp so when I get them right they seem doubly special.

Thank you for this great interview Jenny! The Parisian Christmas Bake Off is available on Amazon now, and you can read my review here.

Author interview: Nadine Christian

Nadine Christian

Today at Sheli Reads I am joined by author Nadine Christian who hails from the very beautiful Pitcairn Island and has agreed to be interviewed by me!

1. Hi Nadine, and welcome to Sheli Reads. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your latest book?

Hi Sheli, and thank YOU for having me!  I’m a mum of five beautiful kids and I live on an island in the middle of the South Pacific. We’re so very isolated that to get to us is a two night trip by supply ship — that’s the ONLY way to get here.  I have five books out actually — or kind of! *grin* Two are out now — Remembering Love and Quintal’s Return. 
Remembering Love is a romance/suspense that has already managed to snag me a silver medal in the Readers Favorites Awards. Quintal’s Return is the first in the series of the Bounty’s Retreat Series. Home Again, Home Again will be released in November — the second of that series, and Quintal’s Quandary in February of next year. Finally I have a middle grade novel called The Water Soluble Horse Company with another publisher which I’ve just signed on for — so it’s all go!
2. Who is your favourite character that you have created, and have you based them on anyone you know?
Oh. The most awesome character I find to write is the bad guys.  Masie — whooo! She’s a horrible old woman in Remembering Love, and she was neat to write. She was mean and spiteful, and she said all the things you’d never say, do all the things you wish you could but never would. It was refreshing to write!  Did I base her on anyone? Um…kinda…but not really.  I suppose she’s just everything I wished I could honestly say all wrapped up into one blazing ball of horrible! *grin*
3. What inspires you to write?
I don’t know. I just have a thought that builds, and then the need comes to sit down and write it out…. Sometimes I do an outline, sometimes I just let the words flow.
4. Do you have any tips for aspiring writers out there?
Don’t wait. Write. It can be total rubbish, but do it. You’ll never know what you can do until you sit down and just start. Then, find a critiquing group. Mine saved me.
5. I know that you are the only author in your country, how does that make you feel?
Incredibly lucky and priviledged that I can do it. I get a lot of support from others on the island and they make me feel like I’m doing something great, so it helps! LOL
6. I have had a look at some of the pictures of Pitcairn Island on your website and it is incredibly beautiful! Do you not get distracted from your writing by that beauty? 
It actually works for me. I try to drag that beauty into my work, and the pure silence here sometimes aids in my concentration. Until of course the kids gets home — and then it’s — “What silence?”
7. You have a very busy life with 5 children, 4 goats, 2 cats and 30 chickens, as well as having some prominent roles on your island. How on earth do you find time to write?
When the kids go to school, the little one has her nap. I find I have to write with no distractions, so that’s the best time.   I tend to do all my chores in the mornings or after school. Feeding animals, working in the office, making bread. It depends what needs doing!
8. Who are your favourite authors?
Ohhh. Stephen King, Nora Roberts, I love  a bit of gore and a lot of loving! LOL
9. If you could have written any book, what would it be?
It by Stephen King. He scared the pants off me. I never looked at a clown the same way.
10. And lastly, I always like to ask authors about food! Do you have a national dish on Pitcairn Island that you could tell us about?
Breadfruit puffs! OMG. Breadfruit of course is well known as one of the things that started the Bounty mutiny, so that’s heritage right there. It’s like a potato puff with attitude! Yummo!
I’d like to say a huge thank you to Nadine for taking part in this interview today. You can find more information about Nadine, her books and Pitcairn Island at

Author Interview: Jaimie Admans


Today I am joined by the very lovely Jaimie Admans who has very kindle agreed to be subject to a Sheli Reads interrogation interview!

1. Hi Jaimie, welcome to Sheli Reads. Tell us a bit about yourself and your latest book, Not Pretty Enough.

Hello! Thank you for having me! I’m Jaimie, I’m 28 and from Wales. Not Pretty Enough is a YA romantic comedy about a girl called Chessie, who is madly in love with a boy in her school, but said boy doesn’t know she exists. It’s about the increasingly desperate measures she goes to in her quest to get him to notice her!

2. I’ve read the book and found it hilariously funny. How did you come up with the ideas for Chessie’s little mishaps?

A couple of them are, ahem, quite close to home! None of the really bad stuff, but I did a few stupid things while trying to get my crush to notice me when I was a teenager! Mostly I just tried to put myself in Chessie’s shoes and think, “what is the absolute worst thing that could happen in this situation?” It was a lot of fun actually, thinking about how things could go from bad to worse for poor Chessie!

3. Do you base your characters or events in your books on real life?

Yes, of course. I don’t think you can’t, really. Parts of you and your own experiences will always creep into what you write. A few small scenes may be similar to real life, but they are always heavily embellished and changed for fiction purposes! For characters, I occasionally use a trait or a saying of someone I know, but mostly I picture a celebrity in the role of the character, that makes them easier to write!

4. Not Pretty Enough is marketed as a YA book, and as a twenty something year old I found I really brought back memories of my school days! Which character were you most like at school?

Writing it brought back memories of my school days too! I was most like Chessie – terrible at most subjects and more interested in boys than learning anything! I had a massive crush on a boy who never even knew my name and I spent most of my time staring at him and trying to think of ways to get out of PE!

5. This is the fourth book you have published in just under a year, and each has been really different from the last. Where do you get the inspiration for your writing?

Thank you! They weren’t all written in a year, most of my books have been sitting on my harddrive and gathering virtual dust for ages, this year I have just been editing and re-writing them ready for publication! I’m not that fast a writer! Inspiration comes from the weirdest places, it can be a picture you’ve seen, a sentence someone has said to you, a news report, anything really. The smallest thing can spark off a shedload of ideas that somehow turn into a book plot. With Afterlife Academy, a friend and I were talking about our school days and complaining about the amount of homework we used to get, and I said that even being dead wouldn’t have been an acceptable excuse to get out of doing it, and boom: Afterlife Academy was born. The whole idea spiralled from that one thing! Plot ideas really do come from anything, no matter how small – the hardest part is turning an idea into a coherent book plot!

6. What can we expect from you next?

I have a Christmas YA romantic comedy coming out on November 6th. It’s called North Pole Reform School and is about a girl who hates Christmas and is taken to a reform school in the North Pole where a bunch of elves are determined to make her and a misfit group of other Christmas-haters learn to love the season!

7. Which authors do you admire the most?

So many! I love the writers and the books I grew up reading, like Judy Blume, Enid Blyton and Virginia Andrews. These days, I love authors like Meg Cabot and Sophie Kinsella, their new releases are always insta-buys for me, but there are so many amazing books out there. One-offs or debut releases that I find absolutely brilliant and wonder how the writer managed to do it so well!

8. You obviously love writing and have a real talent for it. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Thank you! You’re making me blush here! Yes, I think so – I was always writing and telling stories when I was younger, and I was absolutely rubbish in school, but I think I was 15 when I realised that writing was what I wanted to do with my life. It took a few more years to find chick-lit and realise that was what I wanted to write, but it was definitely at 15 that I knew I wanted to be a writer. Looking back now, it was pretty obvious even before that though!

9. We spend quite a lot of time on Twitter talking about food. What is your favourite snack to help your creative thoughts flow?

Ha ha, we do, don’t we?! Honestly, whatever’s in the cupboard – I’m not fussy! I do like crisps though, and Not Pretty Enough was edited with a bag of Mini Cheddars open on the desk beside me every time I sat down! Also, tea – I couldn’t live without a cup of tea next to me!

10. Do you have any tips for aspiring writers out there?

Unplug the internet – seriously! It might sound like a joke, but it’s not. The hardest part of writing, for me at least, is making myself sit down to actually write, not check Twitter twenty times and read loads of Buzzfeed articles and catch up on celebrity news! Switch the router off or pull out the plug or something, and don’t allow yourself to put it back on until you’ve hit a certain word count or particular goal! I love the internet, it’s the best thing in the world, but it doesn’t write a book for you – unfortunately!
The other bit of advice would be – don’t give up! There will always be people who don’t like your books, bad reviews, people who tell you you’ll never be a ‘proper writer’, but there will also be people who love your books, who offer encouragement and support, who will commiserate when you have bad days and celebrate when you have good days!

11. Last question for you, if you were an animal, what would you be?

Ooh, a hard one! I quite fancy being a cat – lazing around in the sunshine all day, being spoilt and fed treats, getting away with anything just because you’re a cat – we used to have cats and they would swipe people they didn’t like round the face and no one would mind because they were cats – I’d like to be able to do that!

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Jaimie for being part of such a fun interview! If you would like to find out more about Jaimie and her books or follow our conversations about crisps, then these are the links you need!

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You can also read my reviews of Jaimie’s books by clicking on her name at the bottom of this page.