Interview with Laura Barnard

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Watford, Hertfordshire. Our house was always full of joy, laughter and alcohol. I have fond memories of waking up in the night to find my mum and her friends pissed and cooking cheese on toast. I'd go down and have a gossip with them and they'd tell me about their hilarious night. My Mum's best friend Sam lived two doors down from us so we were always in each other's houses. Whenever they were around there was wine and Simply Red on full blast. So much so that the neighbours in between complained about our noise several times. Even though this sounds like a strange up-bringing it made me into a very confident person, who isn't ever afraid of shocking her mother. I was made to feel I could conquer the world and that anything was achievable. That belief has helped me in my writing and I have some funny stories that have been incorporated into my book.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Its about two best friends Poppy and Jazz who decide to swap lives in order to help each other out. Jazz is in debt and Poppy lives her life as a doormat, constantly doing anything for a quiet life. It's told through Poppy's point of view and we follow her as she moves into a new world of housemates and partying. Soon her over-riding need to please people gets her in more trouble than she could ever imagine.

Before she knows it she’s got a fake boyfriend and is hiding so many secrets she’s scared they’ll spill out any minute. With a bullying boss, a sex crazed colleague, a mental mother and three brothers each with their own dramas, life has gotten pretty difficult for Poppy. And all of this would be much easier, if she could just stop falling over.

Will she get her life back to normal before her brother’s upcoming wedding? And will she want to?
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I sent off the book to all the usual lit agents and although they told me they liked it, they explained it was very difficult to take a risk on someone. I was happy to move onto the next idea but my friends that had read it told me they were crazy and I had to put it on-line to see how well it would do. I never realised they could be right!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
To completely immerse myself into a world that I have full control of. Being a natural control freak I love that I can determine what can happen to them and ensure they get the happy ever after that isn't always guaranteed in life.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything! If it wasn't for them I would have no idea how I'm doing. Every time someone takes the time to tell me they enjoyed the book my heart completely swells. It's such a rush to know someone enjoyed it.
What are you working on next?
I was actually working on a stand-alone book but due to popular demand I am now working on the sequel to The Debt & the Doormat. You're going to get a bit more of an insight into Jazz's life. I'm laughing as I'm writing it so I'm taking that as a good sign!
Who are your favorite authors?
I adore Lindsay Kelk and Madeleine Wickham, writing as both herself and Sophie Kinsella. Yet since I've joined the Indie world I'm getting to know some amazing authors that aren't as well known but are still as high quality.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Writing. It does sound corny but it does. I live and breathe my books. I'm working on them every minute of the day; constantly day dreaming about different scenarios. They even take over my dreams! So often I'm woken by my baby daughter and before going in to get her I quickly note down my dream before I forget it.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
These days its boring stuff like watching TV and going to the cinema or even better...SLEEPING. Since having a baby I don't get out partying much but when I do its like someone's let a mad woman loose. I'm making up for lost time!
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Before publishing my book I would only look at the best sellers lists or go from friends recommendations. However, since publishing and getting to know loads of great bloggers and reviewers I find I have an enormous wish list of books to read. I wish I knew about these groups on facebook ages ago!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, I actually do. My brother actually used the idea for his GCSE coursework! It was quite disturbing actually - it came to me from a dream. A group of teenagers were drinking in a park when they're chased into a spooky house by a pack of dogs. One by one they go missing and then end up dead. It ended with the main character dramatically crashing out of a high window and waking paralyzed on the grass, aware that they were coming to get her and there was nothing she could do about it. It was quite dramatic for a first story really! I'm glad I realized chick-lit was more my thing!
Published 2013-08-30.
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