Today I have a very truthful interview with the lovely Anna Bloom!
If you have yet to know of her and her awesome book (Which i am currently reading. Sorry guys, Ben is mine and has been for a few months now ;)) then maybe this will get you interested and click that button on 25th September 😉
One year. One woman. One Diary. One question: can you ever stop history from repeating itself and if you could what would you do to stop it?
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 and prove she is a grown-up.
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.
With her head and her heart pulling her in different directions can Lilah learn the hardest lesson that her first year of university has to teach her: The Art of Letting Go?
1) Firstly, where did the inspiration for The Art of Letting Go come from?
So this is the honest answer…When I was at Uni I wrote a diary…no I promise you I am not taking the p*ss, I actually did. A long long time after I graduated I found the diary and gave it a quick re-read. I was shocked and horrified by just what a pile of drivel I had written. So I threw it away. Another few years passed and I started thinking about the diary again, I guess I no longer felt so sensitive about the stuff that was in there. I kind of regretted throwing it away and I felt bad that I had thrown away a bit of my past just because I felt it in that moment. The more I thought about it the more the idea grew that it would be so much fun to just re-write my Uni diary and make it much more exciting than anything that actually happened to me! Much much more exciting…. No one would want to read a book about my antics at Uni but hopefully everyone will want to read about my characters.
2) How long did it take you to write it?
Well the overall writing with all the different versions took about two years, but when I first started writing I was not doing it seriously, I was just messing around. In fact I wrote a large percentage of the first version in long hand.
When I eventually started in earnest it was quite quick. My epithany for this version actually happened on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend I then wrote like a crazy person for two-three months solid and had pretty much finished the version I was going to keep by August when I handed it over to me editor. I am very spontaneous – if I hear it in my head then I just have to keep going until it is all down and I won’t stop until it is complete!
3) From your guest post, you said there were many things that changed, how did you know that this was the final version?
This was just the version that I knew worked. It was everything that I wanted, funny, sarcastic, romantic and a little on the edge. I did not want to just write a straight forward romance I wanted to push the reader a little, I wanted to challenge them into liking my characters. There is one bit that my editor, was like, no seriously there are going to be a lot of women that complain about that, but I held firm. A book should challenge you. It should be fun and enjoyable but the reader should want to invest in you and your characters and I really hope I have achieved that. I want everyone to believe in the world I have created and I knew I had the version I wanted to keep when I knew I believed in it – I was no longer trying to hit a word count the words were just flying from my fingers.
4) You’re book is unique, you use diary entries to mark the days/time of the events, what made you choose to do it this way?
I’ve touched on this above but I only really started the Diary idea after my Jubilee weekend epiphany. It just suddenly made sense – there I was trying to write a book based on this idea of an old diary of mine (remember not my actual diary) but I was not writing it as a Journal. The moment I started breaking it all up and looking at the academic year as a diary it all started to flow pretty fast. I love the fact that on some days Lilah has nothing at all to say but on another she has the one of the best days of her life. That’s what real life is actually like – it is not all drama every day! Well not for most people.
5) Is Lilah based on you or traits of you? Come on, no lying now 😉
Um…this is a tricky one. Truth be known Lilah does have a few of my traits, mainly a deep love of wine. But I don’t rely on Vodka to see my way through emotional trauma and I can cook!
I think most people want to know if this book is based on what happened to me at Uni but sadly it’s not. However, I do take note of pretty much everything that goes on around me and I am known to slide the odd thing in.
The fountain pen gaff in the opening pages is something that I once said to someone (thirteen years later it’s still one of the more embarrassing things I have said) and I did have a friend at Uni who puked on a pub carpet after a trip to the Imperial War Museum. In the second book there are a few of the crazier things that my sister and I have done over the years but I will reveal them when the time is right!
6) Ben is unique in the way he looks, black hair, blue eyes and freckles. Did you imagine anyone to look like him when you were writing him? It had taken us forever to find him.
The reason we can’t find a suitable picture of Ben, although I am rather pleased with the one we have found this week! Is basically because he only exists in my head. There is no Ben Chambers and he is not based look wise on anyone. The only thing I was determined to have were the cornflower blue eyes, that was very important to me but the rest just grew as I wrote him. I think that’s why his eyes are the first bit that Lilah see’s because that is the first bit I saw as well. I think his mannerisms are a culmination of many influences… but I can admit that I do love a man who can play guitar.
7) Taylor Swift songs are a big part of the book. What was it about her songs that made Lilah think about which ones she followed that day/week?
I listened to A LOT of Taylor Swift when writing this book, and I truly love her writing. She can get down in a three minute song what it takes me a 100k word book to say.
I added the songs on my first read through. So I listened to it a lot when writing but not any song in particular but then when I went back through from the beginning every time I had a little giggle or something obvious jumped out at me I added it in. I used to sit there and think – what would Taylor sing about that?
There is one Taylor Swift song that started off my whole writing process and I do mention it in the book but it is not one of the songs she is living her life too. I will tell you the day the book comes out and it goes back to my first answer regarding the diary….haha cryptic!
8) are Taylor’s songs a guilty pleasure on karaoke? 😉
I am far too old for Karaoke and I think the last thing I sang at Karaoke was an Abba song (I say no more) but I do have a feeling that one day…and maybe you will be there to sing it with me I will belt out All Too Well at the top of my lungs. I love that song and it is the sort of song that needs to be shouted…but I will need to be hideously drunk to do it!
9) how many bottles of wine did you get through when writing The Art Of Letting Go?
Too many too remember!! In fact I hate to think….
10) what is your fav wine?
Depends what mood I am in. Either a perfect crisp Pinot Grigio, or a deep heavy Shiraz guaranteed to give you a cracking headache.
11)if I were to come visit you, what would the night consist of? This is a plan!
Well we would have to go to Putney…obviously… We would start at the top of the high street at the Wetherspoons with all the old men (cheap booze) and then work our way down the high street until hopefully ending up at the Half Moon where if our luck is in there will be a hottie singing live music. Or we could go to The Fez…but I am probably too old to get in these days!
12)do you have more books in the line up? Like the second and third years? Spin-offs? Wink wink.
Yes, Year Two – The Art of keeping Faith is in editing right now. It is a bit of a shocker and even I cannot believe that I have taken the characters to those places, but it does have a good ending and that is all I am going to say!
Year Three – The Art of Growing Up is going to be my hardest one to write which is why I am putting it off for a moment until it is completely right in my head. The story line is going to go full circle but I already know how it is going to end, and believe me I cannot wait to write that scene.
Ben has his novella which I just love. There is this one line that makes me give a little squeal every time I read it. I love Ben maybe a little too much at times.
Alongside Year Two I am going to have another Novella based on a character called Zoe….a publishing assistant who helps Lilah out of a trick situation – twice (ha! You only know about the once). She is going to be around for the rest of the series and you never know may get a full novel of her own at some point when I have finished at Uni. Maybe a publishing house will be my next port of call! Actually I am going to finish a novel based in Cornwall first with a hot artist called Jude in it first but then maybe after that will head back to the big smoke and visit a publishing house.
13)You are an avid reader of my blog, and you always send me cute emails that make my day. I have to ask, what is it about my blog that keeps you reading?
I love your infectious love of books and your enthusiasm for supporting everyone. I like the fact that I think I can now read in between the lines of your reviews and know when you like a book and when you really love a book…I probably can’t but I like to think I can.
And I like the fact there is always an element of fun to the posts. It is not just a blog where you review books because that is what you say you are going to do. It is a blog you run because you love reading and you also love the art of writing and respect it.
14) if you were to pick one guy, other than your husband (don’t tell him I asked you this) to marry, who would it be?
Brandon Flowers. No hesitation whatsoever at all.
15) finally what scene are you most looking forward to people reading?
Oh that’s quite a tricky one. I think I like all the quiet moments between Lilah and Ben the best. I love it when they have conversations in the middle of the night. But if I had to narrow it down to one scene it would be Trafalgar Square or maybe the Leaver’s Ball. Or maybe Trafalgar Square, or maybe The Leavers Ball or maybe…