2 Jul 2014

Blog Tour / The Story of You by Katy Regan

Your past will always be part of you but does it have to define your future?
Or can you rewrite the story of you?

Growing up in an idyllic, northern village, Robyn's life was pretty damn near perfect. Then, she turned sixteen and everything exploded: her beloved mother died, and she fell in love for the first time with the hottest boy in school - Joe Sawyer. Then that summer something happened that changed everything. She changed. She had to. 

Seventeen years later, it’s happening all over again: a funeral, an unexpected pregnancy, and Joe back in her life. But although this should be a second chance - a chance to get things right this time, to be happy - Robyn knows, deep down, that she’s going to have confront the terrible events that have shaped her life until now, before she can begin to love and live fully. Is she brave enough?

Exploring themes of guilt, rape, teenage pregnancy, death and dysfunctional families, Katy Regan’s smart, heartbreakingly poignant yet wonderfully funny novel is told with originality, wit and insight that has been so evident in her previous novels.

About the author:

Katy Regan enjoyed a successful career in magazine journalism before leaving to focus on writing novels full time in 2007.

When she's not writing fiction, she continues to freelance as a journalist; writing features for the likes of Stella Magazine, Psychologies and Marie Claire. She is also blogging about her experience of writing her fifth novel on her website: www.katyregan.com. She lives in Hertfordshire with her son Fergus. The Story of You is her fourth novel.

1.  If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
There are so many authors I’d love to work with. That would be my dream day -  working with a writer I admire! There are so many, too for different reasons. However, I guess if I had to pick one, it would have to be someone like David Nicholls or Graeme Simsion (author of The Rosie Project) since they are writing the kind of books that are closest to my style or at least what I aspire to and yet they are very, very successful at it - much more successful than me! Hopefully they’d be able to tell me their secrets (!) And reveal some of their thought processes and you know, then we could split the royalties!  

2.  What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
Typically, I start work after I’ve dropped off my son at school - so by the time I’ve faffed and made a coffee etc, it’s probably 9.45am. I then usually have to pick up my son around 4.30pm on average, as he has clubs after school. I’d love to say that I spent that entire time writing my novel but that would be a lie! There’s so much other stuff involved in the job: publicity of the previous book (The Story of You is out now on ebook, for example, but I’m writing my new one at the same time as doing this blog tour for example) also, writing blogs and features and keeping up with social media as part of that publicity.
There’s often a lot of emails to get through from your editor, marketing team, publicist, agent with various things you have to do, or just conversations that need to be had, especially in the run up to publication. So, the time I actually spend JUST writing my book is probably about three- hours a day. In order to do that with no distractions, I often go to work in the local library where there’s no internet OR I work at my desk, which is in my bedroom at home and switch off my phone, forcing myself to write for 45 minute intervals uninterrupted before I am allowed to look on Facebook or at my emails! I often make up time in the evening. I like to work in the evening, the house is quiet and my brain is empty of the chatter of the day. I can get much more done.

3.  What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
All of it! I find writing incredibly difficult, but if I had to say one specific part, PLOT definitely. Coming up with what actually happens. I don’t find characterization too difficult and I enjoy writing dialogue but coming up with the actual story is so much harder than it looks!

4.  When and why did you first start writing?
Like most writers, I’ve always written stories. As a child, I used to make my own books with strings and paper! Originally, however, I went into journalism. I was features writer at Marie Claire magazine and still write for various magazines and newspapers. I started dabbling in fiction when I was about twenty-eight (so more than ten years ago!) I wrote a column for Marie Claire that ran from 2004-2006. I think that’s when I really found my ‘voice’ and that column was turned into my first novel One Thing Led to Another which came out in 2007. In terms of why I write: for me, it’s to make sense of the world I live in and to explore human nature and relationships. People and relationships are absolutely fascinating!  I love how writing stories helps me to express my view of the world, and that in turn, helps me to understand it and connect with people with makes me feel happy.

5.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?
Like most of my books, it wasn’t really an idea that came to me whole it was made of layers that gradually developed. I knew I wanted there to be letters written to, or by, a younger self that showed a character growing up. I’d read a feature in The Guardian where writers wrote ‘Letters to my 16 yr old self’ and I loved that idea. For ages, I only had the letters idea, I didn’t know why the letters were being written and by who - that took a lot longer to come up with, but that essentially became the actual story.

6.  Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I am always reading something but wish I had more time to read - it tends to be in the twenty minutes before I go to sleep or on journeys. At the moment, I am reading WHERE LOVE LIES by Julie Cohen, author of DEAR THING (it’s not out yet. I am lucky enough to get sent proof copies). The writing is really beautiful and sensual - it’s the perfect thing to wind you down and transport you to another world before bed.  I am also part of a book group and about to start Tender is The Night which I am really looking forward to as I’ve never  - for my sins - read it but always wanted to.

7.  Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
Turn off the Internet and your mobile phone for a regular amount of time, on regular days and WRITE. It’s like anything: you won’t get better or finish anything unless you actually put the hours and the practice in!

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