Author of contemporary romance (Soulmates Saga and the Love & Alternatives Series) and the Poison Blood Series, which is a mix of paranormal romance, vampire romance and urban fantasy and suitable for young adult (YA books) and new adult (NA books) readers. UCL Psychology grad, avid reader and blogger.
Q: What was the main inspiration behind Chasing Pavements?
A: Usually, it takes a combination of different factors and
experiences to inspire a whole novel. I take inspiration from good books,
films, music, and of course anything interesting I know. I also draw on my
knowledge of Psychology.
You do need one or two triggers
to start writing though. For Chasing
Pavements, it was this bizarre vision I woke up with on the morning of
August 1, 2010. I opened my eyes with Jamie in my head. I could see him so
clearly - his hair, his eyes, his demeanour. As though he was a very good
friend, I just knew him - his pain,
his apathy, his past, his present. What I didn’t know was his future.
But I wanted to find out.
I spent the rest of the day thinking about him, his life, his
family, and music. Christmas 2009 with Jamie and his family was the first scene
that came to me that day.
Music had a critical part to play in it too. That summer, I had
been obsessed with Muse’s single Neutron Star
Collision and I knew that song represented Jamie (and Mukti) when he first
came into my life. A fading star, losing his way.
The other song that had grabbed me was Marcus Foster’s I Was Broken (the lyrics speak of no
longer being broken). That was the song I wanted to represent Jamie (and Mukti)
at the end of the book. All year, I had been fascinated by the idea of two
fading stars, coming together and then emerging brighter as one, and somehow
this concept inspired the storyline.
Q: How did you start your novel?
A: The first scene I envisioned was Christmas 2009. It
played in my head like a film - I didn’t dictate much of the action, it just
rolled like a movie in my mind. Astonishingly, I didn’t write that scene until
the very end!
What I started with was the first encounter between Jamie
and Mukti. I had become very interested in the needle sculpture after seeing it
for the first time that year and I wanted them to meet there. As I wrote that
scene, ideas for their next meeting came to me and I wrote that. And then the
next meeting, then the next…
Once I filled in the gaps between those scenes, I went back and
wrote the beginning. Strangely enough, the Christmas 2009 section in the final
version of the book is very similar to the daydream
I had on August 1, 2010.
Q: Do you have a writing routine?
A: I have a full-time job and get home at 7pm, so I have
very little time to write, and I have to fit in my other responsibilities. I
wrote Chasing Pavements when I was
still living with my family and things at home were pretty hectic. Hardly any
peace or quiet or privacy or time. But I just couldn’t not write these amazingly awkward scenes between two intriguing
I didn’t have my own desk or a comfortable chair. I put my
laptop on my bed, knelt on the floor and typed. Not great for the knees! But
that’s something Jamie had to do too - put his keyboard on his bed, get down on
his knees and play. It was a bonding experience for us!
I would love to be in a position where I can write
full-time. When I write, I lose track of time and space and don’t feel hungry
or thirsty. I don’t feel the need to do anything other than sit with my laptop
and write. I’m the kind of person who would have a routine for each day, the
week, the month. And stick to it!
Q: What was your favourite thing about writing this novel?
A: Reading fiction for me (and the majority of people) is a
form of escapism. It’s the same with writing, only you get to escape to a world
you’ve created, spend time with characters you’ve brought to life, experience
all the pain and pleasure and excitement that you envision. That was great.
The best part though was getting to know Jamie and Mukti.
They have become a very big part of my life and I don’t think they will cease
to feel like good friends to me for the rest of my life.
Q: Do you have a favourite scene in the book?
A: My favourite scene is definitely the first kiss between
Jamie and Mukti, on the bridge, in the rain. It’s the most iconic moment in the
book, I think. Epic.
It was actually inspired by a story a former colleague of
mine told me a few years back. On the train home from work one evening, he was
sitting next to a man and a woman who had seemingly just met on this particular
commute. They were talking about each other’s jobs, where they lived, and
previously studied; the kind of conversation a normal guy would strike up with
a girl he met on the train. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Until the guy took hold of the girl’s collar and just kissed
Afterwards, the girl giggled, coyly.
My colleague had been convinced that they had only just met -
how could they simply kiss like that? Unfortunately, he departed the train
before the couple so he couldn’t see how that little romance played out.
But I could imagine a whole love story around this incident
and wanted to work it into a book. It just didn’t materialise until 18 months
later when Jamie popped into my head!
I would still like to write that train-kiss scene into a
novel or short story at some point…
Q: Are the songs in the book original?
A: Yes. All original. All written by me.
A couple of the songs were written before Jamie/the book
even existed (e.g. the first song in the novel, Square 1, was written almost exactly a year earlier); a few came
after the first draft was complete. I wrote a number of them while writing the
sections the songs appeared in (such as One
Half, which came to me at the same time as it came to Jamie in the hotel
room), a few were composed especially for scenes I had already written, and the
rest came during the time I was writing the story.
Q: If your book was made into a film, who would you cast
in the main roles?
A: I keep going back to reading but when I read books, they
play like films in my head. When I write, I’m actually writing about the movie
rolling in my mind (they even have their own soundtracks).
Its often celebrities/actors that play the roles of my characters.
It’s like directing these actors in my own film and apart
from Mukti, the female lead of the book, the appearance of all the main characters are actually
based on actors I like or those that look like how I want my characters to look
But that doesn’t mean I actually dare to dream that my book
would be made into a film, or that it would have my ideal cast if it was
adapted for the big screen. That would be so crazy!