Can you tell us something about your novel, ‘Cupid’s Way’?
A cute Victorian terrace – Cupid’s Way – is under threat from developers, and Evie Stone is on a mission to save it. Only trouble is, she hadn’t banked on falling for Michael Andrews – CEO of Dynamite Construction, the developer behind the plan to demolish Cupid’s Way ...
Is the book in any way based on personal experiences or is it completely fiction? If so, how did you come up with this idea?
It’s completely fictional, although there are always elements of personal experience in any novel, I think. The inspiration for the street itself came from a Victorian terrace in Milton Keynes which was saved from demolition years ago when the residents got together and formed a cooperative. This real-life street gets a mention in the book.
Can you tell us a bit more about the main protagonist, Evie?
Evie is single, frustrated in her career and in her choice of men thus far – a story I could definitely relate to back when I was approaching thirty! She has shaped her life around the stories of a father she never knew – an eco warrior she has idealised over the years. She’s been accused of having a ‘rescuer complex’ (something else I relate to), and is eager to dive in and help the residents of Cupid’s Way with their fight against the planners. But Evie is a passionate woman, and throughout the story has to struggle to reconcile her personal values with her strong attraction to Michael Andrews.
There’s a great cast of supporting characters in the novel as well. Which character did you most enjoy writing?
I love all of them, which sounds a bit lame but it’s true. My favourite two are Mavis, Evie’s gran, who is just the way I want to be when I’m older – sparky and funny and eccentric, but also wise and caring, and Stig, the old man with a penchant for rooting around in dustbins. I also loved writing Michael – it was a real challenge to make him sympathetic as potential love interest when he is, in many ways, the ‘baddie’ of the story.
Can you perhaps tell us something about your future plans? Are you perhaps already working on a next novel?
My next romantic comedy is 75% finished and is called You Are Here. It’s about a woman who leaves her husband and goes off in search of her teenage love. After that will be the next Flora Lively mystery – it’s a busy year!
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Read like a writer, noticing what works and what doesn’t work and asking yourself why. Write – this sounds obvious but it’s surprising how many things writers can do to avoid actually writing. Expect to write crap stuff, and learn early how to edit well. One bit of advice that resonated with me was: Write for yourself and edit for the reader. Follow that and you can’t go wrong.
What is the last book you read that you’d like to recommend to others?
Cauldstane by Linda Gillard. Linda is an amazing writer, and this book had me gripped from beginning to end. She is a master of the craft.
Which book could you not live without?
In order to answer this question I went around my house and looked at all the books I own, imagining which one I’d grab if I had to leave in a hurry and could only take one book. And – funnily enough – it would be my first novel, Can’t Live Without. That book represented so much for me – it was the realisation of a life-time’s dream and just holding it in my hand reminds me that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to.
And last but not least, if you had to describe ‘Cupid’s Way’ in just three words, which words would you pick?
Warm, fun, engaging.
Thanks so much, Joanne! :)