Last week, the lovely Irish writer Ciara Geraghty tagged me to answer these questions about my, um, ‘book’ (and by that I mean 400 pages of text currently occupying a drawer in my bedroom). In turn, I'll tag some more writers who will tell you about their 'next big thing'.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Good question. All I know is that I had a very vivid image of a girl in a wedding dress crying and looking very ‘crumpled’. I didn’t know anything about her – why she was upset; why she was lying on a bed on her own and not making her way up an aisle like a normal bride – but from that slightly odd image (which never actually made it into the book) ‘That Night’ was born.
It’s about a London-dwelling girl, Anna Campbell, who cheats on her fiancé shortly before their wedding with a man who means nothing to her. However, when her fiancé Tom finds out, he is so enraged he kicks her out, forcing her to flee back to Ireland, to her (mad) family, to figure out how to get the wedding back on track. Unfortunately things get derailed by her long-lost love, Jack, who Anna was forced to leave seven years earlier, not to mention a left-brain vet called Aidan, who has a passion for Leonard Cohen and a nice bum. It’s less a love triangle, more a love pyramid. Oh, and there’s a neurotic dog called Marianne Faithfull thrown in there too…
What genre does your book fall under?
Commercial women’s fiction (for dog lovers).
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Possibly Ellen Paige for my main character, Anna, or that girl Lena Dunham from Girls. In any case someone dark-haired, sarky but ultimately vulnerable.
Tom, her fiancé, could be played by some nice-looking English chap, with a slightly weak chin. Millions to choose from.
Jack Woods (her ridey long-lost love) would have to be Cillian Murphy or (even better) Jonathan Rhys Myers. In any case, somebody ridiculously beautiful.
For Aidan (the vet with the nice arse) I’m thinking Chris O’Dowd or someone of that ilk. You know, masculine, big hands. Not perfect.
As for Marianne Faithfull (the dog, not the actress/singer): Open for debate. Must be of mongrel origin though, with kind eyes.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
A girl cheats on her fiancé, toppling her world, and it forces her to question the nature of sex, memory and a disturbing event in her past.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Hah! My book may never see the light of day. It will probably languish at the bottom of my knicker drawer for the rest of my life, occasionally dusted off at Christmas for the grandchildren to marvel at. But yes I would settle for either of the above.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Ohmigod, forever (bows head in shame). Four years.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Well I worship at the altar of Marian Keyes so as I was writing it I had in my head books like Watermelon and Rachel’s Holiday. I’m also very influenced by an English writer called Anna Maxted and genius comic authors like Sue Townsend and Helen Fielding.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I guess amazing writers I’ve read over the years (aforementioned) and just some kind of weird ‘urge’ from within.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
That Night is comic in style but there’s a big horrible secret at the centre that (hopefully) readers won’t realise until near the end. In a way it’s a sad book about a sad subject. But I’ve really tried to avoid writing some kind of woe-is-me number. I’m melancholic by nature, but ultimately I believe in hope, redemption, love. You know, nice things.
My tagged writers for next week are: