I had actually started working on another book, about the mean girls of blogging, when this story of Andy and Kellie wouldn’t quit nagging me. So I had to stop and write it instead. I have always adored stories about the return of someone’s first love, so it’s little wonder that I explore that theme in my first novel.
How similar are you to your main character, Kellie?
Well, we both break out in a rash if we have to step into a kitchen to cook; and we both work in the media. But other than that, she’s purely a figment of my imagination.
Why will readers fall for Andy?
What I love about Andy is he’s the type of guy no one looked at twice. In fact, Kellie was the first girl to ever really give him the time of day. Then he becomes a rock star and everyone wants a piece of him. One of my early readers emailed me after she started reading my book to say ‘Eeuw! Andy isn’t very appealing – he’s so weedy.’ But then, as she got further into the story, she was suddenly “He’s so not my type physically but you just can’t help loving him!’ A male lead who’s the perfect specimen, like a Heath, would be so boring. And I also love that Andy, for all his faults, is very loyal.
What do you hope readers will take from your story?
Firstly, that they enjoy the story and would be keen to pick up another Bree Darcy novel! Secondly, that they realise that sometimes in life things aren’t black or white – there’s a lot of grey in between and people are often faced with difficult decisions. And thirdly, that women of a certain age don’t necessarily act any more sensibly than anyone else. I often see readers review books about an older woman and express exasperation that she acted rather immature. The sad truth, as everyone discovers as they grow older, is the person you are now is pretty much the essence of the person you’ll be later on too. My husband – who has known me since we were kids – says I’m basically still like the teenager he first started dating. I’m not sure that was meant as a compliment either!
Who are your musical inspirations?
Music has always played a big role in my life – from a ‘listening’ rather than a ‘performing’ perspective though. I was born in the 70s so my first band T-shirt was a yellow ABBA one, and the first album I spent my hard-earnt pocket money on was Can’t Stop the Music by the Village People. As a teenager, my bedroom walls were plastered with Duran Duran posters (especially the luscious Simon Le Bon) and my first concert was by an iconic Aussie band called Australian Crawl. My extensive knowledge of 80s pop music has indeed seen me triumph at numerous quiz nights (yes I do remember the movie connected to Limahl, the name of the singer who Blinded Me with Science and can recite the German lyrics of Nena’s 99 Red Balloons). This year I’ve seen everyone from Queen to Robbie Williams and Justin Timberlake in concert. But my biggest musical obsession is definitely Green Day. Phenomenal, life-changing band!
I’ve interviewed a couple of singers/musicians during my reporting days but none were personal musical heroes who could have rendered me speechless on the spot. The closest I got was in London in the mid-90s when I spotted a very well-known, very good-looking Australian singer. He was by himself walking through Hyde Park and no one was paying him the slightest bit of attention. It was the perfect opportunity to approach with my familiar Aussie accent, score an autograph and a photo, and tell him how big a fan I was. But this rock star was also known for being a tad arrogant and off-hand with people and most likely wouldn’t appreciate being pestered. In the split second that I had, I decided the last thing I wanted was for him to be rude and forever ruin his music for me. So I chickened out and simply let him walk past. And then I ran off and sent a postcard to a friend who had spent many years fantasising about him.
Being a book reviewer, how will you cope with bad reviews?
With grace, I hope. Probably more likely I’ll have a private whinge to my nearest and dearest. But being a reviewer, I understand that no one sees a book the same way – what one person will love, another will hate. You can’t control other people’s reactions and I am aware that this book has a few contentious issues that might not sit well with certain readers. The worse review I could get, to be honest, would be one that contains spoilers. I hate it when people give away plot details that are best left for the reader to discover. It’s why I don’t read reviews until after I’ve read the book myself. Fortunately in the case of Don’t Mention the Rock Star, I’ve already read it A LOT! I know everything that happens. But for others who haven’t, please don’t tell them.
What surprised you most about your writing journey?
That’s it so damn HARD! As a journalist/editor, I deal with words every day. I knew making the switch from facts to writing fiction would be difficult but it did take me by surprise how much effort it is to simply get a story down on paper. I had to keep going until I was 100 per cent happy with it – that took about two years of writing, rewriting and editing. It’s definitely the toughest thing I’ve ever done professionally.
Why did you choose to write under a pseudonym?
Can you imagine being out and about, and seeing someone reading your book and then hearing them say: ‘this Bree Darcy is really crap’. This way, I can simply nod and move on, without the fear of someone calling out my name and exposing me as the author behind the book. Plus her short and sweet name looks a heck of a lot better on a cover than my own!
What five things can’t you live without?
My family, a daily walk, books/internet, Green Day music, and chocolate.
* To see my responses to READERS’ QUESTIONS, head to the Ask Bree page.
The Devil Wears Prada – Lauren Weisberger
One Day – David Nicholls
Something Borrowed – Emily Giffin
Where Rainbows End – Cecelia Ahern
Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
When Harry Met Sally
The Breakfast Club
Come on Eileen – Dexys Midnight Runners
Cricket to watch, tennis to play
Facebook vs Twitter?
Early Bird vs Night Owl?
The Beatles vs Rolling Stones?
PC vs Mac?
Coffee vs Tea?
Neither; hot chocolate
Edward Cullen vs Jacob Black?
Beach vs Pool?
Pool for swimming; beach for walking
Cat vs Dog?
Neither; I’m not an animal person
Silver vs Gold?
Hugh Jackman vs Brad Pitt?