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The Adultery Clubby Tess Stimson
Author Q & A
A Q&A with author Tess Stimson on her new book, The Adultery Club
You are having tea or coffee (or a gin&tonic!) with one of your favorite authors. Who is it, and what would you ask that author if you only got to ask him/her one question?
Jane Austen. I love the precision and satire of her writing. She’s been one of my favourite authors since I first read Pride & Prejudice at the age of ten. I’d love to know what she thinks of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy!
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve discovered about having a book published?
How involved readers become with my characters. I’ve had many emails and letters asking me what happens to them after the book ends; so much so, that occasionally I bring one of them back in a subsequent book in a cameo role.
What’s your typical writing day like? And what environment is most conducive to your process?
I have three children, so I write for six or seven hours straight when they’re at school. But I usually write plot outlines late at night, once they’re in bed, because that seems to be when my brain is firing most imaginatively. I have to have a clear, uncluttered desk, and I drink tea by the gallon when I’m writing—must be my English genes!
Can you name the first book you read that inspired you in some special way? Why?
When I was six, I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis. I adored it, and spent many happy but frustrating hours trying to climb into the back of a wardrobe. I knew then I wanted to create a whole different world like that myself one day. I haven’t quite managed that, but at least I am a writer!
Many writing experts advise “write about what you know.” Do you agree with this? And what practical advice would you give an aspiring author?
I think the most important element of any book is the characters, and to make them real, you have to know people. Anything else can be researched—you can visit a place, or look up a detail on the internet. But knowing people is trickier. I’d tell any aspiring author to observe, observe, observe. Take notes about interesting people you see: the way they behave, and why.
Which came first: the characters, or the storyline?
The two evolve together for me; I have characters in my head whose story I don’t yet know, and plot ideas that are as yet unpeopled. Once I start working on a book, the two somewhow come together; the plot grows out of the characters and their actions.
If we asked your best friend to describe you in 3 words what would they be? What if we asked you?
My best friend would describe me as intelligent, high-maintenance and funny. Let’s stick with her viewpoint….!
Is there something in your Bantam Discovery Novel that you are particularly proud, or happy, about?
I love that everyone has a different view of The Adultery Club depending on whose side they’re on! Wives support Mal, girlfriends support Sara….It means I’ve done my job, which was to make all three central protagonists sympathetic. I wanted to show how nothing is ever black and white, and that most of us live in that vast grey area in the middle.
Can you tell us about the book you are working on now?
My next book is called The Infidelity Chain. It follows five characters who are caught up in the midst of an eight-year affair, and traces their interlinked stories. I think it’s the next logical step on from The Adultery Club, and I’m really happy with the way it’s working.
When you finish writing your answers to this Q&A, what will you do next?
Make a cup of tea!
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