As you will most likely know by now, I am a mahoosive fan of Adele Parks. She is such an 'on the ball' writer and also a very nice lady. Her latest novel 'Love Lies' is out at the end of this month (hurrah!) and I am delighted that she has answered some questions (best author answers yet, methinks) for the lovely Novelicious readers!!
1 - Can you tell us what the inspiration was for your new novel, ‘Love Lies’?
Love Lies is the ultimate modern day Cinderella story. It’s possibly the most glamorous novel I’ve written. Fern, a broke florist, living in London meets the countries hottest rock star and it is love at first sight for both of them. Only, it’s one of my novels so things cannot be that simple… I always try to write about current interests of modern women. Just the briefest of glances around confirms that we are all more than a little bit interested in the celebrity life style; magazines are filled with details such as what colour nail varnish such and such is wearing on her toes, and we gobble it up! I started to wonder why. I think that because we are in drab economic times that fantasising about being whisked away by a fabulously wealthy, sexy, creative, successful type is soooooo understandable but I wanted to explore how healthy those fantasies are. Are they harmless fun or do they lead to serious dissatisfaction with what we really have to live with?
I was also very interested in the idea of a woman reaching a ‘landmark’ birthday. Fern is about to turn 30 and when she takes stock of where she is she’s none too pleased; she acts irrationally through panic (but hey, who hasn’t?).
2 - You’ve become quite a prolific writer – can you tell us a bit about your writing process –i.e., are you a planner or do you just dive into the story?
I’m a planner. I mull over stories for a long time and then I carefully write up a plot, characterisation and endless facts about the location before I sit in front of the word processor. I think if I sat down without these props of research and structure I’d probably freeze. Blank pages are terrifying!
Continue Reading Novelicious Chats to Adele Parks!
3 – You did a sequel to the novel ‘Playing Away’ is that something you would do again in the future?
I have an enormous, undying affection for the characters in my first novel. They really did change my life and I think of them all the time (which probably makes me sound a wee bit crazy). I was reassured that I wasn’t actually insane when I realised that a lot of my fans felt the same way as I was often asked to revisit the Playing Away characters. After 7 years I felt the time was right and I wrote Young Wives Tales. The characters had all aged by 7 years (as many of my readers had in real time). This meant that the issues they were facing were different, they’d matured (or at least they were aware they should have!). I’ve this fun idea about revisiting them every 7 years to see how they get on, Connie and Lucy facing menopause will be hysterical.
4 – When you’re writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as visual inspiration for the characters? If so, have you got any examples?!
I don’t often do this but I definitely did in Love Lies. Physically, Scottie Taylor is based on a young Robbie Williams, but Scottie has fewer tattoos. He has a particular ‘mucky look’ which I think is unbelievably sexy.
5 - What is your favourite women’s fiction book of all time and why?
Jane Austen. I adore Austen’s ironic, biting comedy of manners; her tales are often thought of as simple love stories yet they are subtle multi-layered social and historical commentaries. In my opinion Austen is responsible for some of the most remarkable characterizations and wittiest dialogues in the English literature. I find it difficult to pick one of her novels over another but I do adore Emma, because I enjoy spiky heroines. I’ve re-read it dozens of times and it never fails to amuse me. Quick-witted, beautiful, headstrong and rich, Emma Woodhouse is exceedingly keen on matchmaking. Yet she’s oblivious to the question of who she might marry. Through this comedy of romantic education, she discovers a capacity for love and marriage. It’s a charming, brilliant classic. My genre could not have existed without Austen as a forerunner.
6 - What is your average writing day like?
I tend to write in term times to coincide with my 8 year old son’s schedule. So I’m normally at my desk at 8.30am ish and I work through until 3pm, stopping for a quick lunch. I do my best work in the mornings, so after lunch I often re-read, self edit or research. Obviously kids hols are longer than the normal hols or a working parent so sometimes I am writing when my son is not at school, it requires a lot of discipline (from both of us!) especially on sunny days. I think ‘waiting for the muse’ is an indulgence. I sometimes don’t feel like writing, but I just force myself to get on with it and I’ve found that it’s often when it’s hardest that the work is best.
7 - Your characters are always very three dimensional, real women. Do you take inspiration from people you already know?
Thank you, that’s a lovely thing to say. I work incredibly hard at writing people rather than characters, if you know what I mean. I’m certain that the people around me – friends, family, colleagues, even strangers, with whom I have brief encounters - influence my work and weave their way into my characterisations. But I do avoid taking someone I know and writing them up, lock, stock and barrel. I think it’s a quick way to irritate people!
8 - How was your journey to getting published?
I bided my time. I wrote one novel and didn’t submit it, it wasn’t up to it. I waited until I was at a stage of my life where I knew I had something compelling and different to write. The female protagonist having such a full on, sexed-up affair in Playing Away was ground breaking 10 years ago, especially as I didn’t let her off the hook by giving her a duff hubby as an excuse. I knew the book was shocking and would attract attention. I then did lots of research on which agent might be interested in this kind of work and yet more research on how to present my work to best advantage. It paid off because the agent I approached did like my pitch and encouraged me. It took just 3 months from my initial approach to my agent until he secured me a deal.