So I was tagged a while ago by Clare London to be part of The Next Big Thing blog tour. It seems it hasn’t got one person in charge, so it’s a bit like being in an orchestra without a conductor. Well in the absence of any conductor, here’s my post, and I’ve tagged the following authors who will be posting their responses on Wednesday 12 December. And the authors they tag will be posting their responses on 19 December...you get the message.
While I’m talking about blogs, I appeared on Charlie Cochrane’s blog on 1 December, which was great fun, and certainly generated some healthy debate, not least that there’s now a queue, or ‘line’ if you’re American, to adopt me! I hope some of you are reading this now, having discovered my website through Charlie.
What is the working title of your book?
Best Friends Perfect.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Over the years I’ve had some friends who’ve entered and left my life, some of my decision, some of theirs. I looked back on these, alongside friendships I’ve had for more than ten years, and it occurred to me how friends come and go, friendships morph and adapt as your life changes. At the start of friendships I think people have a tendency to project what they want that friend to be, constantly look for reassurance that the new person is that person they want them to be, and ignore signs which contradict this view. This means that after a while you can sometimes find you’re friends with someone who’s a completely different person from who you’d first believed they were. This is what I explore in Best Friends Perfect – alongside some campy humour too of course!
What genre does your book fall under?
Good question. I’m pretty convinced it’s not a ‘category romance’ but maybe something more towards the coming out novel, although coming out isn’t the main theme of the story. It contains sex scenes, but they’re part of the plot, rather than being another sex scene with no real purpose. It’s about friendships and how they’re not always what they first seem; it’s about searching for your Prince Charming in all the wrong places; it’s about realising that only when you stop rushing through your life searching for something can you enjoy what life throws at you.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
This has stumped me for a while: Kieran is 18 and Jo is 21 at the start of the story, so I had to rack my brains for younger actors than I’m usually into: Mitch Hewer could play Kieran, he did slightly fey and nervous of coming out pretty well in Skins. Nicholas Hoult could play Jo, his butter wouldn’t melt mouth and mysterious eyes are exactly as I imagined Jo’s.
Kieran meets new best friend Jo, in search of their perfect boyfriends, some of Jo’s behaviour along the way causes Kieran and his other friends to question whether Jo is actually a friend at all.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I will explore all publishing options.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It took me seven months: I gave myself a weekly word count and stuck to it. There’s something very satisfying working on a manuscript like that, as you notice the word count increasing and soon the characters almost seem to write themselves as it develops.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
See genre response earlier, as I’m not sure exactly which genre it fits in, this is a broad list of books: Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, by Marian Keyes (searching for the perfect partner); Sucking Sherbet Lemons, by Michael Carson (coming out, general campness); The Line of Beauty by Allan Hollinghurst (finding your place in a new world).
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I’d had the germ of an idea about friendships not always turning out as you’d first believed, and I’d mentioned wanting to write a book to a few friends, and without much variation the response I got was: ‘the thing about writing a book, is you’ve got to write it.’ It was the best piece of advice I had, and so I did.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
On the outside, it’s a camp, frothy tale with nineties references to make you smile; a completely fearless cross dressing friend; two female best friends any man would be lucky to have, armed with rescue packages, wise advice and the right amount of swishy camp to keep things going; enough Pride and Mardi Gras parades to wave a rainbow coloured stick at; with a more serious centre about how we can all find ourselves swept into doing things we don’t really want to do, all in the name of friendship and love. .
Download the first chapter on my website and watch out for progress of it being published in my blog.
I've tagged the following authors who will be blogging their responses to the Next Big Thing questions on 12 December: