Anna-Lou Weatherley was born in Hampshire and grew up in London where she still lives with her two children. An award-winning journalist and women’s lifestyle writer for over fifteen years, she is the editor and acting editor of J-17 and Smash Hits respectively and has written for all the major glossies including Grazia, More, Company and Marie Claire among others. She is the author of two ten titles, Ibiza Summer and The Wrong Boy (Piccadilly Press). Her first adult novel, Chelsea Wives, was published in 2012, with Wicked Wives being published in 2013. She is currently writing her third novel. Check out anna-lou’s website and sign up for her latest releases, gossip and info athttp://annalouweatherley.com/email/ Follow anna-lou on twitter @annaloulondon or check out facebook/chelseawives
1.What got you into writing? I’ve always written, even from a very young age I was always creating stories, writing poetry, plays, keeping a diary….it’s instinctive and I’m never happiest than when I’m doing it. When I was eleven years old I wrote a play called ‘Greensleeves’ which my then English teacher turned into a production at school. It was crap looking back but I was so chuffed! Writing is a compulsion for me I suppose. I can’t do anything else…well, nothing much else brings me as much pleasure.
2.What is a usual writing day like for you? No such things as a usual writing day – I have two kids! When I’m on a deadline or writing a novel I drop the kids off at school, come home, ignore the mess, put the kettle on and open my laptop then lose myself in it for a few hours until pick up time…sometimes I forget to eat if I’m on a roll. Then, once they’re in bed in the evening, I get back on my laptop, swap the coffee for red wine and get cracking again. I write best in chaos actually, which is a good job! In the summer I like to write in the garden, top up my tan while I’m at it. I have been known to write from a sun lounger. How decadent!
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? I write through it, even if I end up deleting what I’ve written. I don’t believe in writer’s block. I’m too focused, too dedicated and too scared of it to entertain it as a real possibility. I just keep going and won’t allow my mind to play tricks on me because that’s what writer’s block is. If I’m struggling, I go back and re-read what I’ve already done, which seems to give me inspiration, or call a friend for a chat, have a little break, a latte, sadly a cigarette or two (I am trying to give up, OK) and then get back to it and tell myself not to be silly.
4.Are you a plotter/planner when it comes to writing a story? To a degree I think all writers are, some more than others. I have a plotline for sure and pretty much know where I want to start and end up. Whatever happens in between can sometimes deviate from what I initially thought, characters take on their own identity, but I always have a loose thread. I’m not a post-it note writer though, it’s all pretty much in my head.
5.What was the publishing process like for you,& any advice to aspiring authors? A steep learning experience. Here’s the thing; if you want to get rich quick, or like to see immediate results then publishing is not the business for you. It’s a long, sometimes slow, occasionally painful process but ultimately the most rewarding. Starting out as a journalist I was used to working to tight deadlines and more immediate results and therefore gratification, but publishing moves at a slower, more methodical pace. For me, in short, it went something like this: began writing script for Chelsea Wives, shelved it. Re-discovered it, eventually sent it to an agent, was stunned to be signed up (thought the initial call was a prank), finished script, waited for publishing deal with fingers crossed…waited some more…and some more…rejection…more rejection…and some more rejection then, OMG! Publishing deal! I was incredibly lucky and extremely honoured and eternally grateful to be picked up by Harper Collins. Then it was edit, a little more editing, then OMG!!! My book is on the shelves! The first moment I saw my book in WHSmith made me want to scream, laugh and cry simultaneously. It was one of the best moments of my life so far.
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? See above. That first moment of seeing your book on the shelf is like no other feeling I’ve experienced. It’s close to giving birth. The sense of achievement was enormous, and also humbling. I will never ever forget it. Being published in Italy was a big deal for me too. When I stepped off the plane and saw my book cover on a billboard at the airport I nearly had a heart attack. It was a real Carrie from SATC moment – amazing! The first Harper Collins summer party at Kensington Palace was pretty memorable too!
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? Wicked Wives is a tale of sin, excess, adultery, crime, passion, revenge, glamour and intrigue. It’s based around three women’s love for one rather delicious but dangerous man, Tom Black, a man who leaves a trail of destruction and broken hearts in his wake. When he goes missing, the finger of suspicion points to the three women, and their husbands…it’s full of intrigue, and is quite gritty as well as glamorous. Tom Black has become a bit of a celebrity in his own right and even has his own fan page! 8.Is anything in your books based on real life experiences, or purely all from imagination? Hmm, difficult. It’s an odd mix of both. I wouldn’t say real-life experience exactly, though some of the character’s emotions and the occasional situation I can relate to my own life, but I wouldn’t say there has been anything completely direct. Most of it is imagination – I have a very active one! That said, a few little true life tales do creep in, not always my own, though I couldn’t possibly tell you which ones!
9.What do you like to do besides writing? I’m a trained pole dance instructor so I like to hang upside down on a pole! I took it up many year ago and then went on to teach it. It’s ridiculously addictive, fun, good for self-confidence and even better for your abs. I also enjoy making dance music with my very talented musician boyfriend. He’s just too clever at it for his own good. I have been known to sing but I’m not giving up the day job just yet, put it like that.
10.If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be & why? There’s a few people: Lady Ga Ga, that would be nuts, but I like her mad costumes…Rosie Huntigton-Whitely because she has the biggest collection of Isabel Marant clothes I’ve ever seen and always looks fabulous at airports and Debbie Harry, simply because she is my all-time favourite Icon and is ridiculously cool.