Read on to find out more about Erin, how her writing career got started, how she feels about reviews, and just who she'd invite to her fantasy dinner party... I'll let the lady herself take it from here...
I live a happy life full of wonderful friends, in love with a man who buys me books instead of flowers. To mix things up a little, I write books where friends and lovers hit obstacles and (usually) overcome them. When I’m not doing that I read absolutely everything I can get my hands on, spend an inordinate amount of time in pyjamas and run a fun-but-informative blog on British history.
Was it always your intention to find an agent/publisher, or did you ever think about, or indeed go down, the self-publishing route?
I previously self-published an anthology of short stories, so I definitely wasn’t afraid of going down that route when I finished writing The Best Thing I Never Had – but I did yearn for the traditionally published platform! Knowing that I was unlikely to get near a large enough publisher without an agent (another thing that makes HarperImpulse so great!) I sent a couple of querying emails to a handful of literary agents. Each of the agents wanted to read the full work, but each of them came back with the same feedback: that they loved the book, but they “couldn’t see a market for it”. One flat-out suggested I needed to re-write it to make it an erotica! A bit disillusioned, I simply self-published until, not long after, I was picked up by lovely HarperImpulse. And yes, it was hard work not to send print-screens of my Amazon Top 100 Bestselling status to the agents that said I wouldn’t sell…
Very boring, but the first thing I would do is buy a house!! My fiancé and I have lived in six rented flats since we moved in together in 2009. We keep being kicked out because the landlords sell the flats, or having to break our tenancies and leave because the landlords won’t do integral repairs like, oh, stopping the toilet from back-surging sewage into the flat! And the soaring cost of private rent means that we have never even had the slightest hope of being able to save for a deposit on a place of our own. We’ve started to talk about ‘owning our own property’ in the same misty-eyed, “it’ll never happen” tones as we’d use saying “when we win the lottery”, so it would definitely have to be the first thing I did. Sigh!
Can you tell us anything about any future projects you’re working on?
I’m currently working on my second romcom for HarperImpulse, with a working title of Indefinite Leave to Remain. It’s the split-POV story of Nadia, a Russian national who has lived in the UK for most of her life but has now found out she may be deported, and Alex, an administrator who works in immigration, is desperately in love with his housemate’s girlfriend, has seriously lost his oomph in life and comes across Nadia’s application form for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the United Kingdom. Now, a romcom based around immigration law might sound a little dry, but trust me, Alex and Nadia’s story is anything but stuffy!
Paperback or ebooks – do you have a preference?
I love paperbacks. I resisted getting a Kindle for the longest time, but by that point I was getting a lot of e-ARCs to read, and trying to do so on a Kindle app on my mobile phone was ruining my eyesight! Now my Kindle is almost surgically attached to my hand, but if I truly enjoy an eBook, I will always get a paperback, and I will always automatically get paperbacks of favourite authors/series. This has allowed me to go down from four to three bookcases in my flat, much to my other half’s relief. My favourite thing about my Kindle is that I can hold it in one hand whilst I cook with the other – multi-tasking to the extreme!
Do you get nervous reading reviews of your books?
I’m really not too bad and I don’t get emotional over bad reviews (unless they are patently rude or unfair!). I think it’s because I’ve reviewed so many books, over so many genres, that I know first-hand that no book can be for everyone, and that even the mood of the reviewer at the time of reading the book can impact on their feelings for it, as well as what they’d read directly before, etc etc. So I am pretty good at not taking bad reviews personally – I’m just thankful they’ve taken the time out of their lives to interact with my work, on any level!
People are always saying that they can see themselves – or other people that they know I know – in my characters. I’m sure I – consciously or subconsciously – sneak bits and pieces from all the people in my life, but more often than not the characters are just facets of me (or my aspirations!). I spent quite a long time playing around and shaping characters in my head before I start writing, so even if they had a nub of true life inspiration initially, they’ve moved far away from that by the time the story begins.
You’re having a dinner party, which 4 people – living or dead – would be your ideal guests?
Number one is Anne Boleyn. It’s definitely no secret that I am massively obsessed with her! I’d love to see first-hand what her legendary appeal was. I’m sure she would be queening it (no pun intended) over the entire dinner table. Second would be Karl Pilkington, who I find completely hysterical. Whilst I’m not quite as grumpy as he is, I definitely agree with most of his brilliant life observations: “Who decided it's good to have a six pack? I think it's weird to see your insides through your skin.”
Thank you so much, Erin, for a fabulous interview! And I have to admit, Derren Brown would probably be one of my ideal dinner party guests, too. If only so I could grill him all night as to how his mind works...
It's great to see The Best Thing I Never Had doing so well in the Kindle charts, and I hope you have the same deserved success with your next release. Looking forward to it!
Have you read The Best Thing I Never Had? Why not? It's only 99p - which is an absolute bargain! You can download your copy from Amazon HERE. But you can also find out where else it's available by checking out the HarperImpulse books page over on their website.