Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Author Spotlight - Talli Roland

Very exciting guest here today, it's Talli Roland! At the time of writing, Talli's debut novel, The Hating Game is still flying high on Amazon in the top 100, and she's currently hogging the number one spot for Women's Literary Fiction and Literary Fiction, and the number two spot for Humour. I wish I could tell you that even though she's a fantastic writer and an e-book sensation, she's horrid, but alas, the very opposite is true! Anyway, we put Talli under the spotlight, and here are her answers to the minxy questions...

1. Where were you in your writing career 5 years ago?

Five years ago, I wasn’t even writing! I had a very demanding job in recruitment, and I was working almost 10 hours days. By the time I got home, it was all I could do to crack open the bottle of wine and drown my corporate sorrows. It was only after I stopped working full-time that I finally got down to writing seriously.

2. Where did you get the idea from for this particular book?
I love reality shows – they’re kind of like a modern-day Coliseum – so I already had plenty of ‘research’ under my belt. I knew I wanted to write a novel featuring the phenomenon of reality TV, but the show in my book had to be something different than what was out there. I conducted more research (yay!), and finally the idea of having my main character date her way through her exes came to mind. It had such great possibilities for conflict as well as character growth. Originally, I wanted to call it The Ex Factor (in homage to the lovely Simon Cowell) but sadly that title had been taken. I’m really happy with the title we did come up with, though; I love that it plays off The Dating Game.

3. Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?
Hopefully, still writing fun, humorous romantic fiction, with a few more published novels under my belt. I try to write at least two drafts a year to keep the creative juices – and the sense of discipline – going.

4. Which was the last book you read that you wish you'd written?
Oh, there are so many. I really enjoyed Katy Carter Wants a Hero by Ruth Saberton, because it deals with some serious issues in a very warm, comical way. I also fell in love with The Time Traveller’s Wife – I’m in awe of the serious plotting that must have gone on there!

5. Was there any particular author or book that made you want to be a writer?
I don’t remembering ever not wanting to write. But if there is one very influential character who gave my creative impulses validity, it’s Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. I loved that she was always scribbling things down, like me. Since the whole Anne series took place very close to where I grew up in Canada, it had an added impact.

6. Do you find writing love scenes giggle-worthy or cringe-worthy?
Oh, definitely cringe-worthy. I’ve never written a very detailed one, but I’m always conscious of sounding too cheesy or over-the-top. Every time I contemplate going into more detail, I feel like I’m a naughty schoolgirl about to be rapped on the knuckles for doing something inappropriate.

7. What's the most romantic moment of your life so far?
I’m going to have to say when my husband proposed – I had absolutely no idea it was even in the works! It was the night of our fifth anniversary together, and he took me back to the same concert hall then the same restaurant on London’s South Bank. Afterwards, we walked over to the spot by the Thames where we’d had our first kiss, and he popped the question. I was so surprised that I laughed (not so romantic) and asked him if he was serious! And then, of course, I said yes.

8. What do you wish you'd known about being an author before you were pubbed?
I wish I’d known how stressful it is to put your work out there for public judgment! Sure, I heard authors talk about it, but it never really hit home until my first novel was about to be published. Still, every little bit of stress is totally worth it when you hear someone say how much they enjoyed your novel.

9. What's the best writing advice you've ever been given?
The best piece of advice I’ve heard is from Nicola Morgan, who runs a wonderful website called Help! I Need a Publisher. She said it’s not enough to be persistent – you need to be able to learn from your mistakes as a writer to get better! It sounds obvious, but that was a light-bulb moment for me. I’d written a few novels without really taking the time to assess what I was doing wrong and how to improve.

10. Tell us about your latest release.
The Hating Game features Mattie Johns, a man-eating woman who decides to go on a dating game-show to win the prize money she desperately needs to save her recruitment business. She thinks she’ll sail through the show no problem… but little does she know the male contestants aren’t just anonymous strangers, they’re her very unhappy exes. Add in an ambitious executive producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end, and you have the recipe for lots of on- and off-screen drama!

11. What’s next for you?
Up next is Watching Willow Watts, about a country girl whose small English village is overrun when she becomes a YouTube sensation overnight. It’s due out in November as a paperback and the e-book will be released a couple months before.

Thank you for joining us on the Minxes today, Talli. The Hating Game can be found here.


Romy Sommer said...

Thanks so much for visiting here today, Talli. We met at last year's RNA conference, so I agree with Sally's comment that you're just too nice to be jealous of!

Yay on all your success with The Hating Game, and is there any chance you could perhaps do a guest blog for us sometime on promo, since your Take on Amazon ploy was such a huge success?

Kat said...

Hey Talli, thanks for being fabulously minxy today!
I'm currently waiting impatiently for the postman to deliver my copy of The Hating Game, have had it pre ordered from Amazon for a couple of weeks now - I have a bottle of wine chilling nicely to go with it this weekend I hope. Really looking forward to reading it, i've heard so many terrific things about your writing. :o)

I'm with you on 'The Time Travellers Wife' - I adored it, just beautifully written and the plot was so complex, it must have been a nightmare to work on.

Wishing you lots of luck and success with your books!!


Talli Roland said...

Hi Romy! Aw, thank you! *blushes* It was so lovely to meet you. Are you going again this year? Hope so! I'd love to do a guest spot on promo. Just let me know when!

Jo, thank you so much for buying my book! I hope it will go nicely with your wine. I know - I'm in awe at the amount of plotting that must have gone into TTW - nightmare!

Thank you so much for having me here, Minxes. I must say that it makes me giggle, having my novel identified as literary fiction on Amazon. It's many things, but it's not literary fiction!

India Drummond said...

Thanks for sharing the Nicola Morgan advice. I think we could all learn from that concept!

India Drummond

Deniz Bevan said...

Great interview! And congratulations on your release Talli! It was joining the Compuserve Writers Forum that did it for me - I'd written piles of stuff before but used to call my completed first drafts the finished work! Oh, sure, I edited a bit, but nothing like what I'm doing now. What a difference there is between writing something you share with only a few friends and writing something you hope will be publishable.

Susan Fields said...

Great interview! Your husband sounds like such a romantic, Talli - definitely a keeper! Congrats on publication day!

Laura S. said...

A bunch of things I have in common with you, Talli! I'm also in awe of Audrey Niffenegger's plotting for "The Time Traveler's Wife." I'd love to see her notes and plans on how she wrote that! And Anne Shirley is my number one literary character. How I wanted to be just like her! And when my husband proposed, I also laughed and asked if he was serious. To this day he always teases me about that, because duh, he had a ring so of course he was serious, lol!

So excited to read "The Hating Game" and "Watching Willow Watts" sounds fantastic, too! Congrats, Talli!

Girl Fren' said...

Nice interview, Talli. Good to have those peeks into you and your work, as well. Am still grading essays, but then I get a cup of hot chocolate and a nice, long reading of THE HATING GAME.

Cheers, Kate

Talli Roland said...

Thanks for dropping by and commenting, everyone! I really appreciate it! :)

Nas said...

Hi Talli, Hello Minxes,

Great interview. Congratulations on the print release of The Hating Game, Talli. The story sounds interesting as everybody have an ex somewhere in the far distant past!