I am stupidly excited to have the absolutely brilliant Kirsty Greenwood on my blog today talking all about her new book The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance.
1. Kirsty, first things first are you addicted to Pear Cider? Because Jessica’s addiction made me curious and after drinking 5 bottles I can safely say I don’t like it!
I love that it took you 5 bottles to realise it was gross. I don’t really like it either. I love the idea of it though, it sounds so refreshing and sparky and summery. Helen Redfern from Novelicious (The talent behind the Feasting on Romantic Comedy columns) tells me she will make me some home-made Pear Cider and I have a feeling I will adore that. I adore everything Helen makes. One day I will move in with Helen. She doesn’t know it yet, though.
2. The Vintage Guide To Love and Romance has Jessica living her life like her grandma, Matilda Beam did in 1955. Jessica has to make a man fall in love with her using her tips from her grandmas books. Tell me did Ed and you fall in love over a dropped glove?
Yes, that is what happened. I flung my glove at him and it was hot. He couldn’t get enough and said I was the sexiest glove dropper he’d ever seen…
I actually met Edd when I was at Uni. He was my housemate’s younger brother. He was visiting for the weekend and we literally bumped into each other going to the loo in the night. We started chatting and haven’t stopped for the last 14 years.
3. Jessica’s best friend Summer is actually a huge bitchface and very calculating. Was she based on anyone you know or know of?
FORTUNATELY she isn’t based on anyone in particular. Ugh, I’d hate if someone like that existed in real life. I suppose she is an amalgamation of people I have met in the past, but most of her is made up. I conjured her from the bitchiest part of my brain.
4. Jessica has a serious potty mouth, my particular favourite word of hers was Knob-Prince. Is that the part of yourself you put into Jessica?
I’m glad you like Knob-Prince! You know what, I don’t swear a lot in general life. My mum never allowed us to swear when we were kids and I still can’t curse in front of her! I was listening to a recording of my launch party speech (here’s the link if you want to listen: http://tinyurl.com/ma5mjn9 ) – I say the word ‘shit’ and you can hear my mum in the background gasp and say, “Did she swear then?”. That being said, when I am grumpy or frustrated my language gets very, very rude and inventive. I make swear words up. They are so bad that I cannot repeat them here. My mum might read this.
5. Doctor Jamie and Leo Frost are both drowning you can only save ONE, who lives?
Argh! Why are they drowning? How are they both drowning at the same time? Were they on a canoe together? Can neither of them swim? Are there any rubber rings nearby? This is terrible luck. Before we get to the saving bit, let’s just say that I am thrilled to have the theoretical ability to save one because I am a crap swimmer…
Okay it’s been twenry minutes since I started answering this question. I can’t do it! I can’t pick one! I feel like I have let you down, somehow, but I simply can’t choose! I have all the love for Jamie AND Leo. I refuse to answer this question. REFUSE.
6. Be honest do you and Benedict Cumberbatch have beef?
Hahahahah! You know, he just seems to be at all of the events in life. If there is an awards ceremony, Cumberbatch is there, a TV Interview show – look, there is Cumberbatch! He always seems so lovely and decent. The idea of having him be furious all the time in the book really amused me.
7. What inspired Jessica’s story?
The concept of the book was inspired by an article my sister Lynette sent me – it was a list of dating rules from the 1950s and it was completely ridiculous. I couldn’t believe that people acted like that. I loved the idea of seeing what a young, cheeky, modern woman would make of those kinds of rules and Jess popped up!
I really like writing about female relationships – particularly in a family, and that’s why I also included the stories of Jess’s mother and grandmother.
8. This isn’t going to be a standalone is it? It’s going to be a series, what do you see happening next for Jessica? (If you can say)
The Vintage Guide was always intended as a series. In my head there are five Jessica Beam books and hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to write them all! That scamp Jessica Beam is the most fun character to spend time with and I want to follow her through life and see what she’s getting up to. I’m very interested in how she handles becoming a proper grown up. I can’t say outright what is happening next for her (I don’t want to spoiler anyone!). But I can say that it is an adventure. There is lots of mischief to come. The kind of mischief that only Jess can get into.
9. The Vintage Guide To Love and Romance is truly laugh out loud funny, my belly actually hurt from laughing. My favourite part of the story was her being walked in on during a sexy moment with Doctor Jamie. What was your favourite part?
Thank you! I LOVE making people laugh so this is a mega compliment. I like the moment you mentioned too. My favourite joke of the book, though, is the one that involves squirrels…
10. Jessica has so many embarrassing moments, have you got any embarrassing stories you would like to tell us about?
I embarrass myself daily. I just wake up, trip out of bed and the rest of the day is a series of mortifying moments. Once, when I was at University, everyone in our house (about 12 of us – we lived in a converted pub) decided to go out in fancy dress – I think it was for someone’s birthday. I dressed up as a Wild West Can Can Girl. When we got to the nightclub, I nipped to the loo and asked everyone to wait for me, but when I came out they had gone. So I was now a girl in a wild west costume in a room full of normally dressed clubbers. To make matters worse, in my desperation to find the rest of my fancy dressed gang, I was rushing about and fell down the stairs. Not some private back stairs where nobody could see me. These were grand ‘show-off’ stairs that led to the main dance floor of the club. Everyone saw me, just some random can can girl, tumbling down the nightclub stairs, legs akimbo. When I got to the bottom of the stairs I just quickly stood up and started dancing to Eminem’s Slim Shady, as if everything was completely normal. Not my finest moment. OR maybe my finest moment. I’m still not sure.
11. What research did you do? Did you pick up any tips along the way?
I read a bunch of books about the 1950s as well as loads of stuff on etiquette. I watched many, many 1950s films. I picked up loads of tips – how to properly eat asparagus, how I should act when meeting the pope, how to be the perfect bridesmaid, how writing thank you notes is always better than writing thank you emails. I legit became interested in all aspects of etiquette and manners. Thank you for asking this question. (That is me showing off the good manners I learned).
12. If you had to date a heartthrob from the 50’s who would it be? Personally I would go for Elvis because he is perfection. (I mean if he could wrestle a crocodile he would be more than perfection, but he can’t have it all).
Hah! Your obsession with Mick Dundee is so fucking bizarre. I am greatly amused by it. As I am by your use of the word heartthrob. We don’t say heartthrob enough these days.
Elvis is a great choice. He was very sexual. I would go for Gene Kelly. He could sing and dance and he was so charming and handsome. And DAT ASS. An ass-terpiece, for sure. Gene Kelly had the bestest bum I ever did see.
13. You are having a dinner party and you only have 10 places, which 5 authors and 5 bloggers would you invite and why? *rubs hands and cackles*
Nice question! Very tough. VERY tough. Okay, my five authors would be:
1. Jane Green.
I have a total crush on Jane Green. Not only is she a wonderful writer, but she is just so elegant and clever. Jane Green is like something from a Nancy Meyer movie and I want to invite her to our dinner party so she can teach me how to be elegant and cool. Also, Jane Green cooks. She could cook for us. We would eat such an elegant dinner if Jane Green was there.
2. Bree Darcy.
Bree Darcy is the author pseudonym for Stephanie Pegler of Chick Lit Club fame. She wrote a brilliant book called Don’t Mention the Rock Star. Steph lives in Australia. She would bring lots of sunshine to our dinner party. Steph is a women’s fiction authority, so she would also serve as our literary expert for the evening.
3. Amy Poehler.
Her incredible memoir Yes Please came out this year so she is, technically, an author as opposed to simply ‘the coolest woman on planet earth’. Amy Poehler would give is all advice on how to be kick ass and strong and all of those excellent things.
4.. Poppy Dolan
Poppy Dolan is a super funny and smart author. She wrote The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp and There’s More to Life Than Cupcakes, which are two of my favourites novels ever. Poppy is just as smart and funny in real life as she is in her books and she would entertain us all with her brilliant stories. Poppy can also bake like a fiend. I would ask her to bring us some home-baked bread.
5. Lucy Robinson.
I have only recently made internet friends with Lucy Robinson and I am having a lot of love for her. She recently sent me a recipe for a healthy strawberry cheesecake, so I would ask her to bring that for pudding. Lucy is also an amazing writer so I would get her to do a reading from her most recent novel – the incredible The Day We Disappeared.
Lucy would totally be one of mine too! I love her.
My five bloggers would be:
Well, I have to choose you because you asked me this question. Be a bit awkward if I didn’t. Genuinely though. I would invite you because you’re ma grrrrl. I would present you with a cardboard cut-out of Mick Dundee upon your arrival. I would feed you crocodile meat. It would be the best night of your life. And mine.
Just the idea of a Mick Dundee cardboard cutout is making me dizzy, I want this to be a real life thing!
2. Kirsty Maclennan from Love of a Good Book .
You don’t get a Victoria without a Kirsty. I met Kirsty at my launch party for The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance and she is mental and I mean that in the best way. Kirsty would be in charge of the drinking games, for sure. She would be the one shouting ‘Shots! Shots!’ And encouraging Jane Green to down a shot from some naked guy’s torso.
You have Kirsty pegged PERFECTLY!
3. Kevin Loh from I Heart Chick Lit.
I would like to be the person responsible for bringing Kevin over to the UK for a party. Kev is from Malaysia, and we are all desperado to meet him in real life. Kev would be the star of the party, I think. We would all fawn over him.
4. Leah Graham.
Leah used to run Chick Lit Reviews. In 2009 we were, like, mortal enemies. And then, over time, we came to love each other. Leah lives in Tenerife and I’d love to meet her in person and give her a massive hug. Leah always says what she thinks and isn’t afraid to be honest. She would bring excellent conversation to our party.
5. Evelyn Chong from Eve’s Chick Lit Reviews.
Eve also lives in Malaysia. She is a proper lovely book nerd AND she sends me Christmas cards. Eve has the best handwriting I’ve ever seen. I would ask her to do the place-cards for the dinner table and everyone would be very impressed.
6. ALL OF TEAM NOVELICIOUS.
I’m squeezing a sixth in and there is nothing you can do about it. They have to come. They are HILARIOUS and LOVELY. I recently went on a night out with Amanda, Zarina and Cressida (who is also a brilliant author – the first part of her Primrose Terrace series is out on April 30th!) and I laughed so much, my head almost exploded.
7. ALL OF THE BOOK BLOGGERS I FOLLOW ON TWITTER.
You can’t make me choose. I love so many of them. I would invite them all and we would have a massive dance and we would build a castle out of books and we would do all the shots that Kirsty Maclennan asked us to. Don’t delete this, Victoria. I know it is against the rules of the question but I am nothing if not a flagrant breaker of rules.
14. Describe your book in 5 words?
Mischief, Transformation, Bellylaughs, Vaginas, Love
Thank You, Thank you, Thank you Kirsty for taking the time to answer my questions.
The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance is OUT NOW, and I demand you all go and read it!
Kirsty Greenwood was born in Greater Manchester in 1982. She is the founder and editor in chief of Novelicious.com.
Her debut YOURS TRULY sold in excess of 100,000 copies and was a bestseller. Her second romantic comedy THE VINTAGE GUIDE TO LOVE AND ROMANCE is out now!
Kirsty tweets at @KirstyBooks and instagrams at @mskirstygreenwood