The Greatest Love Story high res.jpgBack in January we posted about Lucy Robinson's chick-lit debut, The Greatest Love Story of All Time. The book was released yesterday, and we couldn't wait to speak to Lucy about the novel, which is set to be a hilarious read about newly-dumped Fran, who decides to investigate her predicament with some unpleasant results! Here Lucy talks about how she came up with the idea behind the Greatest Love Story, and her upcoming projects...

Please describe your latest book in 15 words or fewer.
Wannabe political journalist - slightly unstable - tries unusual cure for broken-heartedness. Evil cat watches scornfully.

What inspired you to write The Greatest Love Story of All Time?

An evening in a gay bar in Soho with a publisher who reckoned that my own recent break-up would be an excellent place to start a story.  I warned her that I probably couldn't do it but a year later I had a finished book on my hands. Who knew?! I'd always wanted to write but was absolutely convinced that I didn't have a story in me. I thought that if I ever did make it as a writer I'd be writing crusty academic papers or something.

Where do you do most of your writing?

I'm going to have to admit that the majority of my writing has taken place in bed. The first six months of my first book were written between midnight and three in the morning because I had no other spare time. Then the next eighteen months I lived abroad, staying almost entirely in hostels where the quietest place, during the day, was the dorm. Now though I'm beginning to take residence at my kitchen table.

What is your favourite book?
I remember my father telling me years ago that one of the greatest ever - but least acknowledged - works of fiction was John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. I read it in a day and was gobsmacked. I'm looking at my bookshelves right now and I can't see anything that matches it for the sheer brilliance of its observation. The human mind, in all its sad truth, is laid bare with a wit so savage it makes you wince. And the story of how it came to be published is amazing.

Which part of The Greatest Love Story of All Time was the most enjoyable to write?

Oh, the final scenes. They just fell out. I barely needed to edit them; they were just bubbling, waiting to be written. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I even cried a bit when I read them over. By then I'd totally fallen in love with my characters and cared far too much about their lives.

What are you currently reading?

The Irresistable Inheritance of Wilberforce by Paul Torday.  A sad, strangely gripping account of the loneliness and denial that co-exist in the alcoholic mind.

Who is your favourite heroine?

Hmmmm. I do rather enjoy terrifying and fabulous females - Lady Bracknell from Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, Mrs Bennet from Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Lady Croom from Stoppard's Arcadia. This love of two-dimensional characters probably doesn't bode well for me as an author but they just make me laugh and laugh and laugh. Hurrah for terrifying and fabulous females!

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published authors?

I can only share what worked for me:

  • Write something, even if it's rubbish
  • Once you've got a good chunk, find an agent. Quite apart from the fact that they know the industry and who to send your manuscript to, how to pitch it, how much money it's worth etc, they will help sort out all the mistakes that an author makes on their first novel.
  • Once you're going, set aside small, manageable chunks of time to write. Saying you're going to the Alps to write intensively for two weeks is a recipe for disaster (if you're anything like me anyway.) You'll end up spending all your time procrastinating on Facebook because what you're trying to do is huge and unmanageable. Less is more - I really stand by that.
Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
I'm editing my second novel, I've started writing the third, I'm working on an arts documentary for BBC1 and I'm devising a festival documentary about a bunch of total nutters who camp out on a French mountain once a year dressed in the most extraordinary outfits. In short, I'm doing too much!

Thanks, Lucy!

You can find out more about Lucy Robinson over at her website, and also at Marie Claire blogs.

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