Friday, 20 June 2014

Q&A with Rosie Blake

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Yay! I'm so happy and honored to have Rosie Blake on the blog today. She's one of my fave writers and such a wonderful person. Thanks for answering all my questions hun, xxx.

Rosie's is an author of comic, commercial fiction. She has written stories, blogs and features for Cosmopolitan magazine, The Huffington Post, The Lady Magazine and the Daily Mail among others. Her debut novel 'How to get A (Love) Life' was published by Novelicious Books in January 2014 and became The Sun Newspaper's 'eBook of the Week'. Rosie lives near Reading and likes baking, chickens and speaking about herself in the third person.


1. Did you always dream of being a writer?

Not when I was younger. I always wanted to be a TV presenter so became obsessed with that. It was only after University that I really developed a passion for writing and started to care more about stories than the live TV shows I worked on.

2. How To Get A (Love) Life is your debut novel. How did it feel when it was finally published? And what does it take for a book to be published?

A lot of tears! My journey to publication was easier, and stranger, than most. I wasn't submitting HOW TO GET A (LOVE) LIFE and had started work on a second novel. I had entered the first chapters into the first Novelicious Undiscovered Comp. A year or so after that Kirsty (editor of Novelicious) contacted me and told me she had always liked the start and asked if I had finished the book and if so would I consider sending it in to Novelicious Books...

3. You spent your university years writing pantomimes based on old classics. Can you tell us more about that?

Ha, ha, oh Bristol University Panto Soc was my first ever foray into writing. I adapted 'The Wizard of Oz' for a student audience thus, 'The Wizard of Odd: Search for the Ruby Strippers' was born. I had SUCH fun and ended up writing 'Harry Potter: The Musical' too.

4. What was your inspiration for How To Get A (Love) Life, how did the story develop?

I wanted to write a character transformation novel and loved the idea of a book with lots of dreadful dates and so HOW TO GET A (LOVE) LIFE was born.

5. What are you working on right now?

Book 2 - the story of Izzy - a girl who married a boy in the playground aged 8 and whose life has not turned out as she had hoped. Convincing herself it might have been OK if only she had stayed married to Andrew Parker she sets out on a search for him that spans continents and involves lots of monkeys...

6. Nicola is such a lovely character. How was her personality developed?

With difficulty! It was so hard to write a character that the reader would empathise with but who could also go on a journey of discovery. In the first draft she was far too prickly so we tried to "nice" her up a bit and show her soft side. Scenes with her bat-obsessed brother Mark really helped the reader like her more.

7. Where and when do you write your stories?

I work around writing so when I have a deadline I need to work in the evenings. At weekends and when I take time off however the majority of the work gets done. I write in the mornings and try to sit somewhere with a view, or go to a nearby cafe that I love. Word races are important for me, just to write and then take a look after the words are on the page.

8. What do you do and enjoy when you’re not writing?

I am a dreadful but enthusiastic painter and have a room in my house currently piled up with blank canvasses. I find it super relaxing and satisfying and the thing with a painting is you can finish it in a day - unlike a novel.

9. Who is your favourite author and why?

I am waiting on the edge of my seat for the next Jilly Cooper novel. I would pre-order anything she writes. She is the Queen of Fiction.

10. If you were shipwrecked on a desert island what 3 books would you want with you?

Riders (see above) and then probably a book on how to build a raft out of sand and trees and another on how to attract attention from passing boats using only a bikini and some twigs.

11. How would you describe your style of writing?

Fast-paced, dialogue-rich, zappy. Which is a word. *sniffs*

12. You also write short stories. How is that different from writing a novel?

I really enjoy short stories and they got me into writing. They are different because you don't need to explore every secret, suggestion or back story so you can throw a lot into them and not need to ever explain it fully so the reader can insert into the blanks. You also need a really cracking twist.

13. In How To Get A (Love) Life we read a lot about dating. What the worst and the best date you’ve ever had?

Worst date ended up with him crying on the side of a road after midnight, dressed as a clown, little mascara lines running down his face and me breaking up with him while hugging a duvet around me wearing Greenflash plimsolls and wanting it all just to be OVER.

Best date was probably when my boyfriend announced in the middle of the meal that we had to speed up our eating and then whisked me off to the theatre right after the main course. It was a lovely, thoughtful surprise.

14. Is there research about locations and places involved when you write a story?

Yes definitely but I tend to write where I have travelled. HOW TO GET A (LOVE) LIFE was deliberately set in Bristol for that reason, although I really wanted to write a novel that wasn't set in London. My next book is set in LA, Cornwall, Dorset, Singapore and an obscure island in Malaysia. I AM LOVING IT. The only place I have needed to research (via Google) is LA.

15. Imagine How To Get A (Love) Life would be turned into a movie. What would be your dream cast?

Am I allowed George Clooney? Him please. And Julia Roberts (because I love her and want to be her best friend, if we met she would love me, I just know).

16. Coffee or tea? Earl Grey please.
17. Paperback or e-reader? E-reader - no more awkward page-turning.
18. Mountains or the sea? The sea, turquoise preferably.
19. Summer or winter? Summer.

20. Sweet or salty? Sweet, sweet, sweet. Please pass the dessert menu.

Rosie on Twitter: @RosieBBooks

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