Thursday, February 28, 2013
Guest Author: Matt Dunn - A Day At The Office
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!