Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Interview with Gemma Burgess and book giveaway



**Giveaway is now closed**

Gemma Burgess is the author of "The Dating Detox" (Avon, January 2010) and "A Girl Like You," (Avon) which is being released in the UK this week (and can be ordered from BookDepository.com with free shipping)! She currently resides in Notting Hill, but grew up all over the place (mainly in Hong Kong). She enjoys writing anti-romantic comedies for girls who like chick lit that comforts and charms without the silly fluffy bits. Her inspiration for her novels is "Sixteen Candles," which is one of her favorite movies.

Charlotte Allen (Harper Collins) kindly arranged an interview with this dynamic author and has also offered to give away three copies of "A Girl Like You" to some lucky readers anywhere in the world!

If you like what you've read today, you can check out her blog, friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.


MP: What's your usual writing routine?
GB: Wake up early. Write, read, edit, repeat. Have occasional breaks for coffee, food, exercise and jaunts to topshop.com, nymag.com and Twitter. Take a long late-afternoon break and go for a walk, take a bath or read a book. Then maybe reread what I wrote that day and write some more.

MP: Do you ever let friends or family read your work as you write or do you make them wait until you are finished?
GB: Not until I’ve finished the first draft. I edit and re-edit as I write the first draft, so things are always changing. When I’m done, I ask a few friends if they’d like to read it. Mostly I want to know when/if they get bored… I want the book to be entertaining, fast and furiously readable above all else.

I always make sure they know that reading it is optional; I know from experience that reading someone else’s manuscript can be kind of difficult. It’s just not as nice as reading an actual book.

MP: What is the best vacation you have ever taken?
GB: Tough question! Hmm… I got married in April 2010 in New York, so we had a few weeks there and a huge party with 150 of our nearest and dearest, and then we spent another two weeks in Anguilla for a honeymoon… That was pretty perfect; I hadn’t had such a long vacation since university. It was also my first break in quite a long time as the previous year I’d been freelance copywriting, editing THE DATING DETOX and writing A GIRL LIKE YOU, as well as planning the wedding…

I hadn’t had a day off for 18 months, so that made it all the sweeter. It took a while to remember how to do nothing. For the first day of so of honeymoon I was still writing to-do lists and constantly checking the time, then on the third day I had breakfast, got back into bed and slept till lunch. I was like ‘ahh, that’s what doing nothing feels like’.

MP: What is the biggest challenge you faced while writing your last book?
GB: Self-doubt! Always self-doubt. I have hand-wringing moments when I gnash my teeth and wail and scream at the sky and think I should stop bothering with this writing thing and do something else. I’m like a little Greek tragedy heroine. Only with a laptop.

MP: Do you ever suffer from writers block? If so, how do you remedy it?
GB: Not really, thank God. I did once – after my first attempt at a second book drove itself into a ditch. I had to abandon it and start again. For a few weeks I was overcome by panic and an empty brain. I lay on the floor a lot, stared at the ceiling and said ‘this is FUCKED’ very loudly.

Getting over it was, in the end, pretty simple: I forced myself to open the laptop and type. I started to write conversations that I thought sounded funny and real, and characters grew out of that. Then I started thinking about how I, and a lot of my friends, left a long-term boyfriend at the end of our 20s and had to start being single from scratch. And I thought about Roxanne, which is one of my favourite films. And A GIRL LIKE YOU came out of that.

If I get a bit tired of working on a particular manuscript – which isn’t exactly writer’s block, but can be just as irritating - I just work on another project for awhile. I wrote a sitcom pilot with a screenwriter buddy that’s currently doing the rounds, and I’ve almost finished a film script. It’s fun: flexing another writing muscle.

MA: Which of your main characters can you relate to the most?

GB: Sass in THE DATING DETOX. Her personality and attitude to most things in life is basically me. None of the things that happened to her, happened to me, however – it is not autobiographical! - and of course a lot of aspects of her personality are exaggerated to make it more interesting to read…

Abigail in A GIRL LIKE YOU is very much like I used to be, though it took me about nine years to figure out the stuff she finds out in six months. Ah, the joy of fiction…

MA: If you could make a movie of either of your books, which would you choose and who would you cast as the lead characters?
GB: Oh yikes. I have no idea… hmm. Mila Kunis is pretty damn funny and sparky. So is Kristen Bell. She’d need to have the right attitude and humour. Emma Stone is funny, too… There’s a bit of a dearth of non-teen female-driven comedies, right now, have you noticed? There are some really funny movies being made, but the women are either harpies or whores (see: Hangover, The). "Whip It" was awesome, so was "Going The Distance." Drew Barrymore seems like a very funny woman. Where was I? Oh yes, movies. I don’t know, who do you think?

MA: What was it like living in Hong Kong vs. living in London? What cultural difference sticks out the most for you?
GB: I love them both! They’re similar in many obvious ways, particularly in that very international, and full of people from all over the world who want to work and play as hard as they can. There’s an energy that’s addictive. They’re very international, and culturally, they’re more similar than you might think. Hong Kong was a British territory until 1997.

The main difference is – and no one ever believes me about this – that Hong Kong is really cosy and compact… London is HUGE. You can drive for hours and not reach the edges. Hong Kong just isn’t that big. I like a city you can cuddle.
Out of interest, I just looked it up: Hong Kong is 1,092 square kilometres, and only 25% of that is the city and the rest is undeveloped, and London is 8,382 square kilometres, almost all developed. So there you go. (Wow. What a fascinating interview I am, huh? You must be so glad you’re reading this.)

MA: If you were stuck on a deserted island, what is the one piece of entertainment you'd want to have with you?
GB: A laptop with an eternal battery, so I could write... Or my husband, Fox. Does he count as entertainment? He is very loud and charming.

MA: What new years resolution do you plan to keep this year? Did you keep any last year?
GB: Nope. I never make resolutions, as I always know I won’t keep them... That sounds horrifically self-indulgent, doesn’t it? Well. I fear it is true. I am.

Special thanks to Gemma for answering our questions and to Charlotte Allen for arranging the interview and providing the books for the giveaway.


How to win "A Girl Like You":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page if you can receive messages there.)

1. Please tell us: What new years resolution do you plan to keep this year? Did you keep any last year?
2. Please tell us: If you were stuck on a deserted island, what is the one piece of entertainment you'd want to have with you?
3. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
4. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
5. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)

Giveaway ends Sunday, January 9th at midnight EST.

96 comments:

Kat said...

Another great interview Mels. :)

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Kat said...

The only resolution that I've made is to continue to work towards becoming better and healthier.

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Kat said...

If I were stuck on an island... I think I'd have to say a laptop with an eternal battery as well... it would be loaded with music, movies and games. :)

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Kat said...

I follow this blog on GFC.

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Kat said...

I am a proud member of CLC. :)

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Kat said...

Posted on FB

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Stephanie said...

I would like to win!

daniels_mommy04 at yahoo dot com

Stephanie said...

My New Year's resolution is to read 100 books this year and write a review for each book I read. It will be a challenge, but a fun and rewarding goal. Rather than lose x lbs and fail every time.

Stephanie said...

I'm assuming that batteries aren't an issue here? ;)

An ereader because it would hold 1000's of books. I would never have to pick one. Plus, who knows? I might pick up a near by cruise ship's WiFi.

Stephanie said...

DARN! Forgot the email for the last two entries AGAIN!

daniels_mommy04 at yahoo dot com

Stephanie said...

I follow on GFC

daniels_mommy04 at yahoo . com

Stephanie said...

Posted on Facebook.


daniels_mommy04 @ yahoo . com

Stephanie said...

Already a member of CLC

daniels_mommy04 @ yahoo . com

Bri said...

1. Please tell us: What new years resolution do you plan to keep this year? Did you keep any last year?

I have a few New Years Resolutions this year! To live a healthy lifestyle, to make more "me" time, and to spend time with family and friends. I am usually pretty good at keeping resolutions but I don't think I made any last year.

brianne(dot)libby(at)maine(dot)edu

Bri said...

If I was stuck on a deserted island I would want my nook. It would have to be PACKED with songs, games, and books to keep me entertained!

brianne(dot)libby(at)maine(dot)edu

Bri said...

I am already a follower of this blog.

brianne(dot)libby(at)maine(dot)edu

Bri said...

I am also a member of Chick Lit Central on facebook.

brianne(dot)libby(at)maine(dot)edu

Jonita said...

Ooooh! Another book for my wishlist (darn you, CLC, you've made my wishlist grown exponentially!). As for New Year's Resolutions, I'm resolved to say "no" to review books that don't really grab my attention and interest me. So far, so good, although I should cap myself on how many I accept, LOL. And, no, I didn't keep any last year. Oh well, new year, new start, right?

jonitathebookchick(at)gmail(dot)com

Jonita said...

Oh geez. The island question is a hard one. I guess that I would say a laptop, unlimited battery, with thousands of eBooks on it as well as "The Sims 3" with all of the expansion packs. That should keep me busy for a bit!

jonitathebookchick(at)gmail(dot)com

Jonita said...

I am a GFC follower!

jonitathebookchick(at)gmail(dot)com

Jonita said...

I belong to the CLC FB group.

jonitathebookchick(at)gmail(dot)com

Jonita said...

I have posted this on my sidebar at http://book-chic.blogspot.com.

PoCoKat said...

I follow on GFC.

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

PoCoKat said...

Last year I resolved to lose weight..I did...I lost 12 lbs. This year I resolve to keep it off.

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

PoCoKat said...

I belong to Chick Lit Central on Facebook.

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

Jenn P said...

I am a member on facebook

5petitosATgmail.COM

PoCoKat said...

Desert island...I would want my laptop with whatever internet connection would work!

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

Jenn P said...

If stuck on an Island I would definitely need my iphone and kids

5petitos@gmail.com

Jenn P said...

Great Interview!!

5petitos@gmail.com

Johanna R Jochum said...

I don't make new years resolutions. I always break them and then feel dissapointed about myself. I just try to be a good person all year then I don't worry about it! I sometimes fail in that too! LOL!

evjochum[AT]aol[DOT]com

Johanna R Jochum said...

If I was stuck on desserted island, I guess I would bring all my keeper books so I could re-read them all again. This is assuming there is no electricity right? If there was I take a tv! LOL!

evjochum[AT]aol[DOT]com

Johanna R Jochum said...

I follow this blog on GFC!

evjochum[AT]aol[DOT]com

Johanna R Jochum said...

I'm a Facebook friend of CLC!

Thanks for the great post!


evjochum[AT]aol[DOT]com

Jen R said...

sounds like a good book!

jen161@hotmail.com

Jen R said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen R said...

If I were stuck on a dessert island, i'd want a computer, there's more options of things to do!

jen161@hotmail.com

Jen R said...

Last year I kept my reading goal. This year I'm going for 50 books in a year. My other resolutions are to pay off one credit card, and lose 4 pounds per month

jen161@hotmail.com

Jen R said...

Now following the blog

jen161@hotmail.com

Jen R said...

facebook member of chick lit central

jen161@hotmail.com

susana said...

New Year Resolutions: Find a job, find a boyfriend (jeje)
Last year resolutions: the same ( I didn't achieve)
Deserted Island: a radio (lots of battery), books... a boyfriend (If I find one, jeje)
I am a follower of: Marian Keyes, Shopie Kinsella, Lisa Jewel, Tess Stimson, Rebeca Rus, Andrea Semple, etc.
Member of Chick Lit Central.
email address: smdiazz33 at hotmail dot
com
Happy New Year!!!
Happy New reads...
Regards,
susana

Zoë said...

this book looks great!

strandedhero(at)gmail(dot)com

Zoë said...

my new years resolution is to make healthy lifestylee changes

strandedhero(at)gmail(dot)com

Zoë said...

my one piece of entertainment would be either a never ending or really long book like war and peace.

strandedhero(at)gmail(dot)com

Zoë said...

i'm a gfc follower

strandedhero(at)gmail(dot)com

Heather said...

My resolution is to finish my wedding album! I don't think I made any last year.
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Heather said...

I would want to have my cricut if I was on a deserted island.
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Heather said...

I am a follower!
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Heather said...

I am a member of Chick Lit Central!
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Heather said...

I shared on facebook.
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

karenk said...

i don't make new years resolutions (any more)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

if i were stuck on a deserted island...i would love to have an e-reader loaded w/ a ton of books :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

i'm a follower :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Ruthie said...

lose some weight (sigh)...again!

ruthiekb72ATyahooDOTcom

Ruthie said...

my blackberry (w/service) on that island!

ruthiekb72ATyahooDOTcom

Ruthie said...

fb follower...Ruthie B

ruthiekb72ATyahooDOTcom

Pia Bernardino said...

My new year's resolution this year is to read more books, I read about 25 last year, so I want to surpass it by five or ten or more.

If I was stuck in a deserted island I would love to have my Kindle provided that the island has wireless access and a plug to charge my kindle :)

I am a follower and will post in facebook and twitter. Thanks!

piabernardino [at] bermillion [dot] com

BRN2SHOP9 said...

I stopped setting new years resolutions years ago because I never followed through with them.

BRN2SHOP9 said...

I would want a ton of books with me if I wwas stuck on a desert island.

BRN2SHOP9 said...

I follow through google friend follow.

BRN2SHOP9 said...

I follow through facebook

BRN2SHOP9 said...

I follow through twitter

BRN2SHOP9 said...

I follow through email.

Linda Kish said...

These sound like fun books.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

I would want my netbook and internet access, too. I could be fully entertained that way.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

My resolution for this year is to lose 18lbs. Last year it was 19.5lbs. I strive for 10% only. But I only lost 15 last year.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

russellfamilyare said...

My resoloutions are to keep on eating healthy and excercising and to read more.
Didnt make any last year.
If I was stuck on an Island as long as I had lots of books I would be fine for entertainment.
I am a member on Facebook

JHS. said...

I don't make New Year's resolutions. I make life resolutions. I don't have any recent ones that I wish to discuss here, but I'm doing well. Thanks for asking. :-)
As for a deserted island, I could entertain myself for decades so long as I had my flute with me.

GFC follower.
FB member.

JHS
Colloquium

jhsmail at comcast dot net

Anonymous said...

I resolve to excercise more this year.


jeryl.marcus@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I would want to be stuck with a laptop because it seems like the things you can do the most with.

jeryl.marcus@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I am a follower of chick lit central.

jeryl.marcus@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I am a fan of CLC on facebook.

jeryl.marcus@gmail.com

a real librarian said...

Thanks for the giveaway!!

I am definitely going to watch my weight this year. I don't usually make resolutions, but I thought I would try it this year!

areallibrarian[at]gmail[dot]com

a real librarian said...

I would probably bring lots of books!


areallibrarian[at]gmail[dot]com

a real librarian said...

I follow!!


areallibrarian[at]gmail[dot]com

Nancye said...

Great interview! This sounds like a book I would enjoy reading. Thanks for the chance.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

I'm not very big on making resolutions anymore..........I'd always forget them!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Follower

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Tweet! Tweet!
@NancyeDavis

http://twitter.com/#!/NancyeDavis/status/23986687486992384

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

I have already joined Chick Lit Central on Facebook.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOTn

Nancye said...

I posted this giveaway on my Facebook Wall
FB ID: Nancye Epperson Davis

http://tiny.cc/g4lvo

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

A bit about Kelli said...

kelli dot inreallife at gmail dot com (email)

So far I've stuck to my resolution of working out at least once a week, and cutting soda out of my diet (which Ive done for a week).

If on a deserted island, I'd have to have my ipad with me. Its the greatest invention.

Bonnie said...

My resolution is to eat healthy and exercise more and keep staying "green".
intrepid9923(at)yahoo(dot)com

Bonnie said...

I am a follower!
intrepid9923(at)yahoo(dot)com

Bonnie said...

I follow on facebook.
intrepid9923(at)yahoo(dot)com

Bonnie said...

I shared giveaway on facebook.
intrepid9923(at)yahoo(dot)com

Bonnie said...

I follow on Twitter.
intrepid9923(at)yahoo(dot)com

Bonnie said...

I tweeted giveaway on Twitter.
http://twitter.com/#!/intrepid9923/status/24124518272344065

Bonnie said...

If I was stranded on a desert island, I would have to take my laptop...I could read books, play games, watch movies, Skype with family and friends, etc. Laptops can do it all for me!
intrepid9923(at)yahoo(dot)com

ADR said...

My resolution is to run more.

adr52775 at aol dot com

ADR said...

I would take my NOOK.

adr52775 at aol dot com

ADR said...

I follow the blog

adr52775 at aol dot com

ADR said...

I like on Facebook

adr52775 at aol dot com

ADR said...

I follow on Twitter

adr52775 at aol dot com

Jasmine1485 said...

My new year's resolution was to stick with my exercise routine, and so far I'm doing great ;)

Kate1485 at hotmail.com

Jasmine1485 said...

If batteries aren't an issue, then my laptop, because it has books, photos, games etc and can keep me entertained for a long time to come :P

Kate1485 at hotmail.com

Jasmine1485 said...

I'm a member of your fan group on Facebook (Kate Ryan)

Kate1485 at hotmail.com