The Around The World Blog Tour is a partnership between TripFiction and #BookConnectors ~ bloggers and authors, travelling the world, through fiction.
TripFiction was created to make it easy to match a location with a book and help you select good literature that is most pertinent and relevant to your trip. A resource for armchair and actual travellers, it is a unique way of exploring a place through the eyes of an author. We blog, and chat books and travel across Social Media, and love to meet authors and bloggers as we take our literary journey.
Book Connectors was created as a place on Facebook for Bloggers, Authors and small Publishers to share their news.
We encourage book promotions; information about competitions and giveaways; news of events, including launch events, signings, talks or courses. Talk about new signings, about film deals …. anything really.
Book Connectors is a friendly group, there are no rules or guidelines – just be polite and respectful to each other.
On today’s stop of this literary tour of Scotland I am delighted to welcome Lucy Robinson. Lucy’s 2013 book A Passionate Love Affair With A Total Stranger is a romantic comedy set in Edinburgh. I have a review of this book and then Lucy has very kindly answered some questions for me.
A Passionate Affair With A Total Stranger
Charley Lambert has worked hard at creating a perfect life. She has an aspirational flat, a job of international significance and a very good pair of legs, thanks to a rigorous health and fitness regime. Best of all, her boss has asked her out after seven years’ hard flirting and a covert fumble in a mop cupboard.
Then she breaks her leg in three places, watches her boss propose to someone else and – horror – is forced to hand over her job to her nasty deputy. Charley, a certified workaholic, fears that she will go mad.
Dangerously bored, she starts helping people who are talentless at internet dating. Then William arrives in her inbox and rocks her world. Helpless, she watches herself fall in love with him and discovers she’s not who she thought she was.
But can she turn her back on her old life – all for a total stranger?
Charley Lambert is a workaholic, she lives and breathes her job as communications director at a large pharmaceutical company in Edinburgh, Scotland. Unfortunately when she has an accident and breaks her head in three places she is laid up for a lengthy period. She has to lie back and watch the office bitch steal her job; her boss, whom she has had a crush on for seven years, proposes to, and marries someone else. So Charley decides to start her own business, First Date Aid, where she writes the dating e-mails that her clients are incapable of writing. When the e-mails she sends to one client start to get very personal, the fun begins.
I found charley a really interesting character, at first she comes across as hard-nosed, interested in nothing but her work life. But as the novel goes on she develops as a character and becomes much more human and likeable and you find yourself rooting for her.
There are some other great characters, Charley’s family are brilliant and Hailey her best friend is very funny. The best of all though is Sam the slobby, womanising lodger.
This is a light romantic comedy with lots of dry Scottish humour. Taking you on a trip around all the familiar sights and scenes of Edinburgh, Scotland’s beautiful capital.
Fans of this genre should enjoy this book.
How I became a writer
People had been saying for years that I should write a book. I’d always enjoyed exploiting words and was the kind of person who would spend hours crafting emails ripe with subtle humour. What a moron. But while I could do a good message I didn’t believe – even for a second – that I had a novel in me. So I didn’t write one.
Then in 2009 I started my blog on the Marie Claire website; a shameful chronicle of my doomed attempts at internet dating, and was approached by a Women’s Fiction editor who insisted I wrote a novel. I took off to Buenos Aires to write it, like you do, and a year later The Greatest Love Story of All Time was published by Penguin (PENGUIN!) to critical acclaim. I’m now writing my fifth novel, which is fairly bonkers. My readers are brilliant and their enthusiasm for my writing is the absolute highlight of my career.
Q&As With Lucy Robinson
1. How do you go about choosing the settings for your books?
When I first started out as a writer, it was suggested to me that I set my books in London, because women ‘liked’ to read about London. I wasn’t so convinced. London is fabulous and I had many good years there, but my readers come from all over – and so, therefore, should my stories. The way I choose a location is really very simple – I pick somewhere I fancy researching and that’s that. I will never write a book set in a place that I haven’t been to.
2. What makes someone born and brought up in Gloucestershire, set a book in Edinburgh?
When I was nineteen I was involved with a university theatre company that took five plays up to the Edinburgh festival. There were twenty-four students living in a four bedroomed flat in the New Town for five weeks: you can imagine the scenes. During those five weeks I fell in love with Edinburgh. It is a truly incredible city: the architecture, the surrounding countryside, the history, the people. There’s nothing about Edinburgh I don’t like. It was the perfect setting for A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger – I can’t imagine the book working anywhere else.
3. What research did you do to give the book an authentic Scottish feel?
I went there, of course! I think that location research is probably the important tool in my writer’s repertoire. Without getting my hands dirty I’ll end up with a very thin manuscript; really not the sort of book I’d enjoy, as a reader. So I went to Edinburgh and, after I’d gone to all the places I needed to research, and talked to the people I knew I needed to talk to, I just spent three or four days being my main character, Charley. I imagined I was her – where would she go for dinner with a friend? Where would she go to exercise? To think? What would she see when she looked out of her window? What streets, scenes, accents, experiences made her the woman she is today?
4. Tell us what it is you like about Scotland and the Scots?
I still feel like I’ve got a lot more to see of Scotland and look forward to returning again soon. (My boyfriend and I are discussing a major cycling challenge around Scotland – eek!) Like many people, I think it’s probably the countryside that truly takes my breath away. I’ve spent a fair bit of time in the Glencoe/Fort William area and it’s the stuff of dreams – rugged hills, big skies, vast brooding lochs. And I’ve yet to meet a Scot I don’t like. I love the humour, the rudeness, the bluntness of my Scottish friends. My research trips for A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger were full of brilliant conversations with locals.
5. Do you feel settings play an important part in books?
Absolutely! My books are about people: life, love, struggle, change. But they are always embedded in their surroundings. As are we, as humans: we’ve all come from somewhere. We take in millions – billions, probably – of details of our surroundings all day, every day. A book should reflect that. Also, I aim for readers to become completely absorbed in my stories. For that to be possible, the locations need to be as strong as the characters.
6. Have you got any plans for further books set in Scotland?
Maybe. I’m writing my fifth book at the moment but I’ve already had an idea for the sixth, which will involve the remote highlands – maybe even the islands! That’ll be a research trip to remember . . .
7. Your latest book,The Day We Disappeared, is out now, tell us a little bit about it?
The Day We Disappeared was a bit of a departure for me. It’s still got the elements my readers have come to expect – humour, love, a cast of weird and wonderful characters – but this book contains a large dollop of mystery and a huge plot twist. As anyone who’s reviewed it will attest, it’s a difficult one to describe, without giving the plot twist away – but I can at least tell you that the two main characters, Kate and Annie, are both starting new phases in their lives, and both are falling in love. But both have a big, dark secret, which seems to be gaining ground on them every day.
Thanks so much to Lucy for joining me on this blog tour and to #BookConnectors and @TripFiction for the invitation to be part of this brilliant tour round Scotland.