1. I didn’t spend a year tossing a coin to make decisions.

Nor have I ever proposed to someone on the London Eye, or anywhere for that matter. However, some parts of The Flip Side are inspired by my real life. I think it's common for authors - especially in their debut novel - to mine their lives for anecdotes. After all, they say write what you know.

The Flip Side

The Flip Side

2. I did visit all the European cities and bookshops mentioned in the book.

I might not have subjected myself to a year guided by fate for the sake of my writing, but I did feel it was important to visit all the places that Josh visits during his adventure. I will use any excuse to travel! I’ve been fortunate enough to travel quite widely, even living in Barcelona for a year. I’d say that my top travel experiences are: Swimming with dolphins in New Zealand, hiking the Cinque Terre, and marvelling at Sydney Harbour.

3. I was turned down by a creative writing course.

But the second time I applied, I got a place. I think you learn quickly in this industry that you have to cope with rejection, and that persistence is key. I found the Curtis Brown Creative Six Month course to be highly beneficial for my writing, and for any hopeful novelist I’d certainly recommend finding a writing group. It’s really useful to have both a group who can support you, but also critique your work.

4. I’ve interviewed Clooney.

Whilst at university I honed my writing skills by working as a journalist at showbiz events. It’s not quite as glamorous in the press pens as it is the other side on the red carpet, however I interviewed the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Keira Knightley, Eddie Redmayne, and Hugh Jackman.

5. I live in a Writers’ Block

There must be something about the block of flats I live in. The late Helen Dunmore owned a flat in the same block as mine, on the floor below, and used it as her writing studio. The views across Bristol must certainly inspire writing.

6. I was inspired by Richard Curtis and Woody Allen

I enjoyed watching romantic comedies growing up, and I think my writing is influenced and inspired by movies as much as others books. I’d love The Flip Side to be adapted into a film one day.

7. I carried the Olympic Torch

Having been diagnosed with a cardiac syndrome as a teenager, I’ve since worked to promote the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young. In 2012, I was fortunate enough to be able to carry the Olympic Torch. I was worried the whole time that I’d drop it, extinguish the flame, and they’d have to take it all the way back to Greece to start again!

The Flip Side by James Bailey is published by Michael Joseph and is available now.