Tell us about yourself in two sentences.
I’m a writer and comedian from Toronto, now based in London. I’m doing my best.
Can you share a little about your writing process to us?
I always feel a bit bad not to have a proper process, like I feel like other writers are rising with the dawn to walk in nature before writing for three hours to harp music in a backyard studio. I very often write from bed, so I just wake up and consult my outline at the start of the day and write whatever seems like it would be the most fun. The theory is that if I accumulate some chapters or passages that were enjoyable to write I will eventually be motivated to write the less enjoyable but nonetheless necessary bits of the book or script.
Can you tell us the inspiration behind your debut novel?
I got a divorce at a young age myself, and I was desperate to read something that spoke to the strangeness of that situation, and that treated heartbreak with a bit of levity. I couldn’t find anything like that, so I wrote my novel instead!
What do you hope readers takeaway from Really Good, Actually?
This is a funny question to me because the book is not a fable, you know? I didn’t really write it with a moral in mind, and I think anyone who reads it looking for one might be disappointed. I hope they take away from it the feeling of having experienced a genuine portrait of a woman in crisis, and I hope they laughed at a few things that surprised them.
While this novel might have a few similarities to your personal experience, what are your thoughts to the line of questioning that is often targeted at female creatives about their work being ‘autobiographical’?
I try not to think about it too much, I find it quite boring. Everybody is inspired by life, everybody borrows from things they’ve seen or experienced in their art, their style, their way of being in the world. I catch myself wondering in a nosy way about other people’s writing, how “real” or not real the events it describes might be, so I understand the impulse, but it’s so much more important to assess whether something feels real than if it actually is.
Really Good, Actually has only recently landed in readers hands. Can you tell us how you have been celebrating and/or processing the novel reaching readers hands?
It’s quite overwhelming and feels like a real honour to have people engaging with my work like this. We did a little tour in the UK and meeting readers was so special, particularly ones who were going through a tough time romantically themselves, they’re such tender raw nerves and it’s really nice to be able to chat to them and tell them they’re gonna be okay.
Describe your writing spot for us.
Well, as I say, it’s often my bed, which is a big white thing from IKEA with two duvets on it, one big one for me who is always cold, and a light one for my hot-blooded half-Italian boyfriend. We have nice big windows in the bedroom and our flat overlooks a school so the day is punctuated nicely by a few hundred ten year olds shrieking between classes, which I like. Adds some structure to the day.
What books have you recently read and loved?
Arrangements in Blue by Amy Key is a gorgeous meditation on being alone and finding love outside of a romantic context. Really lyrical and wise and special.
What book do you always recommend to others?
Heidi Julavits’ The Folded Clock. It’s just perfect to me.
Tell us what reading means to you…
Increasingly I just cherish any activity that doesn’t involve looking at my phone. I’m my calmest when reading or cooking.
Who are the three people (living or dead) you would love to have dinner with?I recently found myself accidentally at dinner with an author I really admire and I became a nervous little worm woman, really pathetic. I think I’ll stick to dinner parties with friends.