What can our readers expect from your new novel A Twist Of Fate?
It’s a big, sweeping, epic story set over 40 years about two sisters who are separated at birth, who grow up not knowing about each other. One sister is determined to bury the past, whilst the other is determined to uncover it and it’s a race against time to find out whether they’ll destroy each other before they find out the truth. It’s got drama on every page, as girls face a stream of betrayals and tragedies, glamour and romance. It’s set all over the world, with a big cast of characters, including double-dealing drug dealing hookers, secret babies and the most evil step-brother baddie ever.
The book had been said to be the perfect beach read, why do you think this is?
I wrote it for total escapism and as a non-stop page-turner. I love reading a book that I get completely addicted to and can’t put down – especially when I’m on holiday, so I tried my hardest to write one. I always loved Jeffrey Archer’s ‘Kane and Abel’ which was the inspiration for this novel, as well as the musical Blood Brothers. I love that whole idea of two characters not knowing about each other and their paths crossing and them affecting each other’s lives without knowing it.
You have your own blog Mumwritesbooks.com, which is one of Times' top 10 mummy blogs, so how did it all start?
Writing a blog is much easier than writing a column, which I’ve always secretly wanted to do. I don’t blog all the time, but there’s lots of funny stuff about being a mum and being a writer that I like to write about. I started a few years ago and it’s grown from there.
How much did your study into English aid your own writing?
I studied English at school and at University, but I think you have to be a reader to be a good writer and I’m an avid reader of all genres of books. To be honest, I think it’s my study of television that has informed my particular style of writing more than the study of classics. I grew up on Dallas and Dynasty and I love soap operas and their fast-paced plots where anything is possible. In recent years I’ve been an addict for box sets – especially American ones like ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Californication’, ‘The Wire’ and ‘The Shield’ – where the drama moves so incredibly fast. Seeing how those kind of shows move on their plots so fast has given me a lot of confidence.
You co wrote some of your novels such as Come Together, can you tell us about the process of doing this?
I had my first novel ‘It Could Be You’ published when I was 26, which is how I met Emlyn Rees (my husband). We were mates when we came up the idea of writing a twenty-something comedy, which later became ‘Come Together’. Emlyn wrote the boys point of view and I wrote the girl’s. We would write a chapter, then post it to the other person who would respond, so it was a bit like a game of consequences. After ‘Come Together’ was such a big success, we went on to write six more collaborative novels and each time the process was different – but heaps of fun.
You had several unusual jobs after your studies including running your own sandwich business and writing promotions for the back of Sugar Puffs boxes, so when did your decide you wanted to write a novel?
I always wanted to be a writer – ever since I was really little. I was always very chatty and on long car journeys, my Mum would give me a pad and pencil and tell me to write rather than talk. I remember reading Shirley Conran’s ‘Lace’ when I was at school and ‘Flowers In The Attic’ by Virginia Andrews and falling in love with the idea of writing a book like that myself. My epiphany moment came when I was working in a sales promotion agency and was slaving away over copy at 10pm on a Friday night. I was writing the small print for a poster that was going to go up in staff loos in service stations, urging them to sell more Coca-Cola products in order to qualify for a free base-ball hat. It was so boring and complicated and I thought, ‘if I don’t stop this and actually write a novel, I’m going to go crazy’. So I jacked in my job, moved out of my flat, sold my car, then rented a tiny room, got a job as a waitress and wrote my novel during the days. I never looked back.
The book is said to a cross between Penny Vincenzi and Lesley Pearce, but who do you like to read?
Penny and Lesley are wonderful story-tellers and it’s very flattering to be compared to them. Personally, I read all sorts. Anything with a good characters in it has me gripped. I read biographies and thrillers, as well as contemporary fiction and short stories. I loved ‘The Passage’ by Justin Cronin which was huge, but such a page turner and a fantastic story. I’m reading Caitlin Moran’s ‘How To Be A Woman’ at the moment, which is fabulous. I’ve just read ‘All She Wants’ from brilliant TV writer Jonathan Harvey, which had me snorting with laughter in bed.
What made you change from 'Navel gazing chick lit' and move onto something different?
I didn’t want to write anything with a biographical element in it, or that has anything to do with my life. I love my life, don’t get me wrong, but it’s rather hectic, being a full time writer and a Mum to three small girls, so writing for me has to be about escapism. I love big plots and doing big broad brush strokes on the canvas of the action, setting it over a large timeframe, rather than focussing on a tiny part of life, where the boundaries are very small. ‘A Twist Of Fate’ is my eleventh novel, and it’s taken till now to have the skill and confidence to write this kind of book.
At what point did you want to go solo and move away form co writing?
Emlyn and I wrote seven novels together and ended with ‘The Seven Year Itch’ which was about Jack and Amy, our original characters, seven years on. They have a baby and are living in London and for us, it felt like we’d completed a circle for them. Emlyn wrote thrillers before we got together and had a wonderful idea for a thriller ‘Hunted’ which is out now, and was also involved with some film scripts. For the reasons I mentioned above, I wanted to write something bigger and thought the time had come to write my own ‘Lace’ so in 2007 I went solo and wrote ‘Platinum’ which is a big story about three very different women who take revenge on a murky UK-based Russian billionaire. It was heaps of fun.
What have you in store next for your eager fans?
I am in the middle of writing my next novel, which is called ‘The Key’ at the moment (it may change). It’s a big story which draws together lots of different characters from all over the world. It’ll be out next year. For me, it’s about writing what I’d want to read, so it has tonnes of intrigue, a race against time and fab locations. I find it the most wonderful thing in the world when someone tells me they’ve enjoyed one of my books.
Follow this link for a chance to win a two night spa break in Champneys!
Female First Lucy Walton