25 November 2011
Author Interview: Amy Silver
Q1. Please tell me about your new book 'One Minute to Midnight'.
The book tells the life story of Nicole Blake through her New Year’s Eves past and present. In the present day, Nicole is preparing for a dream New Year trip to New York with her husband, but she’s also dealing with the ghosts of New Years’ past: former lovers, old friends and her father from whom she’s been estranged for many years.
The story is about the difficult – sometimes impossible – choices that we need to make in order to take our best shot at a happy and fulfilling life, as well as about the changing nature of friendships, and the way that love can endure through even the most hurtful of betrayals.
Q2. I loved the way you wrote the story, with alternating chapters between Nicole in the present day, and Nicole's previous New Year's experiences. Did you enjoy writing the book this way, and was it fun creating Nicole not just as an adult, but young teen as well?
I did enjoy it, although the structure of the book presented its own challenges, because it isn’t always easy to tell a character’s story when you’re dipping in and out of their life at irregular intervals. It was certainly fun to go back to Nicole’s teenage years though, to try to remember what we music we were all listening to, watching and wearing back in those days.
Q3. I found Nicole to be a very realistic character, even if I didn't like some of her choices. She's also been through a lot in her life, especially regarding her relationship with her father. Did you have to do a lot of research to write about this topic realistically, and are any of Nicole's relationships (i.e. with Alex, Aidan or Julian) taken from real life?
I think the fact that Nicole makes plenty of bad choices is what makes her realistic. I wanted to create a slightly more difficult central character this time around - I think that makes the book a more interesting read - although I know that some readers may warm to her less than they did the characters in my last book.
As for the relationships, none of them are taken directly from my experiences (my Dad is a very nice man, for example...) but I have taken bits and pieces of past relationships and friendships and used those to help create what I hope to be believable characters and situations.
Q4. The cover for 'One Minute to Midnight' is absolutely stunning - do you think it's perfect for the book, and do you have a favourite amongst your three book covers so far?
Yes, I think it’s lovely. Very festive. Definitely my favourite so far.
Q5. What is your own personal favourite New Year's celebrations you've ever had?!
Like Nicole, I went to a party on a houseboat in Paris when I was nineteen which was very glamorous and lots of fun. I also enjoyed some fairly raucous house parties when I was in my twenties, though I have to say the details of those are (thankfully) rather hazy. Lately I’m more likely to be found sedately sipping champagne with a few friends.
Q6. I have to say my favourite book of yours is 'All I want For Christmas' - I found Bea's story to be really touching and it was a lovely Christmas tale. Would you ever consider revisiting these characters again for a sequel, or do you prefer writing stand-alone novels?
I don’t have any plans to revisit the characters from All I Want for Christmas at the moment, but I certainly wouldn’t rule it out. I loved writing those characters and I can think of plenty of interesting directions in which I could take them.
Q7. The term 'chick lit' seems to be forever taking a bashing by both critics and readers - what is your personal view of 'chick lit' and how do you feel about your books being classified as this?
The term ‘chick lit’ is now used to cover so many different types of books – it is applied to pretty much any commercial fiction written by a woman which doesn’t fall into a particular genre such as crime or science fiction – that I think it’s become almost meaningless. The other problem with the label is that it is often, though not always, used in a sneering, derogatory way: if something is chick lit it must be trivial and silly, yet many of the books which are placed in this category deal with the least trivial of subjects – love and loss, careers and families. Unfortunately these books are not taken as seriously as those written by men, like David Nicholls, for example, who deal with similar subjects.
Having said all that, I don’t object to my books being classified as chick lit, since this places me in very good company: the likes of Marian Keyes and Helen Fielding and dozens of other brilliant, witty authors.
Q8. What do you do when you aren't writing books?
I do a bit of freelance journalism, although a lot less than I used to. If you mean in my spare time, I’m currently trying to improving my woeful culinary skills and learning to speak Italian. I also enjoy watching football, preferably with a glass of strong liquor to hand.
Q9. Who are your own favourite authors? What would you say are your top three books of all time?
I’ve been reading quite a bit of crime lately – there are some really interesting modern takes on the crime genre by authors like Tana French, Belinda Bauer and Erin Kelly. I am also a huge fan of Kate Atkinson’s crime novels, which I think are close to perfect. If you really want me to come up with my top three books of all time, you’ll have to give me about a year to think about it – off the top of my head though: Regeneration by Pat Barker, The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst, A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry, We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver and When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson would all be up there. I’m woefully bad on classics, but I did love Wuthering Heights.
Q10. Are you working on your next book yet? If so, can you tell me anything about it?
I am: the story takes place during a snow storm in a chalet in the French Alps where five friends who haven’t seen each other for ages are tricked into an unexpected reunion. When the storm hits, they find themselves trapped, forced to confront the all their unresolved issues, their frustrated passions and broken friendships, as well as dealing with their guilt over the terrible incident which separated them all those years ago…
Thanks so much, Amy!
You can buy One Minute to Midnight in paperback and on eBook/Kindle now! (Links go to Amazon.co.uk)