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Writer Wednesday: Erin Lawless

Erin Lawless lives a happy life full of wonderful friends, in love with a man who buys her books instead of flowers. To mix things up a little, she writes books where friends and lovers hit obstacles and (usually) overcome them. When she’s not doing that she reads absolutely everything she gets her hands on, spends an inordinate amount of time in pyjamas and runs a fun-but-informative blog on British history.  

1. Why did you want to become a writer?
I always loved stories, and when I'd finish reading a book series I could never let go. I'd write my own continuations of Enid Blyton sagas, spin off in all directions. Unsurprisingly, this matured into full-blown fanfiction writing when I was a teenager, hundreds of hours, tens of thousands of words! – but I was 26 before I made my first attempt at full-length, original fiction (The Best Thing I Never Had).  

2. What's the toughest part of the writing process for you?
 It's finding the time. I've got a full-time career in law, a household to run, a social life to live and a to-be-read list longer than I'll likely be around!

3. What's the most enjoyable part of writing?
 I do enjoy that first read back – up until that point, you can never quite tell how the pacing works, or the story as a whole. The original read-through is your first time experiencing your new book as a reader, not a writer. I also love chatting with people who have read my books! My endings in particular seem to spark conversation!  

4. Out of all the amazing books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why?
 I most often say this when I finish epic fantasy novels (I wish I had the time/skill/inspiration!) but I do always think this when I read The Time Traveller's Wife in particular. The way that story is structured – it would be so interesting to write.  

5. If you could only save one of your characters from fictional calamity, which would you pick and why?
I'm growing increasingly fond of the main character of my WIP – Lacey. It's the first time I've chosen to write a novel from first-person perspective, and I suppose it's natural that quite a lot of my own personality is leaking into her! If it has to be an extant character though, it would be a toss-up between Nicky from The Best Thing I Never Had (loveliest person ever) and early-Alex from Somewhere Only We Know (hapless and helpless).  

6. If you could spend the day with your favourite literary character (not from your books), who would you spend it with and what would you do?
It might be a clichĂ©, but who wouldn't want to spend the day with Mr Darcy, taking the air at Netherfield? Perusing the libraries at Pemberley?  

7. What can we expect next from you?
I'm currently working on another contemporary romcom (see re Lacey, above!) – it's set on the set of a Downton Abbey-esque television series, and is about a woman forced by her cheating fiancĂ© to try and seduce a celebrity. It's early days yet, but I am enjoying the ride so far!  

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?
Write the book you'd want to read. Don't get bogged down too much in "it's vampires/BDSM/Game of Thrones-esque/whatever this year, I must write that!". Trends come and go – truly excellent fiction stands the test of time.

9. Tell us what a typical writing day involves for you.
No such thing for me! With the "day job" getting more and more demanding a "writing day" will normally be whatever I can jot down on a Sunday afternoon while my husband watches the football. When we're on the home-straight with a book I will often make the effort to get to the office early, or stay late, and try to get some writing (or editing) done there. I do write straight, namely chronologically and cleanly, and I edit as I go (normally when I hit writer's block and I don't want to waste time or fall out of the world of my story). I am very jealous of all the authors who get to actually spend a whole "working day" with their manuscripts!

10. Finally, what are you reading at the moment?
I'm currently in the middle of the Harper Impulse Readathon at the moment (check out the #HIReadathon hashtag on Twitter for more info) and I'm reading (and loving) the evocative While I Was Waiting by Georgia Hill.

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Boy meets girl… 

Alex Bradley can't help but feel that life is rather passing him by. And not just life – promotions, invitations, romance; the girl he loves only has eyes for his flatmate and his 9-5 job as the Immigration department skivvy is slowly numbing his soul. Until he meets Nadia.

Girl meets boy… 

Nadia Osipova is running out of time. With no money, no lawyer and a totally fictitious boyfriend, she’s got one last summer and one last appeal before the British government deport her back home.

Girl gets deported? 

It's going to be a bumpy ride, one she's dragging her new friend Alex along for. As Nadia races through a list of all her favourite London adventures, for what may be the last time, Alex can’t help but start to see the city, and his life, through Nadia’s eyes. From hazy summer days on the Common and heady nights in Soho’s basement bars, to twilight walks along the Southbank, will Alex realise what he’s got before it’s too late?

Funny, addictive and always honest, this is a love letter to London, friendship and the unexpected from the author of the bestselling The Best Thing I Never Had.

Follow Erin on Twitter | Buy Somewhere Only We Know on Amazon |
Visit her website | Like her on Facebook

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