Saturday 31 May 2014

Author Q&A ~ Pippa Croft.

Delighted to be hosting a Q&A with Pippa Croft today, author of the fabulous The Second Time I Saw You which I reviewed here last week.

The first time I fell in love, I was:

At Oxford! This may seem really lame (as Lauren might say) but I had a massive crush on a boy from my VI form but it wasn’t until I went away to university that we got together. He turned up one night very late at my room, having driven down from Manchester as a ‘surprise’. Well, I could hardly let him sleep out in the Quad, could I? And ... er... Reader, I eventually married him.

You might not know this about me, but I:

Am terrified of heights. You know, the whole sweaty palms/heart racing/compelled to jump off type of terror. I decided to go abseiling as research for my first novel and while I survived, I would never ever do it again. It didn’t help that the radio was playing ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’ as we drove up to the rock face, but I did use the terror in the book...

When I’m feeling down, I find that I’m always cheered up by:

A phone call from my daughter, finding my husband has booked a surprise day off work or checking the surf conditions on (I can’t really surf but I do try very hard.)

The person whose opinion matters most to me is:

my husband. After that my agent, Broo or my mum or both.

If an unpublished writer asked me for advice, I’d tell them:

Read a lot, hone your writing skills, find supportive but honest writing buddies and never give up going for your dream.

The one thing I wish I’d known 10 years ago is:

that my first book would be made into a movie and my tenth would be published by Penguin.

The best advice I ever got was:

join the Romantic Novelists Association – the professional association for romance writers. From them I learned how publishing really works, how to develop my writing skills and how to drink a bar dry.

You went to Oxford, does this story have any personal context?

Absolutely! My time there was one of the most exciting, fun and terrifying periods of my life: it was a massive culture shock at first and has influenced the way I think ever since. I learned to stand on my own two feet and have the confidence to be my own person, like every student does. Many of the friendships I made, have lasted to this day and some of the people I knew have helped me with the book. I’m also very proud that my daughter chose to go to the same college as me and in fact, we’re the first mum and daughter ever to do that.

What would you like for readers to take away from the book?

The thrill of riding a rollercoaster of emotion, the feeling that they’ve actually been on the whole sexy, maddening, exciting journey with Lauren and Alexander. Plus a desperate need to read the next book in the series.... I’m not asking much, am I?

What was that first moment that you realized you wanted to become a writer?

I can tell you exactly. I was watching a BBC period drama called North & South in November 2004. Although I’d always worked as a journalist and copywriter, I’d shied away from writing fiction. I was worried that I’d be rubbish at it and I didn’t have any inspiration. North & South suddenly – and out of blue – inspired me to have a go at writing some fan fiction, which was quite a new thing back then. I shared my story on an Internet forum and haven’t stopped writing since. In my role as a journalist, I also actually got to do a phone interview with the sexy star of North & South, Richard Armitage.

Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?

I keep office hours - ish. Normally I try to get up quite early and get a good chunk of writing done while I’m still in my pyjamas. I then carry on working until lunch. I’m not very brain-lively in the afternoon so I try to get out of the house to go to the gym, or for a swim or shopping. Then I do more work, or editing or marketing in the evening. I’m also on Twitter and Facebook on and off all day.

What authors, books, or ideas have influenced you most?

Jane Austen, definitely, I love the banter and sexual chemistry in Pride & Prejudice and the emotional subtlety of Persuasion. However, I also like thrillers and crime. Ian Rankin is my favourite crime author and read a lot of non-fiction. As research for The First Time We Met, I read The Junior Officers Reading Club by Patrick Hennessy which I keep picking up now and dipping into.

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