For anyone who doesn’t know, I love a good interview and I love to host them somewhere different each time. No boring studio for us (eat your heart out Graham Norton!). So, now that it’s interview time on RockPaperSpirit, I’d like to welcome you to the RockPaperSpirit virtual champagne cocktail bar. I’m joined by Yorkshire chick-lit author, the lovely Sasha Lane. You may remember Sasha from the feature I ran a couple of weeks ago about her trilogy and now we’re joined by Sasha in the RockPaperSpirit cocktail bar for some drinks, bar snacks and chat. Read on to find out about our virtual girly day out!
Let’s first find a seat at the bar and order some cocktails. I’ll have a virgin pina colada. And what will you have?
A peach Bellini. Refreshing but dangerous – they go down far too easily!
Tell me about the moment when you decided that you had to start writing professionally. What were you doing and how did it happen?
I set up my own business in October 2007 – a shop selling ladies clothes, shoes and handbags – and was in my dream place mainly because I have a shoe addiction and could then get them at wholesale price! But the economy crashed worldwide in March 2008 and my business only survived just over a year. Going through the process of closing down a business is nowhere near as fun as setting it up, and I was stressed and embarrassed that my business had failed. I started writing as an escape from all the negative stuff going on at that time and it gave me something positive to focus on. I felt like if I could write a book I wouldn’t feel like a failure.
I’m so sorry to hear about your shop. I know that feeling. I too had a business that failed. So, tell us, why did you choose chick-lit?
I didn’t – it chose me really. I started writing crime books as I have a huge interest in that (and also have a Criminology degree) but, admittedly after some honest feedback from my editor (after two attempts!), I realised that my writing style is too light-hearted for crime novels. I changed to chick lit, changed from writing in third person to first person, and the writing just flowed from that point onward. I like the fact that I can have fun with my writing in ‘chick lit’, addressing serious issued but with some added humour. I like the fact that I can write about ‘everyday’ women that readers can hopefully associate with.
Oooh, the tapas has arrived. *digs in to patatas bravas* Tell us what you’re working on at the moment, if anything.
I haven’t totally abandoned the idea of a crime novel, I’ve just had to tweak my approach, so I’m currently working on a chick lit novel with a crime theme – think “girl turns detective” rather than the standard crime/thriller novel.
Sounds like a great idea! Ok, now imagine you’re at the pinnacle of your career and all your dreams have come true. Do you keep writing or do you move on and do something else?
Absolutely, I keep writing. I love it. It’s funny – I was always looking for something, looking for that one thing that I would love to do, and I never dreamed it would be writing books until I started that first (really bad!) version of a book. I love everything about the process – even when I get the first edited version back from my editor and it’s been ‘red penned’ like when you were at school. I now see that as a good thing – it’s an opportunity to improve my writing and become a better writer.
That’s a great way of looking at it. If you were a cocktail, which one would you be and why?
A Cosmopolitan – as a throwback to my nightclubbing days. My guilty pleasure it still listening to 90’s dance and R&B music!
Ah, who doesn’t love a bit of 90s dance? Have you ever based a character on a real person? Whether you have or haven’t, can you explain your thoughts on this?
I often get asked if the main character is me – it’s not, but there are elements of me in her – her sense of humour is probably the same as mine – plus a lot of crazy things happen to her and I have that problem too (she also drinks quite a bit of wine and eats far too many cupcakes which could be said for me) but she is purely fictitious. I think all of my characters are created through my own life’s experience – books I’ve read, films and TV that I’ve watched etc so there’s an accumulation of influences that go into each character.
You’re trapped at the North Pole and can only take three things with you. What are they? You’re not allowed to take people or pets.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a hot water bottle, and a crime novel.
Good choices! Where do you see your writing career in five years time? You can be as realistic or ambitious as you like.
I’d like to think that I’ve created an even bigger reader following which has enabled me to write more books and hopefully earn enough from it to write full time as I do love it. Things seem to have taken off following the publication of the third book in the trilogy so I’m hoping to build on that.
Finally, the last question that I ask everyone…what’s your favourite biscuit?
I’m old school I’m afraid – I love a chocolate digestive – but I’m not a dunker!
Nice choice. I’m a Penguin kind of girl but I do love a chocolate digestive too. Thanks for joining us Sasha and let me know when you write that light-hearted chick-lit/crime novel mashup. It sounds right up my street!