Bio: Lucy Lord is a full-time novelist whose books have been described as ‘Filthy-bright, brash and laugh-out-loud funny,’ ‘Bridget Jones times 10,’ ‘A fresh, funny and honest look at life in the hippest heart of London’ and ‘This Life for the 21st Century’. Before writing novels she was a journalist for more than ten years, writing for publications including the Times, Guardian, Independent, Evening Standard, Time Out and Arena. She lives in London with her musician husband.
1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember and have a box under my bed stuffed with embarrassing half-finished manuscripts dating back to my schooldays. The first novel I actually completed, Revelry, came about as the result of a chick lit competition in Cosmo – you had to write a synopsis and the first 3,000 words. Stupidly, I hadn’t read the small print (double spacing, Times New Roman etc etc), so was disqualified, but I loved what I’d written so much that I wanted to carry on with it. And having a synopsis, so I knew, vaguely, what was actually going to happen, was an enormous help!
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? If things go according to plan, I’ll wake up between 8 and 9 (usually nearer 9!), potter about for a bit, listening to the radio, making tea, having breakfast while checking emails, Facebook, Twitter etc. Then I’ll go for a run around the park or a swim, get back around midday and write for the rest of the day, grabbing lunch when I can, until my husband gets home from work, when it’s wine time. Sometimes I’ll carry on writing into the small hours, in which case I’m unlikely to get up between 8 and 9, and the following day’s structure will be completely different!
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? If I really can’t think what my characters are going to say or do next, I find the best thing to do is to start a completely new chapter. It’ll be much easier to go back to the one I’m stuck on in a few days’ time. Failing that, a run, bike ride (or a couple of glasses of wine!) can work wonders at untangling the mess in my brain.
4.Are you a plotter/planner when it comes to writing a story? Yes, to an extent – although my characters often surprise me by doing things I hadn’t expected! And sometimes editors want you to change entire plotlines, which can be a pain, but usually results in a much better book. I’ve actually planned my next novel out, chapter by chapter, but can’t find the notebook I wrote the notes in, which is extremely frustrating…
5.What was the publishing process like for you,& any advice to aspiring authors? Long! I sent off letters to agents, five at a time, preparing myself for rejection. And yes, the rejections came. It took about a year to get published, then another year to get a deal – but it was worth the wait when that deal was a three-book one from Harper Collins! My main advice to aspiring authors would be to enjoy what you’re writing (if you’re not enjoying it, chances are the reader won’t enjoy reading it), be prepared to make changes to your masterpiece (editors exist for a reason), and – above all – persevere.
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? I can’t think of one in particular, but it’s always wonderful when somebody says they loved your book – whether in person, via email, Facebook or Twitter! Authors are needy creatures who thrive on praise!
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any other books of yours, if you wish. A Girl Called summer is set mainly on the beautiful island of Ibiza, with bits of St Tropez, LA and Coachella thrown in. It revolves around three main female protagonists: Bella, who’s moved to the White Isle with her partner and baby, and is trying to renovate the beautiful old finca they live in; Tamara, once Hollywood’s most notorious wild child, now clean, sober and engaged to Tinseltown’s hottest leading man; and beautiful, free-spirited Summer, who grew up on the beach with happy, hippy parents. When Bella’s glamorous Hollywood friends visit Ibiza for the summer, the results are explosive!
My first two books, Revelry and Vanity, are actually prequels to A Girl Called Summer, and involve many of the same characters – but you don’t have to have read them to enjoy it. On the other hand, they’re both damn good reads, so why not?!
8.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? I read – a lot! I also love cooking, browsing in the market on Portobello Road, where I live, throwing parties and travelling. I’m probably my absolute happiest having lunch in a beach bar or lying in a hammock somewhere hot and sunny with a book in one hand and a cold drink in the other.
9.How much of your books are realistic / based on true experiences/ people? My first book, Revelry, was fairly autobiographical – but I think a lot of first novels are. The bit when Bella nearly shags the Manumission dwarf really did happen! Since then, I’d say a lot of what I write is based on things I see around me – your own experiences are bound to influence what you write about – but your imagination has to come into play, too. I certainly don’t count any Hollywood A Listers or rock stars among my close friends!
10.What is the hardest thing about writing? Procrastination! I find the actual writing easy – but only once I knuckle down to it and stop mucking about on the Internet/convincing myself that half an hour’s more sleep will make me more productive/rearranging my books in colour order. Silly really, because writing is what I enjoy doing more than anything else in the world!