15 Jul 2012

Book Review and Interview with the Author: Don't You Forget About Me by Alexandra Potter

After a bad break up, doesn't every girl want the same things?

* For her ex-boyfriend to stay single forever...
* Or maybe emigrate, to a remote, uninhabited island?
* Better still, that she'd never met him in the first place!

But what if one of those wishes came true?

Tess is heartbroken when Seb breaks up with her and can't help blaming herself. If only she'd done things differently. If only she could make right all her regrets... But she can't. It's over. She has to forget about him. Drunk and upset on New Year's Eve she wishes she'd never met him.

But when she wakes up to discover this dream has come true, she realises she has a chance. To do it all over again. And to get it right this time...

Goodreads Link here
Publication Date:  19th July 2012
Publisher:  Hodder & Stoughton
Amazon:  UK /  US    

10 out of 10 

Words cannot describe how much I enjoyed this book.  I have always been a big fan of comedic chick lit and this one hit the spot.   We see Tess at the beginning of the story really down in the dumps after being dumped by the person she thought was 'the one'.  New Years Eve, drunk and alone she is flicking through the channels on the TV when she hears about a ritual where you can cleanse your life by burning things.  Tess decides to rid herself of anything Seb.  The next morning everything about Seb has been erased except Tess' memory of being with him, even her flatmate cannot remember him.
There are some really fantastic characters in this story, including Tess.  You have her grandfather who is not a normal laid back grandfather.  He's lively, loud and loves to play poker for money.  There's her flatmate who is a beauty consultant who doesn't seem to take her own advice and is always trying to be false and posh when out in public.  There's also Tess' box at work, Sir Richard.  Despite the fact that Tess is awful at her job, Sir Richard takes her on and is very kind.   He has also been acting very strange and appears to have some martial problems.  

It was very interesting to follow Tess' journey through her 're-do' where she tries to do everything different to keep Seb in her life.  There is a very funny scene where they go to a restaurant called Mala which serves spicy food.  The only think is that Tess cannot handle spicy food but Seb loves it.  In the spirit of the re-do, she goes ahead and eats at Mala and the scene afterwards did make me giggle.

I would mention that if you haven't read the book One Day by David Nicholls and is one that you want to read, you might want to read that one first as there is a spoiler in this book for it.  

This was an absolutely fantastic comedic chicklit that I would strongly recommend.....

And now the interview.......

If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
Oooh, that's a good one! Can I say Jane Austen? I know it's kind of a magical answer to your question, but I would love to hear her thoughts on my novel, Me and Mr Darcy, and also to work on some new characters. I think we'd make a great double-act!

What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
I'm terrible in the mornings. I think not having to set my alarm clock is the biggest perk of my job. It takes a very large pot of espresso to get me going in the morning and I tend to spend the first hour or so, replying to emails, reading the papers online and catching up with any celebrity gossip. Sometimes I work from home, but I also like going to the library, or sitting in a coffee shop as I like being around people and writing can be a very lonely profession. I usually start work around 10.30, take a break for lunch, and then finish about 6. However, sometimes if I'm not going out I can work late into the night. In fact, some of my best writing has been done of an evening with a glass of wine…

What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
I'll be honest, I find it ALL hard. I'm not one of those writers who can breeze through a book in a few months, I'm a dreadful perfectionist and agonise over scenes and paragraphs for weeks! In fact, it takes me 18 months from thinking of an idea for a book, and finishing it, which is quite a long process. I think it's easier to focus on which part I find easiest and that would definitely be the last third of the book, when everything is coming together and there's a real sense of the story writing itself. I love that part and find it very exhilarating. I also find the rewriting process easy and enjoyable as once I've written a first draft it's all there, i just need to fine tune it.

When and why did you first start writing?
I've always written, ever since I was a small child. Recently my mum was clearing out her loft and I found all these novels I'd written - the first one when I was nine years old! It was called 'The Tenth Step' about a magic step that grants you all your wishes. How fortutious is that?! Considering I now write magical romantic comedies..

How did you come up with the idea for the book ‘Don't You Forget about Me’?
I had recently broken up with a boyfriend and - as women are often wont to do - I couldn't help blaming myself and wishing I'd done things differently, as maybe then it would have worked out. It was something that I talked about with friends, and i discovered that a lot of them felt the same way. So I thought, wouldn't it make a great story if I gave my heroine a second chance at her relationship If by some magical twist of fate she gets to date her boyfriend again. Imagine all the things you could do! I thought it would make for a great story, and also allow me to write some great comedy.

Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
When I'm working on a novel, I tend not to read much - which pretty much seems to be all the time! Once I finish one novel I pretty much move directly onto the next. However, when I do get the chance to read I love autobiographies - Keith Richards was my last one. My main reading tends to be articles and features in various publications. I love reading other people's opinions on the world.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
Have a go! I think a lot of people are put off trying to write, by the fear of failure, of not being a good enough writer. And yet writing is very much like anything else - the more you do it - the better you become. I definitely think I have improved as a writer, simply by writing every day for the past twelve years and honing my skills. You realise what works and what doesn't work. Also, a lot of it is determination. Writing is bloody hard work. I've been known to spend a week on a scene, only to delete it at the end of that week. That's pretty soul destroying. You have to be able to pick yourself up and keep going. Because what I've learned is that if you keep going, you will eventually, get to the end. Oh, and if you're anything like me, stay out of Zara! Honestly, the time I've spent in those changing rooms when I should have been at my desk writing… :)

Best wishes.

Debs :-) 
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