Before I post Anna’s review, you all seriously need to add The Uni Files to your TBR list.
Anna has become a good friend and I’ve had sneaky views of this book and it really looks amazing to read! It’s my next book to read after my tour book ;). But yesss, Anna has kindly written about The Uni Files for ya’ll to know what it is about 😀
When Lilah McCannon realises at the age of twenty-five that history is going to repeat itself and she is going to become her mother—bored, drunk and wearing a twinset—there is only one thing to do: take drastic action.
Turning her back on her old life, Lilah’s plan is to enrol at university, get a degree, prove she is a grown-up and blow a big fat raspberry at all those who doubt her, especially her dad.
As plans go, it is a good one. There are rules to follow: no alcohol, no cigarettes, no boys and no going home. But when Lilah meets the lead singer of a local band and finds herself unexpectedly falling in love, she realises her rules are not going to be the only things hard to keep.
With the academic year slipping by too quickly, Lilah faces a barrage of new challenges: will she ever make it up the Library stairs without having a heart attack? Can she handle a day on campus without drinking vodka? Will she ever manage to read a history book without falling asleep? And most importantly, can she become the grown-up that she desperately wants to be and learn the hardest lesson that her first year of university has to teach her: The Art of Letting Go?
The Uni File: Year One – The Art of Letting Go is the humorous diary of a young woman in the throes of a mid-twenties breakdown. It will leave you asking the question: can you ever stop history from repeating itself and if you could, what would you do to stop it?
Anna’s guest post
Did you know that there were two versions of The Uni File – Year One before I finally finished one I was happy with? Of course you don’t. None of you know about The Uni File yet because we are still two months away from publication and you haven’t had a glimpse into the world of Ben and Lilah yet. It is a world to me, a world that I live and breathe and spend every waking moment thinking about.
So why did I end up with the version that I did? What did it have that the others didn’t? What made it set my imagination on fire to such an extent that it would become something that I would put my real life on hold for?
Well the truth is I don’t really know. It just evolved and my characters and the storyline changed along with it, every version took the characters one step further until I finally knew who I wanted them to be. For instance in my first draft Lilah was not called Lilah she was called Jessie and the Uni File was not a diary but a blog. Jessie used to have a diary but her brother Tristan who was also her best friend got drunk one night and read it out to the whole pub. Jessie left the diary at home and decided to have a blog instead on her first day at Uni.
I don’t know when Jessie became Lilah but I guess at some point she did and I am glad of that fact. The Uni File would just not be the same with a Jessie at the helm instead of a Delilah. Just the name Delilah speaks crazy for me and opens up so many different avenues to explore. For example Lilah hates it when people call her Delilah, but Ben does, normally when he is taking the piss out of her. All of her good friends call her Lil which I would never have thought works but it kind of does all the same.
Tristan did not remain in his cuddly best friend Brother role. He is Tristan the Arse in this version, but you will have to read it to find out why.
Now Ben. Ben was initially called Ben Chase and he did not play guitar. Yes that is right and I will repeat it just to make it clear, BEN DID NOT PLAY GUITAR! I know… I thought of a premise for a story where my Ben did not play guitar? I just can’t believe it, but the evidence is there so it must be true. Ben Chase was a member of the football team who seemed like an enigma to Jessie. Always warm and friendly but legged it at every available opportunity. I cannot even tell you how far this is from my Benjamin Chambers who is strong and solid, caring and thoughtful as well as super talented and outrageously hot (of course).
In my second draft I went the other way, Lilah was Lilah by that point but she was stuck in a dramatic storyline involving blackmail and family feuds. Ben was Ben Chambers but his band Sound Box were uber famous and it was Ben that was running away to University to escape the limelight and not Lilah who was changing her life in a bid to save herself.
I was halfway into this version when I woke up at five in the morning and had an epiphany. I knew exactly the kind of book I wanted to write. I stripped it all back to just Lilah and Ben and then I started to create a world around them, I gave them friends who all have their own stories, I gave them an environment where anything could be possible and I gave them the chance to create something that could be perfect. I wanted it to be laugh out loud funny, I wanted it to be beautiful and romantic. I wanted it to be a love story but a real one at the same time, one that people would read and fall in love with the characters but also understand and accept the decisions that they had to make. More than all of that I wanted to write a novel that people would believe, a love so right that it would feel it had actually happened, a world so convincing it would all feel real.
Have I succeeded? I hope so, but I guess I will be waiting for you guys to let me know when you finally get to enter the world of Lilah and Ben and The Uni Files.