Anni is one of Choc-lit’s new authors and I couldn’t wait to sit down with her to discuss her debut…
Welcome to my blog “A Story About A Girl” Anni…
What inspired you to write “Recipe for Mr Right?”
Okay, I should say at this point, I have a fantastic kitchen. I love my kitchen. It was designed and built by my sister and of course, the book is entirely fictional, but a bad experience with a new kitchen a few years ago might have been the inspiration. And once I did enter ten competitions a day, but only for a month not a year. I did have some success – I became the proud owner of a “Write your own Will” book, a pair of rubber gloves, Ideal Home tickets and two tickets to a Donny Osmond Concert!
What made you decide to submit with ChocLit?
Having been on their “tasting panel” for about five or six years I knew how Choc Lit worked. I liked the fact I could submit a manuscript directly to them for a review by their “tasters”. I was completely blown away when I got the call to say the panel had liked my submission and they wanted to offer me a contract. Having read and loved so many of their authors’ books over the years, I felt a bit overwhelmed to be joining such an amazing line-up, but everyone has been so supportive and professional that I have enjoyed every step of the journey towards publication. And have you seen my gorgeous cover? This is just such an exciting time for me.
If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself?
I think believe in yourself and enjoy the journey would be good advice. I’d also say, make sure you carry a notebook. You never know when an idea for a story will pop into your head, or you’ll see or overhear something really cracking that you just know you will want to play around with later.
How did you deal with rejections when you started out?
Rejections hurt. I know people say you shouldn’t take them personally, but it’s difficult not to. When you’ve spent so long working on a book, it does feel personal. I am lucky to be part of supportive writing groups who always encourage me to keep going.
What would you say to someone who wants to write?
Do it. There are plenty of courses and advice out there to help you with technique and give you encouragement, but they don’t have your imagination and can’t write your story for you. You need to start getting those words down on the page. And I’d say, join a writer’s group. Getting honest critiques from your peers is really useful and helps you develop as a writer far more than getting your mother to review it. “So many words dear, you have worked hard” was not the most helpful advice I’ve ever had.
If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?
I work in Registration and Bereavement Services, but love photography and am a huge fan of Great British Bake Off and Strictly Come Dancing. While you’re unlikely to find me dancing (no sense of rhythm), if I’m not working or writing, I can usually be found behind a camera, walking my dogs or eating cake.
Do you have any writing routines or rituals if so what are they?
I write whenever I can, so it can be any time of the day (or night). I try not to go back and read what I’ve written the day before. There’s plenty of time for editing once the first draft is finished, otherwise I get caught up with rewriting and editing and before I know where I am, a couple of hours have passed in which time I haven’t written anything new. I do write directly on to a computer, but really love writing in long-hand and tend to revert to that if I get stuck on a particular bit. That’s my justification for buying new stationery – actually there isn’t much I wouldn’t do for a new pink notebook or gel filled pen! Oh, and I find I am most productive when not too far away from a large mug of tea.
Which authors inspired you to write?
There are so many, I wouldn’t know where to start. I have always loved losing myself in a good book. But I guess crime (as long as it’s not too gruesome) and romance would be my favourite genres. Romance wise I was always first in the queue for a new Jilly Cooper or Jennifer Crusie. These days Jo Watson is always on my kindle, along with all my fellow Choc Lit writers’ books.
Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?
Now that’s a fabulous thought! Lily James and Cillian Murphy would have to be at the top of any short list for Ruby and Adam. I see Ruby as feisty and determined, but quirky and fun.
They’d closely followed by a young Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt. There would definitely have to be chemistry between my leading characters, so if either Lily or Cilian couldn’t make it, I think they’d be perfect.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
I have so many ideas swirling around in my head. They are all in various stages of completeness. Book two, is with Choc Lit and due out later in the year. All my books are set in my fictional town of Redford, they are standalone, but some characters do appear in more than one. Book two centres is another romantic comedy set around three women Jess, Maggie and Sarah who work together. Each woman suffers a personal catastrophe and can’t help but bring their personal problems to work. Are their working relationships strong enough to help each other through their own crises, while having to deal with an office merger that looks set to put them all out of work?
More About Anni
A sprinkle of luck and a dollop of fate …
Ruby Brooks is a little sceptical when her horoscope say she’s going to have a fabulous year – especially when she loses a boyfriend and a job in quick succession. Plus, a rogue kitchen fitter has run off and taken everything, including the kitchen sink!
So, Ruby takes luck and fate into her own hands with an unusual resolution – she’ll enter ten competitions a day, whether they’re for her dream Japanese holiday or a year’s supply of dog food (she doesn’t have a dog), and win her way to happiness.
But when a Valentine’s Day prize from a local restaurant results in chef Adam Finder (and his dog, Brutus) appearing in her life, is that luck or fate? And will Ruby ultimately find out that true happiness doesn’t need to be won?