Fiona Gibson is also the author of other titles including The Great Escape and Mum on the Run. We will be reviewing Take Mum Out later today but first, we chat to Fiona about her new book, her favourite night out and her advice for writers.
Can you tell us about your book, Take Mum Out?
Alice is a single mum to two teenage boys. Although she’s not desperate to meet a man, her three best friends have other ideas. They hatch a plan where they’ll each present her with an eligible, hand-picked man – all Alice has to do is choose her favourite. This book was huge fun to write, as there are first date horrors galore – plus, Alice has to deal with her sons’ scathing remarks, who can’t understand why she wants a boyfriend at all. ‘Presumably,’ she says, ‘I should interact only with tradespeople and the staff at Tesco Metro.’
What would be your idea of a perfect night out?
A few G&Ts in the Sheraton Hotel in Edinburgh – they have a mind-boggling selection of gins! Then dinner at somewhere like The Dogs, which is lively, fun and delicious. And my best friends from London would have come up for the occasion.
Is there a fictional character you’d like to meet?
Do you have any writing rituals?
Yes – I see my three teens off to school, then meet friends for a dog-walk and try to be at my laptop by 10. I work right through till 4, then sometimes do an extra splurge in the evening. I write straight onto my laptop (I can barely write with a pen anymore!), and to break up my week, I sometimes nip in to Edinburgh to write in cafes.
Do you plan and edit as you go?
Sometimes – I might hammer out a chapter very quickly, just to mark out the plot, or I might hone it carefully – it depends on my mood. Whatever I do, though, I always have to go back and edit the whole book really thoroughly, then I give it another final light edit when (hopefully) it’s almost ready to go.
(Out of the ones you’ve read,) which novel has had the most impact?
I love The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – the main character, Christopher, jumped off the page for me. My kids and I all loved it.
When writing, do you cast your characters? Who would you like to see play Alice?
She’s a brunette, but if we could have Cate Blanchett, I’d turn her blonde! I loved her in Blue Jasmine.
Ideal guests for a fantasy dinner party?
The cast of The Breakfast Club. I had teen crushes on all the boys, and Molly Ringwald was my girl crush.
Five tips for new writers?
Write the sort of stories you love to read.
Be yourself – don’t try to copy someone else’s style.
Don’t talk about it or share it too much at the beginning – let the story simmer in your own mind.
Don’t listen to the niggling voice that tells you it’s rubbish, or that you’re wasting your time. Any shabby bits can be fixed later. EVERYTHING can be fixed.
Do whatever you can to make writing process fun, and not angsty. Entertain yourself. If you’re writing comedy, try to relax and be silly and push scenes as far as you can. If it sounds daft, so what? You can always rein it in later. Have fun with it!
Congratulations on publication day, Fiona. Her blog tour continues tomorrow where she will be over at Reading in The Sunshine.