I really like how younger readers are just as demanding but also far more open to certain story types. Some of the best, most interesting writing these days is happening in this arena and I love watching it cross over into the mainstream…like The Hunger Games. It’s like we own the cool and those who only read adult writing are just starting to catch on.
I feel passionately about supporting female empowerment, about teaching girls that they can be kickass and they don’t need to wait for a man to save them. So I write for teenagers (mainly girls) because I want to inspire them. It’s a joy to write for a younger audience. They’re bright, demanding and brilliant at engaging with authors. I don’t think that authors for adults get half as many fabulous emails as I do.
In Hunting Lila I didn’t find any of the characters hard to write because they were all so clear in my mind. I found Suki a challenge because she can read minds so I had to always think of how that would make her feel and behave. She can’t filter so she often blurts stuff out and then she hears things that aren’t so nice about herself. I think that makes her one of the more interesting characters because she’s hilarious and eccentric and obsessed with shoes but underneath it all she’s actually quite wounded.
3) What was the easiest part of the book to write?
The romance scenes between Alex and Lila. In fact I wrote their first kiss scene almost before I wrote anything else. Everything else was just a lead up to that!
4) Do you ever put a part of your life (your characteristics, friends, setting, etc.) into your books?
Always. I’m so grateful for all the travel I’ve done. It’s all fed into scenes into my books. All the places in Hunting Lila are places I’ve been to. Suki was based on a friend of ours who works in fashion in London, Harvey is my best friend’s husband, Sara looks like my other best friend Nichola though is named after my other friend. Jack has elements of my brother and the sledging scene when Lila is 5 was something that happened to me (apart from the broken leg - that happened to a friend of mine.)
5) What inspired you to have Lila love Alex for such a long time rather than have her fall for him during the book?
I think I just wanted to write something contrary to the norm (though don’t get me wrong I’ve also written romances that do occur during the course of a book). And I think readers responded very well. There’s always something much more believable and heart-warming about a relationship between two characters who’ve known each other a long time.