Thursday, February 28, 2013
I am thrilled to welcome awesome author (and all-round lovely bloke) MATT DUNN to Coffee and Roses to tell us about his latest book A Day At The Office, which is out now. Over to you, Matt!
Every writer knows what their books are about – the story, I mean – when they're writing them. But sometimes (for me at least) it takes a while to realise what they're actually about - in terms of the theme. For example, in my previous six novels, the themes were friendship (Best Man), being dumped (The Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook), fatherhood (From Here To Paternity), relationships (Ex-Girlfriends United), marriage (The Good Bride Guide), and fidelity (The Accidental Proposal).
And when I thought about it, I realised these were pretty much the six themes I'd wanted to cover when I first began writing, and started trying to give my 'unique' male perspective on life, love, and relationships.
The trouble was, once I'd delivered my sixth book, that meant it was pretty much a case of 'job done', which left me with a bit of a dilemma, as I was probably too old to go and retrain as an accountant. And besides, as a comedy novelist, I still had some jokes left in me.
But what on earth could I make those jokes about? As a strong believer in 'write what you know', I'd pretty much written everything I knew (though not for one moment do I want you to think all of my books are autobiographical – no one person could be that unlucky in love!). And then it hit me. The one theme that was perhaps common to each of my previous books – and probably the one theme that features strongly in every book ever written about love.
The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to write about how we'll do anything to avoid the feeling of being alone; embarrass ourselves in front of the opposite sex, put up with, shall we say, less-than-perfect relationships, put ourselves through hell in the gym, expose ourselves (not in that way!) on the internet, obsess about people who perhaps don't even know we exist, lay ourselves on the line, only to have our heartfelt declarations of undying love thrown right back in our faces... And how sometimes, the loneliest of times are, ironically, when you're surrounded by millions of people.
And that's how my seventh novel, A Day At The Office, was born. It's the story of five people who work for the same company in central London – Sophie (the office singleton), Calum (tiptoeing gingerly through the minefield of internet dating), Nathan (broken-hearted), Julie (let's just say 'it's complicated'), and Mark (unrequited love) – all looking for love on the most romantic day of the year. And even though they might not realise it themselves, it's the need to not feel lonely that's driving them all.
Of course, I'm a comedy novelist, so it was important to make it funny (even though loneliness is perhaps the least funny feeling anyone can experience), but fortunately, I found I didn't have to try too hard – the things we all do to avoid being alone are quite frankly, in some cases, ridiculous. As to whether I've succeeded, well, the reader will have to be the judge of that!
Thanks so much, Matt! I’m reading A Day At The Office now and I can thoroughly recommend it to everyone. I’m a massive fan of Matt's books and it’s a real treat! Matt previously ventured into the Coffee and Roses Author Spotlight back in 2011 – you can read his interview here. Watch out for more Guest Authors coming soon!
Friday, February 22, 2013
All this year I will be documenting the writing, editing and publishing of my fifth novel, giving you a unique, behind-the-scenes look at my life as a writer. This week, I'm well into writing the new first draft of Book 5 and have started to ask for your help...
Last time I told you I was going to invite you to get involved with the new Book 5 - and this week I asked my first question:
What is the name of the San Francisco cabbie in the story?
I had fifty awesome suggestions on Twitter - so thank you so much if you sent one! I announce the winner in this week's vlog below, so fingers crossed and enjoy! There will be more chances to get involved - watch out for the #getinvolved hashtag on my twitter profile and special requests on my facebook page. And if I use your suggestion, you will get a thank you in the acknowledgements of Book 5!
p.s. This week's YouTube-nominated freeze-frame is entitled, 'La-Laaaaaaaah!'
p.p.s. I also mention some fantastic writing retreats - find out about BookCamp here
Saturday, February 16, 2013
I am so excited to reveal to you the winners of my Future Stars competition!
It's been amazing - over 200 entries, tons of awesome talent and one very tough decision for me. In the end, I've chosen seven Future Stars because the entries were so good and I just couldn't choose between the last three. So two of my Magnificent Seven have been offered scholarships and five regular places. I'm not sure if they'll be as excited to have to put up with me for a year as I am to work with them!
There were also a group of entrants who were so good that I wished I could take them all on. As a way of inspiring them, I will be contacting them in the next few days to offer something I hope will inspire them and encourage them to pursue their writing dream. Read on after the vlog below to see who those people are...
So, without further ado, here are my magnificent seven!
Congratulations to Dominique Hall, Emma Warburton, Ritzi Cortez, Neal Doran, Emily Glenister, Millie McGarrick and Kate Rhead, who I will be mentoring for the next twelve months!
The lovely writers I will be contacting this week are:
Alan Geoffrey Smith
Laura E. James
Massive congratulations to everyone and I'll be in touch soon!
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Stuck for ways to impress your Valentine? Fear not! I've gathered the wisdom of some of the stars of my books to show you what (and what not) to do to win the heart of the woman in your life.
We all need a bit of inspiration when February 14th rolls around and the stars of my books Fairytale of New York, Welcome to My World, It Started With a Kiss and When I Fall in Love have top tips to share with you! Click on any of the book titles (in red) to see the books where each lovely fella hails from...
First up, self-proclaimed mystic and former rock god from 80s one-hit-wonder rock band Hellfinger, WOODY JENSEN, star of WHEN I FALL IN LOVE:
What do women want?
Man, what kind of a question is that? OK, in my experience, ladies have always wanted me. I can't explain it, I must be a guru of love or something. But obviously you can't be me, so what I'll say is this: treat 'em like a lady. None of this bargain bucket from KFC on Brighton Beach rubbish. You order bargain bucket in the food department, my friend, that's what you'll end up with in the love aisle, if you get my meaning. Wine her, dine her, make her feel like the only woman in the world. And don't get arrested. Trust me, dude, what you'd gain in the sympathy vote ain't worth it for the agro later...
Next, handsome owner of Wātea coffee shop in Stone Yardley - and star of WELCOME TO MY WORLD, ALEX BRANNAN:
What are your top tips for impressing your Valentine?
Wow. First off, know who your Valentine is. It sounds crazy, but it took me so long to work it out. Second, be yourself. I wasted so long trying to be what somebody else thought I should be. It doesn't work, it makes you feel crap and it's doomed to failure. When I met the right girl, she loved me for who I was: there's no substitute for that. Lastly, don't - whatever you do - try out your proposal to your current girlfriend on your best female friend who just happens to be beautiful. Her reaction will shock the hell out of you...
Our next Valentine's advisor is charming New York co-designer at Kowalski's florists, Upper West Side, New York - and star of FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK - ED STEINMANN:
What holds men back from revealing their true feelings?
Hey, you're asking the Master of Avoidance! You know I discovered my work colleagues call me 'the Iceberg'? I had no idea... See, it's like this: you have all these feelings for someone and it should be the easiest thing to tell her, but right when you think you're ready, BAM! - something gets in the way. Like a little voice in your head that tells you it's a bad idea, or some wise guy publishing big-shot who's all smooth lines and intimate chats over coffee. And suddenly you're like an extra from Dawson's Creek, agonising over every word - until you decide it's easier to date someone else for a couple of days, just to take your mind off it. Just because you can. But she's still there, man, and she won't go away until you find it within yourself to say something. Here's my advice, for what it's worth: say it. Melt the iceberg. Take the risk. Because if you don't, you have no idea what you could be missing...
And finally, the gorgeous drummer from Birmingham-based wedding band The Pinstripes - and star of IT STARTED WITH A KISS - CHARLIE WAKELEY
How can you tell if a woman is in love with you?
She tells you. Believe me, it's taken me a while to suss this. But in my case she told me, straight out. And I freaked. Like, completely lost it - and before I realised what I'd done, she'd gone. I'm still kicking myself, you know? She's been my best friend for years: how could I miss it? So, of course, I'm trying to catch her now and I'm sort of confident she'll come round. We've been through everything together and she's my rock. And yeah, she might be on this ridiculous quest to find some random bloke who kissed her right after she told me she loved me, but I know she wouldn't say she loves me if she didn't mean it. I'm the one she wants. I just have to let her know that...
Images: Paul Kaye (Woody Jensen) - Magweb.com
Bradley Cooper (Alex Brannan) - TopNews.in
James Marsden (Ed Steinmann) - GordonandtheWhale.com
Ben Barnes (Charlie Wakeley) - TheBosh.com
Saturday, February 9, 2013
All this year I will be documenting the writing, editing and publishing of my fifth novel, giving you a unique, behind-the-scenes look at my life as a writer. This week, I've made a huge decision about Book Five...
I debated whether or not to reveal this, but I think it's something that will encourage you if you're a writer (and show you how important you are if you are a reader!) But over the past two years that I've been filming and sharing my vlogs, I've always been as honest as I can about the reality of being a writer.
So find out what my writing resolution is for 2013 and hear how my search for my FutureStars is inspiring me already...
As always, I love answering your questions in my vlogs. So if there's something you would love to know about writing, editing, publishing, my novels, or anything else, leave a comment below, or email: email@example.com, chat to me on twitter or leave me a comment on facebook. I'd love to know what you think of the first vlog of 2013 - and my big news!
p.s. This week's YouTube-nominated freeze frame is entitled, 'Look at the beautiful butterfly!'