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Welcome, today we are talking with Lucy Parker! I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy writing schedule to answer a few questions.

First, I think it’s important for readers to get a little insight on an author that they don’t necessarily get from your professional bio. You’d be surprised at what readers connect to, and sometimes the simplest ‘I can relate to that’ grabs their interest where nothing else can. Don’t answer anything you feel uncomfortable with.

**Can you share a little something about Lucy Parker that’s not mentioned in your bio on your website?

I used to write short stories, but in recent years have spent more time writing academic and non-fiction essays and articles. Fiction is absolutely my first love, though. It’s a lot more fun making stuff up than making footnotes! And I much prefer to read something that is going to guarantee me a Happily Ever After no matter how many angsty ups and downs it takes to get there.

I always wanted to write full-length novels, but didn’t think I’d have the discipline or the nerve. It was actually Harlequin’s ‘So You Think You Can Write’ contest that gave me the push to try. It was an unsuccessful try. J But it was an amazing experience. I had an absolute blast and met some fantastic writers. And it (and they) gave me that one “I’m going to stop saying ‘one day’; I’m doing this today” moment that you need, inspiring me to keep going and start writing another book, which is how Act Like It came about.

** What are your favorite animal, food, movie, TV show, actor, singer, and author?

Respectively: dog (although closely followed by horse), pizza, ’95 Pride and Prejudice, The Vicar of Dibley, Alan Rickman, Adele, and Georgette Heyer.

** What are your pet peeves?

When people start a conversation with the words, “No offense, but…” Followed by a blatant insult. J

** Who is your hero?

I don’t know if I have a hero as such. My family members are my rock and constant support. And there are people I have huge admiration for, for the things they’ve done, they’ve sacrificed, they’ve survived (and, in some cases, didn’t survive, but kept their dignity and courage throughout).

**Give us one thing on your bucket list.

Visiting Chartres Cathedral.

**If you could go to heaven, who would you visit?

First, my Grandad. We were very close, and I still miss him every day. Then I’d like to pop in on Jane Austen and meet the mind that created Mr. Darcy. And I’d round out the day by tracking down Agatha Christie, because I want confirmation of who Lucy Eyelesbarrow married at the end of 4:50 From Paddington. It drives me nuts every time I re-read it.

**Any bad habits?

Um. Where do I start? :D I procrastinate, I’m messy, I avoid confrontation at all costs… I lose my train of thought easily.

 

Now that our readers know a little bit more about Lucy Parker, let’s get down to the business of your debut novel, Act Like It, which by the way has a beautiful cover. On top of that I noticed at the time of this interview that your book has 44 reviews and a 4.5 star Amazon rating. Talk about success!

How long did it take you from beginning to end before your novel was completely finished, and how did you decide on the topic and title?

I wrote the first draft of Act Like It in just over a month, but it grew considerably throughout the weeks/months of the editing process. I probably added a good third of the final book during that time. There was no hero POV in the first draft, and I’m really glad Richard has a voice now!

The plot started from a passing thought, that so many co-stars seem to become romantically involved, and it would be really awkward if the relationship didn’t work out. Particularly in the environment of the theatre, where actors constantly have to perform the same scenes over and over again. I started with Lainie, I wrote the opening lines, then Richard’s character came into being, and it all started from there.

The original working title was Are They Really?, but I came up with about 30 possible alternatives, and the unanimous consensus was Act Like It

Would you consider this a sweet romance?

I probably would, in some ways. The primary focus is on the relationship, and the emotional and intellectual connection. Although they do have a definite physical/sexual attraction too, and Lainie views sex as a natural and fun part of life and love, so I hope that comes across.

Please tell us a little bit about Act Like It.

Act Like It is set in the West End of London. Actress Lainie Graham is halfway through an eight-month run at the Metronome Theatre, where she’s playing the onstage lover of her most recent ex-boyfriend. Which makes the nightly kissing scenes a little on the awkward side. Having been burned by one disastrous attempt at dating a co-star, she’s not at all happy when the theatre management propose their brilliant idea for boosting ticket sales—a faux romance in the tabloids between media darling Lainie and her other co-star, public enemy number one, Richard Troy. Who, like most of the British public, she can’t stand.

Richard is one of the highest-paid, most experienced theatre actors in London. He’s also the most socially inept, cynical, grumpiest man she’s ever had the misfortune of working with, and she has no desire whatsoever to hold his hand for the paparazzi. But he needs a PR makeover, she can’t turn down the execs’ particular brand of bribery, and so the most unlikely pairing on and off the stage is launched.

And, unsurprisingly, things quickly start to become a little too real.

What was your hardest challenge writing this book?

I thought it was going to be finding Richard’s voice, but I actually totally enjoyed writing him. He’s so unapologetically tactless. I think I struggled most trying to be a plotter rather than a pantser! Didn’t work. J I think I have a plan and know where things are going, and then they end up developing along completely different lines.

What in your opinion makes good chemistry between your leading characters?

There has to be a physical attraction, obviously, but it has to be more than that. They have to genuinely like each other, respect each other. You have to believe this is the person they would want to spend most of their time with, to live with, and share things with, hopefully for the rest of their lives. That they would also want to spend a good part of that time in bed is just a bonus. J

Any other works in progress?

Yes. I’m hoping to have news about that soon!

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Well, I’m still an aspiring author myself, really. I want to keep improving, and keep writing. But my main advice reiterates what I said earlier: there comes a moment when you just have to sit down and start writing. It’s way too easy to just keep saying “Some day.”

Final words?

Thank you so much for having me! And thank you so much to everyone who’s read Act Like It. I’ve had incredible support, and I can’t even express how much I appreciate it.

 

 

 

 

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