Welcome and thanks for treading the boards with us today!
1. Are you inspired most by places, people or experiences and how do these work their way into your writing?
Probably experiences. Things I’ve been through or witnessed often make their way into my writing, though not always in the exact way they took place. Writing is a great way of making sense of life experiences, and often the scenes that you’ve based on real life end up being the most authentic or emotional. Having said that, most of what I write is fiction! But I use life experience as inspiration to help make characters and scenes more realistic.
2. Please share one of your favourite moments of inspiration with us.
It was New Year’s Day 2012 and I was trying to decide which story idea to pursue as I was ready to start another book. My idea for Fast Forward (which has just released) was a strong contender, but I hadn’t yet decided. I was flipping through a magazine (which I rarely do) while pondering my choices when I came across an article called Fast Forward. It was as though the universe was telling me “Write this one!” I listened, started writing immediately, and nine months later had a book contract for it. I’ve learned to listen to my intuition and follow those little moments of serendipity - you never know where it will lead!
3. How did you come up with the idea of FAST FORWARD?
The idea for this book came about quite suddenly when I was reading in bed one night. I don’t remember the book, I just remember that it mentioned a young character who behaved like they were years older, and I thought it would be great to do a story where the character ages suddenly overnight. I was reminded of movies like Suddenly 30 (13 Going on 30 for those in the US), Big, and 17 Again but wanted to do something a little different where the character becomes an age where they’re NOT in their prime. An age that they don’t want to be. I decided age fifty would be a good milestone to write about, and I chose to make the character a model with no desire for domestic life become a middle-aged housewife and mother overnight.
4. How do you come up with your characters’ names?
My main character starts out as Kelli Crawford, and the surname just popped into my mind. Later I realised that because my character is a model, I probably subconsciously thought of Cindy Crawford! I came up with Kelli because I wanted something to rhyme with the surname she ends up with in the future - McSnelly. And I decided on an ‘i’ instead of a ‘y’ at the end of her name because I wanted it to be a bit more unique.
In most of my stories, I don’t think about it too much, I often just use whatever name pops into my mind first, as long as it seems to suit the character.
5. Who would you cast for a movie/TV series as your main characters if given the chance?
Tina Fey as Kelli McSnelly and Steve Carell as her husband in the future, William McSnelly. Melissa McCarthy would play Kelli’s sister, Kasey.
6. Do you read reviews of your books? What do you do when you read a not-so-nice one?
Considering I’ve only been a published novelist for a short time, yes! It’s exciting to know people have read and enjoyed your book. Luckily, at this stage I haven’t received a not-so-nice one (touch wood)!
7. How many times were you turned down before you finally got published?
For this particular book, about twenty times! (mostly agents, a couple of publishers). Until the fabulous Escape Publishing said ‘Yes’, for which I am eternally grateful :)
8. Who do you most admire and why?
I admire all those authors who never gave up. Those who persisted with passion and determination to achieve their dream of becoming published. Writing is something you do for the love of it. It’s time consuming, energy draining, and challenging, and there’s no guarantee your work will be read, but when it’s what you love, it’s important to keep going and believe in yourself and your writing.
9. What do you need to set the mood for you to write?
I need to get comfortable! Whether it be at my desk or lying in bed or on the couch, if I’m not comfortable I can’t focus. My mother always said I was like ‘The Princess and the Pea’ - overly sensitive to little things, so it’s not uncommon to see me wriggling about on the couch for several minutes trying to get in the most comfortable position. It’s not usually worth it though, because I don’t stay in the same position very long before I have to get up again! And I’d love to have peace and quiet, but with a teenage son who plays Xbox, and a cat with incessant meowing, that rarely happens. ;)
10. If there is one genre that you have not written in yet, but would love to try writing a book in that specific genre, what would it be?
Young Adult and New Adult. Well, I have written in YA, but haven’t yet completed anything. I have a couple of exciting stories I want to pursue, but I’m just trying to balance all my commitments and focus on the higher priorities first. I hope to make progress with this soon!
11. What are you working on now?
I’m just about to finish a short romantic comedy novella called I Dream of Johnny, about a wish on a magic lamp that goes hilariously wrong. I’m also revising a manuscript, and I’m just about to get back into my next full length romantic comedy, Haunted Housewives, which I started before Christmas. This one’s about a bride-to-be who’s haunted by the ghost of her fiance’s ex-girlfriend. Oh, and did I mention the contemporary romance I’m trying to squeeze in between all this?? ;)
12. Would you like to share an excerpt from your writing or a photo or music link that inspires you?
Here’s an excerpt from chapter one of Fast Forward, when Kelli has recently discovered that she’s in the future.
Anxious to finally get some clothes on, I opened the door a fraction, checking to see if the coast was clear. I tip-toed into the unfamiliar bedroom and pulled back a sliding door. The good news was an array of clothing hung from a rack, so I’d be able to put a long overdue end to my nakedness. The bad news was I wouldn’t be caught dead in most of the outfits. Who would wear such things? Well, me obviously. But surely my fifty-year-old taste couldn’t be that bad? I was a fashion model for Christ’s sake! I knew what’s hot and what’s not, and this stuff wasn’t even lukewarm.
So I had three choices:
1. Remain naked.
2. Put my nightgown back on.
3. Suck it up and wear one of the outfits.
As my stomach grumbled for food and my nose detected a faint smell of something good cooking, I stepped into a coral-coloured starched skirt in which the hem ended halfway down my calves before turning upwards into a revolting curved abomination and looking like a baby catch-all bib. The matching top was just as bad, its hem curving upwards too, but if the need arose at least I’d have a place to store snacks. Or Valium.
Now desperately hungry and looking like a middle-aged Oompa-Loompa, I followed the smell out of the bedroom, down a hallway and into a kitchen, where William sat at the bench sipping from a mug. If he was there, then who was cooking?
I looked towards the source of the delicious aroma and nearly threw up into my curved hems. A young man stood there in a pink apron. He was tall, with various pieces of metal jewellery adorning his pierced skin and his hair was jet black despite one hot pink streak falling loose from his mullet/Mohawk/ponytail thingy.
“Happy birthday, Mum!” he said and for the second time that day I wilted to the floor.
Aspiring supermodel, Kelli Crawford seems destined to marry her hotshot boyfriend, but on her twenty-fifth birthday she wakes in the future as a fifty-year-old suburban housewife married to the now middle-aged high school nerd.
Trapped in the opposite life of the one she wanted, Kelli is forced to re-evaluate her life and discover what is really important to her. Will she overcome the hilarious and heartbreaking challenges presented to her and get back to the body of her younger self? Or will she be stuck in the nightmare of hot flushes, demanding children, raunchy advances from her husband and hideous support underwear forever?
Buy FAST FORWARD via...
Escape Publishing, Amazon, Amazon UK, iTunes/iBookstore, Kobo.
GIVEAWAY #1: To go in the draw for a $25 Amazon gift card, forward your purchase receipt to fastforwardbook (at) gmail (dot) com - replace (at) with @ and (dot) with .
GIVEAWAY #2: To go in the draw for a $50 Amazon gift card or the runner up prize of a $25 gift card, leave a comment on this post. Comment on other blogs during Juliet’s February blog tour for more entries into the draw! Winners drawn 1st March.
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