5 May 2011

Author Interview: Freya North

Freya North recently released her latest novel 'Chances', a book I really loved which told the story of the Vita and Oliver, and their budding romance set around their own busy lives. I hadn't read any of Freya's work in a long time, since her early "Chloe" and "Sally" days, so I was really pleased Freya agreed to take part in an author interview so I could ask her some questions about her books, her careers and a few other things too!

Q1. Tell us about "Chances" in one sentence.

An unashamedly romantic yet feisty romp in which Vita and Oliver decide whether or not to take a chance on love again, aided and abetted by friends, an elderly shop-lifter and a troublesome pear tree!

Q2. Vita is a wonderful character, and one that really grew on me throughout the book. I also loved her little shop, That Shop. Is Vida based on any one particular person, and does "That Shop" really exist anywhere?!

No, Vita is fictitious, as her little shop - but I filled it with all the bits and bobs I'd love and I gave her the chance to do the things I'd never dare do...!

Q3. How did you come to pick the subject of tree surgery for one of your characters, Oliver? I have to admit it wasn't something that interested me but by the end I was fascinated by it! What research did you have to do to write about the topic?

I love trees - in some ways, they're quintessentially British!  And I always like a hero who has an interesting yet 'manly' career.  I just loved the idea of a hunky yet sensitive chap with gorgeous forearms who had a passion for the natural world.

Q4. 'Chances' is your 11th book. How have you changed as a writer from when you started writing "Sally" to your current books, and how easy it is to constantly come up with something new and fresh for a book?

Well, as I've become older, so too have my characters.  They've mellowed, blossomed and their adventures and concerns in life, their triumphs and trials are, I think, more resonant.  My books are character-led, not plot inspired.  Fresh ideas seem to come when new characters pop up in my mind's eye.

Q5. Your book covers have undergone a change from the bolder one-colour numbers of your earlier titles. They sport a more arty look now, how much say do you have in your covers, and do you think your new covers reflect your newer stories well?

I do have a say - when I was an unpublished author (it took four years to strike my first deal and I'd written Sally and most of Chloe in that time) I worked freelance as a picture-researcher for a number of publishers.  I became quite opinionated as to what would, or wouldn't, grace the cover of MY books should they ever be published!  I think a reader has every right to judge a book by its cover - it says a lot about the effort the publisher and author invests in the book and it should encapsulate the spirit of the tale.

Q6. How do you feel about your books coming under the umbrella of "chick lit"? Do you have an issue with that genre of books, and do you think the genre as a whole deserves to be taken more seriously?

I have been very open about disliking the term 'chick lit'.  If anyone called me a chick, I'd belt them!  I also feels it somewhat demeans a branch of fiction that is perennially popular - just because it's commercial doesn't mean in anyway that the quality of the fiction is compromised.  Also, the many authors who are often lumped together under this umbrella are so varied, so unique, so talented - I fear it sometimes dumbs-down their talent. This was so obvious when I was involved with all these wonderful writers over the Girls Night In anthologies. Fiona Walker, Lisa Jewell, Chris Manby, Jessica Adams, Jenny Colgan, Rowan Coleman, Jane Green et al - fantastic writers with such individual voices.  Personally, I'd term my books 'Feisty Romps' !
Q7. You've recently started using Facebook as a way to communicate with your fans. Do you enjoy this kind of interaction, and do you think social networking is an important tool for authors to use?

I think it's brilliant.  I spend most my life with people who don't actually exist - and to have the opportunity to interact with my readers - and after all, without their loyalty and support I wouldn't have a career - is fantastic. Plus I'm a chatterbox, so I really love the social aspect.  www.facebook.com/freya.north

Q8. What are your three desert-island reads? Also, who is your all-time favourite author?

Three?  Only THREE?!!!  How cruel!  I'd take Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe, Tess of the D'Urbevilles by Thomas Hardy and A Widow For One Year by John Irving.  All time favourite author?  Probably Thomas Hardy.  Favourite contemporary author - Laurie Graham.

Q9. What are you working on at the moment? Is there a 12th book in the pipeline?!

Yes, I'm working on my 12th novel, "RUMOURS".  Whereas CHANCES is set in small town Hertfordshire, Rumours is set in small village Hertfordshire and the research is proving to be great fun!

Thanks so much, Freya!


  1. Aileen Russell5 May 2011 at 13:47

    I agree I had never read anything from Freya North and picked up this book when browsing in the Library, It was a brilliant book, I couldn't put it down, and it was very funny. I have just started Secerts and I am really enjoying that book.

  2. I've read everything but Chances, and hopefully, I'll be able to remedy that sooner than later! I'm really looking forward to it! :)

  3. I have read all Freya's books, including Chances!

    I wish I had kept Chances for a while, but I couldn't resist reading it!

    Now I have to wait for rumours!

  4. Love Freya North's writing, even though only recently come to her. Secrets was wonderful and will put Chances on my to buy list.