10 August 2010

Author Interview: Adele Parks

I recently had the opportunity to ask the lovely Adele Parks some questions after reading her newest book Men I've Loved Before, a book I really enyoyed reading myself. It's actually Adele's 10th published novel, and her first with new publishers Headline so Adele said she was happy to answer some of my questions which is fab of her! Here's the interview:

Q 1. Tell us about your new book.

The book is about a genuinely lovely couple, Neil and Nat who seem to be a unique match made in heaven. They have loads in common; they have shared values, ideals and ambitions (as well as a hate of Marmite and a love of the missionary position) – they agree on the big stuff and the small things The one thing they are absolutely in agreement about is the fact that they both definitely do not want children.

At least that’s what Nat thought. But five years into their marriage Neil has had a change of heart, and now he’s practically begging her for a baby. Nat, however, has no intention of giving him his hearts desire - she won’t or can’t - because of a deep and tragic secret in her past. As the cracks in their relationship start to show, Nat wonders if Neil really is the man of her dreams. If he is, how come they are making one another so miserable? Is it possible that someone from her past could actually be ‘the One’?

Nat’s little black book, filled with the names and addresses of previous lovers, could hold the answers she’s looking for. Or it could be a one-way ticket to all kinds of trouble. This book explores the concept of ‘the One’. How do you know when you’ve met the one you’re meant to be with? Is it a matter of destiny or just good timing? And is the perfect match too much to ask for?

Q2. The book is based around the idea of having children, and the fact Nat has decided she never wants them. How did the idea for the book come about?

I have a few friends who have made the decision not to have children and I have a couple of friends who can’t have children, I also have loads of friends who do have children; I find that these groups are quite divided, both in their opinions of the world and the world’s opinions of them. So interesting! I wanted to explore the various viewpoints. I was particularly interested in writing about what it’s like to be a man longing for a child; frankly women now hold all the fertility cards. I always look for fresh subjects to write about, I don’t think these issues have been seriously looked at within our genre.

Q3. Nat's little black book is quite a major thing in the book. Do you have anything similar and would you ever keep in touch with your exes like Nat?

I do keep in touch with some of my exes. My ex husband (by necessity) he’s my son’s dad and another lovely guy that I dated until we both worked out he was gay (no kidding!).  Other than that I’m quite happy to leave the past behind me!

Q4. When you were writing the book, did you sympathise more with Neil or Nat? I have to say I felt for Neil more until about halfway then my opinion shifted a bit... I loved how the story always made me change my mind! Did you intend for your readers’ sympathy to change as the book went on?

I sympathised with both characters. They are both in an impossible position. Life’s like that  a lot of the time – complex. Initially Nat is less sympathetic but I often write spiky heroines that need to show their softer under-belly. There’s always two sides to every story and I love it when my readers can sympathise with that.

Q5. I've noticed that you're doing a lot of publicity for this book, including travelling all over the country for signings. Do you enjoy this part of your job?

Love it! It’s exciting getting out and about and meeting fans. Without readers there really is little point to writers! I have terrific, enthusiastic, intelligent and loyal fans. I like meeting as many as I possibly can.

Q6. 'Men I've Loved Before' is your 10th novel. Did you ever imagine you'd have 10 novels published, and does it make 'Men I've Loved Before' that bit more special as it's your 10th?

It definitely feels incredibly special! I don’t know if I imagined 10 novels but I’d always dreamed of a life-long career as a writer so I guess that will mean many, many more books – fingers crossed! I love the new cover; it’s bold and sophisticated. It’s like getting a new dress for a special party.

Q7. You recently moved publishers to Headline Review. How was it working with a new team for your new book?

I’ve found my emotional home with Headline. I love every single member of my new team; they are dedicated, hard-working, creative and straight forward.

Q8. What books and authors do you enjoy reading yourself? Do you read other books when you're writing or is it too distracting?

I don’t read as much when I’m writing as when I’m not, but I do still read. I used to find it very distracting to read while I was writing, but as years go by I’m more confident with my own direction; my voice, plots, characters and so I can dip into other books without becoming confused. I love the summer when I read like mad; a book every couple of days. This year I’m a judge for the Costa Novel Award and so I have about 40 books to read in the next month! My favourite authors include, Helen Dunmore, Philippa Gregory, Maggie O’ Farrell, David Nicholls, Jane Fallon, Kate Long, Jo Jo Moyles… the list really goes on and on.

Q9. You've recently joined Twitter and Facebook. What value do you think the social networking sites such as these have for authors like yourself, and do you enjoy using them? What's the best thing about them for you?

I’ve been on Facebook for a few years but I’ve just (about three months ago) – joined Twitter. It’s actually a lot of fun! A number of my friends swore by Twitter but I was reluctant I thought it would be distracting (it is!) but it’s a lot of laughs. The other day I announced it was my mum’s birthday (as that was all that was on my mind) and I got loads of messages wishing her happy birthday, which she was really chuffed about - that sort of thing is simply a giggle. It’s a great way to talk directly to fans – it’s a way of  feeling closer to what’s going on in their lives. I announced my book tour dates through these sites and that seemed like a good thing to do!

Q10. Finally, are you working on an 11th book?? Can you tell us anything about it?!

Yup, it’s finished, actually, I tend to work about a year in advance. It’s about two women who have been friends since they were kids but their lives are wildly different now they are grown up. It’s about friendship and envy and loyalty too. It will be out this time next year.

Thanks so much, Adele!


  1. Hi I loved this interview, its made me look even more forward to this book. I can't wait. Thankyou :)

  2. Great interview! Now am really intrigued about this book.