Wednesday, 11 May 2016

On Stealing Lives - a writerly confession from A. L. Michael

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Writers are the best and worst of people. On one hand, you have people that can spin a yarn and tell a tale, find the strange minutiae of life somehow fascinating and important. Make it make sense.

On the other hand, they’re liars and thieves.

They steal people’s lives, memories, habits and homes to create a world for their own stories to play out.

I have done that, most of all, with Goodbye Ruby Tuesday.

The setting quietly became the house I was born in, on Camden Square, an ancient and huge Victorian house that had endless passageways, shadows and possibilities.

Ruby is a cross between Amy Winehouse and Dita Von Teese, with a sprinkle of Lily Allen for effect. Some of the teenage memories are mine, or reflections and refractions of these memories, like skimming a stone off the water’s edge and forgetting what it looked like to start with.

I used to work at an arts centre (one that also had a red door!) where I ran events and tried to make it take off, just like Evie wants to in this book.

Esme is an amalgamation of all the ten year olds I have taught over the years, patchworked together from the hilarious and adorable things they have said. Kids have a way of cutting through to the truth of things, and in my books they’re always the smartest person in the room.

Evie, Chelsea and Mollie are the girls I’d like to be like. They were brave, not afraid to be the ‘bad’ girls at school, and not allowing that label to define them. They’re strong, dedicated, inspirational women with dreams and desires and they work together to achieve them.

In these characters, there are fragments of the strong women I know, the ones from school and uni and work, the ones who share my blood and my memories. From them, I created three women I respect. Even if they are fictional.

They say authors can immortalise you, but better than that, I think they can remember the things you never thought were important, those moments of kindness, pain and hilarity, that make you who you are.

The book - blurb:

Three friends have become four. But that’s only the beginning.
Ruby, Evie, Mollie and Chelsea were the bad girls at school. But Ruby was the baddest. Evie fought her anger, Mollie fought her mother and Chelsea…well, Chelsea just fought. But Ruby set her sights on a bigger stage. And together, they dreamed of a future where Ruby could sing, Evie could make art, Mollie could bake, Chelsea could dance – and all of them could finally feel at home.
A decade later, the girls are reunited for the funeral of Ruby Tuesday, the girl who took the world – and the charts – by storm, before fading too soon. And Evie doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry when she learns that Ruby has left them a house on Camden Square – the perfect place for them to fulfil their dreams. But does she dare take the plunge, and risk it all for one last shot at the stars?

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday is Book One in A.L. Michael’s new series, ‘The House on Camden Square’

‘I know it’s a good book when I shut the Kindle cover and sigh with contentment. The Last Word totally did it for me.’ 4* from Angela*
‘This is a funny, funny book.’ 5* to The Last Word from Rosee**
‘Fresh, fast and … had that magical romance feeling and a bit of hotness that you just can’t help but love. Absolutely brilliant!’ 5* to The Last Word from The Book Geek Wears Pajamas
‘I LOVED THIS. I laughed, I cried, I fell in love. All of the emotions were felt in the reading of this book and it is definitely one of the best Christmas releases that I’ve read this year.’ 5* to Driving Home for Christmas from Erin’s Choice**
‘I laughed, I cried and I was left with that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you read something wonderful.’ 5* to Driving Home for Christmas from That Thing She Reads
‘The story put a huge smile on my face and it’s just a feel-good with a bit of spark, glimmer, friendship, heart, fun and love. I couldn’t put it down!!!’ 5* to My So-Called (Love) Life from Simona**
My So-Called (Love) Life was one of those books I just happened to read at the right time which completely lifted my mood and made me feel and smile and want to start reading again.’ 5* to My So-Called (Love) Life from Sophie*

*Review from Goodreads
**Review from Amazon

A.L. Michael
is a twenty-something writer from North London, currently living in Watford. She has a BA in English Literature with Creative Writing,  an MA in Creative Entrepreneurship (both from UEA) and is studying for an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. She is not at all dependent on her student discount card. She works as a creative writing workshop facilitator, and copywriter, and is currently working on her new series. She has an alarming penchant for puns, is often sarcastic when she means to be sincere, and can spend hours watching videos of corgis on Buzzfeed. But it’s all research, really.

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