14 September 2011

Author Interview: Lucy-Anne Holmes

I recently read Lucy-Anne Holmes' third novel Unlike A Virgin, and thought it was one of the funniest books I've read all year, whilst managing to run a poignant and sweet story all the way through too. I wanted to interview Lucy about her new book, her new publishing deal with Little, Brown and her thoughts on some other things, and I was lucky enough to get the chance! Here's my interview with the lovely Lucy-Anne Holmes, enjoy!

Q1. Tell us about your new book 'Unlike A Virgin'.

Unlike A Virgin is about Gracie Flowers, a brilliant estate agent and all round sorted young lady, with her own flat and a handsome steady fella. But Gracie's controlled life starts to unravel at a ferocious rate and she begins to wonder whether she's become the woman she was supposed to.

Q2. Gracie Flowers is a fantastic character - are you anything like her?! Do you ever base your characters on real people?

Thank you! I love her. No, sadly she's nothing like me! She's far braver and stronger than me and I really can't sing a note. Sarah Sargeant, the scatty, slightly alcoholic heroine of my last two books is much more like me! I have based characters on real people but they tend to morph away from the person I know while I'm writing them.

Q3. This book felt a bit more serious than your two previous novels featuring the character 'Sarah Sargeant'. Was it a conscious decision to make the tone slightly more serious or did it just happen as you were writing the book? I have to say I was still regularly laughing out loud throughout though!

Oooo, interesting question. Well, I had the idea for the Gracie Flowers story and really fell for it and for her and I just wanted to write it and do it justice. I think this book has a bigger heart than the last two and it didn't seem right to make it quite as rude and bawdy as the Sarah Sargeant ones. I am glad you still chuckled in parts though. I was pleased when my sister read an early draft and I heard her guffaw.

Q4. I adored the cover for Unlike A Virgin, how did you feel when you saw the book cover, and are you pleased with your move to Little, Brown publishers from Pan Macmillan?
Thank you. I adore the book cover too. It's strange when you first see the designs for the cover because they are invariably nothing like you envision them, but this one is really striking and feels very rom-com. The feedback has been so positive, I can't wait to see it in the shops. I am super happy at Little Brown, the support behind me and the book there has been amazing and I am back working with Rebecca Saunders, who originally bought 50 Ways at Pan Mac before being lured to Little Brown. She is fabulous, and I feel very content and lucky. That being said Pan Mac is marvellous and I was sad to leave. I've had some really nice notes from some of the girls there wishing me luck on the new book which has been very touching.

Q5. What made you decide to become a writer?

A series of strange events! Buying a book called The Artist's Way, which I would recommend to anyone who fancies being more creative. I bought it to help me with my acting, but I credit it for giving me the balls/insanity to start a blog charting my diabolical love life. It was the blog that led me to meet an agent, who suggested I write a novel. I'm quite game, so I had a go and amazingly it was published.

Q6. Who are some of your favourite authors, and do you have an ultimate favourite Chick Lit book?

Ooo, favourite authors! I worship Jilly Cooper, love Marian Keyes, Lisa Jewel, Kate Atkinson, I can rarely put a Jodi Picoult down. I gobble up anything Caitlin Moran writes about anything. Ultimate Chick Lit book will have to be Bridget Jones Diary. I won't be holding the trophy for originality over my head for that answer, but there was something remarkable about being a young woman and reading about a heroine who was as crap as I was! It's hilarious and smart. Genius.

Q7. What do you do when you aren't writing books?

A bit of acting, a lot of fannying around on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, some very slow jogging, occasional very unbendy yoga. I love travelling to new places, so am generally angling to gatecrash someone's holiday or planning a trip somewhere. I am also a big fan of lunch.

Q8. You're now active on Twitter, and have a Facebook fan page too. How important do you think social networking is for authors, and do you enjoy the interaction you get with your fans on these sites?

Social networking is glorious! Writing is rather solitary so it's lovely to pop on to Twitter or Facebook and get a fix of people, chat and news. It seems to suit us lady rom-com writers rather well I think, as we tend to be a lively bunch and it's wonderful having interaction with people who've read and enjoyed your books. I recently met two ladies who'd found me on Twitter having enjoyed my books and I've been invited to book groups and other dos. I love it! The only problem with social networking is that hours disappear and you suddenly realise that it's lunchtime and the only estimable word-count you've achieved was on Twitter.

Q9. Are you working on your next book? If so, can you tell us something about it?

Yes, I'm working on a new book, about a young woman called Jenny Taylor. She had quite a hard time of it growing up, her classmates realised if you said her name quickly it sounded like the word genitalia, nowadays everyone calls her Fanny. At a low point in her late teens her best friend Philippa wrote her The Smiling Fanny Manifesto which is a list of thing she has to do everyday to stay happy. She's been following the list for years and it's led her to meet some marvellous people. We meet her on the day in which three things happen to turn her world upside down and threaten to destroy this happy life she's achieved. I'm desperately trying not to give too much away here and worried it doesn't sound very exciting. But I'm very much enjoying it and I really love Jenny Taylor.

Thank you so much, Lucy-Anne!


  1. Can't wait to read this, great interview and Jenny Taylor sounds good!

  2. I've so enjoyed Ms. Holmes's first two books and can't wait to read her new one.