Rebecca Chance has always been one of my favourite authors, so when the opportunity arose for me to interview her, I headed down to London as quick as I could!
Rebecca grew up in London but spent many years working and traveling in New York and Tuscany. She’s the author of some of the UK’s best selling bonk-busters, including Divas and Killer Heels, as well as her latest novel Bad Brides. This features two sets of brides battling it out for the front cover of Style Brides Magazine, but as with many Rebecca Chance novels, nothing ever goes to plan and the novel features many twists and turns that will keep you wanting to read on till the end! And if you haven’t already read it (what have you been doing!) then this interview has some spoilers!
We met up at private roof top bar on Shaftsbury Avenue, where the hustle and bustle of the city was left behind on the street and we drank cocktails, (Century Punch for me and Gin Rosata for Rebecca) amongst the chimney pots, whilst discussing her latest novel, what the future holds for Rebecca Chance and having a general girly chat about life!
What is the main difference between Rebecca Chance and Lauren Henderson?
I always say Rebecca is the over the top version of me, the camp version of me. The reason for having the different names is simply marketing; I’ve written books in many different genres as Lauren Henderson, and when I started doing glamorous thrillers, the editor said I had to pick a different name, purely because of branding. I have a separate Facebook and Twitter as Rebecca – and I try to mix up the posts. As Lauren, I’m much more domestic and I do a lot of literary snarking, while Rebecca is much more fabulous. But I don’t try to make everything seem fabulous, because that would be fake. The life of a writer isn’t glamorous for 90% of the time! Quite a lot of the time you’re sitting at home in lounge wear, writing so hard that when I open the door to the postman I always look completely mad and can never even remember what day it is! I can never get the date right… So the cocktails are Rebecca, while the lounge wear is Lauren. But as you can see, it’s all transparent. I’m not pretending to be someone else.
Can you give us any hints about the next book?
I can’t reveal the title yet – I’m moving publishers and my editor has yet to confirm the title, as my title style is changing – still sexy but sounding more like a thriller, as he wants to emphasise the ‘glamorous thriller’ side of my books. It’s basically ‘Bodyguard’ on a plane, a version of the Dreamliner I’m calling the LuxeLiner, extremely glamorous, with a gorgeous pop star called Catalina who’s being stalked by someone onboard who sends her notes about wanting to join the Mile High Club with her… and her ex-boyfriend’s on board, plus lots of other suspects. Tons of shenanigans. The airline’s called Pure Air, and I have a joke that it’s just taken over an airline called Reilly Jet, whose publicity-crazed Irish owner dies of a heart attack demonstrating the pay toilet on his own plane. Oh good, you laughed! If I pitch an idea to people and they laugh then I’m sure it’ll work in a book.
Basically, it’s all set on the inaugural flight of the LuxeLiner from London to LA, a midnight flight. Most of the action is onboard – sex, drama, intrigue, stalking – but there are also flashbacks to the main characters’ lives before they board the plane. As well as the stalker, there’s also a killer on board and you will be led in all different directions, not knowing who to suspect – lots of twists and turns. It’s coming out next July – it’s definitely a summer beach read! (Just in time for our holidays!)
You do pick up on certain characters in your books that resemble real life!
Yes, you may have noticed that happens quite a lot in the books. I change enough so that I don’t get sued by, let’s just say at random the Royal family of Monaco (hint to Killer Queens)… I had a lot of fun parodying Coldplay and Mumford & Sons with Tarquin in Bad Brides.
Do the Italian wedding scenes in Bad Brides bare any similarities to your own wedding?
Not my wedding, but they are entirely from a friends of ours who got married last summer and everything was exquisite in every way! Go on my Pinterest and you’ll see some of them – her’s the link: http://www.pinterest.com/rebeccachance1/bad-brides/.
All the Italian pictures are from their wedding. I had planned to make up a lot of the details, but as soon as I got to the wedding I told the groom I was pinching everything for the new book, and he loved the idea. It’s also a real venue and you can book it – contact me through my website for details, http://www.rebeccachanceauthor.com.
Do you think the influence of Kindles and ebooks has hindered your publishing?
I think it’s great, but publishing is a very old fashioned industry and hasn’t fully embraced it. Newspapers haven’t figured it out and publishers haven’t figured it out yet. I think the price of e-books is generally too high. They should never be more expensive than the actual book!
I still prefer an actual book!
Me too, I’m terribly old fashioned. Plus, how do you get people to know about you if they aren’t walking into a book store and seeing your book?! I was looking at the old covers of Agatha Christie books recently, an author I love, and I feel you miss the cover art too with ebooks.
I think social media plays a big part.
I wonder if it does. Do you get recommendations off people you know or don’t know? Having said that, the more mentions you can get the better, so the best thing to do is get people talking about you. The problem is, that thinking tends to lead to publishers commissioning all these celeb books that everyone talks about but aren’t actually very good, and of course are never written by the celebrity whose name is on the cover. Interestingly enough, they barely ever make any money.
Will climate change influence future novels? Cause a lot of your novels are influenced by current affairs.
Well, there’s fracking in Bad Brides, so that’s very current, though I mostly put it in so I could call Tamra the Fracking Queen! Downton Abbey also influenced this novel a lot. And I’m also a massive fan of 19th century literature, with the classic story of the American heiresses coming over and buying their way into marriage with English aristocrats who need their money to fix their big old country houses.
Out of all the Rebecca Chance books you’ve written, which one is your favourite?
The next one, or maybe the last one! Partly the next one, because every new book is a mountain to climb, and I’m really looking forward to it. And partly the last one, because I always look back and think, Wow, I pulled that off! I set myself a task and I did it! I don’t have a technical favourite in that one was more difficult than the other…I really like the fact that Bad Angels happens within a time constraint of twelve days over Christmas, and ends on New Year’s Eve. I could find something I particularly like about all my books, but it was fun to write something that had to happen so fast.
I loved writing Killer Heels, too, because I used to work in magazines and it was great to use a lot of stories I had from those days.
Do you ever see any of your books being made into a film?
I think more of a mini series – maybe there’s too much plot for a film? Tamra and Barb’s fight in the fountain was actually based on the 80’s TV series Dynasty!
If you could be a character in any of your books, which one would you be and why?
Tamra from Bad Brides. I feel very close to Tamra. My editor always says that my readers want the main character to be a 23yr old sympathetic girl, but those ones can be less interesting to write -Brianna Jade, in Bad Brides has less life experience and just wants to settle down with a pig farmer. Tamra on the other hand is more ambitious and scheming – but in a good way – so she’s much more interesting.
I also really like Evie from Divas; I like the tough girls generally, but I wouldn’t want her life or what she had to do to make money at the beginning of the book. Who would you like to be?
Jodie cause I feel like I can relate to her cause I want to be an editor.
Exactly, she’s the career woman. That was a fun character to work with. Killer Heels was exaggerated in places but I knew a real-life fashion editor who made her assistant lint her down with brown tape every day! Magazines are never as glamorous as you expect.
Do you have any tips for any inspiring writers?
* Read a hell of a lot! You have to love the genre to write it.
* Read widely in the genre in which you want to write. Also read some bad novels, because that makes you feel you can do better than them – it’s a good motivation tool!
* You also have to have a certain amount of arrogance to be a writer because you have to assume that people are going to want to read what you’ve written.
* Always do an outline! You need to plan essays harder than books! Books are 25% outline, 75% writing for mental effort, not for time involved.
* It’s also a good idea to go to writers groups because they will tell you when something isn’t working. It’s an even field when you’re all putting your work forward for criticism.
You never know what you’re going to be good at writing until you try doing it!
Favourite book by any author? Doesn’t have to be your own!
(looks right) Did you know that when you’re trying to get in touch with the creative side with of your brain you look right generally? I can’t say just one: hmm, Agatha Christie, Tanith Lee who is a feminist fantasy author who is ahead of her time. I also really like Anthony Trollope. I could just keep going!
Favourite fashion designer?
Dolce and Gabbana!
I’m just going to say the first thing that comes into my mouth here, Build my Gallows High, with Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer. Classic 1940s black and white noir film. I’m a huge noir fan, I always thought I would write noir crime novels, but when I tried I turned out to be terrible at it!
Favourite food and drink?
Drink- Prosecco or a Prosecco cocktail. French 57 – Gin, Proscco and lemon juice. I like that one a lot! Food- pasta, but only on special occasions. Dieting’s hard!
Favourite beauty product?
Eyeliner or eyebrow pencil, hard to choose! A friend of mine who does the make-up on Holby and Hollyoaks told me years ago to look after my eyebrows, so I always do what he says!
You’ve travelled a lot, where is your favourite city and why?
Ooooo! I want to say Venice, but it sounds like a cliche… still, it’s really hard if you’ve been to Venice for it not to be your favourite. It’s just so amazing. Right, I’m going to go with Venice because I believe you should always go with what first pops into your head. I also have a very good experience there, because I speak Italian pretty well and in Venice I can pass for someone from Tuscany, which is where I lived for ages. It’s a lot easier wandering round if you can speak the language, so that’s a lovely extra bonus.
What is your most prized possession?
Let me think about this one, I’ve probably got a really good answer lurking somewhere… I bought a necklace when I was travelling in Sri Lanka years ago with girlfriends, which was one of the best holiday I’ve ever had. It was really lovely to buy a nice piece of jewellery for myself on a girls’ holiday – and it goes with everything because it’s gold and has lots of different coloured stones in it. Precious ones, but not the colours you know them for – did you know that emeralds can be all different colours, as diamonds can be all different? Rubies are more valuable when they’re red, emeralds when they’re green, sapphires when they’re blue…Oh, never buy brown diamonds. They’re trying to market them now as chocolate diamonds but they are common as muck, you can find them everywhere, so do not be fooled by chocolate diamonds! They’re more common than Swarovski!
Do you have any regrets?
Yes, I wish my first editor hadn’t cut bits out of Divas. If you’ve got hold of the e-book Rebecca Chance’s Naughty Bits, it’s full of deleted scenes from Divas. That editor cut out a great scene I’d written for Evie with a 6’5 black oiled contortionist, and she cut it out for being too gratuitous! I thought that was what people wanted to read! The new editor is much more aware of what people want from bonkbusters, or glamorous thrillers. I’d love to do an authors cut of Divas. You’ll probably notice that Evie disappears, comparatively, in the second half of the book – I’d love to put her scenes back in.
SPOILER ALERT! DON’T READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN’T READ BAD BRIDES!!!
I was a little disappointed that neither of the brides got married! I did not expect the ending!
Thank you, you weren’t supposed to! Though I am sorry that readers didn’t get a wedding – I was two thirds through the novel and realised, Shit, we’re not going to see anyone get married! It’s called Bad Brides, and there are no actual brides. I did consider Tamra coming forward to marry Edmund but they couldn’t do that, and anyway it would be weird! He’s about to marry the daughter then marries her mother on the same day… no, that would have been too much!
I would like to personally thank Rebecca Chance for inviting me to London to conduct this interview, it was great to meet the woman behind some of my favourite books! By the end of the interview, it felt more like a chat with a friend!
Bad Brides is available to buy from Amazon for £3.50
Visit Rebecca’s website and follow her on twitter to keep up to date with all things glamorous! http://www.rebeccachanceauthor.com
By Emily Parker
Book cover images from rebeccachanceauthor.com