The Sisters are Lucinda, Jessica, Beatrice and Emma LeSoeur. In the 1990’s Lucinda, Jessica and Beatrice were Euterpe; Britain’s biggest girl band until Lucinda meets a successful music producer, Paul Morgan, and decides to leave to seek solo success in America. Lucinda’s announcement is a shock not only to her fans but also to her sisters; especially Jessica who takes Lucinda’s departure the hardest. Twenty years later, the sisters are living very different lives. Jessica owns a successful PR agency; Beatrice is a lawyer and Emma, the youngest works for Jessica. After living in New York Lucinda is divorced with two children and is forced to return back to London as she’s facing financial ruin. When she returns home, she doesn’t get the happy reunion that she was hoping for.
The idea for ‘The Sisters’ originated after watching one too many episodes of ‘The Real Housewives…’ There was one particular episode when I realised that one of the characters was actually broke. Even though on the outside she had the designer bags, shoes and drove an expensive car she was actually a bit skint and I based the character of Lucinda on her.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I need some sort of background noise. I’ve tried but I can’t work in complete silence. The sound of my fingers tapping away on my laptop for hours on end would drive me mad, so I’ve always got the radio on listening to BBC London 94.9 or have iTunes on shuffle mode.
Which fictional character would you like to swap places with and why?
I wouldn’t want to actually live her life, because to be honest it’s a bit depressing but I would swap places with Miss. Havisham from Great Expectations. Miss.Havisham is one of my favourite fictional characters and I would swap places just so I could get her out of that old, mouldy wedding dress, throw the rotting cake in the bin and enjoy her wealth and her life. The woman needs to get some sunshine on her face.
What is your favourite word?
My favourite word is ‘reconnaissance.’
Which song best describes you?
Lauryn Hill ‘Everything is Everything.’ It’s happy and positive and I try to both of those things.
Do you plan much prior to starting a book? Which elements need to be in place before you begin?
I don’t have a detailed, rigid plan before I start but I have a very basic outline for each chapter of my first draft. For example the outline for chapter 16 of my WIP is ‘It’s a bad day for Lily as Graham announces that he wants to start divorce proceedings so that he can marry his new girlfriend.’
I need to know who my characters are before I can begin. They are the most important elements. I need to know who they are, what they look like and what are their goals.
Do you edit as you go?
No way. I doubt that I would finish anything if I edited as I went along. The first draft that I write is unedited and is honestly a beautiful mess, full of inconsistencies, spelling and grammar errors and characters who change names halfway through the book.
Which three things would you need with you if stranded on a desert island?
A tent, a solar powered radio and a knife. (I’m very practical ☺ )
Which superhero power would you like to have?
Because I have no patience, I would love to teleport
If you could go back to any point in history, where would you go and why?
I would go back to the 1970’s because it just seemed so cool, laid back and I could hang around with David Bowie and I could see what my parents were really up to.
‘The Joy Luck Club’ by Amy Tan, ‘American Tabloid’ by James Ellroy and ‘The Spy who came in from the Cold’ by James Le Carrè
Five Tips for new writers?
(1) Join a writers group. Even though you’re scared witless, at some point someone has to read your work. You will learn a lot from being around like-minded people.
(2) Have a Plan. It can be as detailed or a vague as you want but you need to have some idea of what you’re writing about.
(3) Don’t worry about your first draft being perfect. It won’t be. Just write your story.
(4) Take a Break. You need to step away from your book once you’ve finished your first draft. I recommend a month. I promise you that when you come back to your book, it will be as if though you’re reading it for the first time and you’re less emotionally involved.
(5) Back up your work!!! Stick it in Dropbox, email it to yourself, save it on a memory stick, print it out and ask your gran to look after your life’s work. It’s important that you back up your work. Believe me the unexpected can happen and you will cry when you’ve realised that you’ve lost it all.
Nadine Matheson was born and lives in London. She began her working life at the BBC and now practices as a criminal defence lawyer. She is the author of ‘The Sisters’ which is her debut novel. She has also contributed to the Sci-fi anthology ‘No Way Home’. In 2014, she was shortlisted for the City Uni/David Hingham Associates Crime Writing Competition. She also writes crime fiction under the pseudonym, J T Baptiste.