Q&A with bestselling author Miranda Dickinson — plus a giveaway!

TALAMN coverWhen it comes to “women’s fiction,” “chick lit,” or whatever you’d like to call it, there are some names that stand far above the rest: Kinsella. Giffin. Weiner. Dickinson. Today, I am truly ecstatic to be chatting with bestselling author Miranda Dickinson, author of titles like Fairytale of New York, It Started With a Kiss, and her latest, Take a Look at Me Now.

So grab some coffee, take a deep breath, and enjoy what she has to say. After the interview, leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Take a Look at Me Now!

With five critically acclaimed novels to your name (including four Sunday Times bestsellers), it’s difficult focusing on just one! But what can you tell us about your latest creation, Take a Look at Me Now?

Miranda photoTake a Look at Me Now is the story of Nell, who turns her life around when she is unexpectedly hit by redundancy. Instead of being a victim of what’s happened and waiting to find another job, she blows her redundancy cheque on the trip of a lifetime to San Francisco, where her cousin Lizzie lives. Here in this positive city, she reconnects with a long-held dream and, inspired by the people she meets there, decides to change her life.

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What do think people will love most about this book? What do you love about it?

I think people will love the idea of not letting life’s downturns get you down. So many people are either facing redundancy or scared about losing their jobs at the moment, so I think Nell’s story is really relevant for the time we live in. I hope that readers will fall in love with San Francisco the way that I did when my husband Bob and I visited last year on our honeymoon. That’s what I love most about the book: I was writing Nell’s discovery of the city as Bob and I were experiencing it, so it’s my personal journal of a very special trip as much as it is Nell’s story. Lastly, my hope is that it inspires people that anything is possible – even if life turns out differently to our plans.

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In the spirit of Desperately Ever After, I must ask: If you had to choose, which fairy tale character (doesn’t have to be a princess and doesn’t have to be Disney), would you be and why?

I think I would be Sleeping Beauty because I’m a new mum and the thought of a hundred years of sleep is very appealing at the moment!

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Thousands of people dream about going from polished manuscript to agented writer to author with a HarperCollins seal on their book. Can you talk a bit about the process that worked for you, and what you’ve learned along the way?

I was discovered on Authonomy.com – HarperCollins’ website for unpublished writers – and offered a three-book deal by Avon. I had no agent, never expected anyone to read my novel and was completely blown away by it! I’ve since found an agent, so I kind of did things a different way around to the accepted wisdom, but it proves that the major publishers do take a punt on debut novelists. I think the most important thing I’ve learned over the past six years is to trust my gut when it comes to the story I want to tell and stick to my guns to make sure that’s the story that reaches readers.

Even with a large publishing house like HarperCollins, it’s often hard to get your titles out there. How do you make sure your work reaches its target audience?

I think the key is to talk to people and get them involved. I’ve had tremendous fun with my #getinvolved opportunities on Twitter and Facebook, collaborating on ideas with readers and bloggers. In Take A Look At Me Now I asked my Twitter and Facebook followers to suggest names for characters, objects for locations and ideas for the food featured in the book. It meant that we had fun, everyone felt a part of Nell’s story even as I was writing it and when the book came out everyone supported the book because they had contributed to the story. I think increasingly for authors approachability and accessibility are becoming key considerations – but it has to be genuine. I want readers to feel like I write stories just for them, so authenticity is very important.

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A writer’s life is certainly not an easy one—from rejections to dwindling sales, to tough reviews, and so on. How did you get through the bad days?

I don’t read reviews on Amazon or Goodreads and I don’t check my Amazon sales ranking ever. I’ve learned the hard way that this can scupper me on the days when I’m doubting my ability as a writer. I especially stay away from Googling my books when I’m writing for that reason! I’m very fortunate with sales – I’ve sold over half a million books worldwide so far – but the benchmark for me has always been that more than five people in the world (i.e. my family and Bob!) read my books. That was always my ambition before I was published and I’m determined to stick to it with every new book I write. The only way to get through the bad days is to be absolutely in love with what you write: so I try to reconnect with that love every day. Without it, I just don’t think I’d survive as a writer.

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What is the best piece of advice you’ve received that you can share with aspiring writers?

I love the Dr Seuss quote: ‘Be who you are and say what you feel because those that mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.’ I think it’s so important to write what you love and pursue that, rather than trying to appeal to a certain market or genre.

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Your next book, I’ll Take New York, will be released in December. What can you reveal about it?

It’s the story of Bea James and Jake Steinmann, who meet as the only two singles at an engagement party and make a drunken pact to swear off relationships for life. As their friendship grows and they share their favourite places in New York with each other, their lives take unexpected turns and call The Pact into question… It’s an almost-sequel to my first novel, Fairytale of New York – a standalone book that features answers to the ‘what happened next’ questions about Rosie, Ed, Marnie and Kowalski’s that I’ve been asked by readers over the years. So I’ve had great fun revisiting my characters from Fairytale and getting to know new characters at the same time. The ebook is released on 30th October and the gorgeous, sparkly paperback will hit the shops on 4th December. I’m so excited about this book because I’ve wanted to write it for several years. If you love New York and romance, you’ll love it!

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In addition to blogging at miranda-dickinson.com and coffeeandroses@blogspot.com, Miranda loves connecting with readers on Twitter (@wurdsmyth) and FacebookHer books are available at both Amazon.com (US) and Amazon.co.uk (UK).

ENTER TO WIN!

TALAMN coverComment below to win a signed copy of Take a Look at Me Now. The giveaway will remain open until 11:59 p.m. (PST) Tuesday, May 20, at which point a winner will be chosen at random.

Best of luck to you all!

FEED YOUR BEACH BAG!

dfw-lk-dea-cover-midAlso at Amazon, Desperately Ever After is available in both print and e-book formats. Centered around a group of friends who just happen to live in castles … it’s Desperate Housewives meets the Brothers Grimm, perfect for “Once Upon a Time withdrawal” (says Chick Lit Central) and a great beach read!

Click here for Amazon US or here for Amazon UK   

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COMING UP!

Happily Ever AfterNext Wednesday, May 21, Elizabeth Maxwell stops by to talk about her debut novel, Happily Ever After, and give away two print copies!  

Mark your calendars 🙂

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27 Comments

Filed under Author Interviews, Contests

27 responses to “Q&A with bestselling author Miranda Dickinson — plus a giveaway!

  1. Cheryl Saunders

    It so lovely to get an insight as to how a book arrives on the shelves and in my home. Thank you.

  2. mandy cooke

    Love Miranda’s books and how she interacts with her readers – feel I know her!

  3. Excellent interview, this book is great to read.

  4. Rhonda

    This book sounds perfect for me.

  5. Let me try that again… oddly not enough sleep myself last night. Now for the edited version:

    Love Miranda’s outlook on tracking sales and social media following. It does bog the writer down. I’ve said to people that it is hard to be ones own cheerleader.
    I love being reminded that authors are people, not just their work. Thanks for sharing the info on your baby. Don’t worry, you’ll get some sleep. My kids are 13 and 14, and I would trade all the insignificant worries away, for a chance to hold them as babies again.
    Will look forward to reading to my signed copy of the book! 🙂 Best of luck!

  6. Thank you for the chance

  7. Looking forward to reading your books–adding them to my “must read” list.

  8. Lisa

    Great interview!! What interesting background on how she got started and her approach to writing/reviews/getting published etc. Each author has their own “story”. Will add to my reading list & would love to have a signed copy. Thanks for the chance!

  9. bn100

    Nice cover and interview

  10. I love Miranda’s books. This is a great interview! So good to know a bit more about her and her writing.

  11. marylinevp

    Lovely Q&A! Book sounds like a fab read! x M.

  12. Rachel Bowmer

    Thanks for this, I love Mirandas books and have just found her on twitter and am loving the Flo updates.
    Looking forward to this book, loved fairytale of New York so hoping this will be as good.

  13. Andrea Young

    Awesome interview! I would love to win this book 🙂

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