Writer-girl Wednesday: Q&A with Lucy Lord
Meet Lucy Lord.Journ-o-girl and columnist who has written for the Times, Guardian, Independent, Evening Standard, Time Out and Arena. She is also author o' Revelry, her first novel, which she absolutely, positively, categorically claims isn't autobiographical in the slightest. Ahem.
Best friends Bella and Poppy are living the dream – Notting Hill glamour, Shoreditch lofts, exclusive parties and drop-dead gorgeous men. But sometimes living life to the max catches up with you, and even the strongest friendships can be pushed to the limit. Poppy, Bella and their friends spend the summer having as much fun as they possibly can – from the hedonistic escapades of Ibiza to doing Glastonbury in style. But amongst the laughter come tears, betrayal and backstabbing and one devastating decision threatens to bring it all crashing down.
Forget 50 Shades o' whatever, this book is filled-to-the-brim with glamour, intrigue and hedonism - I LOVE it! I also love that Lucy has agreed to take part in Writer-Girl Wednesday, and confirm once and for all that this book is not about her. At all.
Describe yourself in a tweet... Loves husband, family, friends, books, sunshine, flowers, trees, beach bars, hammocks, swimming in the sea, parties, cooking. Hates unkindness.
Revelry is a refreshing change up for chick lit - funny, outrageous debauchery - love it - so, is it based on personal experience, Miss L?! Oh yes. The bit with the dwarf is 100% true! But it’s more how I was 5-10 years ago and I am now a happily married woman. We still go to Ibiza but these days it’s more long boozy lunches on the beach than mad nights out clubbing.
Have you always wanted to be an author-girl? Yup, from writing pastiches of the 1920s and 30s at school (I was obsessed with that era), to murder mysteries in my 20s that always fizzled out as I could never work out whodunit! Sometimes I can still hardly believe that it has happened. It’s just fab.
Do you have a room of your own where you write? Sadly not. I have become adept at blocking out the sound of whatever my husband is watching on TV!
Where and when are you at your most creative? Probably in the daytime, after a run, when I have the flat to myself and blissful silence. Although I can also find my imagination running away with me in the middle of the night!
How long did it roughly take you to go from an idea in your head to a finished book o' wonder on the book shelves - can you tell us about the process as a new author? Well, I started writing Revelry back in 2007, so that’s 5 years, which sounds like a horrendously long time, but it took about a year and a half to write (and I got married during that time, which tends to take up time!). Then another year or so to find an agent, and around 6 months to get a publisher after that (which involved a lot of rewriting). The three book deal from Harper Collins (which totally made all the waiting worth it!) was signed at the beginning of last year, and as it’s a summer read ,it was decided to wait to publish it this summer as there wasn’t enough time to get it ready for last summer. So yes, quite a lot of time!! *
Do you have an agent? If so, what are the benefits? I’d say that despite the recent success of certain self-published books, they are very much the exception to the rule, and no decent publisher will even look at an unsolicited manuscript that doesn’t come through an agent. They also negotiate the best fees for you, always act in your best interests, and are there to support you when you get the odd bout of author histrionics! My agent, Annabel Merullo at PFD, is brilliant.
Can you tell us about your book writing process please, Lucy? My first book, Revelry, must have been through about 5 rewrites (though it felt like 20!). First I was told the sex wasn’t graphic enough, so I gritted my teeth and spiced up all the sex scenes. Then I was told that my heroine was too slutty, so I had to take out half the sex scenes I’d just put in, I was also told that some of the characters weren’t likeable enough, so I spent several weeks adding random acts of kindness!
I’ve just finished my second book in the trilogy, Vanity, which was easy as far as the characterisation was concerned, as I felt I knew the characters really well by then, but my editor, the amazing Sarah Ritherdon at Harper Collins, thought that one of the plotlines was too dark, so that involved a huge rewrite. As ever, she was right, though!
As far as the day to day writing and editing is concerned, I am constantly re-reading, editing and tweaking as I go along.
What's the best thing about being a writer? Immersing yourself in your characters’ lives is fabulous escapism, re-reading what you’ve just written is lovely narcissism; oh, and making your own working hours is pretty damn great, too!
What is your favourite book of all time? Difficult to pick just one, but ‘Scoop’ by Evelyn Waugh is just brilliant, Nancy Mitford’s ‘Don’t Tell Alfred’ is hilarious, and I also love pretty much everything Jilly Cooper has ever written. Having studied English Literature at university, it looks as though I’ve steered away from anything heavy ever since!
What's the biggest myth about being an author? That we spend all day writing! These days there is a hell of a lot of time also spent tweeting, networking and doing all you can to promote your literary masterpiece!
What are your top 3 tips for writers? Be patient and persistent – you will get rejections, but you just need to keep ploughing on with it. Enjoy what you write – chances are, if you’re bored writing it, the reader will be bored reading it! And last, but by no means least, be punctilious about spelling and grammar – any mistakes will get your manuscript sent straight to the bin.
What's next in the world of Lucy Lord? Having just finished Vanity (which is a hilarious romp, involving London, Paris, Ibiza, New York, LA, the Hamptons, Tuscany, Koh Phangan, and culminating in a road trip across the States), I’m about to start writing Treachery, the third book in the trilogy. This sees Bella and Andy living in Ibiza, where they are renovating an old finca, and Bella discovers a mysterious diary written by a young girl in the 1960s. There are also scenes of Hollywood glamour, with a drop dead gorgeous film star falling in love with… well, I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say I can’t wait to get on with writing it!