Thursday, 22 March 2018

Q&A with Lucie Wheeler

1.    Did you always dream of being a writer?

Actually, no. I always loved reading and the older I got, the more interested in the writing process I became but it wasn’t until I had my daughter when I was 20 that I considered writing for a career. It was always a hobby growing up and I never really took myself seriously - having my daughter refocused me and gave me the push to believe in myself. Now, I can’t imagine not doing it.

2.    How did your writing career develop?

As I said, growing up I wasn’t dreaming of being a writer so I spent many years flitting around jobs and training in various careers such as dance, beauty therapy and waitressing! When my daughter was born in 2006, I was given the opportunity to slow down and stop working and this gave me the time to indulge in writing properly. I would write when she napped instead of doing what they tell new mums to do and sleep when baby sleeps! I did this for a few years until, in 2010, I decided I needed some guidance and training so I signed up to a course with The London School of Journalism. It was here that I met some wonderful writers and joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I continued to write and send out my work but I wasn’t successful with any of it until 2013 when I won The New Talent Award at a romantic fiction festival and was approached by a literary agent. Within a few weeks I was signed with this agent and we were working on my writing and sending out my work to bigger publishers. But two years later I was still being rejected left, right and centre. I was feeling pretty rubbish but my agent and my family kept me going and in 2016 I was given the news I had been dreaming of – an editor at Harper Impulse wanted to meet me. In June 2016 I met with this editor at Harper Collins’ HQ in London, went for tea and cake and it was in that café that I was offered a two book deal. That book came out in May 2017 and I still can’t believe it happened!

3.    Your new novel is called Mums Just Wanna Have Fun, what is it about?

Mums Just Wanna Have Fun is a story about relationships. Not just romantic relationships, but friendship and the bond between a parent and their children too. The story touches on some of the challenges that parents face such as post-natal depression, adoption, autism and being a working parent and all the mum guilt that follows! It is a love story, a story about friends and an honest account of the real face of parenting!

4.    What was your inspiration for the book?

I love writing about parenting and friendship and I love working with children. Being in an environment where I not only see what children are like, but also the struggles the parents have too, I wanted to write a story that showed people that actually, being a parent is really hard but you are not alone! I want the readers to identify and relate to the characters and their stories and I hope that if there are any readers who are silently struggling, that reading this story will encourage them to talk to someone and feel reassured that they are doing a great job.

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

Of course. There are three main characters in this story; Nancy, Harriet and Cameron. Each of them parents and they each get to share their story with the reader.
Nancy is a single parent to 7yr old Jack who has an incredibly tough time coping with life. Jack takes up pretty much all of Nancy’s time and pushes her to her emotional limits daily with his struggles.
Harriet is a single parent to 5yr old Isla and 1yr old Tommy. Harriet is a full time working mum with her own business and is incredibly career driven – which creates a lot of mum guilt!
Cameron is our love interest. Single parent to 7 yr old Aiden, Cameron has a very interesting job and an equally interesting back story…

6.    Where and when do you write your stories?

Pretty much whenever and wherever I can! As someone who is juggling many jobs and responsibilities every day, I have to just write when I get a chance. I love to write away from home but because of family commitments, that isn’t always possible so I write most of my stuff in my office at home or at the library at university. Occasionally I will get the chance to go away for a few days to the middle of nowhere and I will write as much as I can during these retreats but generally I write at home in between completing my university coursework.

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

When I am not writing (or doing coursework for uni!) I do what every writer loves to do – I read! One of my favourite things to do is to run a bubble bath, turn off my phone and read a book whilst having a soak. I also enjoy going for days out with my friends and family and binge watching mummy/parenting YouTube videos!

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

Any book? Erm, probably Matilda in Roald Dahl’s Matilda. I mean, who doesn’t want those powers and the girl loves to read! I love that book and I think it would be an adventure to be her.
If I was choosing a character from one of my books, I would choose Zoe from The First Time Mums Club because I would love to run a little café and I think having a sister like Ellie would be funny (even if a little frustrating too!).

9.    What books have influenced your life most?

Last year I read Flawed by Cecelia Ahearn and that book changed me. It is, hands down, one of my most favourite books ever and I just love the strong message she gives through this story. I absolutely love the fact that it is a YA book so the intended audience for it would really benefit from the self-image message. Also, the Harry Potter books were the ones that first inspired me to start writing seriously so they will always have a special place in my heart.

10. What are you working on at the moment?

Well, alongside desperately trying to finish my dissertation as I am in my final semester of my degree, I am also planning and beginning to draft my next mummy story and I regularly dip in and out of the plans for my YA series that I am working on too – but I don’t currently have a publisher for those books so I only dip in and out of that when I can. I am hoping to send out a proposal this year to try and find a home for those stories!

11. What do you enjoy most about writing?

I love the feeling of reading back something I have written and not remembering actually writing it because I was so enthralled in the story in my head. Occasionally I will read part of something and impress myself because it sounds like someone else has written it! As a writer, you constantly criticise your own work and often feel inadequate, but when you have these moments where you can’t actually believe you wrote something because you feel it sounds so good, it really is an amazing feeling.

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

J K Rowling – because she is my literary hero and her Harry Potter stories inspired me to start writing myself. I also love her rags to riches story as I feel it shows her determination and passion and I love that she still very much gets involved in charities and causes which help those less fortunate because she has never forgotten where she came from.

David Walliams – because I think he would be hilarious and provide constant entertainment. I met David briefly last year as we share the same publisher and were both attending the same party. He was very lovely to meet and I would love the chance to chat longer with him.

Cecelia Ahearn – because she is such a talented writer and I am in total awe of her. Her stories have the ability to change lives and I just love how she expresses herself on the page, using the written word to create these powerful stories. I also think she is stunningly beautiful and I would love to have the chance to meet her!

13. Imagine Mums Just Wanna Have Fun  would be turned into a movie, who would you cast for the main characters?

I always find this question hard to answer! Let me think…
Chris Hemsworth would make a good Cameron, I think. Kate Beckinsale would make a good Nancy – but toned down with no make-up and a very simple look. Harriet, on the other hand, is very stylish and loves a drop of make-up and has a no-nonsense type of face so maybe someone like Mila Kunis.

14. Your debut novel is called First Time Mums’ Club, can you tell us more about it?

The First Time Mums’ Club follows the stories of three women who are about to have their first babies but each with a very different journey. Ellie is pregnant as a result of a one night stand, Pippa’s marriage is struggling and after failed IVF attempts, she finally falls pregnant and Imogen is in a same sex marriage with wife Alice and her parents aren’t happy with the choice to extend their family. The three women meet regularly at Zoe’s café where the First Time Mums’ Club is held and they form a wonderful friendship unit which helps them through the multitude of challenges thrown their way throughout the book.

15. How do your own experiences influence your writing?

As a writer, I have learned to take in everything around me. Everything you see, hear, feel, smell and touch has the potential to be inspiration for something. This is true of many professions – writers, artists, actors, teachers… they all use real life experiences as inspiration and to influence their craft. I love to people watch and I enjoy analysing what I see around me. Sometimes I will walk down the road and see two people talking and think to myself ‘I wonder what their stories are. I wonder where they are heading or who they have waiting for them at home.’ It’s fun!

16. Coffee or tea? I drink copious amounts of both and switch preferences all the time, currently though, I would say coffee.

17. Paperback or e-reader? Paperback

18. Mountains or the sea? Mountains

19. Summer or winter? Winter

20. Sweet or salty? Salty – I am very much a savoury lover!

Thank you so much for having me! :)

About the author

Lucie lives in Essex with her husband, daughter and her English Bull Terrier, Dame, who loves to sit under her desk as she writes and keep her feet warm. Never one to sit still, she always has lots going on in her life at any one time. Currently, she is writing her novels alongside studying for a degree. As a graduate of The London School of Journalism and one eighth of the writing group, The Romaniacs, Lucie is passionate about writing and continues to source new opportunities to share her words with the world. In 2013, Lucie won a New Talent Award at The Festival of Romance and is now represented by literary agent , Kate Nash.

You can also find Lucie spending too much time on social media! She loves to connect with her readers though, so do pop by and say hello to her! She can be found on:

Her Website

all under the name Lucie Wheeler.

She loves reading, spending time with friends and eating chocolate – when she gets to do all three, she's a very happy lady!

The First Time Mums' Club:
Mums Just Wanna Have Fun:

Connect on Socials:

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