Hello Louise, thank you so much for joining me on Novel Kicks today. Your debut novel is called Wilde Like Me. Can you tell me a bit about it and what inspired it?
It’s so thrilling to be a published author, I feel truly honoured to be involved in the publishing industry which I can tell you has some of the nicest people in the world in it. I feel really excited to write more and have a few more books under my belt!
Wilde Like Me is a love story with a difference. It’s not your typical fair maiden being rescued by a prince on his stead. The book’s heroine is 29-year-old single Mum called Robin Wilde, and when we first meet her, she’s finding the gig of being a single parent really tough and is struggling to keep on top of things. Throughout the book, we see Robin battle with what she calls, The Emptiness, and discover the real key to what makes her happy. It’s fun and exciting but also has some really poignant moments which I love. I can also tell you there are definitely some real life inspirations in this book. When I began writing Robin’s story, I was a single working Mum myself, trying out the dating game again, and I knew first-hand what a struggle it can be!
What are the challenges with writing a novel especially the first novel? What’s the best part?
I’ve found juggling my time hardest when writing the first novel. I’m a full-time vlogger and a Mummy to 2 little girls so squeezing it all in has been a bit tricky but so worth it when I hear readers tell me what they thought of the characters or what the book has meant to them- that’s by far the best part.
What was the planning process like and how has your writing process evolved since your first book compared to the second?
When I first sat down to write Wilde Like Me I really didn’t know how to put a whole book together. I had all these ideas buzzing around but no real skill in making a story arc or keeping it flowing. My editor Eli taught me how to sew chapters together and how to make sure it kept a good momentum so the second book has been much smoother in that respect- and less phone calls to Eli!
What is your typical writing day like? Do you have any rituals or habits?
I write best first thing in the morning before I’ve looked at anything else or I’ve distracted myself with other work like editing videos or updating social media, so I try to do a couple of hours as soon as I wake up.
Which song would best describe you and why?
I’m afraid I’m drawing a blank on this one, while I love music, it’s hard to judge oneself accurately. Maybe your readers can pick one for me and put it in the comments below?
Which fictional character is most like you?
I’d love to be most like Luna but I’m so highly strung! Sorry to harp back to Harry Potter again but can I say Mrs Weasley for me? She’s a harassed, stressed but loving Mum with a fierce attitude and I love her.
Do you feel that plot or characters are more important and what elements do you think make a good novel?
In my book the characters are crucial because they’re who make the story. I’ve learnt as well that you have to work really carefully to take the reader on a journey and the progression of the characters can really aid this. I think having a start and a finish make a good novel!
Which authors have influenced you most? Is there one book or author that is your favourite?
Lindsey Kelk has been a wonderful friend over the last couple of years, always offering guidance or answering any questions. I think her journey is incredible and her work ethic inspiring.
What is next for you?
Well, I’m not finished with Robin’s story just yet. I’m currently finishing book 2 which is out in August, and so I’ll be writing book 3 as soon as possible and carrying on with my social media passions. I’m also thinking about making some long form content – I’ve always wanted to write a sitcom or perhaps make a documentary about life on the PTA because it’s drama-tastic.
I am so excited for the release of the second book in the Robin Wilde series, called Wilde About The Girl which is out in August. It’s my best kept secret this year because I’ve been dying to spill all the details but I won’t spoil it for you (I think my publishing team would scrap me if I did!). I can tell you though that each character progresses on their personal journey, we have life and death (woah), romance where you’d least expect it, a secret snog in a cupboard and a bunch of new characters to love or hate! It. Is. Juicy.
What advice do you have for someone who may be experiencing writers block?
Writers block was a big part of the first book. I’d have days where I just didn’t have any creativity in me. The best thing to do in those moments is first go out. Go and actually do something, not just sit at home. Something about the change of scenery or change of pace can flip a switch in your brain and help. Secondly, break things down into bitesize chunks. Say to yourself, ‘I only have to write 3 paragraphs today’. In doing that you’re not facing this huge great mountain but instead something much more manageable.
Do you have any more advice for new writers?
Quite simply, keep writing. I hear a lot of people wistfully say, ‘I’d love to be able to write’ and I always reply, ‘You can, just start’. Write every single day, even if you think what you’re writing and you are rubbish. Ask people to read what you write so you become accustomed to that fear of judgement, and read yourself too. Become a critical reader, pick apart scenes you love in books and think about why you love them so you can try and incorporate that into your own writing.
Award-winning lifestyle and beauty blogger, fashion designer and number one bestselling author Louise Pentland has long dreamed of publishing her first novel, coming true in June 2017 when Wilde Like Me was published in hardback by Zaffre. As well as a hugely popular YouTuber, Louise is a UN Global Ambassador for Gender Equality, Louise was shortlisted for 2016’s Glamour Woman of The Year and recently won InStyle ‘Best High-Street Fashion YouTuber’ and the Shorty Award for ‘Best YouTube Guru’. In 2016, she released her second collection for fashion retailer SIMPLY BE (sizes 10-32) and her second LOUISE LIVE UK tour was a sell-out this summer. Her non-fiction book Life With A Sprinkle of Glitter hit the Sunday Times number one bestseller slot in summer 2015.
Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland is out now in paperback (£7.99), published by Bonnier Zaffre.
Robin Wilde is an awesome single mum. She’s great at her job. Her best friend Lacey and bonkers Auntie Kath love her and little Lyla Blue to the moon and back. From the outside, everything looks just fine.
But behind the mask she carefully applies every day, things sometimes feel . . . grey. And lonely.
After 4 years (and 2 months and 24 days!) of single-mum-dom, it’s time for Robin Wilde to Change. Her. Life!
A little courage, creativity and help from the wonderful women around her go a long way. And Robin is about to embark on quite an adventure . . .
My verdict on Wilde Like Me…
I have been following Louise on You Tube for a little while now and so was intrigued when she announced she was releasing a fiction novel. Wilde Like Me is about single Mum Robin Wilde who has found herself not loving her life as much as she’d like. She loves her daughter but also wonders whether there is something she can add to her life to make her happy within herself. The ’emptiness’ spends too much time hanging around for Robin’s liking. She begins to think that she should do something about it.
Immediately, I warmed to Robin. She has a very fresh relatable voice. She reminded me of a modern-day Bridget Jones actually (but less neurotic and a little less of a mess.) I empathised with Robin and I couldn’t help but take her to my heart. She feels so real to me.
I wanted to reach into the page and give Robin a massive hug and tell her, ‘you’re doing so much better than you think you are girl.’ It made me appreciate how hard my Mum must have worked when I was small.
The supporting characters are brilliant. Auntie Kath is what every girl needs. Aside from Robin, I think Kath was my favourite.
The prologue gives you a small, possible glimpse into Robin’s future. This pretty much made sure that I didn’t want to stop reading. I personally found this book very easy to fall into and lose a few hours with. The writing style has an ease, warmth and humour to it. I could tell that Louise wrote this – it’s what comes across in her you tube videos too.
For someone like me who is trying to write her first book, this novel inspires.
Overall, I really loved Robin. She is proof that anything can happen if you have courage and self-belief. I am very happy that she will be returning later this year.
Louise, you have a new fan of your novels.