Writer Wednesday: Talli Roland

Talli Roland writes fun, romantic fiction. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine).

Despite training as a journalist, Talli soon found she preferred making up her own stories, complete with happy endings. Talli's debut novel The Hating Game was short-listed for Best Romantic Read at the UK's Festival of Romance, while her second, Watching Willow Watts, was selected as an Amazon Customer Favourite.

Her novels have also been chosen as top books of the year by industry review websites and have been bestsellers in Britain and the United States.

1. Why did you want to become a writer? 
Actually, writing as a career was something I never considered until I’d tried (almost!) everything else, from teaching to recruitment to journalism. After feeling bored and restless in each position and longing for something more creative, I finally decided to get serious about writing. I wrote four ‘practice’ novels, two non-fiction books, and finally managed to get a novel published. I now have four books traditionally published, three books self-published, and I’ve recently signed a two-book deal with Amazon Publishing.

2. What's the toughest part of the writing process for you? 
The second draft! Oh, how I loathe it! I always get very tense and anxious about shaping what I banged out in the first draft into something compelling – something that makes sense! – and that readers will enjoy. It’s very stressful!

3. What's the most enjoyable part of writing? 
Although it can be a bit of a slog, I really enjoy the first draft. I love the freedom and the potential. Plus, I allow myself to write as much crap as I like in the first draft, which is probably why I hate the second draft stage so much.

4. Out of all the amazing books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why? 
I love the novel Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld, because it so accurately captures all the angst and self-consciousness of a teen in minute detail, while also managing to be a compelling and engaging read.

5. If you could only save one of your characters from fictional calamity, who would you pick and why? 
I’d have to save poor Serenity Holland from her relentless ambition resulting in wrong choices. She means well, but she always ends up in a mess!

6. If you could spend the day with your favourite character (not from your books), who would you spend it with and what would you do? 
Hmm, that’s a tough question. I think I’d spend it with Cheryl Strayed (author of the non-fiction travelogue Wild) because I’d love to hear more about her adventures on the Pacific Coast Trail. We’d probably get up to something sporty, perhaps a walk through Hyde Park. That’s about as sporty as you can get in London!

7. What can we expect next from you? 
Amazon Publishing is re-releasing The Pollyanna Plan in March, complete with a brand new cover. And my new novel The No-Kids Club will be out in June. Plus, I’m working on another novel, which I hope to finish around summertime. It’s going to be a busy year!

8. Is there any particular writing advice you wish you'd been given at the start of your writing career? If so, what is it? If not, what advice would you give to someone starting out? 
Writing can be such a solitary thing, and I wish someone had told me how wonderful writing groups and organisations can be. I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association a few years after I started writing full-time, and it’s been a fantastic support network.

9. Tell us what a typical writing day involves for you. 
I have a one-year-old son, so my writing these days is tailored around his naps! Whenever he sleeps, I write frantically. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for procrastination, which can only be a good thing.

10. Finally, what are you reading at the moment? 
I just finished Watching Over You, a psychological thriller by Mel Sherratt. It’s super scary but I just couldn’t stop reading.

The Pollyanna Plan, out March 2014:

Is finding true love as easy as an attitude change?

Thirty-something Emma Beckett has always looked down on 'the glass is half full' optimists, believing it's better to be realistic than delusional. But when she loses her high-powered job and fiancé in the same week, even Emma has difficulty keeping calm and carrying on.

With her world spinning out of control and bolstered by a challenge from her best friend, Emma makes a radical decision. For the next year, she'll behave like Pollyanna: attempting to always see the upside, no matter how dire the situation.

Can adopting a positive attitude give Emma the courage to build a new life, or is finding the good in everything a very bad idea?

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  1. Thank you so much for hosting me, Elle!

  2. Know exactly what you mean about the second draft!