Only 5 days until FIX YOU releases in the US and Canada! Today I’m sharing some insights into what inspired the book, and whether there is ANY resemblance between me and Hanna (apart from the fact we’re both in love with Richard!)
What inspired you to write Fix You?
Every new year the family and I travel to the Cotswolds to spend a couple of days with friends in a beautiful cottage. In 2012 we were drinking champagne on New Year’s Eve and reminiscing about the millennium. That conversation led on to how things have changed (the rise of the internet, 9/11, social media etc) and it planted a little seed in my mind. From that seed grew Richard and Hanna’s story, a relationship that spanned a decade that has seen enormous change, and the rest is history—their history!
Are there any parts of the novel that have special personal significance to you? Have you ever been in a long-distance relationship?
I met my (now) husband at university (Nottingham—the one that Hanna attends) and in the *cough* few years that we’ve been together, we’ve had our fair share of travels and working in different parts of the country. In our twenties we spent two years apart which had its ups (I could watch Pride and Prejudice on TV without him moaning) and downs (frozen meals for one). This was back in the day before Facebook, texting and cheap phone calls. We even wrote each other letters. By the way, whatever happened to love letters? Sigh.
I think the other thing that I really enjoyed writing about was New York. I’ve had a love affair with that city since the first time I visited when I was 21. Since then I’ve been back about ten times, and still can’t get enough of it. Although at the start of the story Hanna really doesn’t enjoy travelling to see her father in Manhattan, I really enjoyed writing about the sights and sounds of the city
You have lots of details about world events and things happening at the time the book is set. Was it important to you that these were accurate?
I did a lot of research when writing the book. Some of it was really hard to read, such as survivors’ recollections of the aftermath of 9/11, but other parts were more light-hearted and fun. I drove my family mad with all the snippets of information I found (“Hey, remember when mobile phones used to look like bricks!”), but to me they were golden. One of my favourites was when I discovered that The Strokes were playing in the Mercury Lounge at the same time Hanna was visiting Richard in New York. I hadn’t planned it, but as soon as I read that, I knew it was meant to be.
Music features heavily in Fix You. Are you a music lover? How did you choose which songs and bands to include in the novel?
I have a big love of music, mostly thanks to my husband, who considers himself a bit of a muso. Pretty much every song in Fix You is on my iPod, and I played them incessantly when I was writing the book. My tastes aren’t quite as eclectic as Richard’s (I don’t run the gamut from the Prodigy to Puccini), but between my husband and me, we have around 800 albums.
I think my favourite bit about music in the book is where Hanna tries to explain to her mum about a band she’s been listening to. Although I don’t mention the band’s name, the fact they lose a grand and eventually find it behind the TV should be enough pointers to work out who I based it on. If you can’t guess, tweet me. I might give you some clues.
Do you have a favourite character in the novel? Are there any similarities between you and Hanna?
It’s a bit obvious, but I fell in love with Richard while I was writing the book. Between 1999 and 2012 we watch him grow up to be a strong, good man who does his best to keep everybody happy. He’s alpha without needing to dominate, and strong without needing to boast about it. My kind of guy!
As for Hanna, apart from the fact we’re brunettes and went to university in Nottingham, I don’t think there are many similarities between her and me. She’s a lot more impulsive than I am, and can be prone to making questionable decisions, but she’s also kind and loveable. While she’s not based on me, she’s definitely somebody I’d like to have as a friend. I think she’d liven up any party!
What was the biggest challenge of writing the novel?
As with many authors, it was probably time. I work, have a family, and am almost certainly the world’s greatest procrastinator. When the internet is on, I have the attention span of Dory in Finding Nemo. I find I have to switch off the router, make myself a vat full of coffee and hide in my bedroom with my laptop if I want to get anything done.
The other difficult thing was editing my original manuscript. It started out at a whopping 140,000 words (almost two books’ worth), and deciding what to keep and what to take out was very tricky. I hope I got it right!
Which romance authors do you most admire?
This is a hard question, mostly because I can read anything up to 3 books a week, so I tend to have a lot of favourite authors. In fact, I’ve just browsed through my kindle and it currently has 698 books on there, which is scary, not to mention expensive!
There are a few writers who are my ‘must reads’ anytime they bring out a book. They include Marian Keyes, Mhairi MacFarlane and Samantha Young. All of them manage to combine an emotional, compelling story with a lightness of writing and humour that is a joy to read. I love stories that have flawed characters who go on a journey toward self-discovery, and these three give me that in spades!
Coming Soon: Google Play | Kobo | Kindle CA