I am a self confessed book worm. I have a reasonable collection of ‘chick lit’ books and always like to have a book on the go.
I have books by authors such as Paige Toon, Sophie Kinsella, Marian Keyes and Lindsay Kelk to name a few. And one author I do love is the wonderful Ali McNamara.
I have read all Ali’s books with much delight, including A Step Back in Time, With Love from Notting Hill, Actually and my fav book ever; Letters from Lighthouse Cottage (you can see my review of it here).
If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading one of Ali’s books, then I highly recommend you do! Her books always have really interesting and unique story lines, with loveable characters and I feel like I have been on a real journey of a story with each book by Ali. Her books are total page turners!
And on the 13th July, Ali’s latest book ‘The Summer of Serendipity’ is released. As Ali is one of my favourite authors I approached her to see if you would answer some questions for you lovely lot and she only went and said yes!
So below is an exclusive interview with Ali:
What inspired you to first start writing?
I had never thought about writing novels until I wrote some fan fiction on Ronan Keating’s website back in 2002. The three stories I wrote were so popular I sold them as email attachments and raised over 2,000 euro for a cancer awareness charity.
It was then I thought, if people like what I’m writing this much, maybe I should have a go at a real novel!
To get published did you send off manuscripts to different publishers? Did you have to persevere or did you get a deal quite quickly?
I had a LOT of rejections (over 100) before my literary agent; Hannah Ferguson took me on at The Marsh Agency in London. We then had to wait a whole year before we found a publisher that was interested in my first novel.
What tips do you have for anyone writing a book?
Like the famous slogan of certain sportswear company: Just Do It!
Write something you would like to read yourself. Trying to follow trends or what the market is currently selling never works. By the time your book is published those trends will be out of date.
Where do you find you write the best? Do you have a favourite location or place in your house to write?
I have a purpose built office in the garden of my house. I need peace and quiet!
How long does it take you to write one of your books?
First draft – about 5months. Then there are lots of rounds of editing!
Apart from writing what else do you like to do?
We have two Labrador dogs at home, so they keep me very busy.
Would you ever be tempted to write under a pseudonym and publish in a different genre?
I’d like to write a series of children’s books sometime. I have an idea; it’s just finding the time to do it!
Which has been the most challenging of your books to write and why?
Step Back in Time. It’s set over five different decades, and I had to get everything about those periods spot on.
If one of your books was made into a film, which one would you choose and why?
I still think my Notting Hill books would make great movies. Especially the first one –it’s all about the movies!
How do you manage to keep to motivated? Like blogging it can become stagnant and inspiration is often needed!
Messages from my readers on social media and through email are always inspiring. Sometimes one can come through when you’re feeling a bit low, and it gives you just the lift you need to type some more words!
What has been the highlight of your writing career?
Getting my first book deal, definitely.
Also a reader sent me a genuine photo of Bradley Cooper holding one of my books. He has a cameo role in two of the Notting Hill novels. That was very special!
Which of your characters do you most identify with and why?
There’s something of me in all my characters. But if I had to pick one it would be Scarlett from the Notting Hill books. She’s an optimistic dreamer, a bit like me!
Your new book, The Summer of Serendipity is based in Ireland – do you visit the locations for your books to get ideas, as they always sounds so picturesque!
I always visit the places my books are going to be set before I write them. I don’t believe you can write about somewhere properly unless you’ve been there and experienced it yourself.
Ali’s latest book The Summer of Serendipity can be pre-ordered on Amazon here.
I also asked Ali to explain her new book; ‘The Summer of Serendipity is set on the west coast of Ireland. It’s a magical story about love, the past and finding a place you can truly belong to and call home’.
I don’t know about you reader, but I am certainty looking forward to this! (I already have it on pre-order!).
If you want to read another exclusive author interview you can read my Giovanna Fletcher interview here.
I’d love to know what books your currently reading, please share your recommendations for others below!
Happy reading 🙂
Love and hugs,
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