YA SPOT: Author interview with Liz Rettig
My Scorching Summer Diary by the lovely Liz Rettig was one of our teen picks back in March; a hilarious tale about student heroine Kelly Anne. We last spoke to Liz in 2008, so needless to say, we were looking forward to a catch up!
Please describe your latest book in 15 words or fewer.
Kelly Ann's summer in London: steamy kitchens, hot guys, love, lies, and laundry larceny.
What inspired you to write My Scorching Summer Diary?
Same thing that inspires all my books - my own misspent, chaotic and embarrassing youth. When I was a student at Glasgow University - a long time ago, don't ask - I got a summer job working as a kitchen assistant in a holiday camp just outside London. Away from parental supervision for the first time, I soon got into a routine of getting smashed every night, along with other, slightly older students working there, then having to wake at dawn with a humongous hangover to scrub a hot, greasy kitchen. Did I learn from this? Did I diddly. But hey, it gave me some fun ideas for this book.
Where do you do most of your writing?
In my head really; walking in the park, or along the street, while smiling inanely, sighing, or muttering madly to myself, depending on what's going on with the story at the time. Typing is done in saner moments at home in what used to be my dining room. Since I hate cooking, it is almost never used for this purpose anymore so I can write or - more often than I care to admit - idly surf the net there to my heart's content.
What is your favourite book?
Oh come on now, I love books! You can't possible ask me to choose just one? Well, okay, if I were pushed, in the chick-lit genre, my favorite is Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes. How the author manages to make a serious topic like drug addiction absolutely hilarious is beyond me - but she does. Sheer genius. I also love Sophie Kinsella's books - brilliant fun. And then of course there's Pride and Prejudice and . . . Oops sorry, you asked for just one, didn't you?
Which part of My Scorching Summer Diary was the most enjoyable to write?
The scene in the hotel laundry room where Kelly Ann gets caught stealing a very hot American guy's boxers by their owner and tries to explain away her laundry larceny. And the very last chapter.
What are you currently reading?
The Incomers, a debut novel by Scottish author Moira McPartlin. The storyline is a lot darker than I'd normally read but it's brightened by some down to earth, call-a-spade-a-sodding shovel Scottish humour.
Who is your favourite heroine?
Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice without a doubt. Mr Darcy is my favorite hero too - especially as acted by Colin Firth. Having said that, the Twilight stars Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner are rather nice too. But I digress - you didn't actually, erm, ask me about heroes did you?
Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published authors?
Yes, authors tend to depression, alcoholism and suicide. Don't do it. But okay, if you're still determined, you're probably at least slightly masochistic and mad (this helps). So, my advice would be to read a lot, write a lot, and make sure your manuscript is as good as it can be before you send it off to agents and publishers. Expect rejections - they happen to all of us at some point - and don't give up.
Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
Several things - I'm revamping an adult Kelly Ann story I worked on some time ago. I'm also thinking of writing a novel about a love hate relationship which develops between a working class boy from the wrong end of town and a privately educated, spoiled rich girl. A kind of modern, urban Wuthering Heights but with much more humour. This is at the very early stages though, so I'm still walking around smiling inanely, sighing, or muttering madly to myself. . .