20 Jun 2012

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Interview with Chrissie Manby - Author of What I Did on my Holidays


If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?

Hmmm. This is a tricky one. There are certainly writers whose magic touch I would love to have all over my manuscript: people like my heroine Anne Tyler or Ann Patchett. But I have collaborated with other writers in the past and have to tell you I'm not good at it. I'm far happier working alone. That way I set the pace and get my own way with the story.

 What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?

I have no typical working day. I work whenever I can find the space and time since I always seem to be on the move or have a house full of waifs and strays sleeping in my office. I have even been known to work in an aisle in the supermarket (thank god for Blackberry) and I am writing this in the back of a disgusting cigarette-scented mini-cab on my way to the station.

 What is the hardest part of the writing for you?

Always the middle. It's easy to come up with a beginning and an ending. Stringing the journey between them out for 100,000 words is something else.

When and why did you first start writing?

I published my first short story as a fourteen year old. My English teacher encouraged me to send some of my work to Just Seventeen and they bought it. I didn't actually think that hard about it. I'd written the stories for my English GCSE coursework. Back then I wanted to be a fashion designer.

How did you come up with the idea for the book ‘What I did on my holidays’?

The central idea of WIDOMH (the heroine pretends to be on holiday in Majorca while hiding in her flat) is an extension of the old ruse of pretending to be the office when you're actually in the changing room at TopShop. With mobiles and laptops you can work from anywhere without anyone having to know where you really are. So why not pretend to be somewhere exotic?

Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?

I read all the time. Right now, I am reading Adam Nevill's latest, Last Days, about an evil cult that commits Manson-style atrocities. He is a brilliant story-teller but you definitely have to read him in daylight. While I was reading his 'Apartment 16', I kept having to put the book down, leave the house and calm down in a cafe full of people.

 Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?

Just keep putting the words down until you have a whole novel. Aspiring writers often seem to get bogged down with editing and re-editing their own opening chapters. Finishing the whole book makes you a much more interesting prospect for agents, editors etc.

Goodreads page here
Publisher:  Hodder and Stoughton
Release Date:  21st June 2012
Purchase it at:  Amazon UKAmazon USA

Author Website:  http://www.chrismanby.co.uk/

Sophie Sturgeon can't wait for her annual summer holiday. Not only will it be a week away from work, it will be a chance to reconnect with her boyfriend Callum.

So this upcoming trip to Majorca is a big deal. Sophie's spent a lot of time getting ready. She's bought a new wardrobe. She's been waxed to within an inch of her life. She's determined she and Callum will have the best time ever.

Then Callum dumps her, the night before they're due to leave. In a show of bravery and independence, Sophie says she'll go to Majorca alone - but in fact, she hides in her London flat. But when her friends, family, and even Callum seem so surprised and delighted at her single girl courage, Sophie decides to go all out and recreate the ultimate 'fake break' . . . with hilarious results.


Best wishes

Debs :-)
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