The wonderful Talli Roland has joined me for her very first interview as a fiction writer!!! I am so honored, especially since this is also my first interview!!! So Let's get started!!!
Thanks for being with us today Talli! I love your blog, especially sweet and salty Sundays where you always showcase some of the yummiest food!
1. I'm very excited to read your book, can you tell us a bit about it?
Thanks, Jen! It’s called The Hating Game, and it’s about a serial-dating woman named Mattie who agrees to go on a dating game show in order to win some prize money to save her ailing business. What she doesn’t know is that the four other male contestants are all very, very unhappy exes! To get through to the end she has to battle their revenge schemes, not to mention an ambitious producer whose career depends on her not winning the money. It’s a romantic comedy – firmly in the genre of chick lit – and it was so much fun to write!
Wow that sounds awesome! I love a good chick lit
2. Whose your favorite character in the novel?
This is a difficult one because there are quite a few kooky characters in the book, but I have to say Mattie, the main character, is my favourite. She’s quite tough on the outside because of difficult dating experiences (and who can’t relate to that!) but inside she’s very vulnerable. In the beginning of the book, she pretty much pushes men away before they can hurt her, but by the end… you’ll have to read the book! : )
What a great teaser! I know I can relate to tough dating experiences! I can't wait to see what happens
3. Do you remember what you were doing when the idea first popped into your head?
Great question! It’s funny; I’ve always been fascinated by reality TV shows (much to the dismay of my husband who detests them) and I’d been toying with the idea of writing something about them. I didn’t know what exactly until one night, after a few glasses of wine (of course!) and as I was about to go to bed, the idea just came to me. I got so excited that I started jotting down a few idea straight away. I originally wanted to call it the Ex Factor (there’s a popular American Idol-style show here in the UK called the X-Factor) but unfortunately that title was taken so we came up with The Hating Game, a play on The Dating Game.
I love the play on The Dating Game! Brilliant idea!
4. How long did it take to finish your first draft?
It took about six weeks of writing each morning. Since I had some other non-fiction projects on the go at the time, I tried to squeeze the 2000 words out of me before 11 am so I could focus on my other deadlines. When I’m writing a first draft, I try to write every day as I find that if I take a break, it’s hard to get back into the flow of things. My first drafts are always rubbish so I don’t worry too much about the words as they come out; I just try to get them out!
Wow look at you writing like a mad woman! My drafts are the same way, messing and awesome!
5. How did you react when you finished? Cry, scream, hug a hobo?
I hugged a hobo of course! Seriously, since this was the sixth novel I’d written, I was just happy to have finished and slightly hopeful something might actually happen this time. The first novel I’d written, I took my husband out to dinner and had him take photos of me with it completed. I was so excited to know that I could actually finish something so huge! I think the first is always a massive accomplishment. By the sixth, you just hope you’re getting better and continuing to learn.
Haha I wish I would have thought about the photos!! My hubs would have really thought I was nuts!
6. How many sets of revisions did you have to go through?
I’m still going through revisions as my editor has given me loads of suggestions and ideas to make the book stronger. It’s exciting but also a bit scary: I just hope I can deliver! I was in a pretty unique position with this novel, as I was already working with the publisher on a non-fiction travel series. As soon as I pitched the idea, they were interested. So I wrote the first three chapters and an outline, got their approval, then finished the draft. I only made very minimal revisions before sending it, as they were quite eager to see it.
Yikes! Lots to do, but at least you are still light-hearted and eager to push through! We are all excited to see the final piece (well I am!)
7. Were you part of a critique group?
I’ve been going to a writers’ group for about a year now. We meet in a pub (perfect location!) and bring three pages of work to read aloud, then we critique. It’s very helpful if you’ve a tendency to waffle on, as the group is always quick to spot it! Also, I find reading aloud helps you with cadence and rhythm. You can tell where your writing is flat or too complex. We always chat and have dinner first, then get down to business!
Holy crap that's like the best thing ever! Beer and critiques, what's better!!
8. Do you have anything else published?
I have two travel books published (London and Paris guide books) under my real name, Marsha Moore (please, no Brady Bunch jokes!). My editor and I decided to go with a pen name for my fiction writing to draw a clear distinction between my work. It’s been quite fun having a pen name, and although I feel slightly schizo sometimes, oddly I feel more comfortable with my inner Talli! : )
I promise no jokes! I love your pen name! I think Talli Roland just rolls off the tongue, and now it feels like you! Maybe I should do the same, Hmmm what should my pen name be? I'm feeling something funky!
9. How was the querying process? How many did you send out?
None for this novel, as I already had an in with the publisher. But I can’t even tell you how many hundreds of queries I’ve sent out for other novels I’ve written. As much as I detest the whole process, I do think learning to summarize your novel in a few key paragraphs is an invaluable skill.
10. What does a day in the life of Talli look like?
Not very exciting, I’m afraid! I get up around 7 am and head straight for the espresso maker. I need the shot of caffeine to get going! Then I crack open the lap-top and scan emails. I don’t check blogs at all because I know I’ll get sucked in and lose three hours without even noticing! I force myself into the office and start writing by 8 am at the latest. I might take a small chocolate break around 10, then carry on writing until 12 when I have a lunch break to watch some of my favourite property shows (they’re strangely fascinating. I’m not sure what it is about real estate that I find so enthralling). I’m back at the desk at 1 pm, usually working on non-fiction stuff until around 4 pm.
After 4 I might go out and forage for some food at the local supermarket, then update my blog and start on my favourite part of the day: reading other writers’ blogs! Since I don’t go out to work, I really enjoy the online interaction. I might have a glass of wine (or two) whilst doing so (sorry for the typos that sometimes occur!). I also watch copious amounts of telly and I’m not ashamed to admit it!
Umm can I be Talli for a day? I love the not so exciting days! Sounds blissful!
11. Were you ever discouraged during all of it?
So, so many times. Sometimes I’d be sitting alone at my desk, while all my friends were at work, watching as rejections trickled in and thinking: What the heck am I doing? Am I crazy for thinking I can actually be a writer? But I tried not to let myself go too far down that path, and I tried to remind myself of all the good things there were about writing. I enjoyed it; I was in control of my output; I was pursuing something I loved! I did have a few major setbacks where I wallowed in my sorrow for awhile until my husband told me to stop feeling sorry for myself and write something new!
I'm glad to know as writers we all feel like this at some point!
12. Anything else currently in the works?
I have a few ideas spinning around in my head for a new novel! I’ll be continuing to work on the travel series, too.
Such a tease, guess you can't share all your secrets huh!
13. Any advice to aspiring writers?
Write because you love it, but if you do want to be published then try to soak up as much industry advice as you can. Don’t be sensitive about your work (the hardest one for me!) because if you want to get better, you need to listen to people. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike – just sit down and write!
14. How do you feel about dragons? Is there a certain type you prefer, flying or fire breathing? One's with horns?
Ha! Dragons scare me. A lot. I want to stay far, far away from them. But if I had to choose one type, I want one with all the bells and whistles. Fire-breathing, horns, forked tongue, the works!
Wow that's quite the decked out dragon, well good thing you're better than dragons!
Now for random questions... Ready... Set... Go!
Favorite song: ‘Jump’ by Madonna. A great reminder to go for it!
Favorite writing spot: The office in my flat! Where else could I watch people go through the rubbish bins outside while I write?
computer or notepad: Definitely computer! My writing is so atrocious I can barely understand it myself.
sweet or salty: Oh, Jen. You may have stumped me here! Um… if I had to choose: sweet.
snow or rain: RAIN! People don’t know how to deal with snow here. It’s a national crisis if there’s three flakes in the air.
bicycle or rollerblades: Bicycle. I don’t know how to brake on rollerblades which causes some problems.
chick flick or horror: Chick flick, definitely
favorite book right now: Can I cheat and say anything by Sophie Kinsella? I love her writing style!
Now if you are looking for Talli's Non-Fiction books here is the information:
24 Hours London, Marsha Moore (Prospera Publishing, November 2009)
24 Hours Paris, Marsha Moore (Prospera Publishing, May 2010)
More information can be found from the Prospera Publishing website: www.prosperapublishing.co.uk
So if you aren't following her blog you should be so check it out here!!! Thanks again Talli for one awesome interview!
Ask a question and I'll do a follow up tomorrow if Talli has time!