Today I'm delighted to welcome Ali McNamara to my blog to talk about her latest book, From Notting Hill to New York... Actually, which was published a couple of weeks ago. This was one of the books that was on my Christmas wishlist but I was recently sent a copy by a friend... thanks Amanda.
Can you tell us a little bit about From Notting Hill to New York Actually?
Scarlett thinks she's found her leading man at last. She's convinced Sean is Mr Right, but the day-to-day reality of a relationship isn't quite like the movies. So with Sean constantly away on business, Scarlett and her new best friend Oscar decide to head to New York for the holiday of a lifetime.
From one famous landmark to the next, Scarlett and Oscar make many new friends during their adventure - including sailors in town for Fleet Week, a famous film star, and Jamie & Max, a TV reporter and cameraman. Scarlett finds herself strangely drawn to Jamie , they appear to have much in common, a love of films and Jamie's search for a parent he never knew. But Scarlett has to ask herself why she is reacting like this to another man when she's so in love with Sean...
Did you always know you were going to write a sequel to From Notting Hill with Love... Actually or did this just creep up on you?
I never even considered a sequel when I wrote the first story. It was my first novel and it was an incredibly long process from writing it to eventually finding a publisher that liked it enough to put it on their bookshelves.
But the characters were so popular with readers that a sequel seemed the natural thing to do. I just love Scarlett, and there was so much more of her story to tell at the end of the first book.
You could have chosen to set this in any destination, why did you choose New York?
It was the perfect place for Scarlett to visit next. Full of excitement, film opportunities, and potential for adventures...
Are you able to give us a hint as to what your next novel is about?
I've just completed my fourth novel due out in November 2013, it's called Step Back in Time.
It's a rom-com with a difference. It has a music theme and it's set in the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's.
How long did it take you to get your first novel published?
Six years! With lots and lots of rejections along the way...
Being a writer appears to be such a solitary lifestyle, especially when you're in the midst of writing, so do you consider the influence of social media, Facebook and Twitter, a blessing or a hinderance?
A blessing definitely! It keeps you in contact with your readers and the rest of the world in general. But all this nonsense about it being a distraction... yes it can take up a lot of your time, but when you need to work you can just switch it off.
Do you have a set daily writing routine?
Nope, sometimes I wish I did, but I just go with the flow!
How hard is it to keep coming up with fresh ideas for new books?
Easy, I have a vivid imagination, and so many ideas for future books. What's hard is finding the time to write them!
Would you say that any of your characters are like you? If so, which one(s)?
Scarlett is definitely very much like me - we're both dreamers and like a happy ending!
Have you got a favourite out of all the books you've written? If so, which one and why?
Hard question but I think From Notting Hill to New York... Actually. So many of the things that Scarlett gets up to in the story are exaggerated versions of things that happened to me when I was there on my research trip. So it's a very personal book to me.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
The experts aren't always right. I was told From Notting Hill with Love... Actually would never be published, by a well-known author, and a well-respected society that does novel appraisals. But I chose not to believe them, and didn't give up trying.
And guess what? They were wrong!
Do you prefer to read physical copies of books or e-books?
I have a kindle, but I still don't think you can beat that feeling of turning the pages of a real book in your hand.
If you could have any of your books made into a film, which one would you choose and why? Who would you cast in the leading roles?
I sold the movie rights to Breakfast at Darcy's this year. I'm not sure about Darcy, but I'd love Chris O'Dowd as Dermot. He'd be perfect.
Can you describe From Notting Hill to New York... Actually in 20 words or less?
A fun, exciting, romantic adventure in one of the best cities in the world!
To find out more about Ali and her books, head over to her website, or connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.