Today I have the lovely Cathy Kelly on my blog to talk to us about her latest novel, It Started With Paris.
Congrats on yet another corker of a novel! Starting off with a bit of a generic question – what influenced your writing and ideas for It Started with Paris?
I wanted to explore the unromantic world of former husbands and wives, so I started with a gloriously romantic proposal on the Eiffel Tower – and then shifted into the lives of a 29-year-old woman named Leila, who is devastated after being dumped by her music industry husband. Six months on, she’s still miserable – but pretending not to be. Then, I thought, what about a woman who has the divorce everyone admires and likes her ex, sees him and they’ve brought up their kids together and wonderfully. So Grace was born. This lovely, very grown-up lady sees her son getting engaged, spends more time with her ex, watches how happy he is with his new partner and finds herself wondering: were we right to divorce. I guess the book is about questioning ourselves about choices we make and how we get on with life afterwards. Sort of a book exploring how falling down is not important, it’s whether you can get up again or not.
The book has such a stunning cover! Did you have much input with it?
I know, the cover is wonderful and none of my work, so am able to praise its genius! I get copy approval on covers but once I was shown this glorious vision of a glittery Eiffel Tower, how could I say no! I have such admiration for people who work in cover design because it’s an impossible job. They’re trying to move with what is currently working in the market and what is right for each particular novel – utterly impossible but wonderfully and perfectly done here, for which I say a big thanks.
Has your writing process changed at all or the course of your career?
Yes, in that since I’ve had children, my writing process has become more organised! Before I had more time to meander around the internet in between work. I think I work in the same way in that I keep my ideas largely in my head and let my characters take the story to its conclusion without being too structured.
Have you ever been tempted to write different genres of fiction?
I love both thrillers and young adult novels, and have been tempted to write both but as it’s tough enough to write what I do write, I haven’t got that far yet!!
Do you have any really bad writing habits? Whether that’s things within your work itself or things that you do whilst writing?
My bad writing habits include a cunning way of editing myself which means I think of something, decide it’s bad and don’t even write it down before deleting it. This is hyper-editing without actually typing it and is a type of critical behaviour that kills me. For every book, I find a word I love and over-use it to death. For one book, it was ‘desperate’ in the Irish sense, which is very broad. Everyone and everything was desperate. The copy editor usually highlights a few to start and then I notice, and frantically remove them all!
Are the names of your characters important to the plot?
Names are so vital. I think a name has great power and can change what a character feels like to you as an author. The problem is when you have many, many characters in your books in the way I do and you find yourself repeating names. I once had three Jennys in a book. Doh!
What do you think is the one thing that’s the most important to come across in your novel It Started with Paris?
The sense that life and love are in shades of grey. Nothing in life is black and white, so we have a character who resents her husband having found a new love and yet we understand why.
What’s the best and worst thing about being an author?
Best is the sheer thrill when people talk to me or email me and say my books mean something to them. Worst is when you are staring at the screen, feeling like an idiot and wondering how did you write those other fifteen books….. this happens every time!
If you could set yourself up with any literary character, who would it be and why?
Lunch with Sherlock Holmes would be nice, although is this a Benedict Cumberbatch thing happening to me…! Obviously, I was madly in love with Rhett Butler when I was fifteen and since Scarlett had wrecked things with him, I was totally available.
If you could have any of your characters brawl with a literary character, who would it be and who would win?
Gosh, without sounding weird, I can think of nothing worse than a brawl. If I wrote a thriller, I would have a tough female heroine who would kick anybody’s butt in a Jack Reacher sort of way. Does that count?
Title: It Started With Paris
Publisher: Orion Books
Publication Date: 9th October, 2014
SUNDAY TIMES bestseller Cathy Kelly returns with a funny, emotional, heart-warming new novel.
It all started with Paris. At the top of the Eiffel Tower, a young man proposes to his girlfriend, cheered on by delighted tourists. In that second, everything changes, not just for the happy couple, but for the family and friends awaiting their return in Bridgeport, Ireland...
Leila's been nursing a badly broken heart since her love-rat husband just upped and left her one morning, but she's determined to put on a brave face for the bride.
Vonnie, a widow and exceptional cake-maker, is just daring to let love back into her life, although someone seems determined to stop it.
And Grace, a divorced head teacher, finds the impending wedding of her son means that she's spending more time with her ex-husband. After all those years apart, is it possible she's made a mistake?
With her warmth and insight, Cathy Kelly weaves a delightful tale spinning out from a once-in-a-lifetime moment, drawing together a terrific cast of characters who feel like old friends. IT STARTED WITH PARIS is the sparkling new novel from No.1 bestseller Cathy Kelly.
Check out the rest of Cathy Kelly's blog tour!