*scroll down after the review for an interview*
Five years ago at university they had been seven friends that laughed hard and loved harder. Nicky and Miles were the couple that were always meant to be… Leigha and Adam, not so much…
So when Adam and Harriet grew close during endless days in the library, they did the one thing that changed everything – they kept a secret. And when it came out, it all fell apart. When the day comes for bridesmaids to be chosen and best men to fulfil drunken promises, Nicky and Miles’ wedding isn’t just a wedding, it’s a reunion – loaded with past hurts, past regrets, past loves…
I always wanted to write a love story set at University but I wasn’t sure how I should frame it. Then, one day, my other half and I were talking about an upcoming wedding and how we were worried that people we fell out with might be present. Oooh! thought the writer in me, that would be interesting to write… and so off I went.
Thank you to Harper Impulse for kindly sending me a copy of this delightful book. It’s the first one I’ve read of Erin’s and believe me, it did not disappoint AT ALL.
The prologue introduces the characters perfectly. Nicky is a newly engaged twenty-six year old and to me, she seemed a little unsure whether it was the right decision to make or not. Leigha is a business woman who has her nails done every two weeks and her hair done every four, even when it’s not needed. She’s been asked to be a bridesmaid. Sukie is responsible for her two teenage sister and she is also going to be a bridesmaid. Johnny is the kind of man who has a one night stand and always forgets to plan his escape route. Harriet is due to be the maid of honour and she’s the only one who really dwells on the past and finally, we meet Adam, who is the very handsome best man.
Part One is set during September 2006 and June 2007.
The group of friends all meet at University and very quickly, friendships have bonded and we’re shown their final year. It’s an easy pace to read at and I fell into their lives as if I’d known them for a long time. Harriet is by far, my favourite character of the novel and she reminded me a lot of Hermione Granger (I’m hoping you all know who she is…). Chapter fourteen pulls the group of friends together due to highly unexpected heartbreak. Yet that is when the drama well and truly kicks in and before the readers have time to drink their cups of tea, the group has been divided.
Part Two is set during February and March 2012.
It begins two months before the wedding of Nicky and Miles and it’s a ‘what are they doing now?’ segment of the novel before the lead up to the big day. Once it arrives, the drama takes centre stage and it also includes a lovely little flashback to June 2005.
After all, when it comes to each other, what have we got left to lose?
Q. We know what inspired you to read The Best Thing I Never Had from reading my review but how did you know when it was complete?
A. The final scene/epilogue of the book was one of the first things I wrote. But, to be honest, I wrote it as an exercise in getting a handle on the characters. I never expected to use it, because at that point, I wasn’t sure how I wanted everything to end! But the closer I got to the end, the stronger I felt that what I’d written a year before was meant to be my ending, all along!
Q. Why did you opt to send your book to Harper Impulse?
A. I was part of the focus group of readers and bloggers who were called into HarperCollins to discuss how a romance imprint should function. I was really impressed with how forward-thinking everything seemed, and how the more traditional aspects of publishing were being merged with the modern worlds of social media, digital first publishing, etc – so when the submissions went live (even though I wasn’t actively submitting) I thought I’d take the chance! I’m so glad I did.
Q. When you received the call, what was going through your mind?
A. I was a bit blank, to be honest! I was expecting something along the lines of “If you totally rewrite your book in X, Y and Z ways and get an agent we will CONSIDER publishing you”. I wasn’t expecting to be offered a two book contract! I just sort of babbled nonsensically. My other half was following me around as I wandered from room to room, trying to work out if it was a good phone call or a bad phone call, because I was so taciturn! I didn’t start jumping around until about 45 minutes after the call ended – talk about a delayed reaction!!
Q. Rumour has it, Harriet is based on Harry Potter (slight name and sex change), did you plan on including a bit of the Hogwarts magic into your book?
A. In my first handwritten drafts, Harriet is called Georgina/George – but I was already looking to change that, as it felt a little “Famous Five”. At the time everyone was waiting for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 to hit cinemas and there was a lot of talk about how – for my generation – it was the end of an era; we’d been waiting for Harry Potter books or films to be released for most of our lives! Also, at the time, I was reading all the Potter books back to back in anticipation of the last film and so – with all the Pottermania in the air – it just felt right and Georgina Shaw became Harriet.
Q. What’s next for you?
A. I’m working on my second contemporary romance for Harper Impulse as we speak! The working title is Indefinite Leave to Remain and it is a little more light-hearted than The Best Thing I Never Had; it’s about a guy called Alex who works in immigration who gets thrown into the life of Nadia, a Russian national who is in the middle of an appeal for her Indefinite Leave to Remain in the United Kingdom. Immigration law may not sound very rom-com but trust me, it’s a lot of fun!