I’m so pleased and excited that Tilly agreed to join me for an interview. I fell in love with Hopelessly Devoted To Holden Finn and couldn’t wait to ask Tilly some questions.
1. If you could have your celebrity crush return your feelings who would it be and why?
It’s well known amongst friends that I have an actual league table of celebrity crushes which changes on a weekly basis. It would be cruel to the others to choose just one of them…
2. Did you have inspiration for Holden Finn?
I did. He started out as being loosely based on a boy band singer who is pretty famous right now, but I’m not allowed to tell you who it is!
3. One of my absolute favourite parts is the bit at the party with Max (we won’t say as it will spoil it). Which was your favourite bit?
Oh that’s tough to answer without giving away key scenes. I think my favourite one is the end scene, but there are others earlier in the book involving Max that break my heart to read back now.
4. The Nan is absolutely bonkers with a heart of gold, which reminded me so much of my own nan. Was she based on anyone?
She was based on different bits of people I know, if that makes sense. I’m always drawn to people with a youthful outlook on life, and I knew straightaway that Jeanie would be just like that. She was a brilliant character to write and almost wrote herself really! In a way, she’s what Bonnie would be had she not been so damaged by her relationship with Henri.
5. Did you have to research by hanging out backstage with a young boy band?
I wish! I have been to lots and lots of gigs and concerts though over the years, and I’ve done enough backstage stalking to have a pretty good idea of what goes on. I’ve never actually got as far as backstage passes, but I’m working on it *drops hints to any band out there who might be able to offer me backstage passes*.
6. I loved the relationship between Bonnie and Paige, I thought it was really spot on. Did you write that from your own experiences?
I do have two daughters who are now ten and twelve, so we’re getting to the teenage years but not quite there yet. However, I do have a friend who has a fifteen-year-old daughter and a lot of Bonnie and Paige’s relationship was based on conversations I had observed between the two of them, and anecdotes that my friend tells me about things they do and say to each other.
7. What did you edit out?
There were some wonderful scenes with just Paige and Bonnie at home watching TV and larking about which had to be cut, sadly, to keep the pace of the story tight. I might post them on my blog at some point if people want to see them. Other than that, there was nothing huge that needed to go, thank goodness. It’s always hard losing bits of your story though, even when you can see that your editor is doing it for the best. They don’t use the phrase ‘murder your darlings’ for nothing!
8. Have you got any embarrassing celebrity encounters?
Every celebrity encounter I have is embarrassing! I always say the wrong thing when I get a bit overwhelmed. I went with my family to France to see the castle they filmed the BBC show Merlin at and while we were there they were actually filming so we met some of the cast. Colin Morgan (who plays Merlin) was lovely and took lots of time out to chat to us as we’d travelled a long way to see them. I told him what a fan of the show I was, and then added at the end of the sentence that it was because I was a saddo and I liked really cheesy shows! I’m not sure what sort of compliment he thought that was but he was terribly polite about it. A similar conversation actually ends up in Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn when Bonnie first meets Holden, so my mortification wasn’t in vain!
9. What authors inspire you as a writer?
I get asked this question a lot and I always name lots of fantastic authors whose prose I admire or whose story telling ability makes me weep with envy. But today, I’m going to say that all authors are amazing. Most juggle more than one job with their writing, many struggle for years to get any recognition, building their career one sale and one book at a time, and they never give up no matter how hard it seems. Authors in general are a tough breed considering the emotion they drag from their souls to put into their stories.
10. Can you describe your book in four words?
Somewhere to lose yourself.
Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset but now lives in Staffordshire with her slightly nutty family. Tilly is married to Mr Tennant (not that one, though a girl can dream). She likes nothing better than curling up in a quiet corner with a glass of wine watching the world go by, but can more usually be found taxiing her daughters to parties or taking them on emergency shopping trips. After a huge list of dismal and disastrous jobs over the years, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing, she began working as a temporary secretary in a hospital to boost her income whilst doing a degree in English and creative writing. This job lasted nine years. Not terribly temporary. But it does mean that she knows just what it’s like to make monumental admin cock-ups, spend the month’s wages in the hospital coffee shop and fall in love with all the doctors. As she’s a smug married, however, it’s fortunate that the doctors in question don’t usually feel the same way.
Tilly is represented by the wonderful, gorgeous Peta Nightingale at LAW.
Get in touch with Tilly on twitter, Facebook and on her blog
You can read my review of Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn here.