So I managed to blag an interview with superstar blogger and author of I Heart New York, Lindsey Kelk.
Talk about living the dream - this girl is my hero.
She decided to get pen to paper, wrote her book, won a multiple book deal and is now living in New York a la her lead character.
I love her. The writing is refreshing, honest and pacey. Now, I'm not usually a big fan of Chic Lit, I have always been one of those who would prefer to be reading To Kill a Mockingbird on the beach rather than Daisy does Danny or Fanny's fanny diaries. Nope not me at all.
So, imagine my surprise when I genuinely fell in love with the character and Lindsey's inspirational writing. She rocks and I can't wait for her next installment....
What inspired you to write the I heart series...?
I was in a bit of a general rut and really playing 'anywhere but here'. I was broke after Christmas, stuck in cold, wet London in January with a rubbish boyfriend when I really wanted to be shopping in sunny New York, chasing after hot boys. Since I couldn't up sticks and leave, the only thing I could do was write about it!
How much do you resemble the protagonist Angela?
A lot at the beginning of the book. We have similar jobs, similar relationships, I just never broke anyone's hand or weed in their washbag. As far as they know... But as the book (and now books!) went on, she really started to become her own character. I'd write something and then think, 'no, that's something I'd say, Angela would never say that.' And before I knew it, she had a life of her own.
When writing about Angela's make-overs, did you use your make-up experience to make it as true-to-life as possible?
A lot of people ask if I did a lot of research for the books and by God, did I use the makeover parts as an excuse to shop myself stupid. My credit card is still hurting. I LOVE make up and write a blog, http://beautymecca.blogspot.com, which I started at the same time as I started writing I Heart New York. I didn't want the makeover part to be too over the top so I just wrote in what I would want to read about. I don't know if everyone gets as hot under the collar at the idea of spending hundreds of dollars at MAC as I do but, god, those parts of just as exciting as the sex scenes for me.
And yes, in case you were wondering, I am single. This is why.
How long did it take you to write the books?
I Heart New York was really quick, just six weeks from start to finish on the first draft but I was so bored and really not doing anything with my life at all so it was exciting to come home every night and write it. By the time I came to write Hollywood a year later, things had changed massively - I'd just broken up with my boyfriend, I was going out a lot more, I was busier at work - but once I got into it, I got it out in a couple of months. I write really quickly, I think because I've spent so long writing for my day job, and once I get on a roll, I can't stop. I'm completely knackered today because I was up until one writing I Heart Paris!
Tell us about your career as an editor:
I work in licensed children's books just like Angela, so I write books for brands like Noddy, Fifi and the Flowertots, Shrek and Hello Kitty. It's different to general editorial work because we actually write a lot of the books as well as edit them but that's been great experience. And who can complain about watching kids' TV and movies all day and then writing stories? It's criminal really.
When did you start your blog Beauty Mecca an dhow many followers have you now amassed?
I started BeautyMecca in 2007 at the same time as I started writing I Heart New York. They were both part of my New Year's Resolution to write every day and I'm really proud of both of them. I get about 2000 readers a month but that's going up now the book is out - the pressure is too much!
What are your dreams for the next year?
Well, I'm actually moving to New York in two weeks! I'm moving to the US HarperCollins office to work with their kids team and help develop new brands and series. It's going to be very exciting but super scary too. I need to borrow some of Angela's bravery... and hopefully she'll let me borrow Alex too. I'm going to be living around the corner from him in Williamsburg, so I'm sure she won't mind. I Heart Hollywood is out in January so I really hope that does as well as I Heart New York and (whisper this part) we're at really, really early stages of talking to people about making I Heart New York into a movie or a TV series and I would LOVE that to happen.
And finally...what advice would you give to aspiring writers who feel challenged, downtrodden and lack inspiration for the kick up the bum they need?
Just open your laptop, pick up your notebook and start. Seriously, there's no big secret, no magical inspiration fairy that comes and plants ideas in your head when you're asleep. Think of something that excites you and start writing. For me it was escaping my boring life, getting back to New York oh, and my massive crush on All Boys in Bands, the rest of the story just evolved as I went along. And once you start, don't stop. Don't re-read and then convince yourself it's crap, there are plenty of people out there who will tell you that. You just need to believe in yourself and carry on writing.