This week I’m chatting with author Lucy Parker, who wrote some of my recent favorite contemporary romances (you might have heard me talk about Act Like It once or twice?). She’s just signed a new contract for new books in this series, so of course I ask for details. I also came to this interview armed with questions from the Patreon community, and their questions are terrific.
We also talk a lot about her newest book, Making Up, which came out on 28 May, and we discuss how she develops characters, what her process is like, and what characters she loves to write.
CONTENT WARNING: at around 22:30, we discuss abusive relationships, gas lighting, and emotionally manipulative romantic partners, all of which are part of the discussion of Making Up. The duration of that part is about 30 seconds, so you can skip over it if you would like to.
We talk about mental health, anxiety, and toxic masculinity , and we answer some questions, including:
Who are the characters in her new books?
What’s her favorite type of plot? Hint: she’s written it once and it’s part of her next book in the London Celebrities series.
Who is – and is NOT – a heroine of one of her upcoming novels?
What actors or characters influenced her characters so far?
And of course, we talk about what she’s been reading and enjoying recently.
↓ Press Play
This podcast player may not work on Chrome and a different browser is suggested. More ways to listen →
Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:
You can find Lucy Parker on her website, LucyParkerFiction.com, and on Twitter @_LucyParker.
You can also find a bonus short story from Act Like It on her site, and you can find text conversations between Lainie and Richard on Elena’s Bookblog, both the 2017 and the 2018 editions, both of which are adorable.
And finally, after we’d stopped recording, I mentioned the bonus short story penned by Lauren Willig at reader request so Turnip has sexxytimes. She hadn’t been aware of it, so of course I have to share with her and with you: Away in a Manger, by Lauren Willig, (PDF) with a cover designed by Joyce Martin as part of a cover design contest here at SBTB.
Sudio Headphones Link Ahoy!
For more information about Sudio bluetooth headphones, visit their website. You can get 15% off your order with code SBTB at checkout!
❤ Thanks to our sponsors:
❤ More ways to sponsor:
What did you think of today's episode? Got ideas? Suggestions? You can talk to us on the blog entries for the podcast or talk to us on Facebook if that's where you hang out online. You can email us at [email protected] or you can call and leave us a message at our Google voice number: 201-371-3272. Please don't forget to give us a name and where you're calling from so we can work your message into an upcoming podcast.
Thanks for listening!
This Episode's Music
Our music in each episode is provided by Sassy Outwater, who is most excellent.
This podcast features a song by Three Mile Stone titled “Snug in the Blanket.”
This episode is brought to you by Whiskey Sharp: Torn, by Lauren Dane.
Beau Petty has been searching his whole life. Searching for a place that fills all the empty spaces in him. Searching for a way to tame the restlessness. Searching for answers to the secret he’s never stopped trying to solve.
What he wasn’t searching for was a woman to claim all of him, but when Cora Silvera walks back into his life, he’s ready to search out all the ways he can make her his.
Cora has spent her life as the family nurturer, taking care of others. But now she’s ready to pass that job on to someone else. It’s time to make some changes and live for herself. It’s in that moment that her former teenage crush reappears and the draw and the heat of their instant connection is like nothing either of them has experienced. He craves being around her. She accepts him, dark corners and all.
Beau thinks Cora’s had enough drama in her life. He wants to protect her from the secrets of his past, even if it means holding back the last pieces of himself. But Cora is no pushover and she means to claim all those pieces. Because Sometimes what you find isn’t what you were searching for.
Whiskey Sharp: Torn by Lauren Dane is on sale June 26 and available for pre-order wherever books are sold.
❤ Click to view the transcript ❤
Sarah Wendell: Hello, and welcome to episode number 301 of Smart Podcast, Trashy Books. I’m Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. With me today is Lucy Parker. You might have heard me talk about some of her books, maybe Act Like It once or several thousand times. She has written some of my new, recent, favorite contemporary romances, and she’s just signed a new contract for new books in the same series, the London Celebrities series, so of course I asked for all the details. I think I ask her to specifically start just reading me what she’s written. ‘Cause you know what? I have no chill. It’s time I owned it. I also came equipped to this interview with questions from the Patreon community that supports the podcast, and of course their questions are terrific. We talk about her newest book, Making Up, which came out this week on the 28th of May, and we discuss how she develops characters, what her process is like, and the characters that she loves to write.
Now, I do have a content warning: at around twenty-two minutes in, we discuss abusive relationships, gaslighting, and emotionally manipulative romantic partners, all of which are part of the discussion of Making Up. The duration is about thirty seconds, so you can skip over it if you need to. I want you to feel safe.
We also talk about mental health and anxiety, toxic masculinity, and we answer some important questions, such as who are the characters in her new book? What is her favorite type of plot? Hint: she’s written it once, and it’s part of her next book in her London Celebrities series, and that book sounds like all of my catnip too. Who is and is not a heroine of her upcoming novels? What actors or characters influenced her so far? And of course I ask what she’s reading. I’m really excited to have this interview, and I hope that you enjoy it.
This episode is being brought to you by Whiskey Sharp: Torn by Lauren Dane. Beau Petty has been searching his whole life. Searching for a place that fills the empty spaces in him, searching for a way to tame the restlessness, and searching for answers to the secret he’s never stopped trying to solve. What he wasn’t searching for was a woman to claim all of him, but when Cora Silvera walks back into his life, he is ready to search out all the ways that he can make her his. Cora has spent her life as the family nurturer, taking care of others. But now she’s ready to pass that job on to someone else. It’s time to make some changes and live for herself. It’s in that moment that her former teenage crush reappears, and the draw and the heat of their instant connection is like nothing either of them has experienced. He craves being around her. She accepts him, dark corners and all. Beau thinks Cora’s had enough drama in her life, and he wants to protect her from the secrets of his past, even if it means holding back the last pieces of himself. But Cora is no pushover, and she means to claim all those pieces. Because sometimes what you find isn’t what you were searching for. Whiskey Sharp: Torn by Lauren Dane is on sale June 26th and available for pre-order wherever books are sold.
I have compliments! I love this part.
To Jennifer B.: Someone is climbing up a difficult task right now, and the thought of you and your courage and thoughtfulness is inspiring them to keep going.
And to Catherine C.: You are the human equivalent of an upgrade to first class, a restorative nap, perfect temperatures, and giddy, unexpected smiles.
Would you like a compliment of your very own? Would you be interested in throwing a whole entire dollar at this podcast this month? Please have a look at patreon.com/SmartBitches. As I said in the intro, the podcast Patreon community often helps me develop interview questions for upcoming guests, and if that is something that you think you might be interested in, please have a look. Patreon.com/SmartBitches is the place where I take recommendation requests and I ask for help with questions, and when you make a monthly pledge, you’re helping the show, and you’re helping me commission transcripts for older episodes, and you’re helping me with my excellent upgraded equipment that allows me to do live shows. And thank you to everyone, by the way, who said how much they enjoyed last week’s live show. It was a lot of fun.
I also want to thank some of the Patreon folks personally, so to Jennifer, Women of Color [WOC] in Romance, Artemis, Sarah, Anna, and Ruth, thank you so much for being part of the Patreon community.
Are there other ways to support the podcast? No, I haven’t had it set to music, but you can always sing along: leave a review wherever or however you listen, tell a friend, subscribe, listening each week. All of these things are deeply important and meaningful, so thank you, thank you, thank you for hanging out with me.
Now, I have one more thing to tell you about very quickly: so back in May, I told you about Sudio Bluetooth headphones. I had an email from the company that makes them, asking if I wanted to try a pair of their headphones, and that email arrived the very same day that my old pair completely crapped out on me. Now, I walk two dogs on leashes, and so having my phone with a cabled pair of headsets plus two leashes and a poop bag is really more than I can handle, so I use my Bluetooth headset regularly. So they sent me a pair called the Tre, and I have been using them daily for about a month now, for working out, for walking the dogs, and for listening to audiobooks while I cook, and since it’s been a month, I figured I would give you an update on the Sudio Tre. They’re freaking awesome! The battery life is great; the sound is terrific. I can hear both the mellifluous tone of my audiobook narrator and the cars and trucks around me so I don’t get smooshed, and I mentioned when I talked about them the first time that they come with three sizes of earpiece, and the smallest size is perfect for me. They don’t itch; they don’t make my ears hurt. But there’s also a feature that I didn’t realize that I would appreciate so much. So, like most Bluetooth headphones, there’s an audio control button or bar on the right side with, you know, start, stop, volume up, volume down, but there’s also a blank one on the other side, which means that the cord weight is balanced. They don’t weight much already, but I didn’t realize how much the imbalance of my old pair bugged me until I realized I hadn’t had to fuss with the cord when I last worked out on the treadmill. The minimal weight is already balanced because of this extra little piece. It’s so cool! I really like these, and I didn’t think that much about my Bluetooth headset beforehand. Now I’m constantly noticing little things I like about these. And just like last month, I have a coupon code for you if you are thinking, I would like a pair of these; I think you would like them. You can get your own set of Sudio Bluetooth headphones and get fifteen percent off your purchase by using coupon code SBTB. I will have a link in the show notes if you would like to check out all the options, but again, coupon code SBTB gets you fifteen percent off, and they have free worldwide shipping! Woohoo! So thank you to Sudio for the demo pair and for the coupon code, and if you have questions, you know where to find me. You can ask me all the things! I’ll probably have my headphones in; I’ll be able to tell you.
I will have information at the end of the podcast as to who the music is and where you can buy it, and of course I will link to all of the books that we talk about and some of the links that I discuss, and at the end I will have a truly terrible joke. This one is extra bad. It’s so bad that my son just stared me like, wow, and he loves bad jokes. I will also have a preview of what is coming up on the website next week, should you be curious, and I imagine that you are, because, hey, we do rad stuff.
But that is the end of this intro, which means that it is now time for us to do an interview with Lucy Parker. Woohoo! On with the podcast.
Lucy Parker: Hi, I’m Lucy Parker. I write contemporary romance, currently mostly set in the West End of London.
Sarah: I’m so glad that you agreed to do this interview. Thank you so much!
Lucy: Oh, you’re welcome. Very honored to be asked.
Sarah: Okay, so I have all these questions, and then I’m writing the questions, and then you announce you have a new series! You have a new contract! You’re writing more books!
Lucy: Yes! I’m so excited.
Sarah: Congratulations! Can you tell me –
Lucy: Thank you.
Sarah: – about the new books? Like, could you maybe start reading them to me?
Lucy: [Laughs] Yeah, I, I can sort of, I can talk a bit about number four, which is next. Number five is, is sort of To Be Confirmed. It’s potentially, number five will potentially be the story of one of the secondary characters from Pretty Face, Freddy. She was one of the other actresses in the play, quite an exuberant character.
Lucy: And, yes, I, I definitely, I do want to give her a book, so, so she will probably be number five. And of course, because she’s such a, a bubbly character, she will probably have to be paired with a fairly grumpy hero, so.
Sarah: I’m in favor of all of these decisions that you’re making.
Lucy: Yeah. [Laughs]
Sarah: Like, I, I know I have no say in this, but I am so excited. She was one of my favorite characters.
Lucy: Yeah, she seems to have been, been quite popular with, with quite a lot of people, and she was, she was fun. Although I did, I have had a few messages from people who, who thought she was going to be paired with one of the other secondary characters in Pretty Face, her, the, the character who was sort of playing her onstage husband, but he was, he was already married in Pretty Face. [Laughs]
Lucy: Yeah, what, no –
Sarah: That’s not going to work.
Lucy: – wasn’t really thinking of him for, for hero status, yeah.
Sarah: Are you writing book four now?
Lucy: Yes, I am.
Sarah: Are you having fun?
Lucy: I am, I am, actually. It’s, it’s a definite, I think it’s maybe the most definite rom-com of the series so far. Sort of hopefully, you know, with more of an emphasis on the, the romantic, romantic part. Yeah, number four is, is another fake relationship plot.
Lucy: Yes. [Laughs] My favorite to write, combined with, combined with marriage of convenience, really, sort of accidental marriage, which is, it’s not quite as, as simple as, like, Ross and Rachel would have you believe on Friends, once you actually look into how that would actually happen, but basically there’s a lot of booze involved and, and, yeah, and the, the hero and heroine are, they play a fictional detective pair on TV. However, there, there is a, it is also a West End theatre book again, but it’ll be linked in a slightly different way to the theatre than the previous books have been, and there’s sort of this, this, they’re not, they don’t play a couple, but the fans would like to see the characters become a couple, and there’s really obsessive kind of shipping of the characters and of the actors themselves. But sort of unlike, for instance, the characters in, in Act Like It, who had to be more or less blackmailed into their relationship, this one is kind of very much driven by the hero and heroine. They’re sort of masters at, at manipulating, kind of, the press they get and, but, you know, it goes a bit further than they intended.
Sarah: So they’re basically, like, the West End theatre version of Scully and Mulder, where everyone wanted them to be together.
Lucy: Yes, yes, exactly. [Laughs]
Sarah: Oh, that just sounds delightful. [Laughs]
Lucy: Right, but they take it a wee bit too far, and it, it kind of gets a bit out of their control, really. Yeah. And they’re, but they both kind of – I kind of wanted to write characters who are, they’re, they’re quite similar. It’s definitely not an opposites-attract romance. These are kind of kindred spirits, but it turns out to be a, a bit of an issue because they’re so alike. They’re not amoral characters, but kind of, a bit sort of like, if you’ve seen the Disney movie Tangled, like Flynn Rider in the movie.
Lucy: Yeah, he has a slightly, you know, flexible approach to getting what he wants in kind of a, you know, as long as you’re not hurting anybody, it’s, you can twist the truth and stuff a bit, but then it makes it quite difficult for them to actually trust each other, and they have to kind of form quite a, a solid alliance, the two of them. I enjoy the plots where the hero and heroine kind of have to work together against sort of an external conflict rather than between them, but obviously when they can recognize in each other, there’s probably the same kind of weaknesses and strengths, yeah, it’s, it becomes quite difficult.
Sarah: And of course they’re going to deal with the external pressure of fans wanting them together and then their own public images and their private lives. One of the things that I love about your books – and I am a complete, unabashed fan of your writing; like, my inner thirteen-year-old is losing her mind right now; trying to keep her under control – one of the things that I love is the way in which you negotiate private lives and public lives, that all of the characters in your books have a public-facing persona that they have to work at and keep up, but it’s not their entire personality, it’s just part of their personality, and they have to deal with their private lives and their private, who they are when they’re not on stage, and that’s, that’s hard when you’re a character who’s with another character who is also on stage with you.
Lucy: Yes. Yes, I think, like, particularly, particularly that was the case, certainly, in Act Like It.
Sarah: I know; I’ve only read it, like, four times. Maybe five.
Sarah: Plus listened to it. So yeah. You’re totally right about your book, ‘cause I’ve read it several times and can confirm.
Lucy: Yes, that kind of balance between, between the personal and the private and also the fact that, you know, I guess from kind of looking on the outside, people are obviously only seeing what, what they’re putting forward. They’re only seeing the character in the kind of famous part, but then behind that, they are having a very kind of normal life as well. Yeah, and their conflict. And I think, particularly in the theatre, when it’s such a, a kind of heavy workload, you know, and they’re performing the same role every night kind of for months on end, and I think that kind of crossover where you sort of become the character in a way, and, and, like, you know, trying to maintain your kind of own identity as well as, as the character that you’re playing, yeah, like, I think, I think kind of Lainie comments, comments on it in Act Like It, that sort of, you know, her own life can, it can start to feel like she’s performing herself as well, and that sort of crossover between where, you know, even she, like, her own identity almost starts to feel like a character as well.
Sarah: Yes. I liked that a lot about a lot of the internal and external struggles, and even with Pretty Face, Lily has to deal with the public’s understanding of her and her understanding of herself and her own potential, which very few people seem to share.
Lucy: Yes. Yes, and with, with Pretty Face, it was, I felt she had to be a very strong character.
Lucy: She, she is a confident character. You know, she knows what she wants, and she knows where she wants to go, and I think that was so important in her case that she is, is very clear on it, because externally and everyone around her is a, kind of a force against that really. Nobody, nobody believes in her, so she kind of does believe in herself.
Sarah: Yes, and she knows what she’s capable of.
Lucy: Yes, and, and isn’t, isn’t really that shy about – [laughs]
Sarah: With the new book that’s coming out, Making Up –
Sarah: – you have a heroine who is sort of rebuilding herself after an abusive relationship and a, and a partner who sort of gradually reduced her and wore away at her confidence so that she’s not her former self, and you’ve paired her with someone who knew her before and is working with her now, and they don’t really get along very well.
Lucy: No, they don’t get along at all.
Sarah: It’s wonderful!
Sarah: They hate each other; it’s great!
Lucy: [Laughs] It’s just so much more fun. I mean, I love, I love reading, like, friends-to-lovers plots. I do, I, I have so much respect for the people who can, who can do it well, because in a way I do think it’s, it’s harder, I feel like, when you’re starting with the enemies-to-lovers, but, you know, it’s just so fun. You just straight off just have that kind of push and pull dynamic between them. But, yes, the, Making Up is about Trix, who is the best friend of the heroine from Pretty Face, and she is a circus, circus artist, but she, she’s very different from the heroines of the first two books. She is in a, in a much different place when her book opens. She’s not, she’s not as confident. She has been through this emotionally abusive relationship with an ex-boyfriend that has significantly botched her confidence, and I, I kind of feel like underneath it, maybe she is almost the most confident of the heroines. You know, she’s quite, she’s quite feisty naturally, and I think her kind of ex-boyfriend maybe recognized it in her and, you know, tried to kind of sort of beat that down, and so, yeah, so it opens, and she very quickly, in Making Up, is, is promoted to a, a more leading role in the production that she’s in, which before, kind of, these things happened to her would have been, you know, no problem. Like, she was very kind of driven, but she’s, it makes her kind of very nervous, yeah.
Sarah: And she’s paired with a hero who is a makeup artist, and it sounds like this, this production is sort of like a little bit, it’s like a, almost like a Vegas show.
Lucy: Yeah, it’s, it’s a, it’s got –
Sarah: Cirque du Soleil, that’s where my brain was trying to go. It’s very Cirque-du-Soleil-esque.
Lucy: Yes, it does definitely have Cirque du Soleil aspects, sort of a kind of burlesque and musical, a kind of, a mashup of, of things, yeah, so it’s a, it is a switch-up from kind of the sort of high drama, so serious drama of, of the first two productions. This is kind of, yeah, sort of like full-on, sort of, you know, fun musical, acrobatic, yeah.
Sarah: Sexy swinging. Like, actual swinging, not sexually swinging, just sexy and on a swing.
Lucy: [Laughs] Now, that would liven things up, wouldn’t it?
Sarah: That would be a very different production. [Laughs]
Lucy: Yeah. [Laughs] Trapeze swinging, yes.
Sarah: Yes, exactly.
Sarah: So what about the hero? What is, what is the conflict that he has to work through in Making Up?
Lucy: He’s in a sort of more, more confident place than she is. Like, I think it, it’s, the book is more her emotional journey in a way than his. I think she needs his kind of solid presence in the book once they do start to, to work past their issues. He’s a massive sort of support for her –
Lucy: – but he, he is going through a career conflict himself. He is a makeup artist, and he, when the book begins, he is, he has taken a slight reputation hit in terms of, he was working on a, a movie, and the celebrity A-list actor that he was doing the makeup for failed to disclose a fairly major cosmetic allergy and had a massive reaction and basically has, you know, ended up in the tabloids, and he got fired and, and so he’s trying to kind of work, work back from there and reclaim his reputation, which he wants to do via a special effects artistry championship that he kind of needs to win.
Sarah: He also seems to be a very natural caretaker. Like, he wants to take care of people in little ways and major ways.
Lucy: Yes. Yeah, he is. He kind of needs a big family almost. He, yeah, he wants, he wants to take care of people. He’s, he’s fairly alone, actually. They both –
Lucy: – both he and the heroine are. She, she grew up in foster care, so she has no family, and, and he only has his sister, who is [pauses] difficult. [Laughs]
Sarah: Just a little. She’s kind of horrible. Is she going to be a future heroine? Because I don’t know if I can get over her horribleness.
Lucy: No, she’s not.
Sarah: ‘Cause I’m like, seriously, listen, you’re really talented, but I’m not sure you can redeem her, ‘cause she’s an ass.
Lucy: Yeah, there is a line. [Laughs]
Sarah: She’s, wait, no, if you’re, if, if she’s British and you’re a Kiwi, she would be an arse, right?
Sarah: Okay, she’s a total arse. All the R in the arse.
Lucy: I have seen some comments that I think, I think some people are assuming that she is the next heroine. No, she’s not. [Laughs] I think what’s – actually, whenever, whenever kind of people have asked about the next, the next hero and heroine, for some reason they, it always seems to be like the really awful –
Lucy: – secondary characters, and I’m thinking, you know, I didn’t realize people were – [laughs] – reading the book and thinking, oh –
Sarah: She’s terrible; I can’t wait to watch her fall in love. Like, no!
Sarah: I want to get her, I want to watch her have, like, you know, revenge visited upon her for being awful, not a romance! [Laughs]
Lucy: No, exactly. And a sort of, and, and also just without, without kind of giving anything away, if she was the heroine of a future book, in some ways it would make for quite similar conflict –
Sarah: Yes, it would.
Lucy: – for me also. Yeah, so it’s, yeah, no. [Laughs]
Sarah: One of the things that I really like about Making Up is that Trix is not only repairing herself, but she also has to repair her relationship with Lily, because her ex-boyfriend isolated her from Lily, and they’re sort of patching up their friendship, and Lily was really hurt by, by Trix’s actions, even though they were – I guess coerced is the right word – that, that she wasn’t necessarily acting out of her true self; she was acting by what her boyfriend was manipulating her into doing. She’s repairing her friendship with, with Lily as well. Was that hard to write?
Lucy: Yeah, it was. I, I thought it was quite important.
Lucy: Like, it, it’s been one of my favorite parts, actually, about Pretty Face and Making Up, is the friendship between Trix and Lily, because I think sometimes female friendships don’t always get – you know, they’re not as, as included as much as I think they should be, and, and it kind of so important. Like, their relationship is, you know, it’s almost as much my favorite as the romantic relationships in those books. And yes they are slightly on, slightly tentative ground, even when Making Up opens, and Making Up is, is some time after the events of Pretty Face, so obviously there were, you know, they had reconciled in, in Pretty Face already, but Trix, Trix carries a lot of guilt –
Lucy: – from that time, and Lily, you know, recognizes that, that she wasn’t kind of acting from, from herself at that point. Like, Lily was always very aware of, of what was going on in that situation, and I think that’s probably quite difficult for Trix as well, because, you know, she, she feels, like, manipulated. She feels that she should have, have seen what was going on in their relationship, and the fact that I think that people like Lily did –
Lucy: – is, is harder, in a way. You know, they saw it right from the beginning; it makes her feel stupid.
Sarah: And yet, every abusive relationship that I’ve read about or witnessed, abusers are really good at gaslighting you into believing that what they’re doing is completely logical; that’s how the abuse works.
Lucy: Yeah. Yes, exactly. They’re, you know, the people, the people who do it, they, you know, they know what they’re doing; that’s exactly what they’re trying to do. They try to isolate the person that they’re with –
Lucy: – you know, they’ll break them down. They’ll be subtle about it. I think if they were, if it was obvious, you know, it wouldn’t kind of happen to the same extent, so –
Sarah: Yeah, I agree.
Sarah: So when you write your books, do you start with characters, or do you start with conflict, or do you start with plot? Like, what is your entry point to your different stories? Are they different, or do you kind of start in the same place?
Lucy: I think I start with characters. I, I, I find it, characters, yeah, come, come to me a lot easier. I do find initial plotting very difficult, actually. I find it the most difficult part of the whole process. I’m kind of not one of these, the people who are, you know, they say they’ve got, like, twenty ideas to write at once. I’m so jealous –
Lucy: – of their ideas. [Laughs] And I’ll see it all the time. You know, I’ll be sitting on Twitter, and people are like, oh, which idea to write first? And I’m just like, oh, right.
Lucy: I need to, like, sit near these people at a conference and, like, you know, try to absorb some of the inspiration, I think. I do find that, that quite difficult, so it’ll usually, I think, start from the character. Obviously, it’s, it’s been a bit different with, with Making Up, ‘cause this is the first – it is a sequel, I guess. It’s still a stand-alone book; it is, you know, continuing characters, whereas Pretty Face after Act Like It, the characters in Act Like It do appear in Pretty Face, but it’s not vice versa, so it was more of a, of a standalone. Act Like It was, was slightly different; Act Like It did begin from a plot idea. It was kind of the one and only time I’ve ever had that kind of lightning bolt inspiration.
Sarah: You don’t stand outside when it’s – I know it rains a lot in New Zealand. Do you go stand outside and be like, listen, I’m, I’m totally available! Any time!
Lucy: [Laughs] Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I was, with Act Like It I was, I think I was watching a TV show, and the actors on it, who were playing a couple, and I knew they had been a couple in real life, and I think they had recently broken up in the media, and I remember thinking, oh my God, that would be so awkward, and it just kind of started from there.
Sarah: [Laughs] I’m going to write a book about it!
Lucy: And I was like – yeah – and I was kind of more interested in theatre anyway than TV, and I was like, oh, it would be so much more awkward if it was theatre. [Laughs]
Lucy: ‘Cause, like, you know, it’s not a continuing storyline, you know. If you’re with that person in the play, you’re with that person in the play for, like, you know, six, eight months, so.
Sarah: Over –
Sarah: – and over and over.
Lucy: Exactly. [Laughs] So you –
Sarah: Multiple times a day.
Lucy: With Act Like It, it was, yeah, it kind of began from that, then kind of got the heroine, and then got Richard, the hero, like, quite quickly after that. With Act Like It, I think actually, initially, I was thinking, oh, maybe, like, the ex-boyfriend would be the hero, and it would be like a reconciliation thing, and then I was like, no – [laughs] –
Lucy: – it would be so much more interesting if, if it was another person in the play, and maybe he’s awful and, you know, everyone hates him, and yeah, that would be more exciting.
Sarah: Yes, I, I agree very much with all of those decisions.
Sarah: Richard is one of my favorite characters. His appearance in Pretty Face, where he gives Lily advice and says, remember that the people who have paid to be in the theatre are already on your side, and that’s who you’re doing this job for. That was, like, life-changing advice for just me as a reader. Richard is easily my, one of my favorite characters. He’s so great.
Lucy: Yeah. Yeah, he seems to be, I think, the most, the most memorable.
Sarah: So I have a podcast Patreon, and one of the things I get to do is tell the people who have supported the podcast who I’m interviewing, so I mentioned I was interviewing you, and people were extremely excited. There was a lot of CAPSLOCK, and I have some questions from my Patreon folks, and I like this one from Leanne because it’s almost identical to one of the questions I wrote down. She asked, I’ve always wondered about the research process for Act Like It. How did you get inside the world of London theater? And my question, as I wrote it down, was, what’s with you and theater? How do you know so much about it? Are you time traveling? Do you actually teleport to London? What is happening here? Her question is much better.
Lucy: Yeah, I, like, I’ve, I’ve kind of always, always loved theatre, and I was very fortunate to go to a, I went to a university that had a very kind of good theatre department where the kind of theatre students would put on plays every day, basically, for practice, so you kind of go along at lunchtime, and, and they were kind of very enthusiastic about, about people getting involved kind of backstage and kind of with the production, and for quite, for quite a while in my kind of undergraduate, I was double-majoring with, with one of the majors being, like, classical literature and drama, so there’s quite, quite a lot of crossover there.
Sarah: Just a bit!
Lucy: Yeah, yeah, which was, which was great. Sometimes slightly awkward because of the sort of plays that, the plays that the Classics department in particular would kind of put on. Like, I still have haunting memories –
Lucy: – of a production of, I think it was Lysistrata –
Sarah: Oh geeze.
Lucy: – which – yeah –
Lucy: – which I think we haven’t seen, and it’s, I think it’s the Peloponnesian War, and basically the premise of that play is that the women withhold sex from the men to try to get them to stop the war, because they’re just over it. [Laughs] I mean, but traditionally the costuming for that play is, like, I think even back then it was played up for comedic effect.
Lucy: Think of a way to say it on a podcast. You know, basically, the kind of male performers wore exaggerated phallic costumes – [laughs] – and –
Sarah: You can say peen; it’s cool.
Lucy: Yeah, and so, which would have been fine, except for that particular production, it was our professors that were playing those roles, and, yeah –
Lucy: – it was just, it was very awkward. It’s fine at the nighttime, kind of the, the, I remember the nighttime performances tended to be quite boozy anyway, and even the performers were usually – [laughs] – half drunk, but, yeah, the, going to the matinee when you have to go back to class afterwards –
Sarah: Yeah, that’s –
Lucy: – yeah, slightly awkward.
Sarah: – that’s rough.
Lucy: Yeah. [Laughs] Yeah. But also, with, with kind of Act Like It particularly, I am quite fortunate that I have a friend who is at quite a high level in professional theatre, and so I, I talk to her, and she, she reads the books and, you know, she’ll tell me, like – obviously, I don’t use the exact gossip that she tells me, but I, it’s just, yeah, it’s just invaluable with the kind of, the things she talks about, and she’ll, she’ll particularly kind of talk about, like, the runs of the, the plays are so intensive, and kind of maintaining your own kind of personal life and a social life, you know, becomes, it can become very difficulty, ‘cause obviously they are performing, you know, every night often, I mean, but, like with, with Act Like It, there’s a, a female character in Act Like It, one of the performers in one of the other plays in the book, who is not a nice person –
Lucy: [Laughs] Yes. Yeah. She’s awful as well. Yeah, and I, I asked, you know, my friend, is she too awful? Like, is this unrealistic? And she was like, no, it’s not.
Lucy: She’s like, oh, she’s standard. She’s like, oh. You know, there’s more, definitely more Lainies in, in the theatre world than there are Sadies, but they’re there, so – [laughs]
Sarah: Well, that’s a relief to hear, but I’m also sure that in the real, in the real world, like, the, the gossip and the true stories would probably indicate that Sadie was pretty tame compared to what people get away with.
Lucy: Yeah. My friend was like, no, there are, there are people, you know, who would make her look, look not so bad. Actually, she more disliked the hero and the ex-boyfriend in, in Act Like It. She was very disappointed that he stayed, like, all right at the end. [Laughs] She, she’s not really a romance reader, but she, when she reads fiction, she, she mostly reads, like, thrillers and, and murder mysteries, so, you know, her, I remember when she read Act Like It, like, her first main criticism was, you know, there’s not many, like, not enough bodies, obviously. I was like, it wouldn’t, it wouldn’t really –
Sarah: Not enough people are dead in your book.
Lucy: Yeah, and she’s like, off the ex-boyfriend. She’s like, oh, he’s, yeah, like, I kind of don’t want to spoil it, but basically there is an event in Act Like It –
Lucy: – that she considered, she considered a hugely lost opportunity, basically, to get rid of the –
Lucy: – the ex-boyfriend.
Sarah: You really missed your chance there; you could have just killed him, and then I would have had a dead body, and it would have been great.
Lucy: [Laughs] Exactly. I was like, well, you know, it would have altered the ending slightly.
Sarah: Yeah, there would have been –
Lucy: Ending on a slightly different –
Sarah: It would have been a totally different emotional journey for, like, everybody.
Lucy: Yeah, I think the, yeah, the, the ending scenes would have, would have changed a bit.
Sarah: I mean, Act Like It was already very much about grief? Like, one of the things –
Sarah: – that I really liked about it is the fact that Lainie’s relationship with her ex was clearly very influenced by her grief for the family member that she lost, and no one really talks about it outright, but you kind of get the sense that Richard is like, oh. Oh, that’s why you were with him. You were grieving.
Lucy: Yeah. And I think maybe the, the, kind of the breakup of her previous relationship has not, the breakup itself has not affected Lainie huge-, you know, hugely. Like, she’s, she’s opens it, like, in quite a, a strong place. Like, she has, she still, like, you know, she’s not suffering the way that Trix is, for instance, in Making Up, from that relationship. You know, she’s still kind of very self-, self-confident, and I think in a way the kind of family kind of grief, you know, it’s just so much worse than, than their breakup was as well.
Lucy: Like, you know, that’s her kind of, her grief, and, and by comparison, what, kind of what happened with the ex is, you know, it’s just, it’s not as important.
Sarah: Yeah, that just, that just happened. It wasn’t as difficult, but not having the distraction from the process of her actual grief made it harder.
Lucy: Yeah. That grief, yeah, does kind of underlie all the kind of dynamics through her family. You know, she’s got a very, like, strong family, I think, particularly her mother. And yet, you know, they are kind of getting on, but in, like, it’s, they don’t, you know, talk about it all the time, but it’s, you know, it’s always there, I think.
Sarah: Yeah. And I like that it’s very subtle in the way in which that, the way in which the characters deal with it. It’s not like they’re having a conversation about grief, but grief informs everything. So if you would have offed them at the end, it would have been a whole other book.
Lucy: Yeah, slightly.
Sarah: Anna asked me if I would ask you what led you to place your books in London when you live in New Zealand. I know that New Zealand is utterly hideous. It is a terrible-looking place that no one wants to visit. No major movies have ever been set there, because it is just so heinously fugly. So I understand you don’t want to set any books there, ‘cause it’s, like, the ugliest place in the universe, but are you planning to set any books in New Zealand, or are you still thinking London is where you love to write?
Lucy: No, I definitely, I definitely do want to set some more in New Zealand. My, my kind of first book that I self-published, Artistic License, is, is set in New Zealand.
Lucy: It’s kind of very different from the other, the other books in setting and tone and, and characters and everything, I think. I do also really enjoy setting the books in London because, like, I love London so much, and my, like, my father’s, my father’s side of the family is English, and, and I still have, have family kind of over there, and my dad, you know, my dad brought me up on, on kind of BBC comedies at, you know, age five kind of thing. I think I, I kind of grew up sort of with a lot of kind of British culture and, and literature, and, and I think that has kind of informed, like, the way I write too, so it feels like quite a good fit for me, but, yeah, I definitely do want to set more books in New Zealand. They would be probably not the kind of celebrity type plots, because it’s just, it’s a very different sort of celebrity culture? I don’t want to, you know, generalize too much, but I think, like in terms of the kind of New Zealand attitude towards maybe more so, like, local celebrities is quite different. We don’t, definitely don’t have, like, the same paparazzi type culture here.
Sarah: And everyone’s pretty, pretty laidback.
Lucy: Yeah. [Laughs]
Sarah: For the most part. As much as you can be when it’s expected of you.
Lucy: The, the kind of general, like, like, attitude, I think, to, and to, like, big things as well, is quite, like, laidback. I mean, as a person who’s, you know, had problems with anxiety and stuff, I’m not saying we’re all just, you know, go-with-the-flow about everything, like every person –
Lucy: – but, yeah, yeah, I, I think so. People, it’s sort of the, the kind of Kiwi stereotype, I guess, that people don’t react, and that kind of makes a free dramatic way. [Laughs]
Sarah: One thing I’ve, I’ve thought about a lot is how difficult it must be to be a person in New Zealand or in Australia who has anxiety when the cultural expectation is “no worries.” You get this pressure to –
Sarah: – not worry. Like, okay, listen: chemically and mentally, I cannot help it, so stop telling me not to worry, ‘cause I’m going to worry; it’s how I roll.
Lucy: Yeah, I think, and I think more so for me, and too, I think, I think that’s a problem beyond this country, but, like, New Zealand has a massive mental health crisis at the moment, and probably for a long time, and I believe it, it is particularly bad with men, like, in the rural sector that kind of, that kind of masculinity ideas, I think –
Lucy: – is, yeah, really, they don’t feel that they can, you know, admit to having problems and needing help and, yeah, huge problem.
Sarah: I’m sorry to hear that. We have a few problems here, so I can relate.
Sarah: Galina wanted to know about the plays inside your books. How do you come up with the plays inside your books, and how often do you get to go to the theater?
Lucy: New Zealand has a, has a very strong theatre culture of its own, and I do go as much, as much as possible. The plays inside the books, I think that’s probably my history nerd coming out.
Lucy: The first, the first two particularly, actually, was it, I think it might have been – no, it was the Pretty Face play with–
Sarah: Was Tudor.
Lucy: – Elizabeth. Yes, the Tudor play. That was actually strongly influenced by my own history itch, history degree. We had a, a class in that, that time period, and we had some problems with my professor, actually, and the class ended up being, like, well behind in, in the curriculum, and they brought in this new professor, and, but he was kind of horrified when he realized how, like, how far behind the syllabus we were, and kind of used these kind of unique kind of teaching approaches, and at one point he, he brought in live actors to perform kind of things from, from that time period, and yeah, it was just kind of fixed in my mind, and so that was, that was where I wanted to go with, with the play for Pretty Face. And also, that, that kind of time period, I think, is, is quite fascinating, because it’s this time in history when you had these three really strong women –
Lucy: – and I thought that’s, that’s, you know, it’s a really great background for that book, which kind of is about a strong woman.
Sarah: Wow. So did you ever think about writing the play itself?
Sarah: Or did I just, like, strike fear deep into your heart and you want to go hide now?
Lucy: I think it’s, it’s coming into that, like, writing historical romance thing as well, which I actually kind of always, I don’t know, I think I always thought I would. Because I always did want to, to write a book and because I primarily read romance, I think I probably didn’t even think about it. I just assumed it would be a romance that kind of, right kind of through my teens I was mostly reading historical romance, so if I’d thought about it, I probably thought I would go there and, you know, actually get some use out of –
Lucy: – [laughs] – the degree, and so, but, yeah, at the moment I prefer the contemporary, actually, like, in terms of writing.
Sarah: [Laughs] I don’t, I don’t blame you.
Lucy: I don’t want to say it’s because I’m, like, worried about, you know, fetch – [laughs] – fetch or get, getting it wrong, but, you know, that’s kind of –
Sarah: I understand! I understand!
Sarah: Caroline wants to know if any of your characters, particularly the hero from Act Like It, are, in fact, based on any real-life actors.
Lucy: [Laughs] I wonder if she’s thinking of Richard Armitage?
Sarah: The, the cover heavily hinted that, that similarity.
Lucy: I kind of instinctively want to say no –
Sarah: Of course!
Lucy: – [laughs] – because I, I kind of don’t – like, when I’m writing the characters, I don’t sort of have a, a full kind of mental image of what they look like. I sort of just kind of composite sort of ideas, kind of more like their personality really.
Lucy: But then I was like, well, obviously, though, in Pretty Face, the hero in Pretty Face was strongly based visually on Gregory Peck, and the heroine in there is also slightly Marilyn-Monroe-esque.
Sarah: I was thinking that.
Lucy: Yeah, in that case, definitely, and with, like with Richard from Act Like It, he was not initially based on Richard Armitage, but I’ve heard it, I’ve seen it, like, so often, and it just, it works for me.
Sarah: Yeah, it works for me too.
Lucy: [Laughs] Even I think, totally think that myself now; like, that’s what I imagine, so, okay, yes.
Sarah: Totally works for me. Yeah, I’m down.
Lucy: Yeah. Yeah, and the, and the guy on the front actually, in hindsight, does look quite a lot like –
Sarah: He really does!
Lucy: – him, so.
Sarah: What did you think when you saw your covers? They’re wonderful covers! Do you like them?
Lucy: Oh, they’re amazing. I love the covers. Yeah. They’re so good. I think maybe particularly Making Up?
Sarah: Oh, I love that cover.
Lucy: Yeah, I think it’s my favorite, just the, the colors and everything, ‘cause I just, yes, dote with the covers.
Sarah: So you mentioned this a few minutes ago, but you didn’t really get very much into it. What led you into writing romance? You said you’ve always been a romance reader. What led you into writing it?
Lucy: I always wanted to, you know, and quite like a lot of people, I always wanted to write a book, and I was kind of reading, reading romance from, I mean, quite young.
Lucy: Like, it’s, it’s kind of hard to, like, draw the line, really, because even a lot of, of books for, like, quite young children, like I remember, you know, The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High and they’re, even they’re quite influenced with the kind of romantic subplots. You kind of, you get into it –
Lucy: – at quite early –
Sarah: Oh yes. Oh, very much so.
Lucy: Yeah, and then I, and I had a, a family friend kind of introduce me to the Georgette Heyer or – Higher or Hay-er? – books –
Lucy: – quite early as well, and, you know, obviously Pride and Prejudice. I think I, actually, I think I might have read Pride and Prejudice the book after the mini-series came out, and I was, they were doing it in installments, and I was too impatient.
Lucy: I’m going to read the book. [Laughs] And yeah, I kind of sort of got into it after that and got into kind of reading romance proper. I’m pretty sure I got a free, like, Harlequin book with a magazine –
Lucy: – and then I actually probably shouldn’t have had it, because it was, I think it was one of, like, the sexy line, which actually, back then, were actually quite racy. [Laughs]
Sarah: Yeah. You thought they were, but then you read something –
Sarah: – that was really racy and were like, whoa. [Laughs]
Lucy: Yeah. I mean, back then I was, you know – but it took quite a long time to actually, like, have a go at, at writing a full novel. It is act-, I mean, it is quite daunting. Like, in some ways I didn’t think I would be able to. I, I got into writing fanfiction in my teens, which I think is such a good thing to do, like, if you are interested in writing. It’s such a good –
Sarah: Oh, I so agree.
Lucy: Yeah, it’s, it’s kind of, it’s just kind of often a first experience of, of getting more work in front of other people and, and getting feedback, and it’s just such a kind of community environment to do it in. Like, it’s just, like, I just have nothing but kind of good things to say, really, about the fanfiction community. It’s like, I still have, have friends that I met through that, and it’s just such good, like, practice.
Sarah: Oh, yeah. And you’re writing for the purpose of writing.
Lucy: Exactly, and it’s, it’s, it’s just fun. Like, it’s just completely about the writing, and the fanfiction that I was writing was always, like, romance.
Lucy: Yeah, romance plots, but, like, so I kind of used to sort of stick mostly shorter, like one-shots –
Lucy: – and, yeah, so, like, the prospect of, of writing, like, a full novel –
Lucy: – like, I found, yeah – [laughs] – really daunting, like I, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to? I think it’s, it’s one of those things, too, like often if there is something, like, you really want to do, it is sort of easy to put it off, and, like, there is that kind of, like, fear of, if you have wanted to do something for a long time, what if I do it and it’s, you know, it’s not any good?
Lucy: And then it was, Artistic License was the first kind of attempt at a full-length novel, which kind of came about because I was doing a post-grad thesis at the time, and basically I was, I was so frustrated – [laughs] – just felt like really I was at the wall –
Lucy: – at the wall, and, yeah, and I was like, mm, well, I’m kind of procrastinating a lot reading romance – [laughs] – so I might as well, you know, actually at least be writing something, and I’m going to try writing a book, and then it was sort of spurred on by, I think it was one of the years that Harlequin was having their So You Think You Can Write contest, so I kind of wrote it for that, and, like, it didn’t really get anywhere, but it was, like, a really good experience anyway, and I kind of came, came out of that and was feeling, like, good momentum –
Lucy: – and then I got inspired for Act Like It and just straight away, like the next month, wrote Act Like It.
Sarah: Wow! That’s, that’s really amazing!
Lucy: Yeah. Yeah, Act Like It was just kind of high-speed train, really. Like, it just –
Sarah: It just went.
Lucy: Like, I wish, I wish they were all like that.
Lucy: Yeah. On the page, yeah. And it happened quite, quite fast after that. I think I wrote Act Like It in, like, I think it was October and kind of like sent it around some of the digital publishers after that, and I think it kind of signed it about February, so it happened quite quickly.
Sarah: Wow. That’s amazing!
Lucy: Yeah, it was –
Sarah: That’s amazing.
Lucy: – it was very fortunate, yeah.
Sarah: Can I ask what fandoms you wrote in in fanfic? Would you be willing to say?
Lucy: Yeah, mostly Harry Potter.
Sarah: Ah, well, you have good taste.
Lucy: Yeah, I think I started with the Tamora Pierce books?
Lucy: Her, her Immortals series, but then, yeah, mostly moved into Harry Potter.
Lucy: And I still read it. Some are so good!
Sarah: They are.
Lucy: Yeah. I think it’s such a shame that some of the, some of the fanfic writers aren’t writing original fiction. I just think it’s such a shame, because some are amazing, and you know, and there’re some of them that are, like, three hundred thousand words long. Like, it –
Sarah: Oh yes.
Lucy: – you know. Very impressive.
Sarah: [Laughs] Dialogue is such a big part of your writing, and your characters have very distinctive voices, even in the text conversations that you’ve write, you’ve written for Elena’s blog, which I love so much. What are, what are your tools for developing your dialogue? Do you hear your characters in your head, or do you listen to actors speaking? Like, how is it that you develop your dialogue?
Lucy: I find dialogue both the easiest and the hardest part of the writing. Like, it, it does kind of, like, I don’t want to say it just comes, like I just walk around like –
Lucy: – you know, I mean, bantering with everyone.
Lucy: But, like, in, in a way, it kind of, it is the part that kind of just, just comes, but also it’s how I kind of gauge, really, how, how the book is going in terms of the writing. Like, if I’m having trouble with the dialogue isn’t coming, then really, like, the book is not, is not working.
Lucy: And, like, once I get into it, though, like, I’ll just be, you know, I’m often just, like, walking around and, like, the conversations’ll just sort of come into my head, really, and I’ll just, like, write them down in a notebook, and, yeah, like, the, the dialogue I think is, is just so important. Like, it’s kind of how I sort of do a lot of the characterization, I think. Even it’s how I do some of, like, the settings. Like, my books are quite dialogue heavy.
Lucy: Like I’m so, so in awe of writers like, like Laura Florand, for instance. The way she writes, like, her settings –
Lucy: – like, so, so, like, lyrically and builds it up kind of like through her kind of descriptions –
Lucy: – where I kind of do that, I think, try to do that kind of more through the dialogue –
Lucy: – and kind of bring, try to kind of bring the characters to life through that. Like, they do, I do kind of hear them in my head.
Lucy: I don’t usually, like, say them out loud. I did once. I was, I think it was, it wasn’t during a sex scene, but it was kind of building up to that, and I was having trouble with the dialogue, and I was going over it, and I was thinking, particularly with the, the kind of male dialogue –
Lucy: – I will sometimes read it – silently, now that I’ve learned my lesson –
Lucy: – but just, like, if – [laughs] – it was just something like a man particularly, you know, would actually say, and I, I remember I was, I just, I did read one out, and it was phrased, it was unfortunately phrased as a question –
Sarah: Oh no!
Lucy: – and I read it out, and I didn’t realize that a family member was, who was visiting that day was standing behind me.
Sarah: Oh no!
Lucy: And answered me. Like –
Sarah: Oh no, no, no, no! Oh my gosh!
Lucy: [Laughs] So yeah, it was this kind of frozen moment, so I kind of ended up both feeling, like, completely mortified and also shocked, but she kind of just totally took it in her stride and wasn’t even surprised I was asking this incredibly personal question.
Lucy: And so I ended up with information I didn’t really want. [Laughs]
Sarah: Oh my goodness. [Laughs]
Lucy: Yes, so now it’s, it’s, I, now, it’s, I, I keep it silent now. [Laughs]
Sarah: I can understand that.
Lucy: But, yeah, no, I just, I find it – and I think that the kind of dialogue that plays into the kind of, the play aspect as well, like, I find it so interesting how dialogue also can be interpreted in, in very different ways, and it can, like, affect how, how it’s read.
Lucy: Like, I think that, that comes through in, in the audiobooks, for instance.
Lucy: Yeah, I find it a bit cringe-y to sit down and, like, listen to the whole audiobook when it’s your own, but I, I do find it really interesting when you listen to someone else reading your words, for instance, and sometimes, you know, just a different inflection on one word even can completely change the whole meaning of the sentence.
Lucy: Usually it’s, like, for the better, and, and the audiobooks, I think, they, they tend to make it, make it funnier, but, yeah, like, it, it, just the way, the way it can be interpreted differently, and I think that, that could play out, like in the theatre too, you know, like no players, no performance for players kind of ever the same, like productions in a character can be played completely differently by two different actors.
Sarah: Mm-hmm, very true. So my last question is always, do you have any books that you’re reading that you would like to tell people about?
Lucy: I have recently been reading Kate Clayborn’s Luck of the Draw –
Lucy: – which, yeah, which I loved. She’s one of, kind of my favorite new authors. I just think she’s amazing, like. Sometimes, you know, you read writing and it’s so good that it’s, it’s like it’s almost intimidating, but it’s kind of more inspiring. Like, really I’m like, I read her books, and I think, you know, it’s just, try to absorb the talent from her. Like, what I kind of particularly love about, about that book and just about her writing in general is, I think she writes very human characters –
Lucy: – the same way I kind of feel about Carla Kelly’s books. They just, they just seem like actual people, and, you know, she kind of lets them have, have weaknesses, like, you know, char-, obviously characters always have had strengths and weaknesses, but I think, you know, her, her kind of heroes and particularly, you know, just little incidents like the, the hero in Luck of the Draw, he’s kind of a bit more reserved, and he has to go to a party, like, thrown by the heroine’s friends when he doesn’t know them that well, and he’s going with another guy who’s more outgoing, and he’s kind of envious of the way the other guy can just walk in and, like, be really confident and, and he, you know, obviously has sort of some, like, social anxiety there, and, and I kind of feel like you don’t always see things like that with heroes, and particularly, like, I sometimes feel like heroes are kind of more superhuman than the heroine.
Sarah: Yes, they’re expected to be sometimes.
Lucy: Yeah. You know, I quite like it, actually, like, when they kind of have more, more relatable – you know, like, I want the hero to be a relatable human being as well as, as the heroine.
Sarah: Yeah, me too.
Lucy: And I’ve also been reading – rereading in some cases – Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series?
Sarah: Oh, that’s a good series!
Lucy: Yeah, and I just, I was just reading, is it The Mischief of the Mistletoe?
Lucy: Which is, yeah, my, like, I think my favorite one.
Sarah: Ah, Turnip.
Lucy: I mean, to start with – exactly – [laughs] – to start with, you know, pulling off a hero named Turnip. That’s impressive, but I just, I just love that book so much because of the, you know, just making characters who would normally be the sidekick, making them the hero –
Lucy: – or heroine. Like, I’d –
Lucy: – yeah, I love that, and Turnip’s a wee bit like, he reminds me a bit of Freddy from Cotillion.
Sarah: Yes, he’s very Freddy-like, isn’t he?
Lucy: Yeah, very. Yeah. I wish there was more, actually. [Laughs] ‘Cause it, it’s beyond, like, the kind of beta hero. It’s, it’s sort of its, almost its own thing, really, but, yeah.
Sarah: And that brings us to the end of this episode. I want to thank Lucy Parker for hanging out with me and for answering my and many other people’s nosy questions. If you want to find her online, and I think that you should, you can find her at her website at lucyparkerfiction.com, and she’s on Twitter @_LucyParker. When you go to her website, you might notice that there are some really adorable illustrations for the characters in her books. They are by Michelle Baron, and you can find her at michellebaron.com.
This episode is brought to you by Whiskey Sharp: Torn by Lauren Dane. Beau Petty has been searching his whole life. Searching for a place that fills all the empty spaces in him, searching for a way to tame the restlessness, searching for answers to the secret that he’s never stopped trying to solve. What he wasn’t searching for was a woman to claim all of him, but when Cora Silvera walks back into his life, he’s ready to search out all the ways he can make her his. Cora has spent her life as the family nurturer, taking care of others. But now she’s ready to pass that job on to someone else. It’s time to make some changes and live for herself. It’s in that moment that her former teenage crush reappears, and the draw and the heat of their instant connection is like nothing either of them has experienced. He craves being around her. She accepts him, dark corners and all. Beau thinks Cora’s had enough drama in her life, and he wants to protect her from the secrets of his past, even if it means holding back the last pieces of himself. But Cora is no pushover, and she means to claim all those pieces, because sometimes what you find isn’t what you were searching for. Whiskey Sharp: Torn by Lauren Dane is on sale June 26th and is available for pre-order wherever books are sold.
We have a podcast Patreon, and the folks from the Patreon community helped me develop questions for this interview, so I want to thank them again, because their questions were excellent! If you would like to help develop future interviews or you would like a personalized compliment of your very own, have a look at patreon.com/SmartBitches. When you make a monthly pledge, you are helping the show, and you are helping me commission transcripts for older episodes.
I also want to thank some of the Patreon folks personally, so to Cali, Holly, Yara, Elizabeth, Chinami, and Becky, thank you very, very much for being part of the podcast community.
Each week, we have original music which is provided by Sassy Outwater, who you can find on Twitter @SassyOutwater, but I bet you knew that. This podcast features a song by Three Mile Stone. This song is called “Snug in the Blanket.” You can find out more about Three Mile Stone at their website, threemilestonemusic.com, or you can find this track on Amazon or on iTunes.
And if you were in the market for a new pair of Bluetooth headphones, may I suggest you take a look at Sudio? You can get fifteen percent off any purchase with coupon code SBTB. They sent me a pair to try out, and I really, really like them and notice things that I like about them more than I’ve ever noticed another pair of Bluetooth headphones in a good way. Usually, I put them in, I take a walk, my ears feel weird, and then I stop. These, I wear comfortably for many hours. It’s kind of amazing. So if you would like to check them out and you’re thinking, I would like to have comfortable Bluetooth headphones – ‘cause why shouldn’t you? You deserve them – go to Sudio, and you can use coupon code SBTB at checkout.
Did you know that there is a website to go with the podcast? In fact, although this podcast has been around for quite a long time, the website has been around for even longer, and if you go to the website smartbitchestrashybooks.com, we’re hanging out there doing lots of cool things. What kind of things? Well, let me tell you. Today, June 1st, is the first of the month – hence the number one in front of June, or after, depending on how you write the date – so we’re talking about all the books we’re excited for in June in Hide Your Wallet, one of the top five most expensive posts we do each month. And June 2nd, which would be the second day of June, in case date concepts are as difficult for you as they are for me, Redheadedgirl’s Historical Kitchen will be all about butter and cheese, and Amanda is compiling a substantial list of recommendations for the 2018 Ripped Bodice Summer Reading Bingo card, so if you got your Bingo card or you want your Bingo card and you want some recommendations or you want to make some, come hang out. We also have, next week, some Cover Awe, which is when we look at covers and go, wow! Nice job! We have reviews for new books and a recap from Elyse of the newest episode of this season’s Bachelorette. The recap, not the episode, may possibly involve Kraken Rum and also Coke. Plus we’ll have Help a Bitch Out, books on sale, and more, so come on by and hang out with us.
And now it’s time. It’s time for a bad joke. Are you ready for this terrible joke? I am really excited for this one. This is a joke that, no matter how many times I tell it to myself, I laugh. Okay? You ready? [Clears throat] It’s time for serious voice.
What do you do when you see a space man?
Give up? What do you do when you see a space man?
You park your car, man!
[Laughs] Oh, it’s so bad! You park your car, man! Dude, what’s mine say? Okay.
Yeah, so now that I’ve been really professional – [laughs] – on behalf of Lucy Parker and everyone here, we wish you the very best of reading. We hope you have a wonderful weekend. We will see you back here next week!
This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks.