TRASHI TALKS TO: Lucy Robinson
So, what have you been up to since we last spoke to you?
Well... I've fallen in love with opera, met the Queen (OK, filmed her), been to Ibiza for the first time and danced in a proper nightclub, been to the Paralympics, got stuck in Hurricane Sandy in New York, learned to bake the very best chorizo and cheddar muffins, been a bridesmaid in a secret castle in Scotland and streaked naked on a windy beach in Kent. Oh, and I've written most of my third novel.
It's been a fairly uneventful year.
Can you tell us more about your latest book?
Gladly! It's called A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger and it's about Charley Lambert, an overly-tall girl from a very strange family who is obsessed with being perfect. She's worked so hard at creating a perfect life that somewhere along the line she's become a slave to her schedule and can't even remember what love or spontaneity is. But then she breaks her legs in three places and finds herself stuck in bed for three months. To avoid madness she starts a company designed to help people who are rubbish at internet dating and quickly falls in love with a man who she's trying to set up with one of her clients . . . Anyway, I can't tell you any more than that the experience of falling in love with a total stranger takes Charley on a very, very unexpected journey which is anything other than perfect.
What are you reading at the moment?
I'm dividing my time between Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion and Ali Harris' The First Last Kiss. A rather unorthodox combination if ever there was one. But I'm enjoying both very much.
Are there any authors who have inspired you?
I have to be honest; I was never planning on being a novelist. I often feel embarrassed about this - as if I'm only worthy of being an author after spending twenty years fielding rejection letters and slaving away with a typewriter in a freezing shed. So no, no writer in particular has inspired me to do what I do; it just sort of happened. However there are plenty that I admire. Off the top of my head I'd say Salmon Rushdie. It takes guts to carry on writing books when there's a price on your head. When I moan about how hard it can sometimes be to write a book I do often think of him and the circumstances under which he's written some of his!
What kind of research did you do for your latest novel?
Well, for starters I have thirty-two years of beating myself for not being perfect. Although that has definitely worn off over the last few years. I also have an embarrassing track-record of falling in love with total strangers I've met online. Additionally I spent a couple of months living in Edinburgh a few years ago, but I did go back up there in 2011 to spend a few days roaming around, talking to locals and eating quite a lot. All of the other research came from the usual sources - putting shout-outs on Facebook asking if anyone knew anyone who worked in Pharmaceutical PR, or if anyone could help me with a thrice-broken leg scenario...
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
You won't often hear me saying things like this but I'm incredibly proud of this book. Not necessarily for what it is, but more because the writing of it was so challenging. Apart from anything else I nearly died in an Ecuadorian hospital while writing it! The entire thing was written on the road as I travelled the length and breadth of South America. During that time I was also falling in love with The Man, learning Spanish and of course seeing and doing things I'll remember for the rest of my life. So, while it was a constant struggle to find writing time amidst the travelling madness, it was the best time of my life.
What are you working on next? (If you can tell us of course!
My third novel is due in January 2014, I believe, and it's called The Woman Who Sang in the Wardrobe. It's about opera and loss and bravery and love. I'm writing like stink at the moment as my deadline is the end of March (gulp) but I think, or at least hope, it'll be well-worth the slog.