A little while ago I read and loved Cally Taylor’s ‘Heaven Can Wait’. It was that good it made me cry. In public.
So I was delighted when her latest novel, ‘Home For Christmas’ was released. And as any decent blogger (who’s brave enough to cry in public – ahem) who’s worth their salt would do, I asked Cally over here to talk about it. And here she is, talking about what sounds like the perfect Christmas present. And a new baby. And how she’s been making people squirt coffee out of their noses in public…
Cally Taylor! Welcome back to the blog! How are you?
Exhausted! I’ve got a 10 week old baby and I’ve spent the last six weeks or so looking after him and promoting my new book. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I couldn’t be more tired.
You last came here to talk about the (brilliant!) ‘Heaven Can Wait’. Now, your second book, ‘Home For Christmas’ is published. Could you tell us a little about that?
‘Home for Christmas’ is a romantic-comedy about a girl who’s never been loved and a boy who can’t get rid of his ex-love. It’s also about the battle between independent cinema and multiplex chains, ambition, responsibility and dreams. And it’s set at Christmas.
As you well know, I loved ‘Heaven Can Wait’ (I made the mistake of reading it in public and it made me cry!) – how would you say your new one compares to it?
Well, I’ve made a couple of people cry with the second one too (which I not so secretly love!). Like ‘Heaven Can Wait’ it’s a romantic comedy but, unlike ‘Heaven Can Wait’ there’s no supernatural element this time. I also tell the story, in the first person, from the female and the male main characters’ points of voice. I really enjoyed jumping heads, chapter to chapter. Both books are about the main characters pursuing their romantic ideals but, while ‘Heaven Can Wait’ is about Lucy trying to be reunited with the love of her life, ‘Home for Christmas’ is about Beth looking for someone to love her (while Matt tries to escape from the woman he’d rather didn’t love him).
Could you sell it to us in one sentence?
‘Home for Christmas’ has made people squirt hot drinks out of their noses in coffee shops, snort with laughter on hospital wards and cry on trains.
Could you tell us a little about your writing of it? Was your approach any different to writing the debut?
The big different between the two books is that ‘Heaven Can Wait’ came out fully formed, pretty much and only needed tweaking a tiny bit before it was published. ‘Home for Christmas’ was MUCH harder to write, I really suffered from second novel syndrome and I had to rewrite it several times before I was happy with it. I’m hoping my third novel will come a bit easier!
How do you think you’ve changed as a writer over these two books?
I wrote ‘Heaven Can Wait’ for me. I hoped that I might find a publisher – and readers – for it but I wrote it purely for the satisfaction of being able to say ‘I wrote and finished a novel’. With ‘Home for Christmas’ I was aware of the expectations of my readers and didn’t want to let them down. As a result I felt much more self conscious writing it than I did my first book and had to work hard to get into the ‘zone’ where the words flow without you having to think about them. So yes, I’d probably say I’m more self-conscious as a writer but also (after re-writing my second book several times) more resilient.
As it’s Christmas (it snowed last night for the first time this season) – what books (aside from yours) would you recommend as crimbo presents and why?
Well I’d have to recommend ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Dickens because it’s THE quintessential Christmas book and, even though it spooked me a bit as a child, no other book says Christmas to me quite like it (apart from an illustrated version of ‘The Night Before Christmas’ that I cherished as a child). I’d also recommend Beano and Dandy annuals (do they still publish them?) as they were a regular present from Father Christmas and thrilled me no end!
What’s next for you?
When I was pregnant, and enjoying a month’s maternity leave I wrote 20,000 words of a novel I call ‘Project B’. I haven’t got a publishing deal for it and have no idea if anyone will ever read it but it’s a story I just HAVE to tell. I’m currently trying to edit it by tapping away on my iPad with one finger whenever my son falls asleep on me! When I’ll find the time to finish it I have no idea. And hopefully there will be more Cally Taylor romantic comedies to come too.
Anything you’d like to add?
If you like reading about writing and random waffle do please visit my blog. You can also find me on twitter – @callytaylor.
And here’s a trailer for the book: