Thursday, 8 October 2015

Q & A with Annie Lyons

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I'm excited to welcome Annie Lyons on Sky's Book Corner today. I've actually had the pleasure to meet her a few days ago and that has been great! She's such a lovely lady!


1.    Did you always dream of being a writer?
I didn’t really. I always loved words and books but I didn’t think about becoming a writer until I became a mother.

2.    Your newest novel Life or Something Like It was published this year, what is it about?

It’s about Cat Nightingale, who is at the height of her career in PR and very happy with her life. She is unashamedly single and definitely doesn’t want children. When a PR launch goes badly wrong, Cat has to take step back from her job for a while. This coincides with her brother needing someone to look after his children for the summer. Suddenly, Cat’s world is turned upside down and nothing in her life will ever be the same again.

3.    What was your inspiration for the book?

I wanted to write about a woman, who thinks she has the perfect life until she is forced to look at the world again. I also wanted to consider the theme of women becoming mothers 
and how society puts pressure on women to have children.

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

I describe her as a reluctant heroine, who doesn’t want to be swept off her feet. She is happily single and doesn’t want a relationship. She loves her job, her 5-star lifestyle and the comforts that go with it. She thinks she has everything. It’s only when she steps outside this world that she realises that work, the iPhone, Twitter and so on, aren’t quite as important as she originally thought.

5.    Where and when do you write your stories?

I fit everything around my children so my key writing time is between 9 and 3, Monday to Friday during term times!

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

I have recently started to play tennis again and I love this, I go swimming as well and I’ve joined a choir, which is so much fun. Most of all, I like to hang out with my husband and kids.

7.    Your debut novel is called Not Quite Perfect, can you tell us more about it?

It's about the Darcy sisters - Emma and Rachel. Emma is an editor for a book publisher, about to get married and on the cusp of a very promising career. Rachel is her older sister, married with three children and very much the stay-at-home Mum. They're both at very different stages of their lives but are both wondering if this is it or if the grass is greener elsewhere. Temptation arrives for Emma in the form of emergent writing star, Richard Bennett, whilst Rachel begins some ill-advised flirting with her next-door neighbour, Tom. There’s a supporting cast including their overbearing mother, genial father, bossy godmother and a crazy Swiss lady called Christa. There are plenty of laughs and quite a bit of heartbreak too.

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

I’ve always wanted to jump into a P.G. Wodehouse novel and meet Bertie Wooster, so any female character who gets to don one of those amazing costumes and dance the Charleston with Bertie would be perfect!

9.    What books have influenced your life most?

Wuthering Heights was my favourite book as a teenager – it was nothing like I’d expected and I loved the dark drama of it.
P.G. Wodehouse has always been a favourite writer of mine and I particularly love the Jeeves and Wooster stories – the comedy is perfect.
I am a big fan of Anne Tyler too and find her writing style so brilliantly understated – A Patchwork Planet is probably my favourite.
One Day by David Nicholls was the book which made me want to write because it had everything I love in a book – believable characters, humour, truth and sadness.

10. Dear Lizzie was published last year, what is the story about?

It’s about two sisters - Bea and Lizzie, who are devoted to one another but very different. Bea is the confident, accomplished one with a brilliant career, loving husband and young son. Lizzie is lonely and alone, estranged from the rest of her family but still in touch with her big sister, who acts as her guide and confidante through life. When Bea dies, Lizzie is devastated but her sister leaves her a parcel containing twelve letters to be opened, one a month, for the next year. They contain Bea’s final wishes for her sister; wishes which she hopes will make Lizzie happy but which will ultimately change her life forever.

11. What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on an idea for a new series, which is still playing out in my head (with the occasional scribbled idea in my trusty notebook). That sounds a bit mysterious, doesn’t it? Promise I’ll tell you more once I know myself!

12. What do you enjoy most about writing?

When a readers tells you that my stories touched them, or made them laugh or cry. That’s job done for me!

13. Imagine Life or Something Like It would be turned into a movie, who would you cast for the main characters?

Cat Nightingale would be played by Emily Blunt and I think Christian Bale would make a good Finn – he needs to be able to wear facial hair well.

14. Pick three authors you want to have dinner with and tell us why.

Anne Tyler for the reasons stated above – she is my writing heroine. Stephen Fry because I’ve been a fan since I was a teenager and I have dreams every now and then that we’re best friends. I need to meet to him because I’m pretty sure we would be best friends if we met.
Stephen King because I am fascinated by him as a writer and a person, and I think he’d get on really well with Anne.
I would just sit back and let them tell me everything I need to know.

15.  Tell us about your journey to being a published writer?

It really began in a stuffy classroom on a creative writing course in 2008. Our teacher used Harlequin as an example of good practices in storytelling and I started to play around with an idea. It was my first real attempt at writing a novel and was never really supposed to be published. However, I showed it to a friend who was also an agent and she tried to find a home for it. I got lots of ‘we really love this but women’s fiction is really tricky and we’ve got too many other similar authors’  so I shelved it for a time (during which I wrote another book, received more rejections and almost gave up!). Then an old work colleague suggested that I go on Linkedin and I got chatting to Jenny Hutton (aka the supremely talented Jenny Oliver) who told me about Harlequin’s new UK digital first imprint, Carina. She thought it would be perfect for them and would I like her to introduce me? I was flabbergasted but managed to say ‘yes please’ and three months later Not Quite Perfect was unleashed on the world!

16. Coffee or tea?
Coffee, far too much coffee.

17. Paperback or e-reader?


18.  Mountains or the sea?


19. Summer or winter?

Winter with lots of snow and nowhere to be.

20.Sweet or salty?


About the author
After leaving university, Annie Lyons decided that she 'rather liked books' and got a job as a bookseller on Charing Cross Road, London. Two years later she left the retail world and continued rather liking books during an eleven-year career in publishing. Following redundancy in 2009 she realised that she would rather like to write books and having undertaken a creative writing course, lots of reading and a bit of practice she produced Not Quite Perfect. She now realises that she loves writing as much as coffee, not as much as her children and a bit more than gardening. She has since written another two novels and is about to start work on her fourth. She lives in a house in south-east London with her husband and two children. The garden is somewhat overgrown. One day she hopes to own a chocolate-brown Labrador named John and have tea with Mary Berry.

Website & social media
Twitter: @1AnnieLyons

No comments:

Post a Comment