1 - Can you describe your average writing day?
I write during office hours three times a week, when my two boys go to nursery, and am pretty disciplined (though I admit that that’s a challenge when the sun’s out). It’s far easier now that this is my ‘day job’ and I don’t have to snatch the odd hour here and there after work or when the kids are asleep. I did that for the first six months, when I was writing Bridesmaids – but think I’d go out of my mind if I had to sustain it for much longer. Sometimes you need a bit of a break to be inspired. That’s my excuse anyway.
2 – What inspired you to set The Nearly Weds in America? Have you spent time there? I was an au pair in Philadelphia after I left university so had plenty of material (though, for the record, I’ve never slept with any of my bosses). I decided to set it in Boston after a holiday there a couple of years ago. It’s a fabulous place and I loved it. It’s a beautiful-looking city with a wonderful mix of old and new architecture. Plus, I found the people there to be engaging, intelligent and friendly.
Continue Reading Novelicious chats to...Jane Costello!
3 – How difficult was it making the leap from journalism to fiction writing? Very. People assume because both involve writing that there’ll be a lot the same, but in fact writing fiction is a completely different discipline and one that I had to learn from scratch. Elements of fiction such as plot, characterisation and dialogue are completely alien to someone used to journalistic writing. Plus, the longest feature I’d ever produced before was 2000 words; a drop in the ocean compared with my novels, which are around the 100,000 word mark.
4 – When you’re writing do you use any celebrities as visual inspiration for the characters (for instance, I always imagine Ryan from ‘The Nearly Weds’ as Matthew Mcconaughey!) If so, have you got any examples?! Sometimes I do that; other times, the characters take on a life of their own and, by the end of the book I find myself almost thinking of them as real people who exist somewhere outside my head. But the celeb thing can be helpful. With Ryan, I pictured a kind of American Daniel Craig (but only because I’ve got a crush on him). I thoroughly approve of Matthew McConaughey though, too.
5 - What is your favourite women’s fiction book of all time?
That’s a really tough question as I love all sorts of fiction – not just women’s – and have learned as much about my own writing from John Grisham as I have from Jane Austen and Marian Keyes. If I had to pick one, though, I’d say Riders by Jilly Cooper. I first read it when I was sixteen and was bowled over by it. Her heroes are gorgeous (who can forget the dastardly and delicious Rupert Campbell Black?), her cast of characters is as colourful as it is vast, and she has a style that’s thoroughly uplifting. Unbeatable.
6 - What is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That you can become instantly rich and famous. Absolutely nothing happens instantly in this industry.
7 - What’s next for Jane Costello?
My third book is out next Spring and I’m really excited about it. The small number of people who’ve read it are convinced it’s by far my best. I’m in the process of editing it at the moment, and returning to it has been like renewing an old friendship. I can’t wait to see it on the shelves.
8 - Finally, what’s the best piece of advice you can give to readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Just get on with it. That might sound flippant, but I spent ten years dreaming about being a novelist and only ever managed to get to chapter three without getting distracted. Don’t think too much about it – just do it. If you’re not happy with what you’ve done, you can always go back to it; but getting something down in writing is the first – and hardest – step.
Cheers Jane!! I'm off to think about Rupert Campbell Black...