Hi Bree, thank you so much for joining us. Can you tell us a little about your book, Don’t Mention the Rock Star, and how the idea originated?
It’s essentially a story that examines the power of first love and whether someone can ever truly escape its magnetic pull. Kellie is a reporter for a showbiz website and one day she gets a blast from her past – in the form of her teenage boyfriend Andy (who went on to become a mega-famous singer). But Kellie has moved on with her life and certainly isn’t looking for a do-over with him. The story alternates between past and present, so readers get a glimpse into their relationship and discover why they aren’t together any more. I have no idea where the idea originated, other than these characters crashed into my head one day and simply wouldn’t leave me alone until I resolved their story.
Out of all the books you’ve read, which three have made the most impact and why?
The first book I remember being floored by was The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. It’s a coming-of-age story set in the 60s and relates a tale about a guy called Ponyboy who’s dealing with gang rivalry. I have tried unsuccessfully to get my teen daughter to read it – or at least watch the film. Actually – even though the movie involved many of the 80s hottest young actors, such as Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon and Rob Lowe, if you don’t know the story – read it, don’t watch it. The book is SO much better. Although I wonder if the drama of it all will seem a bit ho-hum to a teen today.
An obvious one for a chick lit lover perhaps, but I have to put Pride and Prejudice on this list. Loved Jane Austen’s humour, especially the exchanges between the meddling mother and the exasperated father; the characterisations of the different sisters, the thwarted romances, the repulsive Mr Collins and the haughty but hot Mr Darcy. He was, of course, the inspiration behind my pen-name.
I adored Where Rainbows End, by Cecelia Ahern, from the second I started reading it. I loved how over time something kept getting in the way of Rosie and Alex being together. I guess I have pursued a similar theme in my own book. And it’s probably why One Day by David Nicholls also struck a real chord with me too.
What’s your favourite word?
I have never once considered this! How did I get to this age without ever having a favourite word? In my manuscript the word ‘just’ crept in all the time and had to be surgically removed. I also say ‘cool’ a lot – which is very uncool.
Who’s your favourite romantic hero?
I don’t think I’ve ever had a book boyfriend. Isn’t that sad!? I’m always more invested in the female character’s journey. That said, I couldn’t help but fall in love with my male character, Andy. While he often gets up to no good, he’s so adorable. And did someone mention “rock star”?
Is there a fictional character you’d like to swap places with for a day and why?
Baby, from Dirty Dancing. A day of Patrick Swayze teaching me how to dance would be bliss. I’d even happily carry a watermelon.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Not really, apart from plonk bottom on chair. I do find I have to type my story – no scribbling in notebooks for me. I think after so many years doing a computer-based job, my fingers in type mode do more thinking than my brain!
I do a lot of editing for work, so I am not someone who can write a whole draft without going back and finessing as I go. So when I got to the first draft stage of Don’t Mention the Rock Star, it had already been reworked A LOT. I didn’t plan the plot or anything – my manuscript was simply divided into chapters and over two years I wrote bits and pieces of scenes, and pieced it all together as one (hopefully) logical journey later. I wrote the beginning and the ending early on – and then just had to figure out how to get from one to the other. I threw out and altered many plot threads right up until the last minute.
What song best describes you?
Because I am crazy about 80s music – there really was no better decade – it has to be an 80s track. Now while some might say Maniac (from Flashdance) might be fitting, I’m gonna go with When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going by Billy Ocean. If I was picking an 80s song to sum up Don’t Mention the Rock Star, it’d be either The Power of Love by Huey Lewis and the News or Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds.
Have you ever suffered from writers block and if so, how did you combat it?
My writing days for working on this book were Thursdays and Fridays while the kids were at school. So of course every Monday morning when I needed to head off to work, my brain went into overdrive with zillions of ideas I needed to get down on paper that instant. Thursday mornings, however, found me staring at a blank page and mooching around on social media. But I would simply stay in my chair and write something – anything – sometimes it would turn into a good day, other times it didn’t. That’s the luck of the draw!
Five tips for new writers?
I did a lot of reading about writing craft and the business of being an author because I knew I had a lot to learn – I still do! Some of the take-home messages for me were:
About Don’t Mention The Rockstar:
They fell in love in an instant … so why have they spent a lifetime apart?
As a teenager Kellie dated an American boy but circumstances meant they went their separate ways. Now he’s back and she’s so tempted to see him again. But two decades have passed and they are both married with children.
And the last thing a celebrity reporter like her needs is the world finding out about her past relationship with a rock star. Especially as Kellie’s husband doesn’t even know she once dated AJ Dangerfield, lead singer of legendary band Danger Game. And she has no intention of him finding out. EVER.
As Kellie deals with a demanding boss, a bullied son, an infuriating mother-in-law and a best friend who won’t act her age, she finds herself playing a dangerous game. What will happen if her two worlds collide? And is it possible that first love never fades?
Bree Darcy is the pseudonym of Australian journalist Stephanie Pegler. She is the publisher of several popular websites for readers and authors, including Chicklit Club, Connect and We Heart Writing, and also runs the annual International Chick Lit Month event. She worked as a newspaper sub-editor in Perth for about twenty years, and is married with three children. Don’t Mention the Rock Star is her debut novel. For more information, visit www.breedarcy.com
Don’t Mention the Rockstar at Amazon UK.
Don’t Mention the Rockstar at Amazon US.
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