Lotte's debut novel FAKING IT is out now (review coming soon!)
When I was writing FAKING IT I was lucky enough to be living at home with my parents and my little sister plus a menagerie of animals in a beautiful converted Bakery house in the countryside. It was absolutely idyllic – I didn't realise at the time how lucky I had it! I'm afraid to say I slacked off a lot, did a heck of a lot of procrastinating, honestly, folding my pants and colour co-ordinating my socks would have thrilled me more, which is weird when you think how much you long to be a writer. I had images of me swanning around in half moon glasses being all posh and literary like but in all seriousness, it was kinda like this: rise at 9am, live in pajamas, hair always a mess, live on coffee, smoked like a chimney, felt like a social recluse, make cups of tea, eat biscuits, read the news, 'my working day begins at 10!' I would proclaim to myself so I didn't feel so guilty, it then shuffled to 11am which means I spent a tonne of guilt free time on Facebook faffing around, waffling on Gmail chat to my friends, reading the news, another coffee, whups its lunch time, how did that happen? Then I'd get a burst of creativity at an inappropriate moment and write sometimes for up to thirteen hours in one fell swoop, eyes like saucers high on black coffee muttering to myself about characters, scenes, ideas written down on the back of my hand if I was watching Eastenders or on beermats on the rare occassions I went out, in the case of my thirteen to fifteen hour writing benders, I got RSI and three numb fingers, had to have a fortnight off wearing a ridiculously unattractive hand strap! I didn't have set times, although I tried. I kind of just went with the flow. But I only had three months to deliver 100 thousand words. Good words too!!
2. When you are writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
When I wrote FAKING IT I thought about Paris Hilton, models in Vogue, myself (hahah I MIGHT be famous you never know!) hot men (what's new) and in general the celebrity culture. Of course I draw upon experiences – I'm blessed with the most fantastic friends who inspire me so much, they make me laugh and the amount of quotes I have from them for future books is just amazing. Also, I was cursed with a few bad boy relationships that have turned out to be a blessing as I can then use those painful experiences into the boyfriends I create for my characters.
3. What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
'The Other Side of the Story' by Marianne Keyes. I adore Marianne Keyes, but this particular book I was reading over the Easter break when I was about to sign with my agent – it was so exciting as I was reading all about the characters signing up with agents and getting massive book deals. Although it did kinda disappoint me when I wasn't offered a six figure sum!
4. What is your writing process? Do you plan first of dive in? How many drafts do you do?
The first time I wrote a book was FAKING IT and there was no plan, no synopsis, no idea what I was doing and I gained a book deal a month after landing my amazing agent Ger, on only a handful of pages. I kind of made it up as I went along! There's the thing, I read books that told me to type in a certain font and have this margin and that approach and I just banged on in there with my own idea of how to do it hoping for the best. I'm a bit of a free spirit and I guess I relied on my personality and my energy to come through in my writing and well, it worked!
5. What was journey to being a published author?
So fast! But strangely, looooooong time. I first set about writing a novel back in 2005 or something when I approached Canongate publishing with an idea – they loved my writing style but said I needed to craft it a bit. I half heartedly tried over the next few years with an idea about rubbish boyfriends and going a bit bananas over them, as many girls do, but the story was over the course of 3 years in which two very different boyfriends were involved so the story never really worked for my agent the first time I sent it to her in 2009. Best bit of advice was from fellow author Paul Donnelley who told me I didn't have to use everything I have – I could just begin again. So I did, randomly, and there it was, something totally new, literally a page got me my agent – she's believed in me from the start and is by far my biggest fan! Within the month I had Little, Brown saying wonderful things about me, but it was Penguin who bought my hardly started manuscript and Kate Burke, was just so amazing at taking care of me. Unfortunately she left though, she is so good at her job she was poached twice by rival publishers! So a month after landing Ger I was offered Penguin when I was living in Ibiza, and flew home to finish the 100k manuscript in just over 12 weeks.
6. What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That we're rich just like JK Rowling! Pffffffttttt!!!!
7. What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Don't give up. Ever! It can simply be a mismatch of personalities with the agent you approach. Synergy between yourself and your agent is paramount in my opinion. Sod reading the books, if you're a writer you'll have it in your soul, born with it, you're a storyteller, so tell the story, help them visualise and be polite, charming and if it doesn't work, think of something else – don't be too precious with your ideas. Compromise when necessary. Also don't take it too hard if an agent says no – there's tonnes of reasons, they could have someone too similar to you already on the books and then you'd just be competing with someone like you at the same publisher, gosh there's loads of reasons that have nothing at all to do with you, so keep going!
8. What’s are you working on at the moment?
I'm currently working on my second novel, and yes it's true, that DIFFICULT second novel!