Q+A with Daisy Buchanan - Author of Insatiable, Careering and Limelight

Tell us about yourself in two sentences.

Hello! My name’s Daisy and I’m a writer, and a reader. I live by the sea in Kent, in the UK, and I host the You’re Booked podcast.

Can you share a little about your writing process to us?

At the moment I’m starting my fourth novel (the third, Limelight, is out in early summer) and it’s terrifying. I know the story, I know my characters but the funny, beautiful sentences I want to write are eluding me. So I start first thing in the morning and try to spend at least two or three hours writing as much as I can and not worrying too much. I’m guided by EL Doctorow, via Anne Lamott, who apparently said 'Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ A bad first draft is better than no book. My brilliant editor Darcy Nicholson is hugely insightful and makes brilliant suggestions. She’s the evil genius personal trainer who pushes me and the manuscript into shape. It hurts, but it works!

Both Insatiable and Careering have been massive hits. What influences your writing and when do you know you’re onto a good thing?

Thank you so much! Selfishly, I try to write for myself as a reader – I want heart and depth and good jokes, and characters I really care about. And I want to explore what it’s like to be a young-ish woman, right now. So as long as I love my characters and I feel like they’re breathing – and I want good things for them – I keep going.  

Describe your writing spot for us.

Ah, well, it’s quite soft and wide and there are pillows and a duvet…it’s my bed. I write in bed. I do have a study with a desk, but working in the UK, in January, I really have to cajole myself into getting on with it by doing it from a place that feels safe and cosy. I love the view of the garden, especially when magpies visit. There’s a fern and a cheeseplant and my best books – the Marian Keyes’ and Laurie Colwins and Katherine Heinys and Nancy Mitfords.

What books have you recently read and loved?

Three really stunning, visceral, beautifully written memoirs – Strong Female Character by Fern Brady, which led me to Trouble by Marise Gaughan and Delicacy by Katy Wix. Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld – what a TREAT! An absolutely gripping, deliciously twisty thriller, What Happened On Floor 34 by Caroline Corcoran. A brilliant debut - the very funny, very moving Preloved by Lauren Bravo. Lucy Vine’s hilarious new book Seven Exes. And top of my TBR – I’m so excited about The List by Yomi Adegoke, it looks EXCELLENT.  

What book do you always recommend to others?

Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes is the gold standard, it taught me more about writing, and humans than anything and anyone, and if you don’t love Rachel we can’t be friends. Last year, it was The Movement by Ayisha Malik – so smart, so great. If I bumped into anyone I knew, I wouldn’t say ‘Hello’ or ‘How are you?’, just ‘Oh my goodness let me tell you about Ayisha’s book, you have to read it.’ I was such a fan girl, I hope I didn’t embarrass Ayisha…

Tell us what reading means to you…

At the risk of sounding pretentious, it’s how I nourish myself. It’s my life force. It’s where I look first for joy, laughter and hope. It moves me. Sometimes I can’t read anything new, but when I’m feeling stuck and scared, I reach for a beloved old book and I find what I need. (I just reread Noel Streatfeild’s Gemma books and they restored me.)

Who are the three people (living or dead) you would love to have dinner with?

I’m an Off-Menu podcast superfan so I’d invite the comedian James Acaster for some sort of epic dessert. Or three courses, all Lindor Balls. Laurie Colwin, the amazing novelist and food writer (who also wrote about some incredible desserts in Home Cooking.) And maybe the director Mike Nichols – I read Life Isn’t Everything and fell madly in love with him. But – can I also invite my husband, and my five sisters? They’re my all-time favourite people to hang out with.

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