Thursday, April 19, 2012

Only the "greatest" for Lucy Robinson, plus a book giveaway

From Eva Bell Photography
Introduction by Gail Allison

**Giveaway is now closed**

Lucy Robinson grew up in England, where she initially decided to be an actor, until she arrived at University and realized that she was somewhat lacking in talent. She took it in stride, and turned her attention to working first in theatre production and then on documentaries. As her career escalated, her love life did exactly the opposite. Rather than take this in stride as well, she chose to begin blogging about the ridiculousness that was her love life in 2009. Everything blew up from there. People adored her blog so much that she found herself being advised to write a novel, and then offered a publishing deal! After finishing her first novel ("The Greatest Love Story of All Time") while living in Buenos Aires, she wrote another while travelling around South America (no title as yet, TBP Jan 2013). We can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!!!

Thanks to Penguin UK, we have THREE copies of "The Greatest Love Story of All Time" to share with some lucky readers ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!

You can find Lucy at her aforementioned blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
Too much! While editing my second novel and starting my third I’m working on two TV documentaries; one for the BBC and one project of my own. I play in an orchestra once a week, I’m getting back into exercise after two years of travelling (somewhat challenging, that bit . . .) and I’m also involved in a mentoring scheme. Oh and my boyfriend and I are in the middle of a ghastly DIY project that is taking months! Oh dear. I would have preferred it if my answer included words like ‘massage’ and ‘weekend minibreaks’ and ‘cooking for friends’ and other such aspirational activities. One day, maybe . . .

Which authors have inspired you?
Actually I’d never really read any chicklit before I wrote "The Greatest Love Story of All Time." It was a totally personal attempt and all things considered I’m very lucky it worked. Now though I try to read chicklit as often as possible as I have a lot to learn from my contemporaries. I think Marian Keyes is queen of the genre for a very good reason – she’s streets ahead. So engaging, warm and funny; her characters are so simply but brilliantly drawn. I also recently discovered Lucy-Ann Holmes who I find absolutely hilarious – her language is as atrocious as mine. Nice to have a bit of solidarity there.

What did you do to celebrate when first published?
Unfortunately, due to being far too busy, I’ve been unable to find time to organise the fabulous Sex and The City-style launch party that I wanted (I was going to throw a big, glamorous Gin Thursday) but hopefully things will calm down in the summer and I can attempt it then. My celebrations when I got the book deal were also a bit low-key for my liking – I was in the middle of moving to Argentina and once again, I didn’t have time to celebrate. When I got the call from my agent I was sitting in a field with my horse, saying goodbye to her. So I gave her a hug and some carrots and then she wandered off: that was it. Not very glamorous.

How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
I’d say a mixture of both. My third novel has probably been more heavily-planned than the other two but that’s because it’s more ambitious in scope. Being a control freak I feel a lot safer if I’ve got a clear plan mapped out but I’m learning that it really doesn’t work like that. As the characters come to life, they start telling the story themselves. So as often as not I’ll literally watch my hands typing things; starting big new plot twists apparently without consulting me. Those sorts of developments are the best, in my experience. Totally spontaneous and straight from the characters’ mouth.

Can you tell us what the most difficult scene to write in "The Greatest Love Story of All Time" was, and how you got through it?
The first scene was the hardest by a long shot - it was awful! I’d been roughly planning the storyline in my head for a few weeks and had eventually decided to start writing one Sunday evening just before Christmas. I went off to bed with my laptop (I do a lot of writing in bed) and was all fired up and ready to go and then...nothing. Panic! After about an hour of paralysis I went back to the sitting room where my housemate Kieran was watching TV. “I can’t write this novel,” I cried. He made me tea and fed me biscuits and sent me back to my room looking slightly afraid. After another agonising hour I decided to start writing about the main character and as soon as I wrote down the name ‘Fran’ I was away. I wrote pages about her and her life and what goes on in her head. Once I had that, it was easy. That’s how I’ve started both the second and third novels too. Character first, story second.

If "The Greatest Love Story of All Time" were made into a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?
I made a trailer for the book recently so I had to cast actors to play Leonie, Stefania and Dave which was quite odd – I felt very protective over those three and was quite sure I’d never find anyone who felt right. (Fortunately, I was wrong! You can watch the trailer here) But my fantasy famous cast… Well, for Dave, it’s easy. I was watching Hotel Rwanda a few months ago and suddenly in wandered Joaquin Phoenix with a mop of unruly hair and piercing blue eyes with a fag (cigarette) in one hand and a news camera in the other. Good looking but in an unusual, rugged way. He was wearing an old T-shirt and had scruffy trainers on and I nearly passed out with excitement. I sent my friend a crazed message about having found Dave and she thought I was having an affair or something. But for the others characters, I really, honestly don’t know. I’m hoping your readers might make some suggestions!

What is your favourite birthday memory?
2011, my 31st, was pretty good. I was in the middle of travelling up the Argentinian Andes but when I got to Bariloche I took an overnight bus back to Buenos Aires to go and spend my birthday with the friends I’d made while living there. My friends made me late breakfast, then I had a skype with The Man who had locked himself into a meeting room at work and was having champagne and cake on my behalf. He paid for my friends and I to go for lovely lunch at Helena, my favourite cafĂ©, and then we went vintage shopping. That night I had a big Asado (BBQ) and, after eating several tonnes of the world’s best steak, we went dancing until 4am which I thought was quite impressive given my advanced years. It was odd not to be at home but as foreign birthdays go it was about as lovely a day as I could have imagined.

What TV show, book, or movie reminds you most of your own life?
Writing a book has made me realise that most books/films/tv shows involve a heightened version of reality which (thank goodness) bears little relation to real life. I always wanted my life to resemble something I'd seen in a film and used to feel like I was getting it wrong, somehow, when it wasn’t all drama and madness and ecstasy. I remember when I met my boyfriend, The Man, panicking on the phone to a friend about the fact that I wasn’t having a heart attack or spontaneously breaking into poetic verse/song/dance – but as she pointed out, healthy relationships (and normal life) just aren’t like that! They’re slow, gentle and, however lovely they might be, they’re imperfect. So nowadays I’m quite happy not to resemble a story line from Friends or "Bridget Jones's Diary."

If you could take us on a tour of your town, where would we go first?
We'd start at The Breakfast Club in Camden Passage, Islington, London. It is a tiny little place that wins the Lucy Robinson prize for best breakfast AND best tunes in London. I'd treat you to an outrageously good plate of egg-related deliciousness and then we'd mince around Camden Passage looking at antiques and old books and posh food in gorgeous little cafes. We'd probably buy some vintage clothing and then - if I'm being realistic - we'd go back to the Breakfast Club for lunch.

Funniest thing that happened to you recently?
I was on a bus a few days ago and a couple of yoofs (sic) got on and sat behind me. They commenced bitching about a girl from their school who, it seemed clear, they didn't like. Then one of them came out with "Man, she is MOIST. She is MOISTER THAN WATER." Grammar aside, I was doubled over with laughter by the sheer absurdity of this expression. But I of course got straight on my iPhone, like the old Granny that I am, and consulted the Urban Dictionary. It turns out that being moist involves being uninformed and generally idiotic/embarrassing. Wow. I'm not sure I'll be taking that one into my next novel.

Special thanks to Lucy for visiting with us and making us laugh and to Penguin UK for sharing Lucy's book with our readers.

How to win "The Greatest Love Story of All Time":
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 or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us what we should do if we were to visit the town where you live. 
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

Giveaway ends April 24th at midnight EST.


Marthalynn said...

Wow, she sure is a busy lady!

Atlanta actually has some amazing chefs and a wonderful food scene. I would recommending eating cheaply during the day at the Korean and Vietnamese food shops and getting a delicious farm to table meal from one of our outstanding restaurants in the evening.

I'm a follower

marthalynn16 at gmail

Rebecca (RivkaBelle) said...

haha, If this interview is any sign of the way the novel reads, I must get my hands on it! :o)

+1: If you came to see me, we'd hit up the Zoo! It's one of the best in the country, and my personal favorite weekend "hike" :o)

+1: I'm a GFC follower

+1: I'm a member of the fb group (as Rebecca M Fleming)

Thanks for the giveaway!
::fingers crossed::

Unknown said...

I live in ATL, and like Comment # 1 - we have some Amazing restaurants! The Carter Library os pretty cool, too.

I tweeted the blog. I am a follower and and "like" on FB!


Kritters Ramblings said...

If you were to visit Alexandria, VA you should go to Mount Vernon - it is not only historical, but the views are beautiful.
i am a fan on facebook
i follow via gfc.

Sheena said...

Sounds like a cute read. I'm a member of the blog and am also a member on the facebook page:)


ANNIE M said...

O1. swtiine(AT)gmail(DOT)com
O2. You'd probably want to try out all the different ethnic food places around my town!
O3. I already follow this blog :)

Anonymous said...

I'm a follower on facebook ~ which is where I reposted this to all my book loving friends to see.

s.harris27 at ntlworld dot com

Sophie Bristow Harris on Facebook :-)

Teresa said...

I'd suggest visiting some of the micro breweries we have. There are a bunch!

I am a follower

karenk said...

i would take you to a steelers football game.

thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel.

i'm a follower, too :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Lilian said...

1. Please tell us what we should do if we were to visit the town where you live.

I'm in Hawaii, and everyone knows if you are must hit the beaches!
The North Shore has the best waves...fresh shrimp...dolphins...and SHAVE ICE (I didn't even know colored water could taste THAT good, but does taste awesome, even IF it's only flavored water)
and then maybe our state library, that's pretty epic.

2. I'm a follower!

3. tweeted:

4. Joined Chick Lit Central on Facebook

Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

Kristen said...

We are known for BBQ, so you'd have to do that!

And I can't believe "moist" is now a slang word. I hate that word to begin with - who wants to use it more???

I follow on FB and email.


BRN2SHOP9 said...

The only things to do in my town are to eat Dunkin Donuts (4 of them), 7/11 (4), Pizza (about 2 dozen) or chinese food. lol

I follow via facebook, twitter and gfc.

brn2shop9 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

Moist, huh? Kids will make anything into a slang word. Weird. The book sounds great. I'd love to be the lucky winner.

I am a GFC follower

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Cyndee said...

If you came to Zephyrhills,Florida, the City of Pure Water, I would welcome her with Breakfast at Flaco's a taste of Cuban food and Friendliness, a tour of our small town. Meet our new Mayor and see our Historical museums. Lunch would be a 2 Minutes (diner) and a walk around our Zephyr Lake. After she had a rest, meet some of our local unsung hero's. Dinner would be a Southern Style feast with Seafood from the gulf and Fried Chicken and Biscuits.
Thanks for the giveaway! I want to read this one so much!
Cyndee Thomas

bn100 said...

Very nice interview. You should visit the museums.

I follow the blog.

Thanks for the giveaway.


Bridget O'Neill said...

This book looks great!

If you were to visit my town, you would have to bike on some of the many bike trails around here. There are so many, and some are beautiful!

I am a follower

I just asked to join the Facebook group (as Bridget Farley O'Neill)

Mary Preston said...

Wonderful thank you.

I would take you to see the prize winning gardens. World famous & so beautiful.

GFC: Mary Preston

FB: Mary Preston


StereoQueenBee said...

1. Please tell us what we should do if we were to visit the town where you live.

I live in Montreal, so there is a lot to do. World class chefs, theatre, music, clubs... so much!

2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).

Already follow this blog.

3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.

Facebook - Sabrina-Kate Eryou
Twitter - stereoqueenbee

4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines as well.

Am already a member.

queenofcrunk at gmail dot com

Literary Chanteuse said...

Since I live near the mountains camping and fishing is a good to do in my area.

-member of CLC on FB


Kim W. said...

1. If you visit in July, the Calgary Stampede is the place to be! I personally avoid it because it's so very very busy and have participated before, but as a visitor, it's extremely fun. Lots of attractions, rides, concerts, parties, rodeos, etc.

2. I follow the CLC blog

3. I shared this contest

4. I belong to CLC on FB

Dolly said...

Nice interview - I want to come visit! Breakfast, shopping and lunch - great!

If you visit my city, I think first peddle-boat down the canal, followed by a baseball game (dogs & beer of course), then one of the many museums downtown, some shopping at Circle Centre Mall, and cap it off with dinner at the Eagle's Nest (a waaaay cool revolving restaurant at the top of the Hilton - no better way to see the city lights!)

I'm a FB/blog follower.

jcsites2002 at homtail dot com

Maureen said...

In our town you could go to a local farm with a petting zoo.
I follow on GFC
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

susieqlaw said...

When you visit here, you would want to visit the river!

I am a member of Chick Lit Central on Facebook and twitter.

Erica said...

In my town you have to go to the farmer's market. It's been written about in tons of magazines.

I am a follower.

wordywon AT gmail DOT com