What do books, beauty, pro-wrestling and cats have in common? Well, for starters, they’re all hobbies of the bestselling British author, Lindsey Kelk. We recently had the chance to catch up with Lindsey about her latest novel, One in a Million, which has been described as the My Fair Lady for the social media age. Here’s what she had to say.
Girly Book Club: What was the inspiration for your latest novel? Did you read any books prior to writing as research or motivation?
Lindsey Kelk: I’m social media obsessed, seriously, it’s a problem! I’m never not on my phone, scrolling through Insta or chatting with people on Twitter and I’m so used to seeing negative portrayals of social media in books and in media when I think the reality is much more complicated. I’d been thinking of a way to incorporate it into a story for a while and was rewatching My Fair Lady and wondering what the bet would be today and the whole thing just kind of fell into place. I watched My Fair Lady so many times, I think I know the whole movie off by heart but I also threw in a little She’s All That for good measure.
GBC: Have any of your real life experiences influenced your characters or plots within any of your works?
LK: Oh absolutely, things that happen to me and cultural issues influence all my books. I was actually writing One in a Million when the Me Too movement broke and it had such an impact on the story, even if the influence isn’t explicit. It was important in my version of this well-loved story that Samuel knew about the bet from the beginning. Keeping him in the dark until the end would have made for a weighty narrative reveal but I thought it was too important that he be informed and give his consent throughout.
GBC: Any intentions for writing a sequel to One in a Millionn?
LK: Not at the moment but I’m terrible at letting my characters live in their happily ever after so who’s to say?
GBC: With 14 published books, you’re a veteran! How did you get into writing and what inspired you to write your first book?
LK: Even though I know that’s true, it still feels like I’m just figuring it out. I think writing is one of the few careers where the more experience I get, the less sure of myself I become but I do still love it! I’ve always been a writer at heart, I started writing stories when I was very young and carried on all through school and university but even after studying creative writing and working as an editor in children’s publishing, I never really thought I’d be able to write for a living. I wrote my first book, I Heart New York after a work trip to NYC. I was so miserable in my every day life and visiting New York made me feel like I was waking up from something, it was my ‘anywhere but here’ fantasy. I never really planned for anyone to read it but my best friend insisted and she encouraged me to submit it to agents, without her I wouldn’t be doing this today, which is just crazy to think now.
GBC: What does your writing process look like? Are you the type to craft an entire story before you sit down to write or do you start with an idea and see where the writing takes you?
LK: Someone once asked me if I was a plotter or a pantser and I am for sure a pantser. I have a general idea of what I want to do when I sit down to start but really no clear path. If I over plan my storyline, it starts to feel stale by the time I’m finished. I like to be surprised by my stories.
GBC: What makes a book great, in your opinion? What elements does a great story possess?
LK: Truly I just want to be pulled into a story and believe it. Any genre, any age range, any era, it really doesn’t matter to me. All I want is to genuinely care about the characters and to really feel it.
GBC: Lastly, we’re always on the hunt for our next great read. Recommend us a book to add to our TBR pile!
LK: Oh, I can give book recommendations all day! I loved Sarra Manning’s latest, The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp, it’s an updated take on Vanity Fair and I sped through it in a day. It’s so clever and funny and painfully relevant, Sarra is so easy to read, she makes an incredibly difficult concept look very easy.