Quercus approached me two weeks ago to speak with Anna about her new book, Don’t Tell The Boss. I sat down with Anna to discuss what it’s like to write a sequel…
Q. Everybody loved your first book, Don’t Tell The Groom and now we have Don’t Tell The Boss. How did you find the transition from the first book to the second?
A. I initially hadn’t planned to write a sequel, but after starting another book I kept hearing Penny’s voice. I had thought that if she was going to come back in another book it would have to have some elements of weddings in it as it had been such a large part of her life. When the idea hit me about the wedding planning business it then fell in to place that it would have to be about her struggle to reconcile that with her day job. Once I had the basic premise of the new book I wrote it very easily, she’s a very fun and easy character to write.
Q. Readers are heading back into Penny’s crazy world. How did you find writing about her life again? What were the highs and lows
A. I love writing from Penny’s perspective, it’s like being back with an old friend. I think the highs were getting to know her better. In Don’t Tell the Groom her story was very much troubleshooting the mess she’d got herself in with her gambling and web of lies she’d built around it. Whereas in Don’t Tell the Boss we get to see a lot more of Penny in her element – excelling at work and with her organising weddings. The lows I think of writing it would be the difficulty of writing about her as a newlywed with Mark – trying to really get into their minds of what the wedding planning would do to their relationship.
Q. If you and Penny were friends in real life, where would you go for a girl’s night out?
A. There’s a short story prequel that I wrote last year, called Don’t Tell Penny, which is about a night out where Penny thinks Mark is going to propose to her. It’s set in a luxury boutique hotel bar and I think that it would be a great setting for a night out with her. Somewhere where we could both get glammed up and show off our heels (not that I have such a nice shoe collection as hers – maybe she’d lend me some!) and we could gossip over a bottle of Prosecco.
Q. You also work alongside Novelicious, how important is it for you to get your thoughts across to readers on a weekly basis?
A. I love writing my Novelicious column, which is called the Secret Dreamworld of an Aspiring Author. I’ve been writing it for almost four years now and I love it. I don’t blog about writing on my own website as I use the Novelicious column to air my thoughts instead. It’s great as it attracts like minded people to read and comment. Writing can be a very lonely pursuit, and writing that every week reminds me that it doesn’t have to be.
Q. Since your first book was released, book bloggers have gone crazy for your writing. How do you think social media has changed your career?
A. I very much believe that I wouldn’t be where I was now without it. I self-published my first book, Millie and the American Wedding, and whilst it did well, it was the book bloggers that helped to create a buzz and gain momentum. So much of getting a publishing deal is about having an established author platform – and that goes hand in hand with having a presence on social media.
Q. In Don’t Tell The Boss, Penny finds herself in several unfortunate situations – what’s the funniest situation you’ve found yourself in?
A. Hmm, I’m one of those people that always finds themselves in ridiculous situations, so it’s difficult to know what to pick. Perhaps the time that I found myself in a room with six hundred naked marines, or the time that a hotel courtesy bus was despatched to pick me up at 9am and took me back to my room whilst dressed in a strapless bridesmaid dress from the wedding the day before, or maybe the time when I was in Thailand and got told off on a train for flashing monks? Whenever I seem to start a story my friends usually utter the words, it could only happen to you…
Q. Your books are with Quercus, how do you find working with them?
A. Having been a self-published author, it’s amazing now working with a proper traditional publisher. It’s hard at first to relinquish control on the areas you’re used to managing – marketing, design and editorial – but the end product is more than worth it. It’s great working with a team of people who are so enthusiastic about you and your writing.
Q. Finally, can we expect another Don’t Tell The… book?
A. You can indeed, I’m editing it as we speak! We’re back with Penny and she’s got yet another secret to hide, and a new rival. I can’t share too much of the plot as it’s too much of a plot spoiler of Don’t Tell The Boss, but you can expect the same lovable Penny with a hint of ditz and a few more ridiculous situations.