Thursday, 21 May 2015

Q & A with Rachael Lucas

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1.    Did you always dream of being a writer?

Yes I did! I wrote my first book and submitted it (to Pan, who now publish my books!) when I was eleven. It was an amalgamation of every pony story I’d ever read and I typed it all myself. I have always written and daydreamed about stories and so it’s amazing that I now do it full time.

2.    Your newest novel Coming Up Roses is published this month, what is it about?

It’s a story about friendship, and about the secrets people keep hidden beneath the surface and how they affect the choices we make.

3.    What was your inspiration for the book?

I had the original idea years ago when I first moved to a little village in Buckinghamshire (which is where the book is set) and I realised how hard it is to make friends when you’re new to a place and you don’t have children, who are a natural ice-breaker.

4.    Can you tell us more about the main character(s)?

Daisy has given up an office job and retrained as a gardener. She’s all set to go and work in France when life doesn’t work out quite the way she planned, so she finds herself house-sitting for her parents who have gone off travelling.  She’s always been the easy-going one in the family but circumstances in the book mean that she has to make some big decisions about life.  She makes friends with Jo, who is a counsellor who is wrestling with a pretty big secret from her past, and Elaine, a lifestyle blogger who appears to have the perfect life – but appearances aren’t always what they seem!

5.    Where and when do you write your stories?

I write them in my head for a long, long time before I actually sit down. The characters form and wander around in my mind, growing in personality for ages before I start to create the book. I do all my planning longhand, starting with huge poster sized paper and Sharpies, slowly breaking it down until I have the story summarised on post-it notes on a big board. I write in coffee shops, or in my study, or in the sitting room – and I write during school hours if possible (but as my deadline approaches, I often write all evening and my lovely partner takes over everything – he’s a writer too, which really helps).

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

I like walking – we live in a beautiful part of the country with some gorgeous Victorian parks. I also read a huge amount, potter around in the garden, watch Doctor Who obsessively, and keep meaning to get back to horse-riding. But with four children what I mainly do is a lot of washing and tidying up…

7.    Your debut novel is called Sealed With A Kiss, what is it about?

It’s about Kate, who finds herself living on the Scottish island of Auchenmor and working for the Laird, Roderick, who is pretty ambitious about his plans to make the estate a success. Their initial friendship is broken up by the appearance of his ex girlfriend who has an ulterior motive. It also features a seal pup called Flora, quite a lot of whisky, and an amazing Hogmanay party.

8.    You live in Scotland, what do you like most about the country?
Everyone thinks I live in Scotland! I am from the Highlands, but I actually live now in Southport, which is a lovely Victorian seaside resort in the North West of England.  But I love Scotland for the mountains and the scenery, the people, the weather… everything.

9.    If you could switch places with a characters from a book, who would it be and why?

I’d quite like to try being Calypso from The Camomile Lawn, which is one of my favourite books. She has a rather eventful life and I quite like the idea of being young and glamorous in the 1940s.

10.  What books have most influenced your life most?

The books I turn to again and again are Pride and Prejudice, the Anne books by LM Montgomery, anything Mitford, Jilly Cooper’s novels, Katie Fforde’s gorgeous stories, Joanna Trollope’s earlier books, and many many pony books from my childhood. I think I was born in the wrong era.

11. What are you working on at the moment?

I’m writing my third novel which has a working title of You Are Here. It’s a story about finding yourself – and love – in unexpected places.

12. What do you enjoy most about writing?

Being finished!

13. You worked in Germany, can you speak German?

Barely any – I  used to understand a bit more, but I think I’d struggle now to make myself understood beyond “can I have a beer please?” which is probably enough to keep me going!

14.  What does your perfect day like like?

I’m quite lucky really, because my days are pretty perfect – I get up, have breakfast with the children, and spend my days writing or researching my books before we all sit down at night for a family dinner where the children never fail to make us laugh with their silly conversations. I’d quite like someone to do the school run so I didn’t have to stop writing in the middle of a really good bit, and I’d like to get to the gym a bit more often, but life is good.

15. Imagine Coming Up Roses would be turned into a movie, who would you cast for the main characters?

I think Karen Gillan would be fab for Daisy, and Bradley James (who played Arthur in Merlin) would be a perfect scruffy-haired Ned.

16.   Coffee or tea?

Tea. Except first thing in the morning or when I need a boost when it’s black coffee.

17.  Paperback or e-reader?

I never thought I’d say this but I love my Kindle. I’ve read so much more since I bought it – and it makes travelling much easier when you’re a fast reader.

18. Mountains or the sea?

      If I had to choose, the sea. But I love the mountains too!

19. Summer or winter?

      Summer. I used to love winter best but now I want sun.

20. Sweet or salty?

      Salty. I’d find it easier to give up chocolate than cheese!

About the author

Hi, I'm Rachael.
I'm an author, speaker and travel writer.

I've spoken recently at North Herts Literary Festival, St Albans Literary Festival, and I appear regularly at social blogging conferences such as Mumsnet Blogfest.
I also run writing workshops, retreats and offer creative coaching
I live with my partner and our childen by the seaside in the beautiful North West of England.
If you want to get in touch about coaching, speaking opportunities, or commissions, you can do that via the contact page
Thanks for visiting.

    Coming Up Roses

Would-be gardener Daisy can’t believe her luck when her parents announce they’re off on a midlife crisis gap year, leaving her in charge of their gorgeous garden. After a turbulent few months, a spot of quiet in the countryside is just what she needs.

A shoulder to cry on wouldn't go amiss either - so when Daisy comes across Elaine and Jo, she breathes a sigh of relief. But her new friends are dealing with dramas of their own…

As Daisy wrestles the garden into something resembling order, her feelings for handsome Irishman George begin to take root. Daisy’s heart’s desire − her parent’s garden − is under threat, and Daisy's forced to confront nosey neighbours and fight greedy developers. Village life is turning out to be far from peaceful. 

     Read my review here: 

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