With How to Get A Love Life, I wanted it to be a fun, readable book with a few "ha, ha, this book cracks me up" moments popped in for free. It's the story of Nicola Brown, a cautious and introverted young woman who has never had a date on Valentine’s Day. Following a bet with a work colleague, Nicola has to put aside her hang ups to go on as many dates as she possibly can in order to find the perfect man in time for February 14th.

Rosie Blake

Rosie Blake

Please tell us a bit about the character of Nicola.

Nicola is twenty-nine and struggling to feel truly content. Her past weighs her down and has coloured her present. She has become very set in her ways and seems unable to relax. She used to be a lot more fun, popular and carefree. She needs an excuse to try and claw her life back and this bet provides this opportunity. Cue Nicola finding herself in all sorts of situations that turn everything around,

What made you want to explore a character who was always in control?

I think the appeal was exploring a character that could transform over the course of a novel. Often I think our heroines are a bit too perfect – all swishy hair, large doe-eyes, surrounded by a glittering array of friends. That isn't the reality for everyone. I think some people can be their own worst enemy too; a lack of confidence can lead people to focus on the negatives, become anxious about the little things and never take a risk. I wanted to empower Nicola. To seize back real control and start to live, and love, again. *does Oprah style air punch*

Why is this the perfect book for Valentine’s Day?

It's the perfect book for any day! OK fine, serious answer, it is energetic, good fun and celebrates all sorts of relationships – it's big on love. But it won't depress the single folk as it is designed to make you cringe, squeal and hopefully LOL big time. There's something in it for everyone.

Please can you tell us a bit about your writing background.

I started writing ten years ago when I left university, in between various jobs in television. The writing took over, probably because I realised how challenging it was, and I started experimenting with different genres, entering short story competitions and reading lots of books about writing. Winning some competitions really boosted my confidence. I wrote my first novel and got some decent feedback, then I wrote what turned out to be this book and entered the Novelicious Undiscovered competition in 2009. Reading the encouraging comments on the site made me want it all even more and when Kirsty contacted me asking for the full manuscript, the roller coaster began... *starts crying*

Who do you most like to read in the genre?

For real stomach-clutching writing, as my favourite women's fiction has to really make me laugh, I tend to re-read some old favourites. Come Together by Emlyn and Jo Rees, Are You Experienced by William Sutcliffe, Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding and, of course, any Jilly Cooper book. More recently Mhairi McFarlane and Kirsty Greenwood have been real highlights for me. If I want something moving I would return to Ali Harris's A First Last Kiss, Jojo Moyes Me Before You and Katy Regan's, How We Met.

What thing do you need for the perfect writing environment?

A supportive husband and a cup of Earl Grey tea.

What is next for you?

My second book! Oh, and that film deal obv. I'm super keen on my next novel. It's one girl's global search for a man she married in the school playground, aged eight. She finds herself in all sorts of exotic places and weird scenarios on her hunt for him, driven by the desire to see how her life might have panned out if they had stayed together. It's a kind of Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry meets Chick Lit. I know! I’m very excited about.


by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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