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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Next Big Thing

Thank you for visiting my blog today - and a big shout out to Wendy Loveday for tagging me to take part in the Next Big Thing – a chance for authors to tell you all about their works in progress. You can read about Wendy’s Fair Trade rom-com at Meanwhile, here’s a little bit about my new book.

What is the working title of your book?

The Divorce Domino

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I became fascinated by the fact that when one person in a friendship group gets divorced, everyone else starts questioning their own relationships – in a ‘What’s so bad about your marriage that couldn’t be said about mine?’ sort of way. And I also wanted to explore how the usual ebb and flow of friendship and every day conversation become suspended. It's hard for the one in the stable marriage to moan about a son's failed trumpet exam or a husband who won't pick up his socks when the devastated divorcee is staring into the abyss and wondering whether she'll have to sell the house.

What genre does your book fall under?

When I’m talking to agents I call it ‘women’s commercial fiction’ but when I’m thinking about it in my own head, I put it in the category of real life women with real life issues who are warm, funny and imperfect – the sort of people you might have as friends, who though you really love them, sometimes annoy the pants off you.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’d need a younger Julie Walters for Octavia, my quirky, down-to-earth heroine who encourages her best friend, Roberta, to dump her bully-boy husband. (Sorry Julie…I wouldn’t cut it in the age stakes either). Plus an older Lady Mary from Downton (or a younger Maggie Smith?) for Roberta, the posh friend whose divorce triggers Octavia’s search for the one that got away. Then Gerard Butler for Xavi, my Corsican hero and Octavia’s long lost love. 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Will one woman’s divorce blow apart her best friend’s life?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I met a wonderful agent at the York Festival of Writing – bright, incisive and not terrifying – the sort you feel you could contact without having to walk round the kitchen saying, ‘I am a grown up’ fifty-four times before you pick up the phone.  She’s asked for the full manuscript and I am hoping that she will take me on without the need for me to beg and send crates of wine. Though if it will work, she just has to say the word and the Chateauneuf is hers. But I wouldn’t discount self-publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About six months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

A Perfect Life by Raffaella Barker, One Day by David Nicholls

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I owe an awful lot to the University of California (UCLA) and the brilliant online Writers’ Programme – I took Introduction to Fiction about four years ago with the wonderful Jessica Barksdale Inclan and have taken many other courses since. Jessica gave me the confidence to sit down and believe I could write. Another tutor, Lynn Hightower, gave me the best piece of advice - 'This is fiction - we can skip the boring bits.' The author Adrienne Dines also picked me out at Winchester Writers’ Conference and encouraged me greatly.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The book is partly set in Corsica so there’s a bit of armchair travel thrown in. And although it’s an unflinching look at middle-aged marriage and what happens to friendships post-divorce, the fabulous agent said she laughed out loud – so there’s a chance you’ll find it funny, even if I’m not putting you under pressure by sitting opposite you. (This is a bit of a cheat as I am adding this on the suggestion of the gorgeous Wendy Loveday who is clearly much better at marketing than me...The Divorce Domino won the Best Opening Pages competition at the York Festival of Writing 2011...the opening line was rather popular: 'I was wearing the wrong bra for sitting in a police cell.')

And the authors I am tagging are….
Jessica Barksdale Inclan – UCLA writing tutor and the author of twelve traditionally published novels, including Her Daughter's Eyes and When You Believe.

Adrienne Dines – public speaker, writing teacher and author -

Allie Spencer - romantic comedy author extraordinaire -


  1. I can't wait to read your new book. I'm a huge fan and would love to handle the Hollywood casting.

  2. Thanks Carol. As Kathryn Stockett (The Help) said when I saw her speak at Guildford Library...'I had 67 rejections over five years but I'm feeling a little better now because Spielberg has just bought the film rights!'

  3. I have always wanted to read this and I cannot believe you still haven't sent me the ms! Great post and it only makes me want to read it more. It's a pity you didn't manage to sneak in the detail that it WON the Best Opening Line Competition at FoW11...Dare you give us that opening line now? xx

  4. Thanks Wendy...I never like to sound too boastful...but I've added it in, dutifully, at your suggestion. I'm in the middle of a final-final-final will be yours shortly. xx

  5. Kerry - So looking forward to seeing this on the shelves - including mine. :-)

  6. If it gets there, some of the credit will be yours for your very generous guidance early on!