Friday 28 August 2015

Q&A with Lynsey James, author of Just The Way You Are

Hi Lynsey! Can you tell us a little bit about your debut novel, for those of us who haven’t read it yet?

It’s about a woman named Ava Clements and to say she’s unlucky in love is an understatement. The only guy she’s ever really connected with is a mysterious secret admirer who sent her letters years ago, before they suddenly stopped. When he starts writing again, that’s when the fun begins!

I connected with Ava’s character instantly but really wished for her sake that she would have more self-confidence and not let her bad experiences ruin her future. If you could have given her one piece of advice, what would it have been?

Ooh good question! I’d probably tell her to believe in herself more because she’s a lot lovelier than she gives herself credit for. She really underestimates herself in the book and I’d tell her not to do that as much.

I loved the whole idea of Mr Writer and I have to admit, I did swoon at some of his love letters. What inspires you to write romantic fiction?

I loved writing those letters, so thank you very much! I write romantic fiction because love really interests me, in all shapes and sizes. I love exploring how people fall for each other, what can sometimes get in the way and how they ultimately overcome those obstacles to get to their happy ending, whatever form that might take. I’m a bit of a cynic in real life, so when I’m writing I get to be a hopeless romantic. It makes a nice change.

As Ava is unlucky in love and trying to win back her dating column job, we see a lot of bad dating experiences in this book. Did you research a lot to find some disastrous dates or are they based in any way on your own experiences? Or did you just make them up?

The one with Greg the male model comes from my own experiences. I really did have someone say to me ‘I thought you would’ve ordered a salad’! Although he wasn’t a male model. The other ones, I made up myself by imagining the worst possible scenarios Ava could get herself into.

Which character did you find the most fun to write about?

The most fun character I’d say was Ava because I loved her getting into scrapes as she tried to unmask her secret admirer. My favourite character overall is Ivy St Clair. She’ll always have a special place in my heart.

What was your favourite part to write?

I really liked the ending, where everything throughout the book comes together and Ava finally finds the courage she’s lacked in the rest of the story. It was really nice to give her a moment to shine.

Do you remember the exact moment you found out you were being published by Carina? Can you tell us about it?

I do! It was just before Christmas and I was sitting down to watch The Apprentice when I had this sudden urge to check my emails. When I saw the email from my editor Victoria offering me a two-book deal, I thought it was a wind-up at first! When I discovered it wasn’t, I went screaming through my house.

What have you found the most surreal/exciting thing about being a published author?

Probably people telling me how much they’re enjoying it. It’s been so surreal to get tweets and messages from people saying they love Ava’s story and can’t wait to see who Mr Writer finally is.

Can you tell us anything about what to expect from book two? I’m already excited to read it.

Thank you! It’s called The Broken Hearts Book Club and will be out on 12th October. It’s set in a gorgeous Yorkshire seaside village called Luna Bay and has hunky barmen, secrets and more!

Writing letters of any kind is something that is not explored that much in modern fiction. If you could become penpals with one current author, who would you pick and why?

I knew the answer to this one as soon as I saw the question: Miranda Dickinson. She’s inspired me so much since I started writing and her books are just gorgeous.


Lynsey James was born in Fife in 1991 and has been telling people how to spell her name ever since. She's an incurable bookworm who loves nothing more than getting lost in a good story with memorable characters. She started writing when she was really young and credits her lovely Grandad- and possibly a bump on the head from a Mr Frosty machine- with her love of telling stories. She used to write her own episodes of Friends and act them out in front of her family (in fact she's sure she put Ross and Rachel together first!)

A careers adviser at school once told Lynsey writing wasn’t a “good option” and for a few years, she believed her. She tried a little bit of everything, including make-up artistry, teaching and doing admin for a chocolate fountain company. The free chocolate was brilliant. When Lynsey left my job a couple of years ago, she started writing full-time while she looked for another one. As soon as she started working on her story, Lynsey fell in love and decided to finally pursue her dream. She haven’t looked back since.

When Lynsey's not writing, eating cake or drinking tea, she's daydreaming about the day Dylan O’Brien FINALLY realises they're meant to be together. It’ll happen one day…

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*Just The Way You Are can be purchased here, currently on sale for 99p!*


  1. Anonymous28/8/15 12:37

    Thank you for taking part Sophie! Great Q&A (: xx


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