Saturday, 16 November 2013

Meet....Alexandra Potter



Today I say hello (and a huge thank you) to the one and only Alexandra Potter. Alexandra's new book 'The Love Detective' is due to hit shelves early in the new year. I received my copy yesterday and cannot wait to start it!  

1. Tell us about yourself in 10 words.

Loyal, tenacious, funny, skinny, catastrophist, traveller, homebody, animal-lover, creative

2. What would you say are the three key ingredients to writing a book? 

Hmm, that's a tricky one, as it's hard to choose just three. But if I had to, here goes:
1. You have to be able to be a good storyteller, or 'spin a good yarn' as my granny used to say. 
2. Tenacity. Writing is hard. Especially a novel which is usually at least 100,000 words. Some days you will feel inspired and that's great. But there will be lots and LOTS of days when you've only written a few words and they are all pretty rubbish, you can't think of anything funny or exciting, and you are only half way through your book. The desire to do anything BUT writing will be huge. Your laundry, walking the dog, sorting out your sock drawer, anything but sitting at your desk, trying to write. But that's where tenacity comes you. You can't give up. You have to keep going. And that's what separates those writers that start a book and never finish it, and those that start a book, finish it, and get it published. 
3. Organisation. A book takes me around 15 months to write, from the moment I get the idea, to handing in the first draft. Most people think you just sit down at the computer and start writing, that it all flows out. And maybe that's the way for some writers, but not for me, and a lot of my author friends. Instead it requires intense organisation - from plotting out the story, scene by scene - making sure you write so many words a day - and working a regular working week.   

3. What would be the one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

Believe in yourself. When I first had the idea to write a book I was the only person that could make it happen. Friends and family can be encouraging, but you are the person that has to sit down and write this story that you believe in. No-one else can. Also, trying to find an agent can be tough, and you can receive lots of rejection letters before you find an agent that will represent you. 

4. You have written some amazing books, have you got a favourite?

My first book, 'What's New, Pussycat?' will always have a special place in my heart because it was my very first book and I had such a blast writing that one. I had no idea what to expect and just sat down and wrote a story that was very autobiographical in many ways. Since then, I've loved all my books, but I think Calling Romeo really touched me (I actually cried writing some of those break-up scenes) and Be Careful What You Wish For, was the first book I wrote in the first person and with a magical element and that was a lot of fun. 

5. As you have written so many books do you struggle to think of new plots and characters when its time to write the next one?

I have lots of ideas for books and so I don't struggle with that, however it's turning that initial idea into a 380 page novel that can be difficult. I've written ten books and I've written a lot of different characters, so thinking of new, unique ones can be difficult. But then I'm always meeting new people and travelling to new places, to that helps a lot!

6. Have any authors especially inspired you?

I was inspired by Helen Fielding's, Bridget Jones. I read that book in 1996 and just thought it was so hysterically funny, and just so real! 
However, I think my main inspiration has been film - I adore romantic comedies - and When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and Four Weddings and a Funeral, were movies that really inspired me to sit down and write a romantic comedy. 

7. What are you reading now?

I find it hard to read fiction when I'm writing, so I've just finished Rod Stewart's autobiography. 

8. Your new book 'The Love Detective' is due out in January. Give us a little insight into it. 

I have been wanting to write a series for a long time, but I just couldn't think of a good enough idea, that would combine all the elements that I love in storytelling - romance, comedy, and that touch of magic. Then I had the idea for THE LOVE DETECTIVE, which combines all of these. Here's a little taster from the back of the book...

People always ask me what kind of books I write and I guess you’d call them love stories, but I also think of them as mysteries. After all, what makes two people fall in love? I’ve written three novels and I’m still looking for the answers. In a way, I’m a bit of a love detective. Because what’s a greater mystery than love?”
Romance novelist, Ruby Miller has lost her faith in love. In an effort to forget her cheating ex and clear her writer’s block, she joins her sister for a week’s beach holiday in Goa . . . and embarks on an extraordinary adventure. A runaway sister, stolen bags and a handsome American stranger sweep Ruby into a magical mystery tour across India. Admist fortresses and fortune tellers, and a whirlwind of weddings, her search to find her sister uncovers fascinating stories of love, lost and found. But as the mysteries deepen, secrets are revealed that turn Ruby's life upside down. And what started as a journey to find her sister, becomes a journey to find herself - and love - again.

9. Much of the book is set in India. Did you travel there for research purposes?

Yes. I spent a month there, travelling from Kerala in the south, to Rajasthan in the north. It was a completely magical experience and really inspired me so I was determined to set my new book there. I wanted my readers to just get a taste of what I experienced. 

10. If the book made the big screen who would you like to play the part of Ruby?

Gosh that's so hard! But I'm a huge fan of Blake Lively, Emily Blunt or Keira Knightly, so any of those three please!

11. Whats next for Alexandra?

The Love Detective goes to Paris! I'm currently plotting out the new book and will start writing any minute… it's the second in the series and it sees Ruby travelling to Paris, the most romantic city in the world, only nothing turns out quite how she plans.. it will involve lots of romance, a mysterious love affair, and of course, some wonderfully dashing french men :) 

Pre-Order The Love Detective now on Amazon....

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