Today it gives me great pleasure to have Annie Lyons join us on the blog, to talk about her new book Not Quite Perfect, which is published by Carina UK So please give her a warm welcome.
Can you tell us a bit more about Not Quite Perfect?
It’s about two sisters called Emma and Rachel. Emma is an editor at a book publisher, about to get married and on the cusp of a promising career. Rachel is her older, married sister; a stay-at-home Mum with three children. They’re at different stages of their lives but starting to ask that dangerous question, ‘Is there more to life than this?’ It isn’t long before temptation and some bad decisions cause their worlds to be turned upside down and they’re in danger of losing everything. There’s a supporting cast including their overbearing mother, genial father, bossy godmother and a supremely over-confident Swiss lady called Christa.
Where did you get your inspiration for your book?
I worked in publishing for 11 years so that gave me the inspiration for Emma and then I was made redundant and became a stay-at-home Mum which gave me an inside track on Rachel’s character. I am told that I can be overbearing, genial and bossy but never over-confident.
Was there any plotlines or characters that developed in a way that you did not expect?
Yes, one very crucial part but it’s a bit of a plot spoiler so I’m afraid you’ll have to read it to find out. (That’s the bossy me coming out there. Apologies)
Which character was your favourite to write for?
Christa. She is everything I’m not and therefore a great deal of fun to write.
What can you tell us about your next book?
Dear Lizzie has just been published as an eBook and it’s another story about two sisters but they are nothing like Emma and Rachel.
Bea and Lizzie are devoted but very different. Bea is the confident, accomplished one with a brilliant career, loving husband and young son. Lizzie is lonely and alone, estranged from the rest of her family but still in touch with her big sister, who acts as her guide and confidante through life. When Bea dies, Lizzie is devastated but her sister leaves her a parcel containing twelve letters to be opened, one a month, for the next year. They contain Bea’s final wishes for her sister; wishes which she hopes will make Lizzie happy but which will ultimately change her life forever.
I noticed in your biography on goodreads that you have worked in Retail, Publishing and now you have turned to writing. How has this helped you understand how the literary business works?
It is really useful although the book industry is in a state of continuous change. I try to read The Bookseller regularly as I think it’s vital for authors to understand what’s going on. To my mind authors need to see themselves as businesses these days – social media presence and engaging with your readers is key. It’s also a lot of fun!
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
- Understand the business of books (see above)
- Make sure you have one trusted first reader who tells you the truth, listen to what they tell you and learn from it.
- If you know you can write, don’t give up.
- If you’re not writing, read – as much and as widely as possible
Where do you like to write?
At my desk in the corner of the kitchen, washing-machine on, huge mug of coffee by my side.
What can you not live without when writing?
What do you like to do to relax?
Hang out with my husband and children
What was the last book you read?
100 Proposals by Holly Martin – absolutely loved Suzie and completely in love with Harry!
You are stranded on a desert island, what five things would you like to have with you and why?
My husband, my 2 children, a cricket set and some ice-cream. That’s my summer holiday right there.
Sometimes having it all isn’t enough…
Emma has everything she’s ever wanted. Her boyfriend’s just proposed and her career has finally taken off. And so what if her latest client just happens to be downright gorgeous? She’s getting married. Isn’t she?
Rachel’s married with 2.4 children (well, actually, 3) and life is all about trying to leave the house in a non-stained top. Once it was about skinny cappuccinos, cocktails and dynamic ad agency meetings. She wants her old life back, but can it ever be the same?
A sparkling, funny tale of two sisters and how often you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
ABOUT ANNIE LYON’S
After leaving university, Annie Lyons decided that she ‘rather liked books’ and got a job as a bookseller on Charing Cross Road, London. Two years later she left the retail world and continued rather liking books during an eleven-year career in publishing. Following redundancy in 2009 she realised that she would rather like to write books and having undertaken a creative writing course, lots of reading and a bit of practice she produced Not Quite Perfect. She now realises that she loves writing as much as coffee, not as much as her children and a bit more than gardening. She has since written another novel and is about to start work on her third. She lives in a house in south-east London with her husband and two children. The garden is somewhat overgrown. One day she hopes to own a chocolate-brown Labrador named John and have tea with Mary Berry.