Bad Angels

Bad Angels

Q&A with Rebecca Chance, bestselling author of Bad Angels – published by Simon & Schuster on 8th November, price £6.99 pb

1. What can you tell our readers about your new novel Bad Angels?

It’s set in a super-luxurious apartment building in Canary Wharf, in London, from just before Christmas to New Year’s Eve – the entire story takes place in just over a week. So it really races along! Next to the building is a very discreet and expensive plastic surgery clinic, so that clients of the clinic can secretly recuperate in one of the apartments until their surgery heals. The main characters are: Melody, a beautiful young British actress who’s just starred in a disastrous film of Wonder Woman, had too much plastic surgery in LA, and now wants to put herself back again to what she looked like before; Jon, an assassin who’s giving up that job and is having surgery to give him a new face; Aniela, their nurse; Grigor, the Russian oligarch who owns a football team and the huge penthouse apartment at the top of the building; and Dasha, his estranged wife, who makes Cruella de Vil look warm and cuddly, and has a sexy Brazilian toyboy called Marcos. Their lives all crash into each other in the most unexpected ways...

2. The protagonist Melody goes to LA to shoot a film and gets plastic surgery, so did you have to do a lot of research into this?

She goes to shoot the film Wonder Woman and gets talked into surgery by a very powerful and bullying director. And there’s another character who gets surgery too – Jon, the assassin. I did do a lot of research on this – I met a really brilliant doctor, Dr Philippe Chout, who has done operations on some of my friends, and given them Botox and collagen, and I’ve got to say, he does amazing work! He was very frank with me and gave me tons of useful stuff – as so often, you do a lot of research and then can’t put it all in the book.

3. Why did you decide to set the book around Christmas?

My husband works at Canary Wharf and I’ve gone to a few work parties of his there. You emerge from a pub  or restaurant, and the place is almost completely deserted after about ten at night. It’s a ghost town, and very atmospheric, with the water lapping around the wharfs. I imagined it with snow falling, over the holidays, with the offices all shut, and thought what a great setting that would be for a book. So when I started plotting out BAD ANGELS, with the idea of the luxury apartment block, the Canary Wharf setting over Xmas/the New Year immediately popped into my head.

4. How much has your degree in English Literature aided your published work?

Hmm, probably not much. I actually think that studying English Literature slowed down me starting to write, because I was self-conscious, having read so many of the greats, and it was harder to find my own style. Reading as widely as you can is very important for a writer, but I don’t think you need to have studied the subject to be a writer yourself.

5. You wrote for various newspapers and magazines before going to Tuscany, so tell us a little more about these experiences.

I freelanced as a writer and subeditor for various indie music magazines, political magazines, and newspapers, but I never got a chance to sit down and plot the book I wanted to write, I was too busy rushing around town! So when the main magazine I worked for closed down, I took the opportunity to go to Tuscany for the summer season...

6. Why did you decide to move to Italy to write?

... Because I had a dear friend there whose sister-in-law had just opened a Pacific Rim restaurant in the middle of Tuscany – Asian/Australian style food. And she needed wait staff. So I could go over there and crash rent-free in my friend’s room – her mum has a romantically-crumbling house in Chianti – work part-time, and try to write the rest of the time. By the end of the summer I had an Italian boyfriend so of course I stayed on. I wrote my first novel that winter (under my real name, Lauren Henderson), and got a publishing deal at the end of the next year. Phew! It was then very cheap to live in Italy, so though I only got a very small advance for my first two books, it was just about enough to support myself.

7. Your book is said to be '50 shades sexier than the average bonkbuster' why do you think this is?

Um, because it’s a lot sexier than the average bonkbuster, obviously! I love writing sex scenes and I’m famous for them, by now, to the point that my publisher actually released a short e-book of extra sexy bits that wouldn’t fit into any of the books – it’s done really well on Kindle.

8. When did you begin to enjoy writing bonkbusters?

Um, as soon as I started writing them! I couldn’t possibly write something that I didn’t absolutely love doing.

9. Your prevous book Jane Austin's Guide to Dating was inspired by the New York dating scene, can you expand on this for us?

It came out of two things: first, my love for Jane Austen’s books, which I’ve been reading since I was small. I actually wrote my dissertation at Cambridge on “Courtship Rituals in Jane Austen”. And secondly, I found myself single in Manhattan years ago, in a very cut-throat, game-playing “Sex and the City” dating atmosphere. Formulating the rules for “Jane Austen’s Guide To Dating” really helped me cut through the madness of the New York dating scene, be true to myself and find a fantastic guy – we’ve been together for eight years, married for six of those, so I can strongly recommend it as a very effective guide to finding the right man!

10. What is next for you?

Two more bonkbusters, tentatively entitled BAD PRINCESSES and BAD BRIDES.

11. What is your opinion of the sensation that is Fifty Shades of Grey?

It’s finally stopped any sexist assumptions that women don’t enjoy sex/reading about sex. I saw a woman this summer reading a copy propped on the body of her sleeping 12 year-old daughter, who was resting on her lap! I did think that was a bit odd, but it does show that women don’t need to be embarrassed any more about acknowledging the sexual side of their nature. Which is a real breakthrough.

Female First Lucy Walton

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